The Introvert

Introverts. Yes, the quiet bunch.  You love them, but o how they can confuse you.  “If she would just say something!” I imagine people think at times.

The definition of an introvert is:  a shy, reticent (reserved/withdrawn) person. There you have it. We have been given this definition because that is how the world perceives us, and I don’t blame them.  This is how introversion looks in large groups of people – reserved and withdrawn.  Please believe me, even though we seem withdrawn that is not what we experience in a group situation.  We are actually very much present and not reserved or withdrawn at all.  In fact, after being present in any intense discussion or theatrical performance, for example, most introverts are exhausted.  Why exhausted would you ask?

The make-up of our being works actively, consistently and ongoing.  Our focus are within, within our minds and emotions.  We engage, even though you can’t see or hear anything.  That must be frustrating for you, I know, but please bear with us.  First we inhale conversation and opinions, then we analyze and dissect, then we place and conclude. This happens daily. You would have known this if you could see our thoughts, which you can’t.  Introverts think seventy times and then one more time before they would give their opinion. Even then, they might think again and say nothing at all.

This brings me to a certain fear most introverts struggle with …

You can imagine that if someone, anyone, spends a lots of time on preparing the answer to a question, they would like the answer to be correct … not so?  Well, introverts have a fear, whether they realize it or not. The fear of not being understood, accepted or regarded.

I would not put this fear in the same category as a fear of rejection which most of us struggle with, in some stage of our lives.  It is rather a calculated resistance towards vulnerability.

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I’ve known about this resistance in me, on some level, for a long time.  I just didn’t have a name for it.  Who would like to admit that they are afraid to speak out?  It’s embarrassing!

An introvert will never be an extrovert, but I believe introverts can live more freely by admitting and dealing with this.  Our focus is inward and that is fine, but we have something to give, and people welcome it.  They want to hear what we think.

This resistance to share, speak up or even perform can lock us in … with our permission of course.  There is nothing wrong with thinking, analyzing and self-dialogue.  There is times, though, when you must rather force yourself to say something or sing something, instead of delicately removing yourself from the discussion.  Your body might start shaking and your voice start trembling, but afterwards you will feel better, more fulfilled and as you have conquered.  Usually that very situation has played over in your mind a million times, and every time you dismissed the thought with “not now” or “I can’t”.  The truth is: “you can” and it is this fear that binds you.  Don’t let it.

Extroverts have another struggle … I believe.  Their challenge is to stop and listen.

Isn’t it just wonderful how uniquely we were all created? If I could only help one introvert to overcome this resistance to share, it would make this piece worthwhile.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)

May you regard your God-given beauty, dear introvert, as much as God regards you in your beautiful complexity!

 

Written by Johanni Meiring

Please comment or share, I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you would like to explore more about you personality or temperament feel free to contact me here for a Life Coaching session.

Do Not Be Anxious (Part 1)

These few words has enormous significance for me now, actually for since I can remember.  How can we not be anxious?  Well, definitely not by our own strength.  It seems to me that life is a field of carefully hidden landmines triggering anxiety…

When I think of me being a parent, I remember the first “anxiety” gently weaving its way into my thoughts through the responsibilities in pregnancy.  It started there, and I’m not sure if my parenting anxieties ever stopped….

Somehow, by God’s grace, we find ways to have courage, be brave and face the inevitable.

Over the last few months specific mindsets or concepts has started to gravitate towards me:  The paradigms of “being” vs “doing” (very personal, but very common in this day and age), faith – hoping in the unseen future, not past; AND giving from a state of REST.

At first glance I’m sure these words or ideas can cause you to spontaneously chuckle, and lead to thoughts ranging between: “There is no such thing”, to “gmf”.

I feel you, I really do. Even as I am writing this blog I am fighting to find the peace deep down inside of me. The peace I know exists, but is almost always just out of my reach.  Peace that transcends all understanding.  Fighting for peace seems like such an oxymoron, and yet that has been our human story since the beginning.

This brings me to the next concept that was blown into my life, opposite to peace, yet the answer to gaining the peace we desire so desperately.  SPIRITUAL WARFARE.

Please don’t stop reading!  The end will intrigue you !!

The following verse made a tremendous difference in me during the experience of attending my first Life Coaching Course.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” – Prov 23:7 (NKJV)

What I realized was that I never believed this statement, or verse.  I am not sure why, maybe it felt a bit humanistic in away.  As if you can’t have faith or trust God if you consider your thoughts too much…or maybe the mind over matter “scenario” always bugged me…?

Anyway, two and a half years later I do believe that these words prove to be true.  I believe this with every fibre of my being.

Paul backs this up he says in Rom 12:2(NIV)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Apparently my mind is the main playing field for the enemy.  He knows these truths therefore this is the place where he wants to destroy.  Here he can have an influence on what I do, day after day after day.  Please know that his attack is not spectacular, his main aim for it is to be hidden therefore the peace destined for me, stays out of reach.  If there is anything he can steal out of our life of abundance, he will.

So then, what drives the roaring lion out of my mind? TRUTH

The truth can never be a lie.  The enemy functions out of deception.

How do we fight with truth?  We seek the presence of TRUTH, our Savior Jesus Christ.  This action must be intentional.  In His presence there is revelation and love. We meditate on the TRUTH (the Word of God), this is also intentional.  No one will read the Word for you if you don’t.  By reading the Word we deposit truth in our hearts and minds and push away deception.  We speak the TRUTH, with our words, and most importantly with our thoughts.

Please know; not everyone knows the bible off by heart.  It would be wonderful if we did, but fact is: we don’t.  That being said, I do not believe that four words of truth has any less punch in the enemy’s face than a whole chapter.  Find your four words.  God will show you.  And use it, repeat it, fifty times a day if you have to, and see how our King sets you free.

My four words: “Do not be anxious…”- and trust me this will be used just about another gazillion times in the days, months and years to come.  We will be fighting till He comes, but in the meanwhile let’s own our abundant lives.

Philippians 4:6

DO NOT BE ANXIOUS about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

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AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING, will guard your hearts and your MINDS in Christ Jesus.

 

For more on the gravitated concepts catch the DO NOT BE ANXIOUS (PART 2) blog

 

  Written by Johanni Meiring

Do No Be Anxious (Wrapping Up)

This is for you: the tired, overwhelmed and exhausted.  You can rest in between all the life you need to live.  You can feel peace inside, even though everything seems to spin out of control.

The last four weeks took me through an amazing journey. Learnings which for the first time feels as if it can stick. Strategies I can apply in the moment of truth.  The learnings revolved around: The battle field of my mind, being in the moment and having faith.  Today I want to draw these concepts in line and actually summarize them through exploration of Rest.

Yes, REST is one of those words that made me go “Urgh, can’t have, will never have, let’s just move on…”  That was before I read the first three chapters of Sarah Mackenzie’s: Teaching from Rest. Her words caused something to stir in my spirit. She describes rest like this:  Rest is the balance between neglect and anxiety. Doesn’t that just make perfect sense?Therefore it is not the 10 minutes on the coach alone to regroup, which just…Never happens! This kind of rest is definitely needed, but for me the expectation to get to that coach just really spoils everything I do in between.  So what is rest then? Rest is what you feel on the inside while doing the dishes, homework help, dinner, the emails, babysitting, managing the company and making plans, which you have no idea if it will work.  It’s the “everything will be ok” assurance deep in your heart, while keeping calm and carrying on.

I know you still might shake your head right now. You tried, and you’re still trying, but it’s just not happening.

During my jungle bashing through the maze of: anxiety, overactive busyness and spiritual warfare, one word stood out in bright lights, flashing fiercely.  The word?  SURRENDER!

Surrendering all to God is the acceptance of this moment, to live now.  When we fight in the Spirit we surrender all battles and victory to the King of the Armies.  In faith, I surrender all I believe and all the trust I can muster up, onto one true God.

No matter how we look at it.  Surrendering is our saving grace and the key to peace.

Unfortunately, we function in a “I will not surrender” culture. We tend to follow the long way around.  The challenge comes and we start working, planning, moving and stressing up until the point of no return, and then … yep, we ask God to help.  But why? What about, giving it up immediately, and then wait to see where He wants me to move, work, plan … My guess is there will be much less effort, time and anxiety before we have breakthroughs. It’s the shortcut.

Surrendering, sends a certain message.  The message: “O ok, I see this, but I am sure God has a plan”.  And almost instantly, an unrealistic (not from this world) relief sets in.

Seeking His presence encourages surrender.  Let’s face it: “fight and flight mode” only goes that far.  He rewards those who seek Him with their whole heart.  What better reward than the Peace that Transcends all Understanding?

I want to close this series of blogs with the verse that started it all:

Philippians 4:6

DO NOT BE ANXIOUS about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

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AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING, will guard your hearts and your MINDS in Christ Jesus.

There is nothing to big or too small to surrender. The thing you bring cannot surprise or bore our God.  He is wholeheartedly invested in your life.  He made you.

In surrender lies our peace, our joy, our longed-for relationship with the God of the universe.  Not rocket science, just a few words and an honest heart.

 

Thank you for sharing this with me! Until we speak again.

 

Written by Johanni Meiring

Do Not Be Anxious (Part 3)

Since I started this series of blogs my life has been nothing short of: unexpectedly, remarkably interesting.

In Part 1 I introduced you to the concepts drifting in my spirit and the remarkable power of fighting the enemy camping in our mindsPart 2 took us through the theory and practicality of “being” vs “doing”.  Today in Part 3 I want to share with you my recent and still continuing journey with FAITH

FAITH, such an integral part of our spiritual walk, well actually, the firm foundation.  The word says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).

So there you have it!  There is so many times when the enemy plays that card with me.  The card that says: “You do not have enough faith, that person most definitely has more faith than you. How can you claim to know Him if your faith lacks. You are not pleasing to Him.” I believe him and I cringe…

But tonight as I closely look at the second part of that verse it says: “because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” It does not say that just because that ideal thing that I am hoping for is not happening, my faith is lacking and that’s the only reason why I have a complicated life. It says: Believe that I exist, and know you will receive your reward if you earnestly seek Me. That just points back to Him.  To trust Him, to seek Him.  To change the emphasis from the outcome back to Him.

This week the Holy Spirit challenged me.  He urged me to attend a Healing Service at our church.  I would be seriously exaggerating is I say it was hard for me, because the fact is I was terrified.  I kid you not, on our way there I was shaking.

Thing is, since our kids diagnoses we have not been to any pastor or spiritual mentor to pray for healing for our kids.  I think both of us just accepted the fact that God is control and if they would to be healed it would have happened.  God knows our hearts.  I do think though that anyone who goes through trauma, chronic illness or disability…might experience a bit of shock in the healing part of faith.  It’s hard not to have the pain-, the discomfort- and the constant challenges fixed, and still believe God is in that business of healing completely.

At the healing service…I realized that I had a complete fear of disappointment.  The disappointment of not receiving the healing for my children that I long for with my whole being.  The fear of my relationship with God changing because of this.

In the service I learned a lot about the Holy Spirit again, and the power which He holds and we tend to forget about.  The Lord assured me that the same God that I serve was in that service.  I saw things changing there, and my children saw it too.  They were in awe, and my heart was touched.  We prayed for the kids, earnestly and faithfully.

Our kids weren’t healed miraculously on Wednesday night, but I walked out with more faith in what God can do.  We did not walk out of the service with visible healing, but I know that a part of my heart was healed in regards to who my Maker is.

I realized I have to practice my faith.  He wants me to trust Him more.  How does a relationship grow without trust?  And just because we are Special Needs Parents does not mean He will not heal my diseases or miraculously provide finances.

When walking in faith, we cannot look back.  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”(Hebrew 11:1) None of those words suggests that the past has anything to do with faith.  I realized that my default reaction to a challenging situation is referring back to what happened last time when I was in this fix.  This only emphasizes the “do it yourself mode” and before I know it, neither God nor faith is anywhere part of the equation.  And there I am creating my own destiny …again.

We will have to decide to live by faith in this day and age, because to “do it yourself” is very possible in our generation.  We can do most things ourselves, even visit space if you really want to.  But none of the “do it yourself” zones can guarantee an abundant life.  I can almost guarantee you a painful, stressful and peace-free life here in these zones.  Living by faith will save us on so many levels.

May these following words help you have faith again in His plan for your life and that He is a God to be trusted.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.

At His feet there are so many answers and the strength we need.

Can we trust Him again with everything we are, not just the desperate and impossible?

May you be blessed in every way!

The last blog in this series to follow…

 

Written by

Johanni Meiring

Do Not Be Anxious (Part 2)

Where are you now? Does your season have a name? Is it good, bad, terrifying? Boring?

So here I am in this season of my life. This season signifies: fighting for peace, insisting on empty spaces and gentle breathing.

My prayer is that the concepts that I want to share with you here will help remove anxiety from the precious places in your heart.  I pray that the muscle spasms, ulcers and migraines will give way as I share with you very special revelations, and also definitely still; victories in the making for me.

In Part 1 of this DO NOT BE ANXIOUS blog I shared about how much our minds are attacked and often is a lovely playing field for the enemy.  All of this resulting in anything but peace.

Our rushed lives leaves very little space for peace.  I always thought that the majority of the problem, in finding peace, lied in how I managed my circumstances.  But in the contrary, it only contributed to major ‘control freak’ issues.  For Example:  “If I take this opportunity, X Y and Z can happen, but if I choose the other option things can turn out better. But will I cope?”, “Did I send yesterday’s client the email I promised? When she receive the email how will she react? And what can I do to change her reaction? “, “If I’m not there, who will pack the lunches?”, “Who will know that Emma will most probably have a meltdown if somebody else picks her up late from school?”, “We only have a week till Johannes’ school assignment is due (Am I the only one who is aware of this?), “Will anyone ever understand the notice board in my study?”…and so on and so forth.  My days are usually filled with these thoughts and I am sure, so is yours.  Even if yours aren’t filled with kids’ stuff I am sure there is a whole lot of other ones which can keep you busy.

Then last week I read: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day (when He comes) will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34 – NIV)…and it makes sense why we have to intentionally push anxieties aside.  It’s a trap, a distraction, a way of veering us off track.

I am sure you know the saying…”I am a human being, no a human doing”. In June 2014 Jone E Childs(Licenced Clinical Social Worker) wrote in the Huffington Post:” my fear is that the human being that was once part of our culture and era is slowing disappearing and morphing into a new species of evolution that I call the “human doing.” She predominantly suggests that technology is main cause.

I often catch myself checking the phone to many times, or unnecessarily browsing and Facebooking.  I bought a book the other day with a title: “How to unplug your child”, and then I keep on thinking: “But how do I unplug myself? They will do what I do, not do what I say.”

2016 has arrived and we are two years down the line since Joan wrote her article.  Are you doing or being? If you are a super “do-er”, like me…How many anxieties originate while you run on your hamster wheel?  Is there a better answer than “O well, that’s life?”

I’ve really battled to get my head around the “being” concept. It sounds ideal and makes sense on an inner level, but to be totally honest I had no idea how to make it practical.  How do you explain just “being”?

I guess we can start by saying I am “being” if I can live honestly, and really try to show myself to the world, therefore less pretending.  That’s a good starting point and an important one as such.  To be honest with yourself and others frees us from many things.

Taking honesty in consideration I still felt a bit lost about the relief I longed for. I know “being” is part of the key to experience the Peace that Transcends all Understanding. I wanted to attach something to “being” that could help me experience the peace.

Over the weekend we had a coaching course session and while we were discussing suffering, and the place it had in our life’s journey, something clicked…

You see, we cannot be in the moment, and honestly so, if we have not accepted this now for what it is.  Acceptance of the present can help us to “be”.

Think about it: How can I ever get the real significance out of the work that I do, if I keep on wishing it is time to pack up? When will I build the relationships around me now if I keep on checking What’s Apps about people not with me, and talking about tomorrow?  How will I work through my grief if I constantly just wish the funeral would end so that I can escape all the pain?

In Matthew Jesus said: Do not worry about tomorrow, because each day has its own troubles.  Therefore there might most probably be troubles, it’s not disappearing, but our worry about today or tomorrow has no positive contribution to the situation. Yet our faith in Him does. Faith not necessarily in what He will do about the situation, but faith in Him always being here with me now.

If I can accept the moment for what it is.  If I can choose to live it out, good or bad.  Can I find the peace of just being here?

Obviously acceptance can be much more complicated as it seemsI would never suggest it being a passive way of existing.  Jesus sent us out to preach the gospel and change the world, He also never just sat around doing nothing.  I do believe though he had a total acceptance of his circumstances and who He was.  He breathed in God’s presence and lived fully with what was handed to Him.  He was, and is the personification of true inner peace.

Paul speaks of a contentment in circumstances good and bad.  Contentment has always had a positive connotation to a person’s state of existing.  Contentment would be very difficult without the acceptance of circumstances.  I think Paul had to get to the place of trusting God’s judgment immensely, and still have faith that God can do anything at any time.

The Mirriam Webster defines stress as: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.  Therefore stress originates in our minds and in my experience has the potential to permeate the whole body.  Stress usually start in that moment when we fight the present, and try to escape where we are now, or trying to avoid what is coming.  We also have to remember that stress is not an emotion.  Emotions have a place in our human walk.  It has to be experienced whether good or bad, and usually has a positive effect on our bodies.

Therefore let’s fight stress with acceptance and prayer.  It will take practice and intention, but the fruit of peace will last.   His peace will keep you alive!  Be blessed!

Part 3 will follow next ….

 

Written by Johanni Meiring