There is something incredibly powerful about being in community. Its encouraging, enlightening, and empowering. If you are slightly introverted like myself, it is also exhausting. Which is why I have learned the value of taking a step back.
Taking a step back from a stressful situation can reintroduce the big picture into your stream of consciousness.
Taking a step back from your inner turmoil can help you reprioritize.
Taking a step back from the constantly streaming to-do list, post-it notes, deadlines, and responsibilities can help you be human.
Tonight, taking a step back meant sitting in the chapel garden and gazing at underlit leaves that seemed to shine against the pitch black night. Instead of standing shoulder to shoulder in a hot, packed, chapel, I sat alone on a bench and closed my eyes and felt the cool of stillness. In no way am I insinuating that I felt ostracized from worship or this beneficial gathering.
Sometimes, there is greater beauty in the observance than the participation. To be still for a few minutes and hear at least a hundred of my classmates sing that "naught be all else to me save what thou art" was moving to say the least. There is nothing wrong with group worship and it is an amazing thing. Yet sometimes, it makes it too easy for me to focus on me. My worship, my experience, my catharsis. Taking a step back allows me to realign.
I want to walk around seeing the value in everything: every person, experience, and situation instead of walking around only focusing on what will validate me.