The truth is, I am an introvert. I would rather read for an hour than talk for an hour. I have a few close friends. I am NEVER the life of the party (unless I get the opportunity to karaoke Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice Baby"). For years I tried to overcome this, to become someone I was not. I tried small talk and would never let conversations die. I acted the part that I thought an extroverted pastor should play in a social setting. To put it politely, I was awkwardness on steroids. It took years for me to embrace who I am really am; an introvert who knows how to talk to large crowds and share Jesus with people whenever I get the opportunity.
You and I are uniquely created. Some of us are introverts, other extroverts. Some of us are silly and others are serious. The same way that we embrace our height or the shape of our face as an obvious feature God gave us, we would do well to embrace the gifts of our personality. John Ortberg has written in his book “The Me I Want to Be,” that life's highest aim is to become who God made each of us to be. Rather than trying to force ourselves to be someone we are not, faith can allow us to embrace and develop who God made us to be. In doing so, we will discover gifts that flow from the design of our personality, talents, and God-given capacities. God created us to be us...with love, on purpose. Trying to force yourself to be someone you are not only creates dysfunction and heartache.
In a recent article in the Guardian, a nurse to the dying kept track of the most frequently vocalized regrets of the patients. First and most common was, "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
You and I are not an accident. Yet the longer we play a part that was not written for us, the longer we miss out on the role where we can truly shine as we are created. And life is not meant to be a charade, a pretense. Reflecting on this makes me want to stand and shout “EMBRACE WHO GOD MADE YOU TO BE!” But that would be a very extroverted thing to do.