When I met Him — really met Him for the first time — I was alone.
Despite having traveled thousands of miles from a mountain town in North Carolina, my world had dwindled down to a consistent three-foot radius around my feet in Seoul.
For the first time, I tasted what moving would ever after do to this introvert.
In the States I had known whole neighborhoods and town landmarks and networks of roads, and could navigate the finely woven relationships of my upper elementary school world; now I was down to a pinpoint, a small “You Are Here” moving through vast white space. What I knew of Korea in those early months was only what was in front of me: a metal-sheeted subway door, the clinking token box on the bus, my own chilled puffs of air on early gray mornings in the city.
I think other souls, and perhaps even my own at a different age, would have relished the adventure. But everything was new: the culture and its customs, the language that I spoke but could not manage with ease, my growing awareness that I did not want to add to my parents’ stress with my anxieties. And each new thing shrank me smaller and smaller.
What’s left in my memory of those days is muffled. The smell of freshly mowed grass from my younger childhood has a sharper tang than even the coldest bite of my first Korean winter frost.
I’d wonder at this lack of remembered detail, if I didn’t know that this was the precise point of my intersection with God. As I was spiraling silently and watching all my anchors drift, He was cresting the horizon. My concentration riveted on Christ as He went, suddenly, from being a religious speck in the distance to a lighthouse with a beacon shining out for me.
Sometimes we choose to be alone; it’s in the nature of introverts to seek out places of stillness, avenues of peace. But there is a harder solitude.
Sometimes, being alone in a foreign land or isolation as lightless as the belly of a fish or a helpless condition is the only place where we will hear Him. So in a mercy greater than letting us continue limping on — He takes us there.
When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation, disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted desires, a broken friendship, or a new friendship— when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to ask even one question, then He begins to teach us.
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
“There,” for me, was a spot of worn carpet by the radiator, in the fifth and sixth grade classroom of a tiny international school, where I knelt with my teacher and gave over to Him my bedimmed world,
and He has ever since shone as the Light of life in it.
This post is part of a 31 day series about Loving God as an Introvert.
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