Welcome to the IPC, Introvert Pastor Chronicles. My name is Mike, the introvert pastor. Today I want to talk a little bit about an article I read some time ago, and how I'm learning to apply it to my life. After a long day of work, most of us like to have some time to unwind or decompress. From playing video games to watching a movie, reading a good book, or going out to a movie with friends. After a long hard day (or week) of work, our “emotional battery” gets low. Like the battery in your favorite electronic device, it must be recharged to be able to continue to function properly.
Different people have different ways for their emotional battery to be charged. Extroverts typically get their emotional charge from being around and interacting with other people. They are able to play off of each others' energy, and somehow charge each other up. Introverts, like myself, need time alone to recharge their emotional batteries. After a long busy day at work, I just want to come home, sit down, and watch a movie with my wife. I love people, but being around people drains me. After a busy Sunday morning at church, I just want to go home and take a nap so I can charge up for another busy evening service. Oftentimes, well meaning beloved friends or church members invite us out to lunch, genuinely wanting to socialize. Again, I am not anti social; the point is that being around people is emotionally (and sometimes physically) draining to me. It takes effort and energy to engage in conversation. I'd rather just sit and be quiet. I'd rather watch a football game with one or twp good friends than go to a crowded sports bar full of screaming people.
As a pastor, this can be problematic, especially when people expect you to be there for them. One of the more awkward experiences for me is visiting people in the hospital. What am I supposed to say? What can I possibly say to comfort them? Do I engage in idle chat? Do I ask them about their health? I just really feel out of place sometimes visiting people. I have told my wife several times, as well as other people, and now I've told you. If I am ever in the hospital for any reason, please do not come visit me. Leave me alone and let me recover. If someone comes to visit me I feel as though it is my job to entertain them and engage them. I don't want to entertain or engage; please pray for me from your house ( God will still hear you) and allow me to recover alone.
The problem I have is that I, as an introvert, need quiet time alone to recharge my emotional batteries. However, I hardly ever get quiet alone time to recharge. As such, I have been running for several months with a flashing “low battery” warning. On Christmas day my battery ran completely out and I became quite sick. I was knocked out in bed for several days, and as of the time of this writing, almost 2 weeks later, I still have not fully recovered and am still slightly under the weather.
I think this is why I have been feeling...”meh” for the last several weeks. Burning the candle at both ends, while starting a flame in the middle of the candle as well. I reached my physical breaking point, and my body shut down, resulting in me getting sick, forcing me to slow down. This has caused me to do a lot of thinking about my future. It makes me wonder how long I can go on at this pace, and wonder if I even should go on at this pace? But then I look at people who seem to do a lot more than I do. You hear stories of people who work full time, go to school full time and raise 2 kids and you think “How is that even possible?” I have come to the conclusion that the people who do that are A) extremely driven, and B) extroverts who are able to recharge their emotional batteries by being around other people.
Maybe I'm just a weaker person. Maybe I have to come to terms with the fact that I can't do as much as other people, or as much as I could do when I was 25 years old. I have to accept that I am who I am, and I can only do what I can do. So to those of you who know me in real life (or who know an introvert) don't be offended or upset if I turn down an invitation to a game night or a concert because I say I'm exhausted. I need to recharge my batteries, and I need to take care of me.
Thanks for stopping by. Join me again soon as I pour out my thoughts and feeling for the whole world to see.