Up until now, I thought I was doing a lovely job at this balancing act (if I do say so myself). And then my dear friend Jenn called me up on the phone and called me out on it. Ah, you gotta love it when the Lord uses friends to shoot arrows of conviction straight into your heart. “you’re isolating and pulling away” she said. Immediately I got defensive and I wanted to say “What’s that Jenn? What did you say? I can’t hear you…I think you’re in a dead zone…maybe try calling me tomorrow…or never.” Hahaha-just kidding Jenn, I love you- call me anytime! 🙂 The point is, when I get defensive, it’s a dead giveaway that I am in the wrong.
And before I knew it, I was pouring my heart out about this little balancing act of mine.
I just feel so different right now. And I don’t know what to do with it. It feels like 99% of the people in my life are either currently pregnant, just had a baby, adding to their families, completing their families or doing some sort of beautiful thing with their beautiful family. I even feel different from some of my friends who have battled infertility, because even they are moving on with a plan of some sort. And I don’t have a plan anymore. I’m just here.
I just feel so utterly different from everyone.
And I don’t like feeling different. I don’t like it at all. It brings out a nasty little instinct in me that I like to call my “cabin in the woods syndrome.” I sometimes joke that I could live in a cabin in the woods, 100 miles from my closest neighbor and I’d be totally fine. Especially if that little cabin had a wrap around porch and a cozy fireplace and a stone path that lead to a dock on a lake….ahhhh I digress 😉
I’m an introvert by nature. I love being alone, I crave time away from others. In my typical week I can only schedule a certain amount of meetings/coffee dates/photoshoots or else I go into “introvert overload mode” where I’m totally overwhelmed by the amount of time I’ve had to be “on” and I completely shut down. Because I’m so introverted, it’s pretty darn easy for me to pull away. Pulling away from others feels safe and happy and comfortable.
So when you combine my natural introverted nature with my dislike for feeling so completely different right now, you get this ugly mess where I just withdraw from everyone in my life. I withdraw because it hurts less to be different when there’s no one around you to compare yourself to. When you’re by yourself, you get to set the standard for “normal.” There’s no one around you to show you just how different you are.
Realistically, if I did live in a cabin in the woods, 100 miles from my closes neighbor, my life would be pretty void of a lot of joy that the relationships and friendships in my life bring me. And I doubt I could get wireless internet out in my cabin in the woods, which would be a huge bummer. And so, tempting as that cabin is, I know it’s not healthy and it’s not what God wants for my life.
I know that as hard as it may be sometimes, and as much as it goes against my instinct, I need to keep engaging with the world around me. I need to keep pursuing friendships, relationships, conversations. I know God has called me to live a joyful life, surrounded by the people in my life that I love and care about. He has called me to be a light and I can’t very well do that living in isolation. I want to be obedient to that calling. Even if it means I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. Even if it means I’m uncomfortable. Even if I feel painfully different from most of the people around me. Even if it’s hard. There might even be some joy to be found in being different…and I’ll never know unless I embrace it give it a try. 🙂