Years ago, before kids even, Doug and I visited a very remote cabin in the Colorado mountains. Long before the internet and GPS, it was tricky to even find.
“Wow, I love this place,” Doug exclaimed. “There are no people for miles. I can read for endless hours, never shave and not even change my well-worn t-shirt.”
Off the Grid
While Doug daydreamed about his new happy place, my heart palpitated with visions of living like Tom Hanks, forever stranded completely off the grid. My only companion was this bearded man dressed like an unwashed hermit. Making me, a half-crazed, conversation-starved woman who talks to her tin coffee cup.
Introvert or Extrovert
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Doug and I are what I used to think are classic examples. Doug the introvert, thinks, processes, and then with as few words as possible, he speaks. For me, the extrovert…I Fire first, then Ready and Aim. I figure out what I think along the way. To say that Doug and I have different personalities is an understatement. To realize that we have been married for 25 years is a miracle.
Recently though, I’ve been exhibiting some introvert tendencies. I’m not ready for some remote cabin in the woods, but I do thoroughly enjoy my alone, no people time. I wonder what that is about?
What recharges your batteries?
According to Myers Briggs, being an extrovert or an introvert isn’t about being outgoing or shy. Instead it’s about how you recharge your batteries. Where do you draw your energy from?
My Calgon moment
This past week after a very unsatisfying, maddening, worrisome morning spent with Ian, I treated myself to a round of golf. By myself. It was a Calgon take me away escape. Just in case you’re not old enough to remember the iconic commercials for Calgon. Watch this short clip. (be sure your volume is on)
Since my golf is erratic, and demands my full attention, my mind couldn’t drift back to my morning frustrations. Forced to concentrate, it served as the ideal antidote to my morning stress.
I ranted at that golf ball. I raged at my possessed 3-wood. And don’t even get me started on the mower machine man who paused and waited for me to hit just so I could feel the full impact of my shame for being so horrible. I needed an afternoon to NOT be with people. I wanted some time and space to behave badly.
Can you relate? Hours later, feeling a bit better, I thought more about my curious need to escape. This was not the the calm, bubble infused paradise Calgon promoted. More importantly, this was not what Jesus had in mind either.
Keenly aware of the pure enjoyment I experienced from entertaining my anger, I took solace in the fact that at least I had the presence of mind to spare anyone from my company.
Yikes, I wondered. How long has this escape to the land of anger-ville been happening?
It’s about Control
I’ve decided the issue isn’t just my anger. It’s the notion that I want, what a want, when I want it. I’ll let go of my anger when I am good and ready. And in the meantime, I’ll enjoy it, thank you very much. Once again the Holy Spirit reminded me that it’s an issue of control. I’m foolish enough to think that I have mastery over my sin. I can stop on a dime. My sweet, contrived politeness will kick in anytime I want it to.
Without warning though, I notice that what provokes me happens more frequently and how I react happens more intensely. And I’m left wondering… how did I get here?
Sin is slippery. It almost always begins small, and seemingly insignificant.
A Dangerous Turn
Turns out my increased desire to be alone may have begun as an introvert tendency and a way to refresh and recharge my batteries, but in my case it took a dangerous turn.
What about Jesus
Have you ever wondered if Jesus was an extrovert or an introvert?
How did Jesus get recharged? What refreshed him?
It’s clear all throughout scripture that Jesus loved being with people. He was often found among the masses and He spent loads of time with his smaller group of twelve.
But check out this revealing verse.
Luke 5:15,16. But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.
The Model to Follow
It’s key to notice that Jesus knew his limitations. Yes, he pulled away from people to recharge, but notice how He spends His time alone. He prayed to His Father.
Who wants to look to God when she’s angry? I get it. But the Holy Spirit tells me to do it anyway. It’s an issue of obedience. We must shift our focus heavenward. As long as we focus inward and lick our own wounds, we lose, we give the devil a foothold. And, we miss out on true refreshment.
The truth is, even when I’m angry, my Father in heaven, completely ‘gets’ me, accepts me, loves me, and has timely wisdom for me.
My golf escape was not a bad idea. But it would have been so much more effective if I allowed Him to come along with me.
I love the Message translation for this passage.
Ephesians 4:26-27 (MSG) 26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.
In the end the extrovert/introvert quandary isn’t all that useful. He can and does use any personality. And if you’re hiding behind what makes you most comfortable … you’re missing the point.
The way I see it…
Introverts, prefer to look within.
Extroverts, we tend to look out.
All Believers must look up.
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you for your love for me and especially for sticking by me in the midst of my ugly sin. I admit, I enjoy it sometimes. Even though it often starts out innocently, I entertain it for way too long. Please forgive me. Please help me to realize that you can take it. I don’t need to clean things up before coming to You. In fact, I can’t clean things up without You! Thank you for Your mercy and grace! I love you Jesus! Amen.
Mary Keppel says
I can relate! Thank you for sharing your story and for prodding us along The Way.
Oh what relief. Thank you brave Mary! It helps to know I’m not the only one. But still thankful that He is so gracious.
I’m one who identifies closely with you! Thanks for putting it into words. I too want to be in control and I’m not in control of anything except how I choose to respond to any given situation. God has been working this deeply into me. I’m relying heavily on Holy Spirit to keep duct tape over my mouth and keeping my focus on Jesus to get me through to the other side of myself where I can say not my will but yours be done.
Holy duct tape. I think there is a market for that! The Holy Spirit is so faithful. Thank God.
Karen S says
Oh yes, I can relate! And the older I get, the more quickly some of the anger comes. Sometimes I’ve reacted before I’m even aware that someone or something has stepped on a nerve. Not good. Thanks for the reminder of how Jesus’ withdrawal from the crowds was to spend time in prayer–not to spend time rationalizing and further fueling my anger. Thanks, Debbie!
Oh yes. Rationalizing, reliving, rehearsing your next move…. Oh dear! Thankful He is patient with our slow obedience.
Helen-Marie Brigham says
Debbie, I can relate also. Even though I am shamed to admit it, I grapple with control issues too. I have to keep reminding myself, I have Jesus, I control what I can and give the rest, sometimes reluctantly, to him. As for anger, I use to clean house..I’d throw myself into activity which I paid for the next day because I was exhausted. God and my body were telling me something, to stop, pray, listen, to give my worries and concerns to him. 🙏
Wow… a clean house is a nice side benefit. Can’t relate to that part. SO glad you listened to your body and what God was saying to you.
Traci Brigham says
Proverbs 10:19 is a constant confession for me. Thank you for so eloquently defining what I experience and couldn’t put into words. I appreciate reading your words of wisdom and helping me get back to Him. Blessings.
Great to hear from you Traci. Thank you. I had to look up Proverbs 10:19. Yikes… that’s conviction. So pleased you appreciate my articles. Debbie
Anne Kole says
We all get angry, Debbie. Even Jesus got angry….but not for himself but for justice. I think that’s the difference. I relate to you because when I get angry it’s usually because things don’t go the way I want! God is teaching me about myself and he is also forgiving me. And I definitely recharge by being alone. I love people, but alone time is important. Now if I can just remind myself to include God in alone time every time! Thanks for your insight!
My #1 encourager Anne. Thank you.
Diane Newswander says
I totally relate to this! In my HR job and as I get older and close to retirement I find I have so much contact with people and it is getting more involved and detailed with helping them not only succeed in their job but they look for financial help and addictions and relationship issues and I feel I need a degree in 4 other areas! I retreat and have to let go and turn it over to God. A lot of these people need Jesus. I have to retreat in HIM and let HIM work in me to help others. Thanks for putting this so well and know you are not alone in wanting that private island! I have stayed that several times this year!
Thank you Diane for standing in agreement from your private island. I relate to needing multiple degrees to get through the day sometimes! When we are weak He is strong… I guess there’s that lesson too. 🙂
I think we all need quiet time away from all distractions to recharge our batteries.
Interesting that Doug enjoyed getting away to the mountain cabin for peace and quiet. Jesus would often go to a mountain by himself to pray and recharge. Coincidence?
I’ll be sure to NOT pass along your message. Sure wouldn’t want Doug to get a big head or anything.
Martha at Ocean Shores, WA says
After an I want what I want now phone reservation interaction…our God of Second Chances provided me with the right room….now I am watching the sun set over God’s Pacific Ocean from a balcony room. Thank you God, and thank you for your graciousness….teach me more.
Debbie, thank you for your insights.
Beautiful Martha! Enjoy.
Kathleen Cornwall says
This was a special read…its quite possible that said remote Colorado cabin was our home? It was 7 years of spectacular views and peace that we were blest to share with you and many others. We were sad to part with it. Funny thing, I just today saw something from that cabin and thought of you.. do you remember a small white cabinet in our bathroom and a good sized splotch where the paint was eaten away by one of your cosmetics? We never repaired it. Its in our new bathroom now in Pennsylvania and earlier today, actually it brought back a memory!! I had to smile over a note that Doug left stating how remote we were from any hardware store and he couldn’t repair this so please accept our sincere apologies. I do remember setting up the treasure hunt. If its another cabin, we are still happy to read the story. You are so gifted in sharing insights about this hard life we live yet with the softness of Jesus. Love you Deb!
Ohhhhh Kathie, I LOVED your remote cabin. But yes… I do remember getting excited by the visits from the wildlife. Your cabin actually had comfy furniture and working appliances! I don’t even remember ruining your furniture piece. Oh geez. Nice house guest. So good to be reminded of your memory. I will NEVER forget that amazing treasure hunt! The remote cabin in my story was before kids… and not nearly as civilized as your lovely home.