About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. YES! Just yesterday I sensed a moving in my spirit around this exact thing! I was thinking about how I often say I’m introverted and how I felt God asking me about why I say that, when really I’m more naturally outgoing in situations where I feel *Real* is happening and I’m fully able to be myself, encouraging and cheerful. Being ourselves — fully as we are; chatty or otherwise — is worship lived out.

    Your bold declaration of this truth is worship, Jen. Sweet, beautiful, rich worship.

      • Yes!! ^^^ I’ve been teased all my life for not being able to “shut up”. It took a HUGE toll on me! From my elementary school report cards and earliest family memories, to now in my thirties! i have to talk through things to process them. It’s also a part of my love language…this post touches the very core of me!
        That same verse haunted me for a long time…it still does at times. From my “chatty Cathy” ways to the roar of my laughter…I’ve never possessed that “perfect” amount femininity and lady-likeness that i longed for and assumed that verse referenced. But I am now learning to come into my own:) God made me and He loved me…chatty and all!!

        • This post is an incredible God thing as the hurt from hearing once again, I talk too much and the pendulum swing
          from the desire to be a be quieter and liked for it to THIS IS ME (with a protruding chip on my shoulder from past words and their hurful and unloving spiri) attitude. The end result being andb spending

  2. As a textbook introvert, I can honestly say that I need help in cultivating a gentle and quiet spirit too. I may not always say what I’m thinking, but rest assured what I’m thinking isn’t always in line with gentleness and a quieted spirit!
    Thank God for His grace, for introverts, extroverts and everyone in between:)

  3. wow – you could have been talking about my report cards…
    I still stuggle with bad self-talk, and wonder if I was too chatty, didn’t listen hard enough, or ask enough open ended questions. But this middle aged self has learned that when I really look at what God has done with all the personality He has given me – I speak at training and teaching events often. I’m often the only extrovert in a room full of introverts, and it’s me who gets the conversation growing. People feel welcome in my home, and we entertain easily and often – all because I love to chat, share and learn stories…
    We are “wonderfully made”, and that’s enough for me.

  4. Oh this hits home! I had all those comments on report cards as well. After years of being “the talker” , I now, in my late ’50’s feel just ” talked”out”. I do have much to say for our Lord, but want to say it more through prayer and actions rather than words. I know this comes from years of being hurt and those tapes playing over and over from childhood.

    Would ove to have guidance in this areas from someone with “experience”!

  5. Oh girl, let me reassure you that you are not alone. My report card was all S+ accept in the “Citizenship” category which was “N for needs improvement”

    talks too much
    talks out of turn
    to chatty with others

    We tend to zero in on those things that displease others, and it has its way of marking us.

    Love your heart Jen. Love your enthusiasm which I think comes through beautifully in your words and your blog.

    You are such a gift!

  6. Recognizable for sure!! My mom used to tell me my only place was to sell on a fresh market (since the sellers yell to get their produce sold.) As I got older I realized how much her repeated statement had become part of me. Feeling ashamed of who I am. Sure I am outgoing and excited and do crazy loud things but it is how God created me. At the same time I have had the desire to listen more and to listen before speaking. I have put this into practice for a while now and it is hard, can’t tell you anything different there. But it is so worth it. I love to counsel friends and be there in time of need, it means listening first! I am getting there. I desire to be like that scripture in 1 Peter.

  7. I identify with you from the opposite sense. I am naturally quiet, and all of my life, I’ve pushed myself to be more extroverted and vocal than I would like to be. This is a great post, and I believe God has a purpose in however he created each of us, and a quiet and gentle spirit is a heart issue, in which I am still learning how to do that. To be quiet and still and gentle before the Lord – moldable and willing to accept His plan above my own.

  8. I can SO relate! I wept many tears over those verses until God showed me 2 things:

    1. Those verses are about an attitude of the heart!!!!
    2. HE needed my personality to accomplish things meant specifically for me!

    Interestingly, as I am moving in to my late 40s, I find myself much more quiet and reserved. It is by nature now, not force!

  9. i can certainly relate. and i wish so many times i could talk to my teenage self. she sure needed me then…

  10. *squee* Loved this post and all the replies! Flip the report cards to read “needs to participate/speak” and this is me. While this has given much anxiety over the years, the past few have been more about the heart and accepting who God made me. I just love God’s grace!

    p.s-glad to see I am not the only one who still has her junior high diary. 🙂

    • Junior High Diary writers unite!

      I searched and searched for it and finally found it. Since I have a daughter the same age, it was so revealing to read the very same attitudes she is living with right now. 🙂

  11. I can relate to your words. I’m a talker. I’ve always been a talker. That goes for the self-talk too. I try so when I talk to someone to be thoughtful and caring. So when a family member made a comment about my talking which carried over to a friend commenting later about it, the hurt is more than I could bear at that point. Living overseas and visiting with family every other year leads to wanting to share so much — plus, the truth is that I don’t talk more than anyone else does in the end! I hate even writing about it. When with friends here, this never comes up. Working with women in the chapel it doesn’t come up. Our sisters in Christ are the best support we can ask for — thank you so much for sharing!

  12. I loved the words you shared here and related to this post. Like some of the others who’ve replied, I am an introvert and have struggled with the flip side of the same issues you wrote about. What is the same is the feeling … the self-doubt and questioning about my place in the world. What is also the same is that God created me to be just how He wanted me. Your words were an excellent reminder of that. Thank you!

  13. love that you shared this story jenny/jennifer/jen. 🙂 my heart breaks for all the little girls who try to quash something in them planted by almighty god and intended to bloom in his plan for their lives.
    a friend and i tried for a week in high school to be “quiet and demure”. it was awful! i have the loudest, can’t contain it laugh and it took me years to not apologize. it brings attention but also smiles. i own it completely….lesson learned. xo –kris

  14. The word “dramatic”. Oh how I HATE that word. I grew up in a house with three brothers and not a lot of understanding for my emotional heart. If I was even the least bit upset about something the response was (even from my parents) “Oh Melissa’s being dramatic”, “Stop being so dramatic”, and the worst one “Are you on your period?”. It was crushing and of course it only served to make me even more upset. As an adult, if I got the feeling someone wasn’t taking me seriously, it triggered something deep inside me and I would either fly off in a fit of rage or sullenly shut down, determined not to let them see my heart. It has caused struggles in my marriage too.

    Last year I finally started coming to terms with the fact that God made me this way. He made me emotional. He gave me a heart that feels deeply. He gave me tenderness and empathy. Those are not bad things! It’s still not easy – I still struggle with letting others see my heart because I’m so terrified of being brushed off as “dramatic”. It’s a balance – determining who is safe to share my heart with.

    • Oh Melissa –

      I feel you, as I had three big brothers as well. It’s all about that balance, isn’t it?

      While I am thankful for all the testosterone I grew up with, since it readily equipped me to be the boy mom I am now, we sure didn’t get much empathy, did we? 🙂

      So thankful the Lord has wired us all differently.

  15. I really needed to hear this! I am the opposite – a shy introvert who struggles to make friends and meet new people. This week I have once again been wrestling with feeling like these things are character flaws, mistakes that I have to work to overcome. Needless to say I constantly feel like a failure because, try as I might, I will never be an extrovert. My dear husband is an extrovert and gets so frustrated with me when I avoid social situations or don’t have any friends. I know it is because he loves me and wants everyone else to know this person he thinks is so wonderful, but he does not understand the panic and anxiety that can accompany meeting new people or trying to make small talk. He doesn’t get that as an introvert I need extra margin in my life to recharge, and that time rarely involves other people. I know that I need community and relationships, but it is soooo crazy hard to do when people scare you to death!

    A couple of days ago in my quiet time I was studying Psalm 139. I was reminded that God not only made me, but He has searched me and knows me inside and out. He knows that He made me shy. That was His plan! My shyness is not a mistake or a flaw to be corrected. I just need to figure out how to work within this context I’ve been given to bring Him glory. I have no idea how to do that 🙂 but I guess He’ll show me the next step.

    • Thanks for your comment, Heather. I can SOOO relate. I know that God made us the way that He did and He has a purpose and plan for us– to glorify him in ways that only we can.

    • You’re not alone, Heather! I’m going through the same thing right now & it’s hard because it seems that no one understands my point of view as an introvert.


    • Heather, you spoke my heart. Because I was always quiet and shy I didn’t have friends in school or was invited to participate in anything. As an adult now I constantly question myself and wonder what people think of me. I know I need community and friends, but it’s tough when you’re scared of it…

  16. Oh thank you for this!!!

    I too struggle with am I talking to much in Bible Study? Those women looked at me like I have antenna on my head!

    I have been in leadership off and on for several years and I do struggle with am I running over people? But it’s not the intent of my heart … I love the women I serve, if I don’t talk about the truths God reveals at times I feel like I will BURST — a dear friend asked me to teach at a conference last minute and she told me because I know you can teach about anything! (wow) and yet at the same time when asked if I had given ladies time for questions I said about 5 minutes I didn’t have enough time to say everything I overheard her say “See I told you so…” to the teaching coordinator — Told her what?!! Of course in that moment my feelings were hurt and I thought oh she must have said she’ll talk a lot” but who knows if that’s what she said? Maybe she said I would have a lot of info to share or something uplifting!
    Another time we were playing trivia in a small group and nobody was answering so I did and my friends told me “we’re in awe of your 50lb brain” … which I’m sure was a complement but I felt like I was right back in high school being teased for being smart and having a good memory!
    All these insecure I don’t fit in, you’re to smart feelings from childhood! And let’s just throw in the fact I’ve felt compared my whole life because I’m an Identical twin!
    Learning to believe God’s word that I AM wonderfully, fearfully and perfectly made has definitely been a challenge!

    • Yes, you are…fearfully and wonderfully made. Perfectly uniqued and wired to the Gifts He has called you to do, But those whispers still come, don’t they? When they do, we combat it with His truth.

  17. Jen this might be one of my favorite posts by you. I’ve struggled myself with that worry that I’m “too loud, too talkative, too whatever.” I’ve had people comment on my outgoing, chattiness and it’s worried me until I finally thought about it. And I know that it’s this love of connecting that makes me good at what I love – blogging, (in)courage, building bridges between cultures, being a voice for my kids, writing and encouraging other moms. Jesus gave me this voice and I’m learning to use it with joy. And honestly, when I read your leader’s comment I only heard it as the most sincere kind of delight – discovering a kindred, a joy maker, a love spreader. What a gift for them to have you. What a gift for us. My eyes are all swimmy here in Panera because I mean it from the deepest heart of me. Never turn down the volume, Jen. It was one of my favorite characteristics in my mother and it breathes life into a room. You are my gift today. LJ

  18. Oh my goodness, Jenny. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this resonates with me. I, too, am a blogger, and was an extreme introvert growing up. Around 24 years old, I dated someone who was extremely extroverted, and he brought me out of my shell, and ever since (26 years later), I am still an extrovert. It bothers me sometimes. My blog is rather introverted, but my personality is really extroverted–to my dismay sometimes. I know that God has used it in many circumstances–missions, hospitality (my giftings), friendships, etc, but I have always coveted a quiet spirit. I have a gentle spirit, but not quiet. THANK YOU so very much for your transparency and honesty in this post. I truly believe, as I continue to reflect on it today at work, it will truly transform my life as I know it. Blessings, Shari

  19. I have always been the kid without a face. No, I’m not disfigured except for a body full of freckles :)! And here I am, a 60 something woman, still that kid inside. Yes, I’ve learned the art of makeup ~ my first lesson being given by my mother with an auburn crayon trying to put “eyebries” (eyebrows) on my unseeable eyes. I’m very very fair, hence no color (except the freckles)! When I learned the art of makeup, I eventually was found out by my parents who wouldn’t let me wear it, being discovered by a school picture with makeup on (duh)! Did I mention that I am also blond? So in high school I am elected as most beautiful ~ and there are those that might agree, after all, it’s recorded forever in my yearbook. Travel down life’s trail where others in my adult wife-mommy-grandmom my-servant of God life and hear others say that, some intimating I should not wear makeup – oh, if they only truly knew! So here I am, that 60 something woman and still that little girl who, as overheard when my mom was talking to a friend, “she’s not as cute as her sister, but she’s got personality.” And who wants to hear that?!? There are days I deal well with my “lack of face” ~ then there are other days when the Lord reminds me that He’s given me a blank canvas to use my art on. I do my best, but somehow that little faceless kid haunts me! I say to you young ladies and young moms in particular, watch your words about your children! Lavish them with words of blessing and value ~ even in naughtiness, hate the naughty, but love the naughty one. You never know what scars will stay with them well into adulthood, even to 60 something <3

      • Actually after I finished writing it, I thought that I sounded a but full of my self and “looks” is what it is all about. On the contrary, in the morning, I am still that little kid w/o the face; and when I go to bed, my painted on face comes off ~ back to that kid again. Unfortunately, for a long time I have looked out of those eyes and have seen my world as an ugly little kid. The Lord is sooo patient with me, understanding and loving, He keeps reminding me that He looks on the heart ~ good thing because I love Him with all of mine and only desire to show Him to whomever. I loved my mom, cared for her when she got old and unable to care for herself, and I don’t think I held a grudge about the crayons or the words. I just really wanted those of us who use our tongues to do so wisely and in in a Christ-like manner. Thanks for your sweet words ~ you are beautiful!

    • I can relate to statements from parents and the impact that lasts forever in your mind. We were always told not to think too highly of ourselves, its about ‘others’ and we should serve ‘others’. I grew to think I had no worth but to do for others. My 3 other sisters and I were never told that we were smart, pretty or hardly valued. I think it was the age we grew up in, to be humble and servant. Now at 50 something I still struggle to take any time or feel that I am worth any effort or concern. This life of meaning and having a dream, and doing great things, even for God is for others, not for me. I have learned and memorized Psalms 139, but STILL rather believe it is for someone else. The Lord has been teaching me that I am his ‘belove-ed’ and I am trying to retrain my mind, renew my mind, to believe that there is something ‘for me’. I have made great efforts to instill in my girls, their value, worth and yes their beauty, inside and out!
      Thanks for letting me free myself here, it has and will bring clarity…words should only be encouraging, we are all still kids inside to some degree!

  20. Sweet Jen,
    Being able to sit there at that round table with you was one of the highlights of my entire life, and your outgoing/sunny/caring personality was such a blessing to me on that trip. I’ll never forget traveling up and down that STEEP mountain with you- the one that led to Christian mom’s house, AND the one that bonded us together, forever, in the most extraordinary ways. I cherish you! 🙂 XO

  21. Oh, the stuff that started churning around in me as I read these words. Knowing when and not to speak and what to say are a daily struggle. I can be a little on the “wordy” side, shall we say. Quiet and gentle are words I’ve never even really applied to myself, but have wanted for so long. thank you for reminding that is is more about attitude than action. i can’t help being me as hard as I might try. Now I have a little me. I can’t imagine a biological child having more in common with me when it comes to being talkative with EVERYONE! This will be great to keep in mind as I help him to also grow in a quiet and gentle spirit.

  22. This. Is. Me. The “talks too much” report cards started in 1st grade. I always walk away from conversations thinking I should have kept my mouth shut a little more. And yet, just when I start to get down on myself for being such a talker, God sends someone along that thanks me for my friendliness or words of encouragement or ability to talk all the way through our long run to keep them distracted!

    And I was called an “airhead” in 8th grade, and even after scoring a 33 on my ACT, being a National Merit Scholar, and getting a full ride to college, I still feel a sting anytime I hear that word applied to someone.

    Thanking God for using our unique personalities to bless and impact this world – yours definitely does, Jen!

  23. Jen,

    I too, struggled with having a gentle and quiet spirit. As a “party girl” who loves fun I would pray for God to give me a quiet spirit. And try and try as I may, I’m just not a quiet girl. Here’s what I learned. God created me just the way I am to live out his purpose for my life. Along with the outgoing personality, worry and anxiety followed quickly behind the party girl. My gentle and quiet spirit comes for knowing God is in control and my heart is a quiet spirit in spite of the chaos around me. Thanks for the post!

  24. Jen, I am most comfortable around those wordy talkative people. I’m drawn to the happy chatter. What you have is a gift! You can draw out the introverts and make them comfortable in your presence.

  25. By nature I am an introvert who comes alive when I’m filled with the passion of my purpose. Since I’m also a speaker and a Bible teacher many assume that I’m an extrovert. I’m not but when I’m fulfilling my calling, the anointing makes the difference.
    However, I do get tired of sometimes being called “serious” and labeled aloof as though that were a fault. It’s simply my introverted, melancholy personality. God made me like I am for His purposes and not for that of anyone else. I’d love it if we all accepted one another for who we are in Christ and for our unique personality blends – life of the party, serious and analytical, laid back or leader of the pack!

  26. It always amazes me how quickly I revert to that shy, insecure little girl. Probably the worst for me is seeing people I went to school with at my son’s school functions and suddenly I’m in 8th grade again.

    I had to laugh at your perspective that you’d be more popular if you talked less. I was thoroughly convinced that I’d be more popular if I could only overcome my painful shyness and be more extroverted. From my perspective, the talkative, outgoing girls
    always seemed to be the popular ones. It really is all about perspective, isn’t it?

    It serves to remind me how important it is that I make sure my words convey to my son how valuable he is just as God created him.

  27. I love this! I’m an introvert in the worst way. My husband is an extrovert, and I prayed that my son would have his personality. Be careful what you pray for! Your words, though, about how you got all those marks and never thought about the good ones, hit me in the gut… because how many times have I told my Caleb, “Just hush a minute?” To think of him being made in God’s image… just the way that He’s supposed to be… and I get to be a small part of that… well, maybe next time I might not complain so much. Maybe I’ll just sit in my quietness an soak up all of his energy. Maybe. Thank you!

  28. Boy, oh boy, did you hit a nerve with this one! It’s like you were saying this just for me! I was a shy little girl, who was extremely introverted. I was not introverted by choice, but by a family that thought only boys had much to say that was worthwhile. I was always told that I talked too much. That led me to have absolutely no confidence in myself.

    When I got out on my own, away from that way of thinking, something inside of me started to blossom.

    Then, just a few years ago, I really started to look into the book of Proverbs (and could kick myself for not doing it sooner!) and learned a lot. I learned that you shouldn’t say everything you know and feel, you need to use discernment. However, the Spirit has also made me understand that I was created as an outgoing person BY Him, to be used FOR His glory! I am now using my outgoing personality to how hospitality for His kingdom. And it feels like a million bucks! It is a perfect “fit”. GOD doesn’t make mistakes. WE make mistakes by listening to Satan, the father of lies!

    When you are walking in His Way, it just feels right!

  29. Thank you for this! I have always struggled with the opposite problem. I suffer with painful shyness. I am too shy, too introverted and too quiet. I have always beat myself up the to “toos”. Always wanting to be the outgoing one, the life of the party, fun-loving one and funny one. I need to sit back and accept that I have been formed and wonderfully made in His image, just as He wanted me to be.

    FYI – I took a very difficult step today and signed up for the (in)rl conference. There was one in my area but there were no attendees except the host. I watched it for several days hoping someone else would sign-up so I wouldn’t be the only one. But for some reason today (before reading this post) I felt a nudge to RSVP. Maybe someone else was watching and waiting for someone else to sign-up too. I decided I would be that one. Now I’m praying others will take that step too. Breath! 🙂

    • oh Tamara – I am SO VERY GLAD you took that step. You won’t be sorry and if it’s just the two of you. Who knows the special time you may have. Also, you probably just made that hostesses day because she has probably been struggling that no one was going to attend. 🙂

  30. Yes!! ^^^ I’ve been teased all my life for not being able to “shut up”. It took a HUGE toll on me! From my elementary school report cards and earliest family memories, to now in my thirties! i have to talk through things to process them. It’s also a part of my love language…this post touches the very core of me!
    That same verse haunted me for a long time…it still does at times. From my “chatty Cathy” ways to the roar of my laughter…I’ve never possessed that “perfect” amount femininity and lady-likeness that i longed for and assumed that verse referenced. But I am now learning to come into my own:) God made me and He loved me…chatty and all!!

  31. Hi Jen
    It was just yesterday that I was doing a biblestudy and one of the questions was do you remember a name you were called that upset you or labeled you. I went right back to my elementary school years. I remebered the nickname and it was and still is hurtful today. So I went to the God of healing and asked him to help me to realise who I am in him not that little school girl anymore. Then I read your write up today and it was like God wrote that thru you just for me. I was the chatty Cathey in our school. I had to stand in the corner for talking to much. For so many years well into my adult years I worried about how much I talked. Then one day I was in our bible study group and felt like I was over doing it on the talking. I felt so condemed by the leader as she said let’s give others an opportunity to talk. Shame, hurt and rejection set in. I felt like that little girl put in the corner again. I talked to my friend who headed up the biblestudy who has been in many groups with me and she said you make such great comments and your compassionate to the others. She said I love the way you reach out to others and when you open up and talk it helps others that might not to open up. The next week a girl at our table told me that because I was so open and willing to share it helped her to do the same. God will use us chatty ones in his glory to help those who feel awkward. Never stop talking God pressed upon my heart. I have now since then have lead our big group of 50+ women before our study. I just want to end with anyone that feels like they talk to much. Go to God and ask him. Then hear what he has to say. I know God doesn’t make junk so smile, talk and be who God made you!! Thanks Jen for speaking out on this subject!! Emme

  32. Thank You Jennie for your honesty and sweet spirit. This 40 something has struggled with that same issue my whole life. I had to come to a point where it doesn’t mean your mouth is quiet but that your spirit is quiet because it rests in the tranquil water of the Holy Spirit. But I still have to guard my heart. About 10 years ago a good friend of mine sat in my living room and made a comment about me, ” Well you know Leslee has a big mouth.” Nothing could have caused more hurt than that single comment. I remember going upstairs and when I had been up there a while my husband came up to find me crying. I just could not face my friend again that day. My husband graciously asked out guests to leave. I was just too wounded that day. Making sure my spirit is quiet and planted in Christ is my goal and not letting Satan use others to undermine that is second. Thanks again for sharing your heart!

  33. Oh, Jen…

    So sorry I stirred up such feeling in you. Not at all my intention. You are such a light in the room! So easy to be because of your love for conversation and joyful extroversion. I like that so much I married someone with the sam crazy skillz.

    Your blog doesn’t hold a candle to the real world you. And it never could. How could pixels on a screen convey all that energy?!

    So, sorry. And, I like you just the way you are ; )

    • That’s JUST what I said! Told her that reading this I was sure you meant that she’s so much lovelier in person than on a one dimensional blog. Amen and amen that her blog “doesn’t hold a candle to the real world you.”

      Grateful to know you guys. For reals,

    • Oh, you are so, so kind.
      And just so you know, I “knew” in my mind that those words were most likely meant to be so very sweet, but it’s those little lying voices we listen to that catch us every once in awhile and before we know it, we have an entire conversation in our mind.

      Fortunately, I stopped those lies in their tracts, but when I came across my old diary, this came to mind and I saw it as a time to share here how easy it is to let old labels direct our thought process.
      Maybe I should have given you a heads up first. 😉 haha

  34. Hey Jen,

    Oh I totally relate to this, on so many levels. I’ve always been an extrovert, but in the last few years, have become even more excitable, out of an overflow of gratitude for all things good. I love embracing life and enjoying the journey, even before the destination is reached. I celebrate before the wedding happens, before the baby is born, before the house is closed on…that’s just me. But recently, the wind has been taken out of my sails by family members who don’t share my same optimism on life. My words, intended to be encouraging and hopeful, were met with a clipped “well, we’re not celebrating yet”, and it triggered a root of rejection so deep in me. It totally made me want to just shut up and never say ANYthing encouraging or hopeful ever again. Almost like an in-your-face to all the cynics in my life: “well, fine! if you’re not excited, then i won’t be either. good luck with that.”

    And then I cried at how that made me feel…so not like myself. It hurts to feel like you “have to” or “should” do or say or be something other than you are. The Lord has taught me this same lesson, over and over the last 3 or 4 years. I think there is a fine line between setting some boundaries (and knowing the people you’re dealing with) and just flat out not being who you really are. I guess it has to be Spirit-led, and He has to give me wisdom on when to encourage and when to just quietly support.

    Anyway, that’s all to say thanks for this post. The Lord totally spoke to me through this, and it gives me courage to keep being who He made me to be. Hopefully I don’t sound like a total freak. 🙂

    From one Jen to another!! xoxo

  35. Hi, I’m Tiffany, and I talk A LOT! I am known as the “loud” and “dramatic” one in my family. 🙂 So many times in my past it has been a source of conflict with people who are not like me (even people in ministry) who were not used to leading someone with a lot of confidence and ideas. Thanks for sharing your post today, it really spoke to my heart.

  36. I really believe god lead me to this post today. I have been going through a very difficult time and praying that I can learn to love myself once again. Truth be told, I had begun to feel abandoned by god and quite hopeless. While I was never ashamed of my “too talkative” label as a child, as an adult I sought to place blame for certain negative events on myself, and began to see my outspoken, friendly nature as aggressive, a turn-off, embarrassing, and a symbol of my lack of self control. Strangely 1 Peter 3:3 has always been a favorite of mine, as I try to reject the extreme vanity and materialism we are bombarded with these days. It took reading this post to remind me that verse 4 is the real point, and your intro about that note reminded me that the people who know me best see my quiet gentle spirit as the light behind all of my expressive tendencies. I honestly think this post helped me more than two years of talking about shame in therapy has. And, I’m reminded that sometimes His answer to our “unanswered” prayers can come from anywhere.

  37. Yes, Jennifer, I have been there and am there. This is exactly the journey God has been traveling me through for some time, learning to be who He has created ME to be. Not to continue to fashion myself after what I see and like in others. It has been a freedom in the sense of “and the truth shall set you free”… the truth of who I am in Christ! And yes, there are the growing pains to go with it, the breaking of bad habits, but also the peace that comes from becoming who I was created to be!

  38. I’m one of the shy ones, but I’ve received those comments just like you, as defining character flaws of which I have always been afraid and ashamed. Now, though, I find people’s observations about my personality just plain annoying.
    “You’re too quiet.”
    “Talk more!”
    “Smile more!”
    “You make me nervous, you’re so quiet!”
    (I’ve always been nonplussed on the “smile more” one…when I was younger, it seemed to me that that’s all I ever did: keep quiet and smile. Now that I’m older…um, if you want me to smile, then say something funny!!) When I did venture into conversation more, I got what felt like immediate recrimination in the other direction (ala “don’t take it so personally,” “stop being so emotional,” etc). It was impossible in junior high, a little better in high school, and I felt like I finally hit my stride in and after college. But to be honest, it is still a constant, Constant background conversation in my own head when I’m in social settings, Me telling me I’m too this or not enough that or I’m smiling too much, or I’m not smiling enough. It’s probably just a sign of my immaturity, but it’s hard not to get angry about it still. I’m not even sure who or what I’m angry At. I guess I’m not fully convinced that God DID make me this way…I feel like at some point I must have accidentally lopped off a part of my personality or traded it or lost it somehow, and it must be my fault that I don’t have it anymore. I feel like I don’t fit.

  39. Crybaby.
    I always laughed at the other kids’ jokes but no one laughed at mine. Until I met my man!
    Teasing almost always reduced me to tears, and when Aunt Char told me they tease the one they love the most I was absolutely sure it wasn’t true. Just that they loved to tease me and didn’t care if I was hurt by it. Power struggle?
    Thanks for caring, I’m not a crybaby anymore. I only cry when it’s a beautiful God moment, now! I’m a cry-momma!

  40. This is so familiar. I know I have often heard the voices that remind me that “I talk too much”, “she’s ugly”, “you aren’t going to play that in public” etc. I too came from a usually very supportive, loving home. I am blessed with a wonderful hubby, who for the last 26 years has convinced me that I am beautiful and that he will support me in doing anything I want to try, I try to pick up signals when I am talking to much, ans strive to listen better.

    Thanks for this. Always good to know you are not alone in struggles. Be blessed ladies!

  41. I was the “perfect” one. The “smart” and “serious” one. I’ve been forced to work through this baggage over the past year and it’s been devastating to see how far off the path I have travelled in trying to live up to the labels that were given me. I don’t want to be perfect or smart or serious! I want to be given space to be messy, to make mistakes and to laugh. When people tell me now that I am outgoing and friendly, I feel like I don’t have slot to file that away in my brain. It’s difficult to process a message that is counter to what you have always been told.
    The most difficult thing with these kinds of labels (as many of the commenters have mentioned) is the shame that comes with them. People tell you that you are “perfect” – you look inside yourself and see that you are not – and that creates a feeling of shame that begins to eat away at the core of who you are. Sometimes it isn’t obvious how much shame you are carrying around until a crisis comes, but, oh, you feel the weight then. I’m doing everything I can to arm myself against it, but it feels like such a battle some days.

  42. SO can totally relate to this….and so many of the commenters. I too am a talker and have gotten teased for that a lot of my life. I’m only in my lower 30’s but I’m slowly coming to peace with it and actually embracing it….and realizing that I can still have a meek and quiet spirit even with my personality.

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful heart. Your posts always make me wish that I could learn to know you in real life…somehow I think we might connect!

    Ps. And this was a really good reminder to me to watch what labels we give our children….so important!

  43. I also can relate to your story as well. I have a vivid recollection of getting my mouth taped shut with masking tape in Kindergarten because I just could not quit chattering to my neighbor. And so my little 5 year old self decided I was going to change myself and be the quiet girl. I was very successful at changing my outward demeanor, but it has been lately that I realize that a lot of the energy and enthusiasm I had as a little girl was shut down as well – not all of it, but a good part of it. Was that really what God intended? I think that is why I love writing so much. Where it has become difficult to say my thoughts in everyday life, I can now write on my blog what I would like to say…

  44. This was so beautiful and from the heart. I tend to be that shy introverted person until I really know you and “feel” I can open up because of all the insecurities when I was young. I’m the one that people seem to always talk over. I would be talking and someone else would just start talking over me and I would hush. I become bold when I talk about a passion and I love being around someone who helps start the chatter. Blessings

  45. Oh my goodness how I related to your story! I have always been a talker and until about 1 1/2 or 2 years ago, every time someone, anyone would say that I was a social butterfly, I would cringe on the inside. My defenses would shout out inside of myself, but it would close my mouth and I would hurt. I am 52 years old and over the last couple of years, little by little, I am learning that that is how God designed me…and its for His glory! I am seeing that through Him I have the ability to make people feel loved and welcome, that through Him I accept them for who they are. That is God in me, I know that’s His gift to me and I am growing into it. All my life I felt like I had to apologize for being that girl, who meets and greets and can chat and I am now learning that I can be grateful for that attribute and use it for God’s glory. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are a beautiful soul!

  46. Jen, Thanks for sharing your heart. Growing up as a child of hoarders I had always longed for the gift of hospitality. I never thought it was my gift, but I knew from God’s word that even if it isn’t our gift we are to be hospitable. My husband and I have always had people in our home since we were single (seperately) and then into our married life as well. At the beginning I’d plan gatherings so that I could practice hospitality and also as a deadline to get my place all cleaned up from the day to day uses. I never ever thought I’d be clean enough to truly be hospitable, but I kept working it. I think that my childhood has skewed what is day to day clutter and what is a disaster.

    In my decades of serving in this manner I still longed to be hospitable. The Lord has opened up a teaching position for domestic skills and I’ve chosen to put hospitality at the core of it.

    Last year at a ladies event at my church we put our names up on papers all along the wall. Then others in the group wrote kind words. One person said that I practiced gracious hospitality. wow!

    I’m with you in that I hold onto those labels from jr. high. I wish I’d hold onto labels from the Bible stronger. I’m glad of God’s grace in my life that He really does make all things new…..and that includes me!

    • Beth I’m dealing with the cleaning and uncluttering my home to host again friends over for soup and tea. Loads of clothes from my deceased husband and daughter is out for garage sales, Angel View stores, or dumped. It’s painful. Again my dolls will have their real space. I’m still taking seven things out of my shelves and drawers every time I’m cleaning. 2013 will be our year free of hoarding and stress.

  47. Jen, many commenters have already said this, but we “big mouthed” ladies have to remember that there are many quiet friends out there who wish they could speak up like us!

    I love your blog. My children are very little now, and I keep thinking that I want to be like you when I “grow up”. 🙂

  48. Jen, I am nearly 20 years older than you and I can relate to your message even to this day. So many times I analyze conversations I have had with people and chastise myself inwardly because I am certain what I said was not correctly interpreted, I spoke too much, I was boorish, made a fool of myself, etc. I compared myself to people I thought epitomized the perfect hostess, guest, friend and said inwardly, “Why can’t I be more like_____?” or “When will I learn to speak less?”
    Your tender message is beautifully and eloquently stated. God knows and loves me. Who am I to question or doubt his love. I remember bible school programs my children participated in like, “Be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet” or “God doesn’t make junk” and I tell myself, “Be patient.” Thank you for your beautiful messages. I look forward to each and every one. Peace and love.

  49. Thank you for this message! My 9 year old daughter struggles in this same area. I then struggle with how to reign her in without squelching her beautiful spirit. Teachers often focus on how she can be a distraction, other parents compliment us on her joyfullness and feistiness. The best teachers are those that know how to direct this desire to socialize in a positive way. This post reminds me to be careful, gentle, and prayerful as I guide her along.

  50. Jen, thank you for this post. I have always been too talkative in school and at jobs and I have paid for it. I am now 52 and feel I have nothing else to say. I am growing less talkative around people and I find comfort in being isolated so I don’t have to hear the comments being made. I am so glad you were able to find the right balance and can do God’s work and spread such joy. You are an inspiration. Keep up the good work.

  51. I really understand this and since my childhood name/family name is “Jenny”, I can hear people saying it as well! My outgoing personality is a little askew from the norm as well and I know that people look at me sideways when I talk about unrelated trivial things that in MY mind fit perfectly in with the conversation at hand. My mind is always churning with something to add and it’s hard to sit quietly by and let those “brilliant” contributions stay silent. I’m used to being slightly odd around others now. I kinda wear it as a badge of honor….it proves to me that I’m no cookie cutter, but uniquely made by a creative God. But it still hurts when I hear the backhanded critiques from family, mostly my parents, who will still say things that highlight my unique personality. I know it comes off to them as stubbornness, strong-willed, selfish perhaps. But I’m learning, at nearly 40 years of age, that the only expectations I have to meet are my Heavenly Father’s…and they include resting in His love for me, learning as much as I can about His plan for this life and sharing His love with others whenever I have the chance. It’s actually a pretty sweet life when lived that way 🙂

  52. I am not a “chatty Cathy”, just the opposite. I am quite an introvert of sorts. Growing up I was shy and super quiet–didn’t have many friends. Through the years I have gotten a little more outgoing.

    My thought on this is that God created me & gave me this personality. Just accept me as I am.

  53. This is a very touching post. I was the opposite for many years — painfully quiet and shy. So much so, that it affected everything I did for many years. In elementary school I was tested to be in the gifted classes. When told why I didn’t qualify, the explanation was “truly intellectually gifted children aren’t shy.” (sigh) So all through school I assumed that I just wasn’t that smart. Now a teacher myself, I this isn’t true. God made us exactly how he wants us: chatty, quiet, outgoing, introverted. As one of my favorite songs says, “I can see the fingerprints of God when I look at you.”

  54. Absolutely rich! Your story gave a chance to think about myself and the times I cried alone as the shy child of the bunch and I always prayed that one day I would be free. It took a divorce and many tears for me to open up.

  55. Oh how this touched me – I too was told that I was “too chatty” all the way through school – my 8th grade science teacher called me “Windy”. My mom didn’t think I ever did anything right – even though I made good grades in school and never got “in trouble”, but my brother was the “one” in our family. So, here sits a 60 year old who is afraid to talk to others (except my Husband) because I don’t think I’m “good” enough. Everything I read says to stay away from those that are negative – but I have to take care of my mom now since I am the only one left in our family. It’s hard sometimes to be upbeat and cheerful – but I try, I try. Someday I might find my voice again. We shall see.

  56. Whenever I have asked my husband if he thinks I talk too much (a real chatty-cathy!), he laughs and says, “No honey, you don’t talk too much, you always have something of substance to say. When you talk, people listen and that is what I call ministry.” I totally agree with what you said about God’s gifts and being who you were made to be. It’s taken me 50 years to realize that and be thankful for EVERY gift God has given me to use for His Glory!
    Sarah from Midland, TX.

  57. Childhood labels are tough to come to terms with. Adults don’t realize the power they have. I was “the smart one”. It was meant as a compliment, they were genuinely proud of me always, but my siblings were “the pretty one” and “the outgoing one” and “the fearless one”. When they called me the smart one, I took it to mean “not the pretty one”. I internalized that a lot. And I KNOW my family didn’t mean it that way. This is the first time I’ve ever admitted that….

  58. I’m the introvert and I worry that I am too timid. I wish I could be more outgoing sometimes. I also wonder if being quiet holds me back in a lot of areas. I guess we are never fully happy with ourselves the way we are but I wouldn’t change my life for anything. God made me who I am and I am happy to have grown into the person I am today. My burdens and my blessings strengthened me.