It’s amazing how one event can completely change your life. Moving to go to college is completely reshaping me. At my core I know who I am, and yet there’s so much more to me than I ever dreamed. I am a being in progress. Growing, learning, and yes, changing. Or maybe changing isn’t the right word. Becoming. I’m becoming who God created me to be.
One area I can tangibly see this transformation is in my outgoing nature, or lack thereof. I am an introvert. With all the recent hype about introverts, I’m realizing just how much I am one. I dislike the way our society tries to categorize people because humans are far more complex than any box you can try to put them in, but it is helpful to realize why I am the way I am. All of the circulating lists that depict introverts describe me to a T. I don’t like meeting new people, or being put in unknown situations. Talking on the phone scares me to death, and I would much rather give a speech to hundreds of people than have a conversation with a stranger. And yet, since arriving here, I can feel a shift in my personality.
Although there are still days when I willingly eat lunch all by myself, there are also days when I sit at a table full of random strangers. I’m learning how to have richer, less awkward conversations. I’m asking lots of questions, and discovering how to be a good listener. I’m meeting new people almost every day, and it’s hard, but oh so worth it.
I wouldn’t feel as comfortable as I do on campus if I hadn’t made a conscious effort to meet people. Instead of seeing strangers, everywhere I go I see friends. Every single person has a fascinating story, but I have to come out of my shell to hear it. We all come from such different places. Geographically we’re from Redmond and Boise, Alaska and Illinois, Turkey and Vietnam. Beyond just geography, we also come from so many different situations. Different families, schools, churches, and life experiences. It would be so easy to be intimidated by all our differences, but God is helping me see that people are worth it. Hearing people’s stories is worth overcoming my introverted tendencies.
Don’t hear me wrong – being an introvert is not a bad thing. God has uniquely gifted each and every one of us, and there are pros and cons to every personality. I know, however, that in some areas of my life I need to be more outgoing. I’m not trying to become an extrovert, I’m simply endeavoring to make the most of the rich new community where I’ve been planted. I’m catching a vision of what it looks like to shine my little light on the world, and it is good.