For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Learning the Game of Football

One of my two favorite people is an introvert.

I've known this for a long time. However, I really didn't know what an "introvert" is.

I have a degree in sociology, took classes in psychology, and all I've ever really heard introvert defined as includes what it isn't. Introverts are not outgoing. They are quiet. They are not social. They are not comfortable in front of a group. They don't like to be on stage. They hate parties.

Somewhere in all the things they are not, I picked up one thing they are: they are insecure.

Makes sense. I mean, people who are insecure are nervous around crowds, don't like situations where they might embarrass themselves, don't like to be center of attention, just want to be...small...and unseen.

So being the good mom, I did what I always do. I tackled this head on. I worked on teaching Wonderboy social skills, speaking skills, conversational skills. I taught him how to make big gatherings into smaller ones and discussed stage fright to the n-th degree. If he felt insecure because he lacked certain skill, we could fix that.

Except it didn't.

In fact, I'm pretty sure it made things worse.

Last week I prayed a simple prayer. I asked the Lord to show me how I could bless my kids true identity, the people He created them to be. How could I encourage them to embrace, enjoy, and live His original design? I really expected Him to give me something nice to say, a note to write, or even something to buy that would equip them somehow. Nope. Instead, He walked us right into my son's nightmare. God's kind of weird that way, but as we learn in medical response, you have to know where and how someone hurts before you can apply the right kind of healing. God was ready to dole out some healing.

Last night we attended a surprise party for my cousin. WonderBoy really likes my cousin and was happy to celebrate her, but he was silent on the way to the party, and once we were there, he couldn't get out the back door to the empty outdoor seating area fast enough. He and I spent most of the party there, him breathing and forcing him to sit in his chair...and my watching.

I can only explain it as the Holy Spirit opening my eyes because the situation was typical. We'd go do a group thing, and I'd end up with WonderBoy outside trying to help him not crawl out of his skin. Being a presence. But somehow as I sat there, I finally understood. This kid isn't insecure. He doesn't lack self-confidence. He is very self-confident. He's an introvert. Except "introvert" isn't what I had always thought it was. Honestly, sitting there, I realized I have no idea what "introvert" really means, except to know it is a whole other world with totally different rules than mine. And my son was sitting there less than a foot from me alone in that world.

This morning I apologized for all the ways I made things worse. I apologized for trying to give him all the things I had been taught introverts lack. The truth is introverts don't lack anything. They just aren't extroverts. Contrary to popular opinion, introverts do not lack self-confidence. They just don't need to be loud about it. They don't lack social lives. They just prefer to socialize with one or two people at a time, not a whole group. They don't lack a willingness to speak up when needed, but they don't need an audience to feel fulfilled. They don't need to shout their beliefs and convictions from the rooftop because they will stand where they believe is right long after the person on the rooftop has lost his voice or society's interest. They don't lack the ability to be influential, but they don't need to beat someone else down to feel powerful. Introverts aren't lacking anything. They possess different things.

When I had finished apologizing and repenting of my sins toward him, he said, "Mom, it's okay. You were doing your absolute best to help me play a great basketball game. You just didn't know we are playing football. But now you do."

Now I do.

Before 0730, I was on my computer emailing friends I thought might know resources for me. I then hit in search of information. My full box of "teach this uneducated woman everything" should be here by the end of the week. I picked up one book while we were out and about today. So you know, I don't expect to become an expert on this, but I refuse to leave my son in a world he doesn't know how to navigate while he is being told to love himself for who he is because he is perfectly made by a perfect God but this perfection seems to leave him out of the world most other folks live in. If he is so perfect and an answer to prayer, why do so many people think they need to fix him so he isn't he can actually belong? If he was made to be such an amazing football star, why is everyone telling him how he needs to be so he can play basketball?

I think if that were me, it would only feed my feeling of failure. I would be incredibly frustrated that I'm wrong for liking football but don't know how to play basketball. I think I might develop a pretty healthy self-hatred not just because of who I am but because of who I can't be.

That's not okay.

I don't know a thing about introverts or their world, but I know about my son, and I refuse to lose an amazing football player just because he wasn't made to play basketball.

Football, here I come. WonderBoy and I are going to rock you.

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