Four years ago, I would have said I was a total introvert. Three years ago, pretty introverted. Two years ago, pretty even. Last year, an extroverted introvert. Now, I'm realizing that I don't care for the labels at all, but I am definitely not the total introvert I used to be. Sure, I recharge with alone time. I love my solitude and quiet mornings. But I loved being in a dorm last year. I have loved living in the Globe this year. I haven't done homework in my room at all; I almost always go out to the lounge with people. Sometimes, I'm very selfish, very very selfish. But I've realized that I honestly, genuinely love to hear people's stories, to be let into their lives. So perhaps I actually am a people person.
I'm a control freak. I've known that for more than just this year, to be sure. For example, I was overly particular about every detail I wanted in the Globe (my apartment) at the beginning of the semester. My roommate reminds me of the time I told her she couldn't put pots in the dishwasher. Yesterday, I was in a team-building activity where we were blindfolded and held the shoulders of the person in front of us as we were led through a little town near the school. Even though it was a simple activity, I was so afraid and absolutely convicted of my need to be in control. I've become comfortable acknowledging it, and finally become ready to try to begin fixing it. At the bottom of a need for control is the lack of trust. The blindfolded activity was scary because I hadn't yet learned to trust my safety to the people I was holding on to. I was overly picky over the furnishings and layout of the Globe because I didn't trust that other peoples' visions could be as good as mine. As I work to let go of the need for control, for things to be my way, it will be a process of learning to trust other people.
I guess I thought everyone was like me in this, but I've been learning otherwise. I'm incredibly self-motivated, perhaps even to a fault. I can get out of bed at any time in the morning without much consideration because I know that I want my nice long morning and time with Jesus. I have been writing a blog post every Sunday for going on six years. My own logic is more than enough to motivate me. Just an observation.
I take things one step at a time, not usually worrying about what's coming in the future until it's in the present. I haven't really started thinking about my summer job yet because it's not summer yet. I'm glad for this because it does cut way down on the stress that would result from the need for control were I to also try to plan ahead for everything.
I've learned this year that it takes me a very long time to process experiences, emotions, motivations, interactions, etc. For example, I would say that I have only recently come to understand the main benefits and highlights of my two years in China, even though I left nearly two years ago. I don't expect to really understand the implications and purpose of my trip to Alert Bay for months. More and more, I find myself asking for days or weeks of time to let information or thoughts sink in before I respond, which made my leadership interviews difficult this year!
Maybe it's intuition, maybe it's the Holy Spirit, or maybe it's both, but I've discovered that I have some kind of ability to sense how a person is feeling and how to respond to them. I think I'm learning how to pick up on when to be silent, when to distract, when to touch, and when to prod further. I've prayed over and over again for eyes to see what God sees and a heart to feel what God feels, and I hope this is the beginning of an answer to that prayer.
Perfectionist / Performance-based
I never thought I was a perfectionist because I didn't really care if I got problems wrong on my math homework and I wasn't as perfectionist as my friends. But I'm realizing now that I have a very performance-based value system for myself that I would never consciously justify. I subconsciously care so much about my reputation, even just to myself, that I will sacrifice my real priorities to maintain my self-image. For example, I know that I value people over tasks. But when it comes down to spending hours in a necessary conversation with someone instead of studying well for an exam, I'm far too inclined to study because grades are engrained into my self-created value system. I've got to work on this.
Leader of My Own Spirituality
Finally, I'm realizing that I've been a leader my whole life. I relate to other people mainly through leadership, and that means of relating will carry over to God. In relation to the need for control, I'm learning that deep down I try to lead and control my own spiritual walk. Perhaps I don't really trust that God will grow me into a Christ-like, Spirit-filled person, and so I try to formulaically make that happen myself. I have all the skills necessary to make a plan and put it into action, but I really need to just crawl into the loving arms of a Father who wants me to simply trust Him.
These are a few things I am learning about myself. Grab a journal and think about what God has been showing you about yourself lately!