When I tell people I’m an introvert, they always respond surprised – especially when they learn that my professional background is in the field of programming. Generally, people have an impression that programmers are impersonal and Einstein-head-looking individuals.

Though I used to be very shy, what forced me out of my comfort zone was going into business for myself. After working in corporate America for over 12 years in the IT field, I took a crazy step of faith and started my own business in the residential building industry. I loved every bit of it. Leading custom home building projects were like solving a programming puzzle.

Introverts have excellent characteristics — they get the job done, are super responsible, and are loyal to the bone. We don’t draw energy from people like social butterflies do. We recharge in moments alone. We don’t need a whole lot of people to survive. We revere that one or two strong and trustworthy relationships. We are focused, task-oriented, and dependable. You can count on us 110% knowing that we will overcome any challenge to get the job done. And we will give it the full extra 10%. We will go the extra mile to do things to the best of our abilities and nothing less.

But there is one thing that introverts have that can be to our detriment. Because of our loyalty, there’s an inner expectation that others will reciprocate. And letting go of things and people we hold dear is one of the most difficult experiences for an introvert.

So, I’m still learning to let go of my 3 P’s — pain, people, and pleasure

Pain

On August 13, 2013, we were selected to be part of presbytery at Gateway Church NRH. One of the pastors who spoke over us said a phrase that I would experience soon after. Staring straight into our eyes he said that we would be “healed healers of hurting people.” In the moment, and in the weeks following, I thought it referred to past pain. Little did I know that those words were prophetic and referred to pain to come.

I experienced it. As a result, I became extremely discouraged. Never before had I been so disillusioned about life, God, everything. I questioned living. I questioned my faith. There were many times I did NOT want to go to church. Our girls were young at the time. Gianna was around 13 and Nathalia 11. Because I learned from my parents (who have been serving God for over 53 years and pastoring for over four decades) that no matter how you feel, you get your butt to church because God will speak to you! Something special happens when we worship together with other brothers and sisters — God shows up! He inhabits the praises of His people.

I recall sometimes just standing in the middle of worship and unable to open my mouth and worship. There I stood on our usual 3rd or 4th row from the altar area in the center of the Gateway NRH auditorium, shut my eyes, and let my tears run down my cheeks. I could not hold them back.

Weeks later, I had the opportunity to ask our then-campus pastor, Ps. Byron Copeland, to pray for me. After giving him a short version of what had happened to me, he prayed. Instantly, I felt a dark cloud that had been hovering over me for weeks, leave.

Though it took me several years to heal, I am set free. I’ve learned since then that I must let go of pain quicker by talking to God about it and speaking with another human. I’ve also learned that in order to help people, it helps to have gone through stuff ourselves.

God has many blessings stored for us and if we don’t let go of pain, we may miss them.

People

My husband always tells me that we must give people the respect they deserve to do as they please. We must learn to let people go and not get in the way of what God is trying to do in their lives. We don’t own people, neither do they own us. Sometimes God needs to separate us into our wilderness. It is in the stillness and solitude away from the noise that God works in our hearts.

Many of us have been disappointed by a loved one, a friend, a co-worker, a pastor, a leader we looked up to. When they fail us we become so discouraged. I believe God allows those things to happen so that we learn to keep our eyes on Jesus. God is the only perfect one. He will never fail us. He will never judge us harshly. He will always welcome us with open arms. Even how God corrects us is merciful because He is all love. Regardless of how high on a pedestal we place men and/or women we trust or look up to, they are still flawed human beings. The only perfect one that will never fail us is Jesus.

Though all human beings have the capacity to do the greatest good, we also have the ability to scheme the greatest evil. Why? Because of sin — in the world and in us.

The Bible says,

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Prov. 4:23 NIV

Jesus pointed out that what comes out of our mouths is what poisons or pollutes us:

It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.

Matthew 15:11 NLT

The issue is with our hearts because whatever it is filled with, that’s what will bubble up out of us:

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45 NKJV

How crucial it is to fill ourselves with God’s Word daily! God’s instructions are the anchor that keeps us in alignment with His will. Being in sync with God allows His blessings to flow in and through us.

Pleasure

The following verses help me keep life in perspective:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the boasting of life—is not from the Father but from the world. The world is passing away along with its desire, but the one who does the will of God abides forever.

1 John 2:14-17 TLV

I believe every Christian should read these verses often to ensure our love is placed on God and not on things that pass away.

About two years go I woke up one morning with this phrase that seemed to stem from the center of my being: I am no longer in love with the world.

The comforts and conveniences of modern-day living can hinder our love for God. It’s okay to enjoy the good things in life. The problem is when we idolize them.

On a practical level, how does that happen?

When we allow the things and stuff of this world to rob away our time, attention, and love from God.

Practical examples:

  • We are willing to spend hundreds of dollars to watch our favorite sports team and buy expensive memorabilia, but have a problem tithing and giving offerings to the church.
  • We are willing to spend a whole night out with friends, but are too tired to attend church.
  • We are willing to give special treatment to people according to their worldly status, but fail to show the same love and kindness to those who do not have much.

When we become self-absorbed, we feed our selfishness.

The result?

Pride.

The original sin that got us here in the first place. We must combat pride with humility. Oh, and by the way, false humility is pride.

It’s good to keep our “humility” thermometer in check with God’s Word:

These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

Proverbs 6:16-18 NKJV

Why? Because…

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble…

1 Peter 5 NKJV

God loves a humble person. Despite the massive mistakes King David made, it was his heart that kept God’s favor on him. God loved him because of his humility.

Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Psalm 138:6 NLT

I certainly don’t want God to “keep his distance” from me.

May you be encouraged to let go of pain, people and pleasure so that you can enjoy the fullness of God’s goodness, unhindered.

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