It took me some time (maybe more than it should have), but I finally bought into the whole community is necessary, we belong to each other way of thinking—hook, line, and sinker—so this passage caught me off guard:
I Thessalonians 4:9-12, “Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (NIV).
The glaring question staring me in the face is, “How do we love quietly?”
By nature, I’m kind of quiet (and everyone who thinks they know me well collapses in a fit of hysterical laughter, because I have, indeed, learned to adapt to my surroundings to be as loud as I need to be in order to be heard… which… let me tell ya… is pretty terribly loud sometimes).
I read an article the other day about my personality type (see endnotes). The entire article resonated, but this paragraph relates directly to what I’m thinking about, today:
“INFJs are true introverts, yet people not very close to them believe them to be extroverts. This happens because INFJs can be social chameleons and have an innate ability to blend in in any social setting. The INFJ can be the life of the party for a night or two, showcasing their inviting nature and vivaciousness. However, this is never prolonged because, in introverted-fashion, they lose energy from others. Those close to an INFJ know that this type prefers bars over clubs and barbecues over balls, and can give a speech to thousands of people but cringes at the idea of mingling with the crowd afterward. Eventually, this type will need to retreat home for some quiet time to ‘recharge their batteries,’ or they will become very on-edge and exhausted.”[i]
This is so refreshing, because it is feels like permission to be quiet. And for an introvert who has been ‘talking’ (in one form or another) nearly nonstop for weeks on end (maybe months); that’s a gift.
I joked with my latest podcast guest, before we began recording, about how I needed to have some guiding questions for the program, because otherwise I might allow silences to go on for several minutes, which would be fine with me but probably quite uncomfortable for others. Then we laughed about how ridiculous this would be for an audio show. Then we recorded my longest podcast to date.
So, it’s not that I don’t have things to say (nobody is surprised)… and it’s not that I’m unwilling to say them (again, I don’t hear any gasping)… but I am, admittedly, a little on edge and so very, very exhausted.
How can my daily life possibly be respectable when I am stumbling through the morning hours, wondering why it has to be summertime when the darkness takes so long to cover the tiring days during which there is so much to say and so little time to process?
I’m absolutely looking for a rescue here… which feels pretty dependent… although I have worked quite hard with my hands and have even managed to mind my own business on a fairly regular basis, so maybe I just need to rescue myself with some time for soul care in silence and solitude (It’s been six months, so I am (over)due).
A quote I appreciate and have used on various occasions, but which I cannot seem to find and source, right now, is this: “People who love one another can be silent together.”
I’ve spent a lot of time, in recent days, thinking about how loud love must be, but maybe it must also be quiet…