I’m an INFJ, this stands for Introverted Intuition with Extroverted Feeling. As an introvert, I thrive on alone time. A time during which I think, pray, or just sit quietly by myself.
Alone time is unquestionably vital to my sanity.
But no man is an island. I love my friends, and I immensely enjoy spending time with them.
However, I often allow my strongly introverted inclinations make me selfish.
I’m passionate about so many things, stories, words, music, ideas, emotions, intelligence, theology, philosophy… etc. And I find that I need time to develop these passions, hence another reason why I crave and hunger after “alone time.”
Alone time is great. There’s nothing wrong with it. But I often let my desire for it take over and I push others away because I selfishly grab at “me time.”
Before I go on, let me clarify. It is healthy and it is good, for those who, like me, have personalities that need that time to themselves. So don’t get confused. The problem arises when one begins to sacrifice building relationships with other people.
My life, for the most part, is consumed with school. School, school, school, and more school. Don’t get me wrong, having an education is great. There is an endless amount of blessings and benefits that stem from education. That’s another blog post.
To some degree, I feel that my free time is extremely limited. Once finished with homework I have a narrow window to fuel my passions. And trust me I make use of those precious minutes. Each moment is calculated so I have time to read, to work on the novel I’m writing, to write for this blog, to sit in my room and do absolutely nothing, to bake, to play the piano, to walk, to eat…
Here’s the issue: I’ve become so focused on me time, that I forget what’s most important.
I don’t put as much heart into my time with the Lord because I’m so set on maximizing each nanosecond of my day so I’ll have my time at the end of the day.
I neglect certain friendships for the sake of “my time”.
Hear me out for a minute here. Taking that time for yourself, like I said above, is not wrong.
As an INFJ, or any other human beings for that matter, we need those quiet moments. Some need more of those moments than others. It is perfectly alright to say no to going out and doing something. And there is something special about having those few friends who are your good friends. Having a thousand friends, at least for me, would be exhausting. As a human, you cannot have deep relationships with that many people.
(Honestly, though, I probably know about 100ish people and I only have intimate friendships with like five to seven of those people outside my family. The rest are small talk relationships, and while those are still good because they give an opportunity to be a light for Christ, they can be a little bit tiring when I’m not in the right mindset.)
This is the dilemma:
I place myself before those around me.
I place me before others all the time. I become insanely selfish and prideful when I ignore the needs of different people for the sake of myself.
I cannot say that I love as Christ loved when I place me before others. Like I said earlier, no man is an island. We need each other.
I know this idea is so contrary to what society feeds us.
“It’s all about you.”
“Make time for yourself.”
“The others don’t matter, it’s about what you need.”
These kind of messages are all over Pinterest and Instagram. And while they sound enticing, they do not demonstrate a love for fellow human beings and image bearers. (What’s an image bearer? Check out Genesis 1 and this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbipxLDtY8c)
Christ tells us: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
We should live with a love for others.
Because Christ is love. God is love.
Without love we are nothing. Paul pulls apart this idea in 1 Corinthians 13. There’s one verse that particularly speaks to me in this section. Basically, in this verse, he explains that even if he gave up his body to be burned, yes burned, but didn’t love the people he was dying for, he is nothing.
Even the noblest of acts are devoid of meaning and dead without love.
Love is rare in this sinful world, making it more precious than any jewel. Love radiates the joy of Jesus and the otherworldliness of heaven. It speaks to the world of something it does not know but yearns for.
For those of you who are like me and need that quiet time, I encourage you to be yourself. Introverts have done amazing things in this world. But I do urge you not to let this part of your personality to take over how you love others.
Spend time with people. Even if that means that you only have deep, abiding relationships with one or two friends.
As long as you love, you are emitting the undying faithfulness and forgiveness of God.
(The cover image is mine as well as the one of the yellow flower and bee. The other two are from Pinterest or Google.)