Be In The River

I have drifted from my deep love of self-knowledge through personality types because I am bone tired. I had a baby, but that is getting ahead of myself. Let’s begin in a river outside of Carnation, Washington. The sun is shining, my mom is sitting on a faded towel reading a book. I dunk under, grab a rock and hang on letting river water flow over and around me for as long as I can hold. It supports me alone in a comfort that I will recognize later as peace.

In tenth grade my high school had every student take the Myers-Briggs. According to my report I was sorted into the INFP type. The description was intoxicating, crusader, thoughtful, artistic. The test won me with the statistic that INFP made up only 3% of the population. It turned out that my grandmother had the book, and had assessed most of our family as the INFP type. I remember telling a friend in college this amazing fact. He asked who talked at our dinner table.

In college I loved my new independence and built lots of alone time into my day. I practically lived at the library researching topics that had nothing to do with my Education major. I journaled, drew and listened to folk music on my Walkman. It was heaven. Then I started getting more involved with a Christian Fellowship on campus. This group was small, and put lots of emphasis on evangelism. I began to notice a pattern. The Extroverts in the group were sought out more frequently for leadership. They were asked on mission trips and invited to be part of teams that did important things. I wanted in, so I needed to be an Extrovert.

I lived with a false understanding that I had achieved my goal of becoming and extrovert until I married one. He loved to talk and endless interactions gave him energy while I began to feel drained. He called me on his way home from work every day, even if he had nothing to say. I worried that if I blew all my conversation on a phone call, my words would be spent before dinner. That year he travelled a lot for work, and I relished having time to myself, having space to let down and be. I felt like I was again walked down to the river by Christ, given the freedom to wade in, to float downstream and come back refreshed, my spouse waiting patiently to hear all about it.

Now there is a baby. Being pregnant was the most sacred invasion of my introvertedness. Fatigue came from a knowledge that the baby was always with me and I needed to be aware of him. When he was tiny, being an introverted mom was easy. He slept  a lot and when he wasn’t asleep he was pretty content. Now he is quickly approaching a year and we are finally beginning to separate into “he and I”. When we play, he checks in with me before he starts banging blocks together. I am mom, he is baby, and time alone is beginning to feel like time alone again. Still I rest when the baby rests, usually just lying on my bed being mindful that I am tired. I will not work or do chores. I refuse. I need to be in the river with my Lord, to be refreshed, restored, and re-baptized into myself.

Jesus calls us back to ourselves. In the gospels we see him pursue the anxious, sick and even dying women, pulling them them back into his understanding of who they were.  

“Martha, Martha you are anxious and troubled about many things; one is needful.”

“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

Talitha cumi.”

He is not content to leave us alone either.

If I was content, happy and peaceful in the river then that was what Jesus could call me back to. Jesus taught me to love the introvert. It was a small work, but it is mine.

Megan Gearhart
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3 thoughts on “Be In The River

  1. I’ve always fallen in the middle of introvert/extrovert on the Myers Briggs. Comes in handy at times and other times, confusing. Of course I married an introvert. One who seldom calls which is good because I need something from him the times we’re home 😉 I like your recognition that “Jesus calls us back to ourselves”. I’ve missed the significance in that before. I am so thankful he knows me better than I know myself (or any personality formula).

  2. This is beautiful. I’m an extrovert but have heard from many introverted friends about the pressure to extroverts to be accepted in ministry, in particular. I’m thankful for Jesus who reminds us who we are and that he made us that way.

  3. I love the reminder that “Jesus calls us back to ourselves.” I am also an introvert who has felt pressure to act like an extrovert. In the job I do I have to be able to at times but then I need time and space to step away from it. I think it us important to recognize and accept how God has made us.

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