I get it. I’m one of you. I need my time alone. I have to work at being social…and I’m better at being friends with a couple of people rather than lots. I enjoy studying for sermons, and the growth in people as the result, but I don’t particularly enjoy delivering them.
So I’m one of you. But I have a caution.
I’ve read all the blogs and the articles that introverts post insisting that everyone understand them. I’ve resonated with many of those lists. But I can’t help but think that there might be a problem with this sudden onslaught of “Understand Me” lists and blog posts by introverts.
It is true that we have to think through our conversations before having them. It is true that our alone time is important for us to function well. We’ll never be flamboyant like extroverts or have as easy of a time in getting to know new people. Your life of faith may be slower, quieter, and more solitary. You are probably more calm, thoughtful, and reflective and you may feel invisible to others if they are not looking or listening. You might even like it when you are.
But none of that is an excuse for selfishness.
You see, introverts and extroverts both have a sin nature. In all our insistence on being understood, could it be that God, instead, wants us to be more focused on loving and understanding others, and obeying him in our relationships, just like everyone else? How that plays out may be different from extroverts. But intentionally getting involved in other people’s lives in order to bring them to Christ or to help them grow is not a call to certain personality types. That’s for all of us.
Think about it. If we use our personalities to excuse our unwillingness to obey Scripture when it’s uncomfortable for us, we’re essentially blaming God, who made us that way.
It might be uncomfortable for you to start conversations with people you do not know. But God wants you to do it anyway. It might be harder for you to get to know the stranger sitting beside you. I’ve often wished I could launch into conversations with people I don’t know with the ease of people like Pastor Brian. But I have learned that love demands that I reach out to others anyway and be more concerned with meeting their needs than my own. I’ve also learned that making myself uncomfortable helps me to grow.
It could be that extroverts may tend to sin by wanting to draw attention to themselves. That might be their form of pride. But it could also be that introverts tend to sin by wanting to hide within themselves. That might be our form of pride.
As introverts, we should not try to be like extroverts. And we shouldn’t expect extroverts to be more like us. We can appreciate and enjoy our differences.
As long as we love God, and by loving him, step outside of our comfort zones to love others.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10