I'm not a big fan of Halloween, but this year some of my students and I decided to dress up as characters from Star Wars. We got $3 Chipotle Burritos, had kids in my apartment complex compliment us, and even some teenagers said we "slayed her night!" We then proceeded to watch the first Star Wars movie.

Chewbacca, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. 


Embracing My Introvert

I am becoming an introvert.

This was a shock for me when my therapist suggested that I might be an introvert. Excuse me? No, that is not possible. You must have misheard what I have been saying because there is in no way that I'm an introvert. I'm an extrovert, I have always been an extrovert, and I will always be an extrovert.

I've been mulling over this for the past week and I'm starting to realize that she might actually be right.

My freshmen year of college I took the Myers Briggs test (since Myers Brigs is highly valued in InterVarsity culture) and it assigned me as an "ENFJ." I embraced the identity whole heartedly. ENFJ's are charismatic and passionate people.They care deeply for those around and are not afraid to show it. They want to challenge people to be the best they possibly can be. This is who I was in college. I was outgoing and extroverted. I was sensitive to the world around me and the needs of others but never afraid to speak up about what or who I cared about. People gave me the greatest sense of joy and accomplishment and energy and I thirsted to be around them constantly. And ounce of alone time seemed to exhaust me. I loved being with people, investing in people, feeling with people, and all things related to people. I was loud and obnoxious at times but my heart was in building relationships. I ascribed very much to the identity of the ENFJ.

But as the years wore on - after I graduated and entered into teaching and then InterVarsity staff a change began. There was a shift I didn't notice. I still operated out of this identity of being an ENFJ, I still operated out of the mindset of being an extrovert. But larger groups tended to wear me out. I needed longer and longer to recover from conferences, from large group meetings, etc. I would look forward to retreating to my apartment and spending time reading, journaling, or calling one friend on the phone. I enjoyed the moments of space from the pressure that came with being surrounded by others. I became less outspoken, keeping more of my deep thoughts to myself and spending more time letting things stew in my heart and mind before processing them out loud. I assumed this shift was coming just out of overwork. I assumed that I was more tired because I was working harder, giving more of myself to students, and I was increasing in age between myself and the young college freshmen. Still hyper-relational and craving the company of others (or so I thought), I just assumed I was tiring out and needed a really long nap.

But I wasn't tiring out, the needs of my soul were actually being ignored. Since I operated out of being an extrovert, I attempted to find rest in being with all the people and I wasn't aware of how tired that was making me. I wasn't fully aware that I felt more rested after reading, after spending time with one on one with close friends, after walking or running, or after just being by myself. I still operated out of a former identity and was so unaware of the shift that I was actually neglecting part of my soul that need to be met.

It wasn't until my housing situation changed that I came face to face with my shift into introversion. My smallish apartment went from a two person household to a four person household in the matter of a week. Suddenly my space was cut off and my ability to recharge was shifted. I no longer had a safe haven of alone time in my room. I was in constant community, with roommates constantly home and around and I felt on display all the time. I became moody and frustrated, unable to put my finger on why.

I love people, I thought to myself. I'm extroverted. I wanted more community of people. Why is this bothering me so much? I crave relationships and people so why do I feel so on edge all the time? What is going on here? 

I had shifted into being introverted, shifted into an INFJ without fully realizing when or how it had happened. Only until something I needed was suddenly gone (my own personal space and ability to get it easily) did I realize I needed it in the first place. My roommates were actually surprised that I was surprised I was becoming an introvert with one saying, "You didn't know you were introverted?"

No I didn't know I was an introvert. The change had come so slowly that I turned around and realized I needed things like space and alone time. I had been so on the edge to my roommates (and God knows who else) because in part I had lost easy access to personal space but also in part I was denying I needed that kind of space in the first place. I was spending so much energy denying my shift into introversion that I was exhausting myself trying to be someone that I used to be. I was trying to force myself to find rest in people and it just wasn't working anymore.

Also I was afraid of becoming an introvert. I was afraid to admit that I was introverted because what if that meant people pulled away from me? What if that meant that the relationships I valued so much, shifted. What if people would try to force alone time on me? What if they stopped inviting me to things? What if they stopped including me because they assumed I didn't like people or didn't want to be around people?

Here in lies my two great needs that appeared to be in constant tension with each other: the need to be known and the need to have space. I still want to know others and be known others by creating meaningful and deep relationships. I still want to be involved and included because I get insecure sometimes. I was afraid to embrace being introverted because I was in part insecure that people would leave. But I also needed space to recharge, to think through my overwhelming messy web of emotions before I processed them out loud (trust me this is the toned down version - I sometimes feel if I share things unfiltered they sound like a crazy messy). Was it possible to have both? Was it possible to advocate for both needs of my soul? But my need to be known seemed to be more important and I didn't want to risk that one not being met unknowingly for a while, I shut down being an introvert and I believe it did some damage to my soul, even damage to some relationships.

For while I crave being known by others, it's hard to do that when I feel on edge all the time. It's hard to do my job well in investing in students when I've given no space for the needs of my soul to recharge and to regroup. It's hard for others to feel they can be around me when I'm moody or grouchy or frustrated because I haven't had space for myself and my emotions in too long. I needed both. I needed to feel invited and included but I also needed to say no sometimes and recharge myself. To filter through the emotions of myself (and of others) that naturally I hold onto. To rest in books, movies, and even just in bed.

So here I am now trying to live in that balance of needs - the need to be known and the need to have space. Yes I still want to be invited to things. I want to be invited to parties, to hang out with people, and especially to have one on one time with friends. That's what I love. I remember that part of my soul that loves to be around people. But I also need to respect my need for space and say no when I need to. I also need to stop denying this part of myself that is forming in this season. That is part of good soul care. To embrace the change and roll with it instead of denying it. Yes, I'm still loud and sometimes obnoxious, I still love being around people, I can function in a large crowd. I'm seeing that these characteristics are not limited to just being an extrovert.

It feels weird to open myself up to my introverted nature but it also feels like a release. I had placed too much pressure on myself to be someone that I thought I was that I had unintentionally denied myself of who I was becoming. In this season I am becoming an introvert and the healthiest thing for me is to let it happen.


Fall Con 2015

Here are some pictures from our most recent trip to CBS for Fall Conference 2015.

Our tradition of wearing plaid on the way to Catalina.

Sunset on the boat ride over.

Darin is one of the emcees for the weekend.

Our 90's dance party. 


Greek Staff, Kristina Crosetto was our speaker for the weekend.



During free time.

The beautiful island.

Our group again.

Small Groups

Small Groups

Small Groups

Small Groups

Small Groups

Small Groups

Small Groups

Our 14 international students and 3 leaders. They represented half of camp!

Leadership team.

Preparing to go home.

Boat ride home was a little bumpy.


Luke's Fall Con Testimony

For those who got the snapshot of this story through the ministry update or just want to hear an amazing story of what happened at Fall Conference, one of our seniors, Luke, shared this me to share with you about how God spoke to him at Fall Conference:
I have always had a strong "one-on-one" or "pocket God" relationship with The Lord. I was always selfish with MY God and the things that He could do for me. I was oblivious to the fact that by sustaining my relationship in the state it was in that it wasn't really a relationship at all.

A turning point for me was at Fall Con 2015. Before the trip I was feeling a little lost spiritually and was anxious to see what the weekend had in store. I went to Fall Con the year before and said that after my amazing weekend that my life would change permanently. We all know a camp high when we see one and that is exactly what this was. Within a week I was back to my selfish ways once again.

I was not forcing change in my life at Fall Con 2015 but man did it happen! All weekend I felt like Kristina was speaking directly to me. Everything she said resonated with me greatly. It was going so well for me so far, but it was not until the last night of worship and prayer that my faith took off.

Everyone around me was so FULL of the Lord. People were accepting Jesus into their lives for the first time. People that I didn't even know were praying over me. It was then that I realized how selfish I was. I was so focused on what God could do for me instead of what He could have me do for others. This realization really tore me apart and tears began to fall. I closed my eyes and just asked God, "What do you want from me?"

I have never really been one to believe that God could speak directly to someone until that moment. God and I were standing on the rocky beach of Catalina and He picked up a rock. He handed me the rock and said, "Look at this rock. These are all of your flaws and imperfections that I know that you struggle with. Now throw the rock." I did what He had asked and I threw the rock. He then said to me, "Now go find your rock." I looked out over the shore and there were thousands of other rocks that looked just like mine and there was no way of finding mine. God said, "All of these other rocks are the rest of the world. The same insecurities that you have are within a lot of others."

As I sat in tears listening to what He was saying I realized that God was speaking directly to me and I immediately jumped out of my seat, lifted my hands to the sky, and began to praise the wonderful name of God with all of my imperfect brothers and sisters of Christ.

My vision or meeting with God left me with a little interpretation of what should be done with what was shown to me. That night before I went to sleep I laid in bed and thought if there was more to what God was telling me than just "I love you for you." It dawned on me that God was sending me on a mission. By sending me out to find my rock I would be bound to pick up other rocks that looked similar to mine. Instead of realizing that they aren't my rock and just throwing them aside, He wants me to gather them and show them the love that He showed me. God wants me to go out and find the people that struggle with insecurities and self identity and let them know that He loves us and that His Son died on the cross for us.

God was trying to get me to see that eventually I will find my rock but He has other plans for me first before I find it.