This is all still very in-process, so I’m not sure I have a nice bow to tie at the end of this topic, but here goes: As an introvert, I often feel a tension between God’s call to be His hands and feet in the world and my own limited capacity to be among people. Do I need to change in order to be faithful? I understand that we can’t always be in our comfort zone, but how do I know when/how to push myself and when/how to rest and recover? This is a regular topic of my quiet time with the Lord.
One thing I feel led by God to consider is, “what is draining me about being with people?” I’ve heard there is healthy, natural weariness that just needs a break, but that burnout is a sign that we’re doing something wrong (kind of like lifting with your back instead of your legs). I can be drained by people in an unhealthy way when I worry about other people’s opinions. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
I can also carry the weight of other people’s situations in my own heart. That’s a boundaries issue–owning other people’s shame, pain, or responsibility rather than simply having compassion for them. Either way, rest in this situation is to “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) and “cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).
Putting down those burdens can help, but knowing how to refuel is important, too. I can idolize “alone-time” sometimes, but what truly refuels us is hoping in the Lord and being filled with His Spirit (Isaiah 40:31, John 7:38-39). Let’s pray for each other, that we never lose sight of our first love in the midst of trying to care for ourselves and love others well!