Boundaries or Barricades

Did I mention I’m an introvert?

There’s nothing quite like Christmas in a large family to remind me of this fact. I watched my extrovert hubby float about the room wearing his social butterfly wings. It was quite lovely from where I sat in a corner of the room. Yes, literally in a corner. Here’s the kicker– we were with my side of the family.

The point of this blog isn’t to point out the obvious differences between innies and outies (although this topic fascinates me). I am inspired to journal my thoughts after a revelation that came to me this morning. Lord willing I will get to that point in less than one thousand words. It is a poignant revelation for me because the holiday season left me with concern I might be on the fringe of some type of social anxiety. It may have been culminated by my first lengthy stretch of being a stay at home [person]. I joke about being a hermit but I wonder if I could really pull it off. I find myself just as irritating as many of my acquaintences do.

Innies who are in touch with reality know they need to come out of their shell from time to time. In fact, some of us actually have to present ourselves in front of people on a regular basis. How can that be? It is only possible by lacing secluded time to prepare to step out and then again to recharge after expending so much energy to come out. Seriously, it takes a lot of time to be an introvert.

Why am I explaining the differences again? Geez, it’s not like an extrovert is actually reading this. They are out and about charging their extroverted batteries. Do extroverts read blogs? They probably move on after the second paragraph.

At any rate, this entry started with a comment made to me about being ‘comfortable‘ exposing my thoughts to address a challenging situation. Fact of the matter, there was no comfort in what I did. I felt nauseous.

Have you ever felt queazy? I’m a girl. Unlike most men, many girls aren’t ‘afraid’ to puke. We don’t enjoy it but we don’t resist it. I believe it is because we have much to do. We don’t want to waste time feeling miserable and opt to just get it over with so we can move on. Sorry for referencing hurling in another blog post. Queasiness is one of the most common side effect of an uncomfortable situation, for me.

Here is where I was going…
Over the years, I’ve put up a lot of barriers to protect my introverted heart from hurt. I am learning that the fence was built so high, folks cannot see what is truly in my heart. They see the ugly side effects of the barricades I haphazardly put up to shelter myself from the storms of life. The only way I can change this is to be transparent. Not completely vulnerable, but transparent. It is a process— envision peeling an onion rather than picking a scab. It is a task that requires patience and also discernment to know what needs to be revealed rather than picking a scab on an old wound. That is a whole topic in itself.

Sometimes I don’t understand my own heart.
Sometimes I search my heart and it frightens me.
I’ve held on to things that have caused pain.
There is one person who truly knows my heart.
I call him my Father. My creator.      Jeremiah 17:10

In the fallout of painful relations in life, the heart of the matter is, in fact, the heart. Hurting ones pride isn’t nearly as painful as breaking ones heart. If I’m going to be a part of humanity, I have to make a choice– do I want folks to see me for my heart? Or do I want them to see me for the facade I’ve built around my heart? I want to be real.

This year the focus God put on my heart is LOVE. I will be writing more about love as He reveals His truth to me in a way only He can. I’m giddy about this! I’ve wanted to know true love my whole life! Much of the ugly barricades on the windows to my soul are the result of looking for love… the love of a partner, the love of friends, the love of family. Through the exercise of studying pride and humility in the past year, I know the only way to overcome the negative in life is to have a heart filled with the love of Christ. That very special love– not the love this world leads us to believe is love. True, honest to God LOVE!

With the holidays behind and a new year on the horizon, I am focused to prepare my heart like never before. It means wringing out the false sense of love I’ve absorbed over the years to allow my heart to absorb His unique love. It doesn’t matter what or where the ‘mission’ is, this is truly what it is all about. This IS the mission. This IS the heart of the call. I’ve known the call on my heart for years and I’m so excited He has made provision in His perfect timing. My heart wasn’t fully prepared to receive it until now.

I am thinking about the people I am called to serve. Locally, it is the foster kids who have every right to barricade their hearts. In Rwanda, it will be the people who survived the genocide who are also justified to protect their hearts. But in reality, it is every person who I encounter. We move about the earth barely taking the opportunity to get to the heart of folks. If we aren’t showing a heart of love everywhere we go, how will we change the world. I am up for the challenge.

In 1977, my father left this world with the message from 1 Corinthians 13. I have spent all these years trying to figure out what love really is. I’m going to spend the rest of my days trying to live it rather than find it. I believe this is the key. Love out loud.

If the transparency of my heart seems too vulnerable. Let it be.
Someone out there needs to see into my heart to change their own.
If this is how He is using me, my reply is, “As you wish.”

I encourage you to set boundaries but not to put up barriers.
In all things, do them motivated by love.


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