5 Things Thursday: Confessions of a Feartrovert

Hi, my name is Abbie, and I’m a feartrovert.

(and, yes, I did just make that word up, as far as I know).

I mentioned on Monday that, although The Declare Conference was fabulous, I did not enjoy every single second of it. And then I told you that I would explain what I meant later. And I’ve been regretting saying that ever since.

Why?

Because I’m a feartrovert

(noun: one who allows social interactions to be tainted by fear or anxiety).

And, as soon as I said that, I realized that once I did explain, there was at least a 78% chance of my sounding like a maladjusted weirdo, which would, of course, result in your despising me and refusing to ever read my blog again and maybe spending actual minutes of your day telling others about what a weenie I am.

See? Total feartrovert. not given us a spirt of fear

I’ve been seeing this post debunking common myths about introverts popping up in a lot of my friends’ Facebook feeds and thought it was an interesting read, especially since I related to several introverted traits, even though I’ve never thought of myself as an introvert. Truth to tell, I’ve never thought of myself as an extrovert either. I’m not a big fan of labels, helpful though they often are.

Instead I just know things about myself—things like: I like being around people a lot, but I like being by myself just as much (if not more, depending on the day). I also get a bit jittery at the mere thought of conferences full of women, talking and sharing their feelings and going on about dreams. A big part of me would rather sit on the couch behind my computer screen and just chat with you guys. And even though I love meeting new people, after an entire day of it, I need an entire night of recuperation at home with my family.                                               {via}

Of course, none of these things are either bad or good. They just are. And I’m fine with that. I have been know to call myself “the most unsocial social person you will ever meet,” simply because I am likely to be the one telling stories at a party (which I enjoy) or even compulsively filling the awkward silences (which I do not), and I’ve always been a teacher and an entertainer (in a very small capacity), which feels natural to me. BUT I probably wouldn’t choose the situation that got me into story-telling mode over a night at home with my husband or sometimes even just watching a movie alone (which, yeah, never happens these days).

When a true extrovert tells me that they are energized just by being in a room full of people, I inwardly cringe a little, which tells me that—nope—that’s not me.

And when my sweet new friend, Heather, and I were having a conversation about the woes of pumping for our nursing babies while at conferences, she said that just such an occurrence had been an unexpected boon for her because it forced to her to take a break from all the socializing and just be alone with herself (and God) to process things, even though she would have never chosen to be away from the social buzz on her own. I had to laugh a little because it was the first night of the conference, and I’d already snuck away to my room twice to hide a little. Not sure I processed much other than: is it too late to just go home?

Are you surprised to know this about me? My own mother was when I told her about the sneaking-away-to-my-room bit. I know I don’t come across as introverted in any way here (or in “real life”), and I’m not even sure if I am, but what I do know is that whenever I bypass introverted and extroverted altogether and become feartroverted (because it’s certainly not a constant state), I am no longer being the complex, neither-this-nor-that-and-that’s-okay child of God I was created to be. I am no longer listening to the guidance of my loving Father who wants to use my specific personality to bring Him glory. Instead, I am heeding the Enemy’s lies.

Lies like:

1.

You’re not good enough.

On the surface, this isn’t such a heinous untruth. I am not good enough at many things to do them justice. For example, I am not good enough at math to be a theoretical physicist (heck, some days my brain is so mushy that I’m not good enough at math to make correct change). Nor do I want to be.

I am not good enough at singing to star on Broadway. And that’s fine.

But when I’m sitting on my hotel bed instead of attending a session because I’m not good enough to be out there mingling with other Christian bloggers, there’s something wrong.

Of course, the reasons I was sitting on that bed were much more complex than that. Because I know that comparison goes both ways, and I could probably find somebody out there that I felt better than to boost my morale from the blow it had taken after noticing all the people who seemed to be doing this blogging business so much better than I.

Another lie I believe when I give into the fear is that:

2.

You’ll never make it.

I don’t honestly even know what “make it” means. But as I rambled on to my husband, who was talking me down from my {mild} panic attack, my number one concern was the enormous amount of work and commitment and stress and work and time and—oh yeah—work it would take to achieve my dream of traditional book publication. I mean, howamIsupposedtopullthatoffwith5smallchildrenandcounting?? (Takes deep draught from imaginary inhaler). And what about all these people here who have “made it” and who are still having to work so hard to keep “making it?” Ugh. Do I even want that? Is that what I’m called to?

Which brings me to yet another fearful lie:

3.

No one would be interested in what I have to say anyway.

I mean, who am I? Just a mama. And not even a very good one at that. I mean, practically every other almost 3-year-old I know is potty-trained. Especially the girls. But not mine. What a slacker. Who am I to think I can tell anyone anything? Who am I to encourage anyone else to be a better Christian when I’m struggling to haul myself out of bed early enough to get my Bible reading done? Who am I to cheer fellow mothers on to discipline well when I just made a cutting remark to my 7-year-old for no good reason?

After all:

4.

I’m better off just giving up now.

I just need to lower my expectations. I’m clearly not cut out for this make-a-difference business.

Because:

5.

God would be better off using someone else.

…………………………………………………………………………….

Ouch, right?

Reading all of that, you’re probably amazed that I managed to peel myself off the bed and limp out the door to face a conference full of clearly better-than-me, over-the-top fabulous bloggers who were probably all laughing at me behind my back and rolling their eyes at my pathetic attempts to teach them anything.

The thing is, I was fine (better than fine!) for most of the conference. But pretty much all of those thoughts hit me hard and heavy during the15 minutes I spent making a few final tweaks to a presentation that I’d felt fantastic about 5 minutes before. I am so grateful that after I sent a mayday text to my husband, he called me immediately and let me pour my fears through my cell phone into his oh-so-wise ear.

perfect love As he encouraged me and prayed over me, I began to remember important truths…like: I am good enough to do anything that God has called me to do because He has made me good enough. It has nothing do with my own merit or talents (which He gave me, by the way) and everything to do with His grace. Because “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” Also, I may never get a book published. And it is A LOT of work, but if I’m supposed to do it, and I’m willing to invest the effort necessary to do it well, God will be the one who determines whether I “make it” or not. Plus, as far as making a difference goes, as Shaun pointed out, if all I ever accomplished God ever accomplished through my writing was to encourage you in ways that you have already written and told me that He has, it would be enough. 

By the time I hung up, I was feeling much better. Why? Because my Father loves me, and one of the best ways He shows it is through my husband’s love for me. Love’s like that. It delights in building up, not tearing down. Because “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

When I give into my feartroverted tendencies, I am not walking in love. Not only that, but (and it feels so arrogant to say it) I’m missing out on my chance to be perfect. Not in the way that the world defines it, certainly. But in God’s eyes.

The feartrovert in me wouldn’t have let me leave that hotel room to give my “Making the Most of DIY Blogging” presentation—a topic which seems so trivial on the surface but which segued into a heartfelt conversation afterwards about balance and comparisons and expectations with a fellow young mama and a precious, seasoned Titus 2 lady who both admitted to struggling with all of the same issues but were determined to soldier on in their calling until such a time as God made it clear that they had a new one.

I write all of this for two reasons:

1) I need to hear it. It helps me to record it, acknowledge my tendencies, and then give them to God. I’m not wallowing. But I am being honest.

and

2) You need to hear it. Even though I attempt to keep it very real up in here, I still get the occasional, “You. are. Wonder Woman” comments. And, oh, how they make me laugh. In fact, during the Q&A after my session, one of the sweet ladies said, “Oh man. I feel so behind. I mean, here you are doing all this, and with 5 kids. And I’ve only got 3…” And I interrupted her and said, “You want to know what I was doing in my hotel room this morning? Hyperventilating. Because everybody here is so much more awesome than I am.”

Note to self: There is always someone that seems like they’ve got it more together than you do. And they just might. But you don’t know their story or the fears that Satan shoots at them like fiery darts hoping to send their God-given callings crashing down in flames.

Come to think of it…

Feartroversion is for the birds. I’d rather be a Godtrovert any day of the week.

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42 thoughts on “5 Things Thursday: Confessions of a Feartrovert

  1. I read the 2 Timothy verse the other day and it really hit home with me. It is so true even though it doesn’t feel that way sometimes. I might need to read this a few more times but I really know how you feel about trying to fill silence. I hate silence but am trying to talk less so that’s really hard. I always get nervous before I walk into a crowd but that verse and your post offer good things to think about next time. Appreciate the honesty!

  2. Even though my circumstances and life are completely different from yours, I could absolutely relate to all of your points of being a feartrovert. Thank you for your frank honesty. It is so eye opening. I want to be a Godtrovert!

    1. Yup. Even when it feels like I’m the only one struggling with something, I know, deep down, these are pretty universal issues. I want to be a Godtrovert too! :)

  3. I can so relate. Had I not lived in town and had a hotel room to go to, I would’ve retreated to my room a few times too. Your DIY presentation was great! I learned so much.

  4. Thank you so much for this post. It is so honest and so raw and it really touched me, as I feel the same way a lot of the time. I will tell you though that I have loved following your blog. I love how honest you are, and how varied your blog posts are. Your blog is one of the few I have continued to follow and I think you are doing a great job. It sounds like satan was really at work at that conference, and I am so proud of you that you went out of your room and fought those harsh feelings. I have been dealing with feelings of fear and feeling inadequate over a decision I have to make soon, so this post really came at a great time for me. Thank you Abbie!

  5. I have often said I relate to Moses more than any other biblical soul: SEND SOMEONE ELSE!

    Then…after I choke back my fear (I have to get up in front of a crowd next week and, well, be me. arrrgh, matey! Wait….not a pirate.) and get on with what it is I fear to do, I find that mostly, but not all-ly (making up words is fun!) I’ve benefited from being in that situation.

    I look at it this way: while the pre-party/party can be awful, but the after-party is usually pretty darn great. plus, that’s where all the best booze is.

    the end

  6. I could have written this myself. Thank you for sharing. Nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t fit into either label. ((Hugs))

  7. We women struggle with fear and anxiety so, so much, don’t we? I was at a conference a few years back where one of speakers spoke to 200 or so young people there and said (paraphrased), “Young men, you struggle with lust. It’s the kind of struggle that takes a daily surrendering to God and daily repentance. Young ladies, you struggle with worry. Yes, worrying is a sin, and a besetting one at that, just like lust is for men. For you, worry is a struggle that takes a daily surrendering to God and daily repentance.” That opened my eyes to the very real sinfulness of worry.

    Worry, anxiety, fear… They’re all basically the same thing. And I have to daily surrender them all to God and beg His forgiveness for not trusting Him with my life and the lives of my loved ones.

    We all struggle with it some way or other, Abbie. :) Thank you so much for opening your heart and using words I would never even think to use. Your clarity makes your honesty strike home, and the Lord is working through you to bless your readers. :)

  8. Thank you so much for your honesty! That’s why I keep coming back ;) . I needed to hear this too because I fell the same way many times! Especially in social situations. You are a blessing and an amazing woman of God!

    1. Oh, Leigh Anne, you are such a blessing yourself! You always leave such sweet, encouraging comments. I look forward to them each day. I’m so glad you keep coming back!

  9. Thanks for your post… I mean… really… thank you… our middle son started camp for college football last Monday. Things aren’t going real well for him. He is a little rattled. and exhausted. and vulnerable. He wants to be a grown up but put himself out there in difficult way. He’s facing the prospect of feeling failure before he even starts the whole purpose he is there for… college… to prepare for life! It’s hard to know what to say as a Mom. Don’t quit? Try harder? Do your best? These are things he knows and is already doing… I copied and pasted your post (yes all of it including the breastfeeding part) and added a few words of love from his Mom and Dad at the beginning and end… point being… almost everyone is going through their own struggles and battles. We MUST rely on God… and all will turn out just fine.
    Thanks again… it was perfect timing.

    1. What’s so cool is that any time I feel compelled to write a post like this, I can pretty much always count on God using it at just the right time for at least one person. He’s so good like that!
      P.S. I hope the post helps your son and the reference to pumping doesn’t scar him too much.

  10. Neither of my daughters were potty trained until they were 3. We had almost ZERO accidents when they did, at now 16 and 13, they haven’t been late on any other milestones. :) Fortunately, at the time, I didn’t read blogs, so didn’t realize how ‘late’ they were! Ha! I’ve been going to through a low point and allowing myself a lot of negative self-talk, so I really appreciate what you have to say here.

    1. ha! Well, good to know! Neither of my boys were potty-trained until 3 (or right before), and they’re fine now too. I hope/pray that your low point rises very soon!

  11. Abbie- I just wanted to say thanks first for being real. This is such a great post. So many of us struggle with this.. but we are ENOUGH in Christ. Wow. I’m blessed by you sharing this.

    I also wanted to let you know I LOVED your breakout session. It was so fun, and I felt like I was talking to a (very wise) friend who loved Jesus. It was just want I needed. So a huge hug and thanks to you today, friend! :)

    1. Oh, Melissa, thank you so much for sharing. What a sweet, sweet woman of God you are to take the time to encourage like this. I loved having you in my breakout session (thanks again for the Picmonkey tip!), and I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  12. Love your honesty. We are definitely our worst enemy with the anxiety and it sure does get a hold on us in so many forms. Thanks for the reminder to do our best and stop the comparisons. Godtrovert is a perfect new term!
    Thanks!

  13. I too want to say thanks, Abbie. Thanks for reducing me to tears – not really :) – and thanks for the reminder. I discovered your post a few months ago, and your posts are always fun, refreshing and honest. And this post proves that yet again. God does know what’s best for us. That’s why He made us like He did. For some reason, it’s too easy to forget that during the course of being busy with kids, husbands, jobs, chores, etc., etc. You have the same fears I and probably a lot of other people do. Thank you for breaking it down so we can focus on the gifts we were given and live better. — Holly

  14. This is an especially timely and thought prokoving post. I have been working for several weeks to get off a prescription medication for anxiety that causes a dependency on it, after 12 years of taking it. Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways and areas of our lives, not just social. Old messages, like yours, replay in anticipation of future challenges. We know what works to get past this. We just have to commit to it!

  15. Thanks Abbie. I’m a blubbering mess right now, but thanks. I think we’ve all been in that place, or are in that place. I swear, reading this, we could totally be twins.

    I (dang I wish I could bold and underline things!) think you are amazing. You may not be Wonder Woman to yourself, but you are to your kids and husband. You are an inspiration to those of us who know you through this blog, and now you’ve connected with and inspired a group of women you would not have met, had you not conquered and overcome your feartrovert tendency that day.

    YOU are perfect, just as you are.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I struggle with fear on a daily basis and constantly have to remind myself that God loves me just as I am.

    In fact, my ladies bible study this month is on Fear, and we are all supposed to bring in our own resource to share. I think I’ll print your blog post and bring it along for my sharing time. I would have had NO IDEA you were a feartrovert (love that word, btw) and am so inspired and blessed by this post. Thank you again for sharing!

  17. Ah wow, this completely hit home this morning. Just know that I am sure I am not the only one to find your writing to be a bit of soul therapy and a perfectly timed reminder of who I am in Christ. I love your clothing and fitness tips, wit, and hilarious stories about your kiddos. Looking forward to someday reading your book. Have a lovely Thursday. :)

    Olivia

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