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Last night I was having a conversation with someone close to me.  I’m an introvert so my close relationships go deep.  One of the pros and cons of this is that I invest in reading people.  I read their expressions, their words and their silence.  There are times that doing this leads me to good insights and understanding of their feelings.  Then there are times I read things into what I see or feel that goes beyond what they may be thinking or feeling.  I am learning that when I am an observer and the conversation isn’t about us, I’m generally right.  On the other hand, when the conversation is about us, I worry so much about hurting them or causing them any discomfort that I can go too far and overthink the situation.  It’s the way I am.  It’s the way God built me.  It can be one of my greatest strengths.  It can be one of my most trying weaknesses.

While I want to improve where I am weak, I am thankful for where I am strong.  I would rather be able to have my intuitive ability to read people, to know when they are hurting and to know when they are full of joy than to be without that ability.  All the while, I need to learn to calm myself when what is a gift God gave me becomes a weapon against me.  It’s the way I am.  It’s the way God built me.  I have to learn how to use the strength of it and harness the weakness of it so that I help others and myself.

I do build close relationships and when I become invested in someone, that investment runs to the core of my being.  The thought of hurting someone’s feelings (the way I felt last night) or doing damage to our relationship gnaws at my soul.  My initial reaction is to talk too much.  The secondary action is to run far away so they will not have to deal with me again.  Or maybe, so I won’t have to face the discomfort, hurt or pain I have caused.  The strength is in the deep connection I build.  The weakness is in my reaction to hurt.

I hear voices.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I hear voices.  Not audible but very powerful.  They tell me my relationships are tenuous.  That I do not do enough to make others happy.  It causes me to need lots of affirmation.  I would go so far as to say it makes me needy.  That’s not where I want to be and I am trying to listen to Godly wisdom from friends and counselors who tell me I am good enough.  I am far from perfect but they want me to just believe I am good enough.  For them.  For others.  For God.

I grew up in a production-oriented mindset.  You had to go to church 3 times a week to be good.  You had to be busy doing something, sometimes anything to be good.  If I wasn’t doing, I wasn’t good enough.  If I wasn’t doing enough, the right way, perfectly, then I really wasn’t good enough.  It’s a mindset that has followed me through various stages of life and still affects me today.  And, it’s affects can be damaging to me and others close to me.

The way I am isn’t the way I have to be.  I want to celebrate the strength of reading people and understanding what is going on behind the curtain.  At the same time, I want to drop the burden of guilt from feeling like I have to produce, that I have to be perfect, and that I have to receive continual affirmation.  I want to be mighty where I am strong and I want to be stronger where I am weak.

i hope the people who know me and love me will accept my strength and my flaws as the way I am and I hope they will gently continue to remind me I can be so much more.  I seek their prayers and their love.

God made me the way that I am.  I want to learn to celebrate that fact and celebrate my strengths.  I want to use them for good and I want to continue loving people the way that I do.  I want to love them so much that it hurts me when they hurt.  I want to love them so much that I am filled with blue skies and peaceful waters when they smile.  And, I want to be an asset to their lives.  I want to fill them up when they needing filling and I want to stand beside them when they need support and I want to celebrate with them every time there is the smallest of victories.

I go deep.  It’s the way I am.  Thank you God for giving me insight and recognition.  May I use it for your glory and never abuse it to my own end.

Grace and peace.