Sometimes I wish I could just swap Myers-Briggs descriptions with people instead of getting to know them organically.
(And then maybe avoid the types that intimidate me..)
I suppose that could be labeled extreme relational laziness, but there it is, that’s how I sometimes feel. (Incidentally, if you are interested in understanding me better, you can click on this link: INFP description.)
Building relationships can take so much work!
Watching TV, on the other hand, is easy.
A couple weeks ago, it dawned on me that I had become addicted to TV. I couldn’t eat a meal without watching TV. I couldn’t unwind without it. It was what made me laugh/cry. It was what kept me going. Watching the “next episode” of a show was the highlight of my day.
Clearly something was not right. When God prompted me to fast from media, I immediately recognized that that was what I needed.
What didn’t become clear to me until much later was that I had been using media to replace relationships.
Good TV shows allow me to empathize with people, feel emotions, and process my life through others’ experiences, all without having to take the risk of making myself vulnerable to a real person. It’s quite convenient, actually.
Conversations with real people are unknowns. They can be really edifying or hilarious, but they can also be boring or even painful. And somehow the simultaneous predictability and entertainment of my TV shows became preferable to such risky engagements.
Last weekend I went to a church retreat that shook up my ideas about my relational needs and even my personality.
It was a weekend full of squealed greetings, running hugs, and constant conversations as I reconnected with old friends and chatted up new acquaintances. I would feel exhausted and then sit down with someone else and be immediately revived.
I had zero alone time the entire long weekend, and I loved it! (What happened to the introvert who closets herself in her room watching TV to recharge?)
Throughout the weekend I realized something I had forgotten: I actually really like people! And I’m actually really good at connecting with people!
Coming back from the weekend, I suddenly felt a vacancy in my life I hadn’t noticed before. Instead of longing for my TV shows, I felt myself longing for conversations with real people!
(Wow, I’m so glad for myself..)
To be honest, I’m still a little scared. A little scared of getting hurt or being rejected or misunderstood. I’m still a little scared of investing myself in something so unpredictable. But I’m also excited. I feel I am at the start of a very good journey. A journey into deeper and richer relationships. A journey into a fuller, more meaningful kind of life.