Introverts are often misunderstood. It is usually not made clear because an introvert would have to explain it. I personally have found it hard to write about. Here goes in an attempt to encourage the introverted Christian, and maybe inform the extrovert.
First, I want to say there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. God made all of His children with different personalities and temperaments. We all glorify God in different ways. He is revealed in a greater way, than if we were all one personality type. Our personalities were given by God, and are used for Him.
Introversion is often mistaken for shyness. Though introversion can be accompanied by shyness, it is not the same thing. A classic introvert is fueled and refreshed by low stimulating environments.
I am personally an introvert. I like to get away and read, walk, nap or watch something alone. Being in a group of people takes energy from me.
Many people think introverts are anti-social. This is not normally the case. We like people. We are just not energized by them. In contrast, extroverts are the opposite. They find time alone less energizing.
A true extrovert is energized by being around people. They thrive in crowds. Every human needs rest, including extroverts. However, too much time alone can drain them and make them bored.
For the introvert, you might feel guilty. I have, and still do at times! It seems like most of my friend are extroverted. There is always something going on.
There can be either an inward or outward pressure to attend every get-together. Usually, it is just guilt for me- NOT outward pressure from my friends. They understand me! If you are feeling pressured by people around you, talking with them may be helpful.
I wore myself out trying to do everything all my other friends were doing. I thought that was the right thing to do. I felt guilt so much that it added to my exhaustion! I didn’t give myself near enough time to recover and re-energize alone. "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
There is no reason to feel guilty. There is no ‘right’ personality. Introverts are encouraged by extroverts. We need that push out of our comfort zone sometimes. Still, accept this part of you! God made you this way, and it is perfectly fine to need alone time more often than others.
Rest is an essential need for you! I am a driven introvert. I can push my way into zombie mode really quickly...and then even further. My pastor once said we need to know ourselves. "Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart." Psalm 26:2
We should understand our temperaments, ways of thinking, common pit falls etc. Know your limits! When you have hit it, stop and rest. You will be more productive and helpful when you are charged up.
This recovery might even need to be planned. I was working full time and enrolled in seminary for biblical counseling. I also wanted a social life. I had to learn how to schedule in introvert time. In those times I could energize myself and then continue on. I encourage you to try this. If it’s not planned, it’s probably not going to happen.
Now, this will seem hard, but it is necessary. As introverts, we can become too comfortable in our happy place. We can turn an effective recharge time into isolation. This is not good! Isolation is where the enemy loves to dwell. Believers need fellowship!
"Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." Hebrew 10:25
There is a thin line between recharging and hiding. You will have to go to God and ask Him to help you overcome shyness. Shyness is insecurity at the root. I wrote a post about finding our all in God. This post may be helpful. Click below to read.
Examine your heart to see what exactly is going on in there. Be honest, though it may be painful. In the end, you want to honor and love God. He has not called you into isolation. He has called you to serve Him and edify His body.
The gospel is that we are saved by grace. Christ came to earth and lived a perfect life. He was innocent and chose to die a sinner’s death for us. He took our sins onto His shoulders. He offers eternal life for those who would repent and believe.
You may be asking, what does this have to do with my personality type? God has made us a part of His body. Each member has a function.
"For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function," Romans 12:4
Yes, even you! God has given you a function in His body. You have a purpose and your personality is a part of it. God uses the introvert, extrovert, and those in between.
You are just as important as every other member of God’s body. We are all God’s hands and feet on this earth. You will fulfill what the extrovert can't!
Your part is not small. It is ordained by God. Guard yourself against hiding. Participate in for the Kingdom of God.
Christian’s are to love God. How can we love God and not His body? We can’t. "If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen." 1 John 4:20
When we introverts learn how to use our personality for the glory of God, we will have pleased Him. Don’t feel guilty for the way He created you. He created you fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:14).
Take times to recover. The struggle is real, I know!! I had to recover today from being around so many people yesterday. That was completely okay. You really need to rest in order to serve God effectively with this personality type. However, be watchful.
The enemy doesn’t want our Lord to be glorified. He is sneaky and crafty. If he can get you to be insecure enough to completely isolate, he can hit you with so many lies and temptations. He will know you don’t have the body to encourage you.
Introverts, be encouraged. Extroverts, we love you and need you! I hope you have been helped in understanding your introverted sisters and brothers in Christ. Here is another great article by 'The Gospel Coalition,' titled "4 Lies About Introversion." If you would like to read it, click Here
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