Using our Introverted Gifts for Valentine's Day
By: Deborah Clack
Valentine's Day is such a bag of mixed hearts for introverts. With so much external stress associated with this holiday, I toyed with renaming the day altogether.
In light of the pressure to go out among the crowds, it could be renamed Introvert Spotlight Day. For those of us frozen in the card aisle, February 14th could be considered Paralyzing Gift Analysis Holiday. Introverts across America fear the day will become their personal Professional Sports Arena Public Proposal Day. Red and Pink Sensory Overload Day goes hand-in-hand with Elementary School High Energy Squeal Party Day. Evening events of this wonderful holiday encompass possible titles such as I-Don't-Want-to-Go-but-Please-Invite-Me-to-Your-Party Night or Jam-Packed Restaurant Night to be rounded out by Sexy Tattered Sweatpants Night.
But in spite of the challenges this holiday presents, the concept is wonderful. It's the one day of the year when we are encouraged to express our love for one another.
The crux is that our deep-connecting, introverted souls have loud, lavish love to give, but we aren't designed to celebrate Valentine's Day in the same ways as our extroverted counterparts.
However, we don’t have to go big, bold, and brash this holiday season. What would it look like if we approached Valentine’s Day out of our strengths? We are quite gifted in the direct and meaningful. In a world full of people who just want to be known and to be seen, the smallest measures of acknowledgment can speak volumes.
Before we tackle the doilies and red heart construction paper, let’s whisper to God from the quiet of our hearts, "How do You want me to love those around me this Valentine's Day? How can I operate out my giftedness to show others their value on this special day?"
As introverts, we are highly sensitive to the people around us and very talented at connecting with them. Using God’s definition of love, here are some tangible ways we can capitalize on our strengths and express our love to those around us with significant impact.
· Love is patient. Knowing that each day is going to bring unplanned events that test our patience, can we think through how to respond in love? Offer a gracious smile to the grocery store cashier in the slow check-out line, speak kindly to the boundary-pushing telemarketer, or give grace and mercy to someone who missed a deadline.
· Love is kind. In a bustling world, can we extend kindness to those we don't know? Open a door for someone, allow the mother with the two small children to cut in line in front of you, buy a stranger a cup of coffee, or over-tip a waiter or waitress.
· Love is not boastful or proud, does not dishonor others and is not self-seeking. Is there someone you can publicly promote? Compliment a coworker in the presence of your boss, retweet someone else's hard work, or brag on your spouse to the kids.
· Love is not easily angered, does not keep a record of wrongs, and does not delight in evil. Forgiveness can be thick and complicated, but is there someone you can surrender to God and pray, "Lord, I'm struggling. I don't even want to say the words, but can you help me forgive this person?" This small step can be one of the most private, but powerful ways we can love others.
· Love protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Is there someone in your life who needs to hear that God has not forgotten them? Our love is an extension of God's love. Pass out kid Valentine's to your department at work, text a friend you've lost touch with that you're thinking about them, or write a note to someone grieving a loss.
God says, "Love never fails" (1 Cor. 13:8). A promise. Our gestures of love may not take on the shiny public display of others’ efforts. They might feel awkward. They might not even be well-received. But make no mistake, our love does not go void. By design, God is love, and love cannot fail.
Speaking of interesting ways to love others this holiday, last year Necco sadly announced they stopped production of the widely-loved conversation hearts. However, a company named Spangler bought them out and recently announced they will be returning conversation hearts to the shelves this year! The company reports that their machines couldn't print the messages on as many hearts. When a customer opens the red box this year, they will find more blank hearts in the mix than in the past.
Can you imagine? Introvert conversation hearts. Made just for us.
What about you? What are you planning for this Valentine’s Day?
Deborah Clack is a native Texan, non-recovering chocolate addict, and an award-winning contemporary romance author.
A high school AP history teacher for 10 years, Deborah earned a Master’s Degree in Education and was awarded Teacher of the Year for Arts in Education. Now she creates stories of her own with endearing and broken characters who are full of humor and grit. She asks her heroines, as well as her readers, to dig deep, play hard, and laugh often.
Deborah can lip-sync the heck out of Barbara Streisand’s “Jingle Bells” and is a fan of the original romantic suspense movie, Star Wars. She lives in The Lone Star State with her family.
She would love to connect with you on her website at deborahclack.com. You can also find her on The Social Media, where she pretends to be an extrovert.