Thursday, September 10, 2015

On Being A Loner

I am a loner.

I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating.

As far back as I can remember, the idea of staying at home alone has been a welcome idea. I cannot identify with my kiddos who don't like to be left alone in the house. Even as a young child I always thought staying home by myself was great fun. So far I have one child who inherited my "home alone" gene.

By the same token, I am a very private person. Our house in Arkansas, with it's dirt lane that took us back behind the trees to a quiet little nook where no one could see us but you knew there were neighbors right up the hill, was perfection in my mind. I don't like to be watched. I am the person who goes to a Scrapbooking party and fiddles around with her pictures all evening, then goes home and does page after page of pictures the next day in the privacy of her own house. As a rule, I'd rather sew my own clothes, clean my own house, do my own canning, take care of my own business, By My Self.

Now that I've ruined all my chances of ever having any offers of help in my future, let me quickly add that I do enjoy people too. In fact, I often enjoy them more than I think. And, although I suppose I will always like privacy, I'm also learning to value interaction.

After we moved to Ohio four years ago and I found myself in a new community with none of my immediate family, I began to realize that I do need other people. In Arkansas I always had my mom and sisters for the times when being married to my best friend wasn't enough. Here I would have to initiate friendships if I needed someone besides my own small world; and I soon discovered I did need someone!

I found that it was important for my own well being to make sure I did some things outside my small world - like go to the sewing ... even though I hated walking in those doors as the new kid on the block! And joining the choir to help with a Christmas program ... even if I hated going alone and felt way out of my league! And various other community activities that pushed me to learn to know people outside of the 'dressedupforSunday' four walls of the church.

Maybe it should be no surprise to me that lately God has been actively pushing me out of my corner even further -- prompting me to call people, putting in my head to visit people, nudging me to be a friend, repeatedly bringing to mind the idea of having ladies over to my house... These ideas can only come from one place, because they certainly aren't coming from my own head! I told a friend the other day, "I'm not sure what God is up to?" She said, "He is using you." And then she added, "Are you okay with that?"

That little question threw me for a loop for a bit. I don't know, am I? Later I decided I'm not sure that I am. In fact, I told God, "I'm not so sure about this. I thought you asked me to write, not be a counselor!!"

The interesting thing is, that in spite of the scary unfamiliarity outside of my comfort zone, there's also the excitement of God working in my heart. I'm reminded of a quote that I heard once. "God is more interested in what He is doing IN you, than THROUGH you." God takes us out of our comfort zones for various reasons. One might be so that we need Him. Another might be that He is using us in someone else's life. But mostly? Mostly, I think, He wants to work in us, and He does that in many creative and interesting ways.

I'm a littled awed to see what interesting ways He has of working in me. I want to allow Him to continue that work, even as I retreat into my corner now and then to say, "Wait a minute. Am I okay with this?!"


Tina Z. said...

Hhmmm.... you're a very private person? Where have I been? (wink) Or are you making things sound worse than it really is? Hhmmm.... I am more the people person type, I enjoy being around people, and yet, I don't always. I love being home, and doing things by myself too. Where's the balance? I have to appreciate tho, when a person that is a loner, takes the initiative and tries to reach out to others. I know its good for her (wink) and the ones invited or visited with. I'm not totally convinced you're a true loner tho. Good thoughts on the last article, too.

Bethany Eicher said...

I think you just may not know as much about me as you thought! :)