The following is a draft I started ages ago, before we moved, when I was first counselor in the Primary presidency and David was the Young Men's president and our ward was kind of dysfunctional and we were stretched pretty thin. The asterisks mark where the draft starts and ends; after that are my thoughts now. Forgive me. This is kind of wordy.
I read this article yesterday, along with most of the comments, and could not stop thinking about it all day.
You see, it was one of those Saturdays for us. We had a Primary activity day in the morning, David was up on the Rim helping the girls at camp go repelling, and in the evening the Boy Scouts held a chili cook-off. We spent most of our day doing church stuff, none of our day doing things we wanted or needed to do for ourselves (ahem, grocery shopping that didn't happen), and were all completely exhausted and more than a little cranky by bed time.
I wondered, does everyone feel so completely worn out after days like this? Or is it just an introvert thing? If I were "highly social and gregarious, someone with an overt passion, who
finds it easy to share her faith with strangers, who is expressive and
enthusiastic and transparent, someone who participates in a wide variety
of activities, who knows tons of people, who eagerly invites people
into her space, who quickly assumes leadership responsibilities, and who
wears her faith on her sleeve," would I resent these killer Saturdays so much?
Because I do resent them. I don't feel like they serve my spiritual (or emotional or physical) needs. Quite the opposite, actually; extra activities and meetings and such tend to deplete my reserves, making me want to stay home forever and never accept a calling again.
I noticed last night, as we sat eating chili at a table by ourselves in the corner of the cultural hall, that all of the women my age who came to the event were the extroverts of the ward. The ones who had made friends shortly after moving in, who were involved in play group and craft night, and with whom I don't feel much of a connection. The women I relate to a little easier were nowhere to be found. I can only assume it's because they--or their husbands in some cases--are introverts, and that going to such an activity is exhausting and uncomfortable and they just prefer to stay home and enjoy some time with their family, even if it does mean turning down free food.
Since writing this we have moved to a new ward, like I said, and the dynamic is very very VERY different. I actually go to the weekly play group now, and have been invited to several social events outside official ward functions, although I have yet to attend one. I feel like I have made more friends in six months than I ever did in our old ward.
Of course things are different in the ward, and maybe there are just more people here that I feel a connection to, but the biggest difference is in me. I am trying to be less introverted.
I still sit in the back corner of the class when I'm not up front teaching, and I usually slip out quietly as soon as the meetings are over. But I speak up more often when I have something to contribute to the discussion. I go to play group. I joined the choir. I'm trying to connect more with the people I visit teach and with my own visiting teachers. It's been a conscious effort on my part to be involved, and I'm happy with the results I'm seeing. People know who I am. They seem to like me and my contributions. More than that, they don't necessarily need me the way our previous ward did, but they want me around anyway. It's nice.
That said, all that effort to be more extroverted is exhausting. I'm not gaining much, spiritually speaking, from all my efforts to be involved and bear my testimony whenever possible because I'm just so dang tired from trying so dang hard. And I can't help wondering sometimes if it's worth it.
Any other introverts out there trying to strike a balance between quiet communion with yourself and your God, and outgoing involvement in the church community?