Putting Together a Puzzle

Over Christmas break, we tried to put together a 2000 piece puzzle. That sounds nice, right? Time off from work and school, lots of relaxing, pretty falling snow, hot chocolate, Christmas music, etc.

It wasn’t like that at all.

It was an extremely difficult puzzle with colors so similar and so many pieces that looked the same that it seemed impossible to understand where they were supposed to go, even though we knew they all fit somewhere. After Christmas break was over and we didn’t have time to work on it, we eventually put it back in the box, never completing it.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the picture I took of all the personality and spiritual gifts assessments I’ve taken over the years, spread out on the floor in my sunroom to see what pattern I could find, to see how it all fit together.

I’ve done them so many times because I’ve been to so many churches over the years, and each time you start over, you do what’s offered, and you find out where you fit in that place.

The problem with that is that while my gifts didn’t necessarily change (writing and teaching emerged the most frequently), there wasn’t always a specific or clear place for me to fit.

In a culture where many people go to church twice on Sunday and attend other church activities on Wednesday, and in a church of 500 people, in a place where the Bible is supposed to be incredibly important, it was disheartening to see that most people really didn’t care about learning more about it. I taught classes on Galatians, 1 Thessalonians, and Luke, and there were no more than five of us in the room for any of them. While I don’t think the amount of people that attend is what makes something successful or not, it continually surprised me that more people were not interested.

I also had a conversation at one point when I offered to write a series of articles for our bulletin, but was told that was really just for the pastors and other staff.

Another time, I attended a Bible study in which I brought up the questionable premise of the study’s author, because I thought it hinged on something that was not certain at all. The study’s leader said, “well, that’s too deep for me,” and we moved on.

Apparently a reason I never quite feel like I belong has to do with my INFJ personality.

Because Ni perceives the world so differently and profoundly, INFJs often experience a sense of loneliness and isolation, even when they are with other people.

The rarity of their personality type makes a lot of INFJs feel like they don’t fit in.

I think that, combined with all of the many times I have moved and had to adapt to new people and cultures, has made it more difficult to know myself than I realized.

We gave up on the puzzle for now, but I’m not giving up on the puzzle of my own life.

Not this time.

 

This week’s Recommended Reading:

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I’m Back

“I’m back!” I exclaimed, a bit too exuberantly for simply returning from the grocery store, which caused my husband to give me a strange look.

I explained that I had realized earlier that morning that a part of me had been missing, and I finally felt like I had returned.

“How long?,” he asked. “Since Waldorf?”

I wasn’t sure at first how long it had been, and over the years, while I hadn’t completely disappeared, as I considered it I decided he was probably right. When I had to move in early 2012, I had to give up the job I had most loved in my entire life, and I floundered a lot since then. 

There’s been a lot lately that I’ve read, re-read, written, thought about, listened to, and talked about that has helped ME to reemerge, and I’ll be referencing and reflecting on a lot of those in upcoming posts.

If anyone needs guidance, help figuring out their identity and life’s purpose, I highly encourage you to contact Align Coaching. Andy’s been a friend since I had that job I loved, and has been so helpful in our conversations over the years.

There’s a lot more progress to make, and there are a lot more thoughts that will make their way to this blog. I haven’t even really had the desire to blog in a long time, but I do now.

I’m back.