Making Peace with Who I’m Made to Be | The Enneagram + Living like an Introvert

Eight months ago, I learnt I was an introvert. The discovery blew my mind, because all my life, I had lived like an extrovert.

Outgoing, bubbly and a performer by nature- large crowds don’t scare me and I’m perfectly comfortable being the centre of attention.

I love being with people! How could I possibly be an introvert then?

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Succinctly, Jess Connolly smashed that notion with her definition of the defining difference between the two:

Extroverts get energy and are filled up by being with people. It’s how they recharge.

Whereas, introverts find people and crowds draining. Some may very well love being with people, but they ultimately need solitude, rest and quiet to refuel- and to process.

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BINGO! That was me…

And yet, all these years (29 to be exact) I had been living, working and loving from the well-source of an extrovert.

You see, every three months (and increasingly sooner in difficult seasons of life) I found myself depleted, drained and exhausted. I wanted to quit life and run away… every three months!!! I battled depression because no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t fill back up.

I was empty ALL. THE. TIME.

I battled the shame of being weak and lazy and not good enough – of letting the people I love most down.

I realized in that moment- in discovering I was an introvert -something needed to change.

If I was to find my joy again and the energy I needed to love and serve my people well, I needed to start honouring my body, mind and soul’s need for solitude, rest and quiet.

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God had already started teaching me about peace in solitude, so I was excited to take this next steps.

Slowly and surely, I implemented the following:

  • Creating space in my days, as well as my weeks, for rest, reflection and alone time
  • Prioritizing things that fill me up, like reading, writing, getting outside and doing yoga
  • Working from a place of rest, rather than resting from work  (as my husband put it, “Make rest your priority Kailey, not work.”)
  • Concentrating on one project or work focus at a time, giving it all my energies before moving on to the next
  • Creating an evening routine of solitude and rest, so I woke feeling full, rejuvenated and inspired
  • Pouring into a few people I’m called to, rather than many and everyone
  • Being honest with myself and others about my limitations (saying no to even good things, when I didn’t have the energy or knew I needed to fill up)
  • Leaving blank days on the calendar with nothing scheduled, so I could take them at my leisure

I could write about these in elaborate detail, because quite honestly, it took time and intentionality to figure out how to do this!

It was trial and error in discovering the practice steps and ways of living and loving like an introvert.

Needless to say, I started to breath again. I felt peace return and I could hear my heart sing. It was working!

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Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon the Enneagram, during one of Christa Black Giffords Webinars. Why did I need to take another personality test? I balked. But with her endorsement, I checked it out.

Thirty minutes into taking the Enneagram test, I was in tears- like someone had opened my heart’s journal and read every entry.

Staring back at me were my longings, felt needs and idiosyncrasies; my fears and insecurity. Like they were normal and very much ok. I was seen and accepted by this infamous number 4 that so accurately embodied my deeply emotional soul.

All my life I’ve felt different, (in both a good and bad way) battling the notion that I am wrong or bad- shame my biggest enemy. And here I was, learning that this was normal for a 4 and that in fact, it was not only my greatest weakness, but also my greatest strength, if I harnessed it.

For weeks, I listened to The Road Back to You, a podcast devoted to looking at life through the eyes of the Enneagram from a Christian perspective. Never had I laughed and cried so hard in forty minutes.

In the same way I felt after discovering I was an introvert, I felt seen, heard, validated, and understood in shared experiences with other 4’s!

Don’t you know these are the basic needs of a four and how they feel most loved?!?!

And my wrestle with shame? The infamous demon in the closet for 4’s!

My goodness…. revelation after revelation. 

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I’ll admit, I am very much still learning and discovering the Enneagram. I am far and wide a newbie at it, but what I love most, is the intricacy and depth of it’s reach.

Not only does it outline my basic nature, but also character development at different levels of maturity and how I function under stress or shame or exhaustion- what the Enneagram calls, your shadow side.

It’s informative, challenging and encouraging. Honouring the person God created me to be, while simultaneously calling me UP, rather than OUT.

With the help of The Enneagram, I’m coming to a deeper understanding of my God given strengths and weakness; honouring them, rather than fighting them. I’m learning to acknowledge the shame that so easily ensnares me, rather than will it away. And I’m discovering how a lifestyle of rest and mothering myself, will help me flourish and come alive in ways I’ve only yet tasted.

My capacity for life these days is SO MUCH SMALLER than I ever dared imagine! But if I want to live in health and joy and rest, it’s necessary and good.

And when I love from that place- from the place of my truest self- I discover the connection, belonging and meaning I aspire to leave as my legacy!

The Enneagram and living like an introvert: my  road back to health; to the wholeness and freedom that’s mine in becoming my truest self- the person God created me to be.

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Get started on your journey:

Introvert Living

Discover the peace and pleasure in solitude and rest- mothering yourself to wholeness of health and mind and joy.

 

The Enneagram

Learn your Enneagram Number and start discovering the way you’re wired. Find freedom in who God created you to be in your truest self.

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The new has come, the old has passed away | a NEW creation in Christ Jesus

I stood at the back watching, as 100 twenty somethings waved their hands in the air, jumping up and down with reckless abandon. A wave of emotion overcame me. We sang these words on repeat:

No sin too great, no pain too deep, no shame too real, that His love won’t heal.

In that moment, I knew it was true; not just with my head, but with my heart- I was convinced of it.

And as I cradled the revelation, I remembered God’s words:

Behold I am making ALL things new in you, Kailey-  a BRAND NEW thing. I’m making streams of living water in the badlands.”

Not two months ago, I wrestled for hope on Easter Sunday– I was living in not anymore, but STILL not yet. Waiting. Hoping. Holding fast to faith in what God has promised me, but I still had not seen the fruit of.

Yes, I was changed, but I was not entirely new- I still carried scars on my heart like tattooed reminders of my pain and past. And if those didn’t remind me, shame would – it always does, my mind a constant battlefield.

And yet, here I was fully convinced that these words were true for me, personally: There is no sin of mine too great, no pain too deep, no shame too real, that His love can’t heal.

And like a thunderhold, I heard Him in the recess of my heart:

It is finished.

Then these words fell from my lips, like a prophetic declaration:

The old has gone and the new has come. I am entirely new in Christ Jesus. It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.

In that moment I knew:

It was done- all the pain of my past healed, redeemed and made new! God had taken every ounce of hurt- the things that hurt me the most– and used them to recreate me from the inside out.

The things that should have killed me, remade me.

Not a patched up version of my old self, but an entirely new creation in Christ Jesus. I look, sound and act like an entirely different person – because I AM!!

I had just preached for 10 hours over the course of three days, and by golly, that woman WAS NOT THE OLD ME! 

I am no longer a caterpillar in a cocoon, awaiting transfiguration, but a butterfly, emerged and ready to fly.

Friend, you can’t possible understand the gravity of that statement…

I have been living in that cocoon for over two years,  in the darkness, awaiting the day when light would break through. Holding hope when it looked like nothing was happening. Trusting in the process even when it looked and felt like death. When it was uncomfortable, pressing in on me from all sides.

My cocoon was a test of faith and perseverance that matured me and built hope. And here I now stand a new creation.

In my newness, I am leaving behind baggage- the backpack I carried for years, like a penance to pay and protect: insecurity, striving, frantic and tired; the neglect of my soul and body- neither some possession that belongs to the spiritual part of me. I am a whole package, designed to love and be loved in unity- all of them deserving my care, attention and affection. If God can love and accept the whole package, so should I.

I have no notions this journey to flight will be easy – learning to walk out my freedom.

I know there will be days I’ll struggle and revert to old habits or thoughts, but through it all, I will ABIDE.

I will cling to Jesus as I learn to glide with grace.

Because I know who I am now- my identity no longer shaky or built on sand- who the world says I am.

I know who God says I am and that it is my lifebreath and song:

I am a warrior, a princess, a poet and a dancer.

… A warrior battling for myself and others to believe The One we belong to and who he says we are, in Him.

… A princess, beloved bride of the Only One who saves.

… A poet pouring out praises for all he’s done in me.

… A dancer, worshipping through movement- the breath of my body.

I am a writer and a speaker, but also a preacher; my voice is my gift to the world. God has called me to healing and deliverance ministry- something I’ve only just begun to taste.

The Holy Spirit will continue to lead me and guide me to truth that will set me free, so that others can be set free- to be who God created us to be, to walk out our callings, to Know Jesus and make Him known, to live wildly in His love and to love others the same.

Where I once doubted these things, I know them now to be true. Not true in some general, for somebody else sense, but all together true for me- my living reality:

God is able and he is trustworthy.

We can take him at his word.

He is powerful and our authority is found in His word.

Our God is good and he is working EVERYTHING out for our good.

What Satans means for evil, he will use for ultimate good- to show His glory and power- power to save, heal, love and redeem.

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Because you can take the girl out of the goal-setting but not the goal-setting out of the girl, this is what I hope for as I walk out my newness:

  • To leave a legacy of love and service, through simple, ordinary, every acts
  • To have loved Jesus more than anyone and anything else in this world
  • To have fulfilled my calling through faithful obedience, not necessarily quantifiable results
  • To have lived a quiet life, keeping to my business and working with my hands
  • For my daughter to know she is loved unconditionally, by me, her dad and Jesus
  • For the world (more importantly my people) to see Jesus in me, finding that beautiful and attractive.

In one year, this is where I hope to be:

  • To have experienced healing in my physical body, uniting it back to my soul and spirit
  • A simpler life: less stuff, deeper relationships and more time with family, friends and Jesus
  • Dancing again, running and yoga regularly, as well as, meditating
  • My health concerns on the mend with new routines and choices that ease my issues and I enjoy
  • Enjoying food and meal time again; uninspired and unmotivated to cook, a thing of the past
  • Minimal, if no TV
  • A spiritual mentor/group feeding, filling and challenging me
  • Regular church attendance that feels organic, routine and anticipated, not obligatory or a struggle
  • Rest as lifestyle
  • Listening to my body and welcoming what it needs

 

Ps: You can bet I’ve added these to my #powersheets and revised my yearly goals.

When you’re defeated and desperately want to quit

 

I took this photo going into my counsellors office last year.

I felt hopeless and desperately wanted to give up and call it quits. I thought things would never change. Settling felt easier.

Then I walked in and settled on the couch.

In her own words, She said something like this- and friend, it changed everything…

Courage isn’t found in comfort, strength isn’t build in easy places. Both are cultivated in messy, hard soil, which if you persevere, become holy ground: anointed and set apart with purpose and great intent.

They lead us to transformation.

Don’t give up.

Don’t short change yourself because it feels easier.

Push through.

New life is waiting on the other side.

I decided right then and there, that whatever had come to me, had to go through God.

And therefor, it came FOR GOOD.

And I don’t say that lightly- I say that from the most suckered punched part of my heart-made-whole.

What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good: to bring a newness of life and transformation, I never could have imagined– or seen then! It would take months, until I caught a glimpse.

But for the time being, her words were a gift of hope – what I needed to carry on and push through to the other side.

Today, they’re my gift to you.

Carry on, Warrior.

#justkeepswimming #thedifferenceayearmakes #littlebylittle #newlifeiscoming

New Name, Old Problem | Hope in depression

I discovered an old blog post of mine from 4 years ago.

Yet as I read my words, I could have sworn I wrote them today!

Identical- my emotions are identical! Every t crossed and period placed – the same emotional battlefield, just four years apart.

This baffles me for two reasons:

  1. Maybe I’ve always struggled with minor depression and didn’t know it.

  2. I’m starting to see a pattern to how God works in my life – a rhythm to the seasons and struggles.

This isn’t the first time I’ve stumbled on old posts of mine, that speak directly to my current circumstance…

So messy, I am! Sometimes I resent my own heart… ’cause you know, shaming myself always works!

What I need right now is not that- not shame– but grace and acceptance.

Depression has a stigma though, doesn’t it? Few want to touch it.

Which if I’m honest, suddenly makes me feel like something’s wrong with me, when nothing’s changed- I’ve just put a word to a struggle I’ve battled my whole life.

Im no different… but suddenly I’m not ok?

I don’t want to feel like a freak or like there’s something wrong with me! Or like my emotions scare people… That makes me retreat more and withdrawal makes the darkness worse.

I need to stop hiding and actually engage people- be honest about how I’m feeling. Because it’s OK!

Depression is not a scary word: in fact, the vast majority of the world struggles with it.

Statistics show anxiety and depression are the number two disorder in ALL our world right now.

I needed to come to terms with this- that fact that I suffer with depression.

I needed to realize that I’m no different today, than I ever have been! I’ve always been this way – a deep feeler who experiences high, highs and low, lows.

I just have a name for it now.

It’s an opportunity to learn more about myself: understand my heart more, grow compassion and then extend grace to myself. Because I must learn it for myself before I can give it away to others.

… Like how I discovered I was an introvert after YEARS of living like an extrovert!

I’m still learning how to love myself in that one and walk gracefully in my new reality.

Nothing’s changed- I always was an introvert– but I wasn’t living like one (which explained the perpetual cycle of strive/burn out/numbing I found myself in every three months).

So, here I am again, at the crossroads of opportunity – to own who I am and love her relentlessly: a deep feeling introvert, who experiences seasons of depression.

Don’t you know I’m going to learn to love you well, Kailey.

God’s done this before and He’ll do it again!

When you realize you’re in a pit and depression seems plausible

I’m only now, just coming to terms with the probability- that I struggle with depression and could, from time to time. 

It’s entirely circumstantial- emotional stress, without a doubt….

It’s me carrying burdens I’m not meant to carry – things too big and outside of my control. 

Like people’s salvation and the world’s rejection and misconception of Jesus. It’s me thinking it’s my responsibility to save/change/convince people to Christ and manage outcomes. 

It’s yucky pride and me still trying to measure up, to make Jesus proud.

As much as I hate to admit it, this bout of depression is necessary: another layer God needs to shed, in order for me to walk in freedom and know Him deeper.

‘Cause I beat myself up when I see the darkness still inside me- as if on this side of heaven, I can obtain perfection. The lie that because I’ve experienced transformation and freedom and healing in Christ, I should have it all figured out now and no longer require grace or forgiveness. 

The realization of my sin sends me into deep grief.

And it’s that grief, when carried too long, that turns to depression. 

I see the light out of this pit- Jesus has begun to reach down and pull me out. But if I’ve learnt anything so far, it’s this:

It’s time to let Him move the reality of grace, from my head down to my heart. 

 


After writing this post, God led me to a one day silent retreat at home, using the following resource. If you’re feeling down, irritable, angry, weary, or fearful, I’d encourage you to set a day aside to be alone with Jesus. Go somewhere that inspires you or send the kids out for the day… I received the grace I needed- I walked away with quiet joy and peace knowing that this is not another thing I need to “fix” about myself- that God is sovereign over the dark, just as He is the light. He will use every experience, including seasons of depression, for good and glory.

 

Alone with the Lord: A Guide to a Personal Day of PrayerAlone with the Lord: A Guide to a Personal Day of Prayer by Gordon T. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A powerful, yet easy to use tool for a day of personal reflection, and encountering Christ. I appreciated the prompts and pointers, while still leaving room for personal application and interpretation.

I used this for my very 1st silent retreat- I didn’t know what to expect, really, but I left with joy, peace and clarity. Great resource. Will use it again!

View all my reviews