Thursday, February 23, 2017

On Being Introverted

You might be an introvert if


  • Small talk makes you crazy, you just want to have a meaningful conversation, but it's not always easy to know how to start it.
  • You can handle a whole weekend or even week of people if you know it's coming and you know you will have some alone time afterwards.
  • Your planned alone time gets interrupted by well-meaning but clueless friends and you think it might send you over the edge.
  • You make plans to be with friends but the main emotion you feel when they cancel is relief.
  • You have continuous "practice" conversations in your head 99% of which will never take place.
  • You'd rather give a well planned speech to 100 people than have to start a one-on-one conversation with a stranger or acquaintance.
  • You call someone and root for voicemail to pick up before a live person does.
  • You express your thoughts in a blog for all the world to see because when you are writing you can think them out ahead of time.
  • You are me.
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Yes, I admit it. I am an introvert.

But I'm also upset at how so many people use introvertedness to be selfish.

Before I step onto my soap box, I want to go on record saying that I do understand that there are different personalities and different levels of introversion and we can't all do or be the same. But, as followers of Christ, we have some responsibilities to God, most of which revolve around dealing with people. Maybe the people who in the past retreated to monasteries to pray and meditate were actually the introverts of their time. That gave them a ministry without having to deal with [many] people. But that's not an option, or even a desire, for many today. God has called us to be with and help other people. 

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If you do a search for the "one another" passages in the the New Testament you will discover that we are to be devoted to, love, live in harmony with, honor, accept, instruct, and greet one another. And that's just in the book of Romans. God expects us to be involved in the lives of others stimulating "each other to love and good deeds." That doesn't involve binge watching Netflix at home, or spending all your free time reading books or surfing the Internet. 

Believe me, I like being alone as much as any Introvert. Now that I don't have any children at home, I  sometimes wonder how I did it. Four kids always clamoring for my attention in addition to a husband who worked from home and a missionary ministry that involved, well, people. Lots of people. 

This past Christmas I figured it out. I love those four kids. And I love those three in-law kids. And I love those six grandkids. So when I had lots of them around continuously over a six week period, it was great! I love them. I love watching them interact and love each other and each other's kids. I love having them around my table again. I love seeing them pitch in with meal preps and clean up. I like to think that I had something to do with that maturity and love they show now. We had a great holiday season! Sure, when they all left and I steamed cleaned all my carpets from kid messes with a borrowed carpet cleaner I enjoyed the time alone, but I also cried.


And that's how we can be involved in people's lives. We love them. 

When I was a teenager I went on a missions trip and one of the leaders said, "If you want to be a missionary you have to love three things: God and His Word, people, and hard work." I remember thinking, "I've got one." So I gave up wanting to be a missionary. NO! I began to ask God to help me love people. I still have a long way to go to love them like He does, but I do love them and love to encourage them and see them grow in their Christian walk. 

(Confession: I didn't pray to like hard work. I didn't want to like hard work. But I've even learned to enjoy that. Or at least I like the results.)

No matter what personality you are, God expects you to get into the lives of other people to tell them about Him. An extrovert doesn't always have to be the life of the party keeping everyone on the edge of their seats, sometimes he can have a quiet meaningful conversation with one other person. And an introvert doesn't have to always sit in a corner, she can learn to minister to others in ways that fit her talents and personality.

How will you reach out to someone for God today?






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10 comments:

  1. So much of this made me smile and as a fellow introvert I can relate. I enjoy being around others and giving my heart, but then look forward to some downtime afterwards -- or I'd just go stir crazy! Lol. I'm grateful that we can celebrate the beauty of all personalities rather than making anyone feel less than.

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    1. Like I said, everyone is different, but God has plans to use us all.

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  2. This is such a well-timed post for me, Sharon! (I suspect God had something to do with that. ;-) ) As an introvert myself, I was just struggling with my pastor's sermon on Sunday about how we need to love the people in our church body, and I admit that's sometimes a struggle for me! A wise counselor suggested that sometimes you have to start with praying that God will enable you to WANT to love people before you can even get to praying that he will enable you TO love them. Sadly, I think that's where I'm at. But that at least puts me in the wonderful position of being fully aware that only by God's power am I able to even want to love others, and then only by His power can I do so. I've also been frustrated by the other aspect you touched on--that some introverts use their personality type as an excuse to avoid relationships or never work at them. In my fallen flesh, I'd love to do that! It was a big moment in my life when God showed me through study of the Word that we are ALL designed for and commanded to be in relationships. Even us introverts. Thanks for this post!

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    1. Jerusha you got what I meant! Thanks for letting me know. I've prayed the prayer that God would help me "want to" do whatever is the thing I know I should, but don't even want to yet. God answers it! If you are there, that's a good place to be, you are willing to want what God has for you.

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  3. Very convicting today!! I have often used my introversion as an excuse. At other times, God has used me to minister to just one person at a time and I've missed how this too is hospitality. Just because I don't have huge groups of people over, doesn't mean God isn't using me in a slightly more quiet way. Thanks for giving me so much to think about!

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    1. And I know people who hate the idea of one on one, but love a lively group. We all can minister and be ministered to differently. For me, hospitality is a big part of my ability to minister; on my own "turf" I'm comfortable. I'm thankful God is using you.

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  4. I. Love. This. I am the most introverted homebody introvert I've ever met, but I'm also a great sinner redeemed by a great Savior. I clicked over to your link from #ThisIsHowWeRoll so fast, it almost burned up my mouse. ;) You have beautifully articulated one of my ongoing life projects: to balance what I feel and want with what God feels and wants. If I only do what I can and want to in my own strength, what is Jesus for? In Him, I CAN do what I can't, be what I'm not, and feel what I don't! Thank you for sharing your words and heart!

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    1. You are welcome. I also believe God made us as we are for a reason. There are things we can do and people we can reach that an extrovert could not. We need to find what those are.

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  5. This is a great challenge and encouragement for introverts! I am becoming more and more introverted and worn out by relationships than I used to be and I need to remember the motivation of loving God and others as we serve instead of retreating to something more natural and easy.

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  6. I love this and I get it, including the part about not praying to love hard work but appreciating the results! Thanks for sharing at the Healthy Living Link Party!
    Blessings, Leigh

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