Monday, January 28, 2013

In a Box or New Adventure?

The Winner of last weekend's drawing for Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest book, The Lesson is....scroll to end of post for winner's name.

At a recent retreat, arriving attendees were warmly greeted by a hostess.

Seats had been assigned to help attendees meet and get to know new people.  

Most of the attendees had attended the retreat the previous year and did not have an issue with this concept. After all, seats are assigned for many events when a ticket is purchased.

For other events, we assign our own seat. We may walk into a church, movie theater, or other gathering place and think we have control of where we sit. We choose a seat near or away from people, the screen, or the exit. But those who come in after us modify the outcome, bringing people closer or causing others to move away, someone may block the screen or add a chair onto a row.

For the new people attending the retreat, some were surprised to find:

Friends were assigned to different tables
Family members directed to various tables
New faces sat across each other

This became a moment when personality types showed themselves. 

The shy person sat quietly at her assigned table and smiled because it was the right thing to do. Not because she wanted to. She felt awkward. Uncomfortable. Unsure.

The outgoing person bubbled over, warmly initiating conversations with the three new people, even the shy person. 

And then

The leader asked everyone to open a booklet and discuss a given question with the other people at the table.

The personality types showed themselves again.

The shy person obediently opened her book, drew her shoulders in, leaned over her book and worked through the questions, desperately hoping no one would ask for her answer.

The outgoing person raised her booklet to read the questions aloud. She solicited answers from the other three women. Here again one of two responses happened. Some shy women gave in and shared their response. Others used body language like lowering their chin, trying to become invisible before they had to say a word.

After the meeting, one lady walked to her friend. The friend immediately shared. "I didn't like this. I didn't like this at all." Sharing what she learned from the lesson in the small group was very difficult for her. She answered when asked, but didn't like the situation. As you guessed, this was a shy person.

Another lady told her friend she had a wonderful time. She hugged a new friend and walked to several other women to share her wonderful experience. This was the bubbly person.

How can I use observations of people with these reactions? In many ways. 

As I write my characters, the shy person is going to respond as a shy person in her heart. She will feel uncomfortable in gatherings where she has to meet others, and although she may respond properly on the outside, the inside is stressed. 

The outgoing character will keep in the spirit of her bubbly personality. This one will try to friend and draw out the shy person while enjoying other bubbly personalities.

When I share God's love with people I will find these personalities, and more. I think that is why Jesus gave His different examples of interacting with individuals. 

The woman at the well. 
Jesus' first meeting with Peter. 
Mary's request for Him to make wine at the wedding
His interactions with the Pharisees
His miracles
His teachings
His witness to Pilate
and etc.

Observing a person's responses will help me know how to engage them. A shy person will need time. Formulating a friendship with them first is best. The bubbly person might appreciate you sharing what is on your mind right away.

Now consider how you respond when meeting someone new. Do you feel awkward, or shy. Do you radiate and bubble over? If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, where and when did He bring His salvation to your attention? Did this situation match your personality?

I am am outgoing, bubbly personality. I asked Christ to be my Savior as a child at a Vacation Bible School program. A place where I could have fun and be with lots of people.

This Friday we will have Ruth Logan Herne who is also with Seekerville as a guest. 

photo courtesy of

The winner of Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest book, "The Lesson" (already an award winning book) was Diana. Congratulations, Diana! This coming Friday through Sunday join me in welcoming Ruth Logan Herne.


Janice said...

Interesting thoughts for today. I would appear to be the shy one, but I am still trying to distinguish between shyness and introversion. If I happened to be at a table with all shy people, I might be the one to open the conversation and appear as bubbly to some. I am an introvert who probably has situational shyness. It depends on the people I am around. If I am around several extroverts I tend to withdraw because I can't keep up with their pace. Besides that, I so much enjoy listening to others that if I am trying to formulate thoughts to join into the conversation, I miss out on the coversation of others.

I came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior while reading the Bible on my own, by myself. It was a Daily Walk Bible with devotions and other helps so I guess in some sense you could say the author of those devotions was present in spirit along with the Lord.

Mary Vee Writer said...

As per usual, Janice, your thoughts are thought provoking and filled with wisdom.

I sat at one of those tables and at first was a "shy person" feeling very out of my element. But as the evening rolled along, my comfort zone changed.

So, I agree with you. A person can morph from one to the other depending on the situation.

And observing the person's response when we speak with them will help us know how to respond back.

Thanks so much, Janice. I always appreciate your feedback.