Six years ago, I said to myself, "man. I hope I never get old and boring, and want to spend a night in reading a book on a weekend." Nowadays, my 18-year-old self would be completely distraught and disappointed in 24-year-old me. Some weekends, there is nothing more satisfying than sitting down with a good book or watching Netflix by myself. Part of this, I believe, is that when I was 18, I was fairly extroverted (probably about 80% extrovert). Now, it seems as though I am split 50-50 introvert-extrovert, and lately I’ve been wondering what caused this. Because when did I get “old and boring” and want nothing more than to read (or watch an awesome Netflix original like “Stranger Things”) and going to bed at 10pm on a Friday night?
After thinking about it, it’s been pretty clear how exhausting ministry can be. Most of my days are spent being pretty “on” with people, meaning you’ve gotta bring your A game to meetings, meeting new people, caring for people, and leading people. After a day of ministry, meeting new people, and trying my best to be extremely welcoming and joyful to meet people—I’m normally pretty wiped. Add that up to a week, and I’m about useless come the weekend. At least one night a week I need some time to be “alone” (I don’t always need to be COMPLETELY secluded from everyone, but more just not have to exert a whole lot of social interaction—thus Netflix, going to a movie, or cooking dinner with one or two of my closets friends) to replenish my sanity.
And according to the research of psychologist Dr. Shauna Shapiro, there is only so much extroversion a person can do before they need to be refilled and focus on their own mindfulness. It’s HEALTHY to take a night to yourself. The more I exert, the more I need to recharge. Extroversion is like drinking from a glass—there’s only so much water you can drink before you inevitably need to refill the glass, or you’ll go thirsty. In this world, extroversion can be exhausting, but there is plenty more to exhaust us as we go through life.
In this world, there is so much that demands our attention. Work can overtake our lives if we let it, there are things to do at home, and we often like feeling wanted by others for out time; we let busyness become this badge of honor that leads us feeling empty, emotionally and physically exhausted, and stressed beyond belief. We need to make time for ourselves. We need to disconnect. We need to learn to be still.
Sometimes "disconnecting" is as easy as turning your phone off for the night, and other times it's heading to the woods (that's what works for me), that coffee shop, or the place where you best connect with God. When we find our place where we are able to simply "be still and know" that He is God, we can destress much better. In fact, studies have shown that people who pray have lower blood pressure, less stress, and greater levels of dopamine—giving them better overall well-being and a more joyful state. That’s why the ultimate way to recharge, in my humble opinion, is found in a God who knows me infinitely more and loves me unconditionally. I need to take time to recharge, but also take time to acknowledge God while I partake in a Sabbath.
It seems as though the more that I am moving, shaking, and putting myself in hyper-social-settings, the more I need to step back, disconnect, and be still. Although 18-year-old me would be upset knowing that his 24-year-old-self needs to take a night to recharge, he now knows that maybe I’m not boring. Maybe I’m just a human being that needs to take time for myself, disconnect, and be still and know that He is God.