Diary Of An Introvert: Laid Low By Day

Posted at 15:56pm on 4th August 2020

I recently wrote a post on the subject of wearing a ‘mask’ to convince others that we’re feeling fine when, in fact, we are not – Facing Up To The Face Beneath The Mask.  And I wonder, is the ‘new normality’ brought on by Covid 19 having a good effect on your lifestyle?  Or are you finding it tough getting through each day?

I confess my husband and I, both introverts with our own pursuits, have enjoyed the opportunity to indulge in the activities we love – his photography, mine writing. Then a while ago, I found myself feeling useless.  Unheard.  A waste of space.  Ironic, really, given that my latest book, Picked for a Purpose, is a positive take on the very topic of using one’s gifts.

FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND

So why, I asked myself?  It isn’t as if I’ve been doing nothing.  On the contrary.  Having had a vision, one morning, in which the Lord told me to set up a blog for the Writers’ Group I’ve been leading for decades, I’ve been busy, busy, busy.  Not only would this give a voice to those members who have never been published, I learned, but in God’s hands our small contributions might feed the five thousand.

The group loved the idea when I put it to them, explaining that we might provide meaningful reading matter for those who are lonely and shut in.  It would, I told them, be an e-zine – the online equivalent of a paper magazine – given our different styles of writing and our choice of topics.  Settling on the moniker Shine A Light On Life, I set to. 

Boy, what a battle it was!  Having to learn the twists and turns of technology I’d used for years, and with which I, therefore, believed myself to be au fait, I found myself beginning to feel utterly inadequate.

A DOORMAT

Then, when a family problem took off, soaring like a flock of birds into the sky above and blotting out the sunshine of a previous life, darkness ensued.  Suddenly, I was besieged.  Engulfed, as if by the flapping wings and pecking beaks of the flock, I found myself questioning everything I’d, so far, taken for granted.

Had I been an inadequate Mum?  Well, yes, I had!  Throughout my marriage, my children had witnessed my willingness to be a doormat on which muddy boots might be stamped and wiped.  Hadn’t I thus conveyed this to be an admirable trait?  One they should absorb by osmosis?  Robbed of sleep, for night after night, I repented again and again.  Only to be targeted again by pecking beaks removing, once more, the worms of normality.

So what of my leadership of the Writers’ Group, I pondered?  Two male members had departed, one citing my inadequacies, the reason.  Was this because we women giggled too much?  Debated too long?  And was this, as one of them pronounced, due to my lack of management and guidance?  My uselessness?  Confirming my sense of being a waste of space?

The questions pecked away in my brain, flapping away the resilience I’d once believed myself to possess, beating me down in a spiralling descent.

DEPENDENCY, IDENTITY, DESTINY

Then one day, I watched a talk on New Wine.  Outlining the temptation of Jesus in Luke 4:1-13 the speaker, Pete Hughes, equated his retreat into the desert as being like the lockdown imposed upon us as a result of the coronavirus.  Fasting for forty days, alone in a wilderness, Christ, the Son of God, had found himself easy prey for the Enemy.  Just as we all are!  He, however, did not succumb to the temptation on offer.  Urged to turn stone into bread and thus appease his hunger, Jesus’ answer was to refute his need of food in favour of faith.  “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone’” he said, knowing his dependency to be on God the Father.

Tempted a second time, Jesus was offered all the kingdoms of the world, their authority, and their splendour.  He could rule over all!  Only, however, if he worshipped the self-appointed donor, the Devil.  Having been filled by the Holy Spirit, and told “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”1 prior to his retreat into the desert, Jesus knew his identity.  He had no need of the so-called kingdoms and authority offered by the Devil.  Instantly, he resisted the enticement, again quoting the words of his Father by telling the Enemy, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”

Taking Jesus to the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem, the Devil snorted, If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here.”  And scornfully mimicking Jesus, he quoted from the Bible a reminder that God would send his angels to guard him, to lift him in their hands, to ensure he would not strike his foot against a stone.  Only when told, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” did the Devil flee.  At which point, still filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus then returned to Galilee to continue his ministry.

LESSONS LEARNED

This spoke to me in my time of need and my hope is that it will to you, too.  Pete Hughes continued by demonstrating what this period in Jesus' life portrayed.  Using his headings, this was what I learned.

  • Dependency: You may be feeling, as I was, overcome by your inadequacies whatever they may be.  You may be starving for recognition, dependent upon achievement, reliant upon success to make you feel good.
    • Turn away!  Our dependency should be upon God.  With faith in our Father, we know ourselves to be dependent upon the one who assures us that his strength is made perfect in our weakness.2  Thus we, like Paul, may say: ‘When I am weak, then I am strong.’ 3  So if you feel, as I did, that you have been incompetent in any way, if you’ve received negative feedback from those you seek to serve, remind yourself of the ways in which God has worked through your life in the past.  And know that he will do so again!
  • Identity: Who am I?  An author whose books no longer sell in the volumes they once did?  A mother having to watch from a distance an offspring enduring offensive behaviour from others?  A Writers’ Group leader unable to please all of its members?  Does any of this resonate?
    • The thing is our identity does not rest upon what we do, but on who we are.  Just as Jesus knew himself to be the Son of God so we, too, are children of our Heavenly Father.4  Precious!  He knit me together in my mother’s womb; I am fearfully and wonderfully made.5

The third part of this trilogy concerned destiny.  Knowing your purpose in life.  Hearing – and obeying – your calling.  Understanding, and practising, your ministry.  A whole subject in itself.  And therefore, one about which I shall be writing next time.

References:

  1. Luke 3:22
  2. 2 Corinthians 12:7
  3. 2 Corinthians 12:10
  4. 1 John 3: 1
  5. Psalm 139: 13-14

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