The Scary Kind of Introvert Day

That Saturday was one of those days where I questioned everything.


It was an introvert day I needed, but the scary kind where I didn’t want to be alone and also didn’t want to be with anyone.

I’ll be honest; it wasn’t my best week. I had four free nights at home, and somehow my laundry was still overflowing my basket, I went to bed too late, and I barely made any progress on some things that have deadlines way sooner than I’d like to admit.

Add that to the fact that I’ve recently started having some of the most piercing and revealing accountability conversations of my life, and Saturday quickly turned into me feeling like I couldn’t do anything right.

I can’t balance a social life and a home life, I can’t set the emotional boundaries I should, and I can’t support my friends in the way I need to.

I escaped to the pool. Shocker—it didn’t fix it.

The kind of vulnerability that has been expected of me lately has caught me a little off guard. Not because the idea is all that new, but because it’s hitting me that if I dig deep enough into my motives, I’m legitimately doing something wrong all the time.

And that does not sit well with a perfectionist.

I don’t like to mess up, I take it too hard when I mess up, and I hate it when people have to tell me that I messed up.

This accountability thing is good and healthy, though, so I know it’s here to stay. And that almost makes me panicky.

Thanks to the way the Lord set up His church, listening to the people in my life and being honest about my sin is going to be a constant part of my life until I die. So my first instinct when I felt that panic was to hurry up and get used to it.

I don’t want accountability to hurt anymore, so I’d rather just get used to it so it feels normal. I would prefer to coast through my life without having to be disrupted by that pain every time I have those conversations.

If it’s going to be normal, I might as well go ahead and make it feel normal. But on second thought, I hope I don’t get used to it.

It’s not supposed to be comfortable. I’m never supposed to get used to sinning and confessing. I wasn’t made to sin and be comfortable with talking about it.
It should make me feel squirmy and panicky. It should overwhelm me and disgust me. It’s against the intent of my creation.

If accountability ever feels comfortable, that will mean I have become numb to my sin and how it offends God.

So am I gearing up for a life of discomfort? Maybe in one sense, yes.

But the discomfort of having my sin exposed over and over again would be a whole lot scarier if my eternity depended on how well I was doing.

Jesus promises me that one day He will welcome me into my true home with Him, and I cannot wait. There and only there, I will be able to take a deep breath in the comfort of being completely perfected—and it will have nothing to do with me.

Talk about a turn of events for my recovering perfectionist self–when I finally achieve the perfection I want, it will be His power alone that brought it about and none of mine.

And if that’s what I’m holding onto, then standing firm might actually be a possibility.

Standing firm through the panic that yells at me to stop messing up, standing firm when my friends have to ask, “Do you think this is because you’re concerned about your image again?”, and standing firm when it’s way more tempting to try not to care.

Even if standing firm looks like closing my eyes and gritting my teeth and toughing it out through good conversations I’d rather not have and repeating to myself over and over again, Yes, Haley, you are this messed up, but His perfection is your lifeline.

His perfection. Not my discipline, not my drive to fix things, not even my ability to be more aware of my sin. None of that is reliable.

His mercy is all I have. And if the cross and an empty grave are what I’m banking on when I feel like I can’t do anything right, that’s enough to make those introvert days not quite so scary.

Haley Barinowski

Haley is a shameless Clemson fanatic who believes in dessert, Christmas lights, and throwing football. She loves good books, good pens, and good runs. She attends our Downtown campus.