At the end of a busy day, does your brain feel like a plate of spaghetti noodles? Mine does.
So many conversations. So many thoughts.
I’ve discovered that I can’t sleep well until I untangle the plate of “noodles,” the events and conversations of the day.
I’ve learned to pull the “noodles” apart and hold each one up and examine it from several angles and then pray about what I see. Then, I gingerly lay that “noodle” down and pick up another one. Eventually, I have a pile of examined “noodles” that I can braid into something like a necklace. Then I hand it over to God. At last I can rest.
Some days I try to skip this untangling ritual and just go directly to bed. It doesn’t work. My brain starts the untangling process on its own. Forget about sleep!
John does not need to untangle “noodles” in order to fall asleep. He hits the pillow and falls asleep within minutes. He has even learned the art of falling asleep sitting up. Amazing!
I recently read something that helped me understand this need I have to process and think through a day. In her book The Secret Lives of Introverts Jenn Granneman writes:
“We [introverts] chew on ideas, turning them over and over in our minds, and often analyzing them from every angle. When you’re in ‘reflecting mode,’ it’s hard to talk. Introverts don’t think out loud like many extroverts do; we do our processing inwardly.”
Introverts and Friendship
How does this internal processing, untangling of spaghetti noodles, relate to friendship?
I had the joy of spending a week in August with friends I first met in junior high and high school. Roberta, Teresa, and I talked, and laughed, and remembered . . . (And Roberta and I even played some clarinet duets!)
When I came home, I needed to revisit those conversations and events and pray about them. I needed to give myself space and time to sit in quiet and think. It took a couple of days. And I found great joy in the process.
After decades of trying to build friendships and understand myself as I do it, I have finally come to understand that as an introvert, I need margin around times with friends. I need time ahead of the visit to think about what to say and do or not say and do. (That’s why I love planned get-togethers.) And I need time at the end of the visit to reflect on it and savor it.
A weakness? A character flaw? Or a gift?
I’m still looking at all the “noodles” and thinking about it. 🙂
I’d love to hear from you, including you extroverts. How do you navigate building friendships? How do you navigate busy days full of events and conversations? Do you need daily quiet spaces to think and process?
What I’m Reading
Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan.
I started this book when I boarded a plane in Chicago and couldn’t put it down in Denver while I waited for my flight to Washington. What a poignant, raw story of grief and awkward friendships that grow in surprising ways. The protagonist, a twelve-year-old genius girl, made me wince and grin on almost every page as she traveled her unconventional grief journey. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Ellen Frens for the recommendation!
The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World by Jenn Granneman.
I recently discovered IntrovertDear.com, an online community created for introverts in 2013 by Jenn Granneman. Her posts make me think and remind me that I am not the only introvert in the world who struggles to thrive in life and friendship in a world that can often feel so loud. I’m about halfway through this book and reading it slowly and underlining often.
I just finished writing some short devotionals for my church, based on this chapter in the Bible. God used this chapter to make me think, even though it oozes with names and details. As I studied and prayed, I marveled at the power of the Bible to change hearts, especially mine.
What I’m Watching
On the airplane home from Washington to visit my two friends, I watched an episode of God Friended Me. I found the premise interesting: God connected people to each other so they could help each other. I want to watch more episodes.
The winner of Invited: The Power of Hospitality in an Age of Loneliness is Jennifer.
This month I want to give one of you a copy of the newly-published book: All Shall Be Well: Awakening to God’s Presence in His Messy, Abundant World, written by my friend Catherine McNiel. She has distinct writing style that slows me down and helps me see the world in a way I’ve never seen it.
. . . in these pages, I extend this invitation to you: Will you wake up, step outside, look around yourself, and ask, Where am I today? Where is God in the midst of it all, and what creative, redemptive work is he doing here? What is he teaching me, how is he feeding and forming me, in this season?
Know that I love to hear from you! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheering you on as you seek to live connected!