My One Word for 2014: Blessing
Yeah, for Introverts!
In dealing with the Evangelical Christian community, I’ve had to let people know that I am an introvert and I don’t need to change. If the church can’t find a way to include those of us who have introvert personalities then I don’t feel the need to change who I am in order to fit into Christian church culture. Jesus, as described in the Gospels, is an introvert. If he didn’t feel the need to change, then I take that as a sign that being an introvert is alright with God.
Being an introvert isn’t a sin or a character flaw. Instead of pressuring those who need to have alone time in order to refuel; respect them enough to let them be who they are and literally, leave them alone when they want to be away from the noise and the crowds.
Here are a few ways to let Introverts be at peace Introverting:
-Don’t force them to pray out loud. A silent prayer is equally as effective as a spoken one.
-In small groups they might not always answer right away. There are times when they prefer to ponder questions and answers internally.
-If you ask, “How are you?” and they answer “Fine.”, it’s alright. If they choose not to tell a group of people how they are doing, don’t take it personally, forcing a lengthier answer only makes an Introvert uncomfortable.
-For some introverts, stranger evangelism is extremely uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to share the “good news”; what it means is that they are more authentic and relational doing so with people that they connect with. For introverts, evangelism often requires a more personal method.
-Journaling is a form of quiet time that a lot of introverts engage in. Pen and paper is a style of meditation where their deepest thoughts and reflections are written. Part of the joy in journaling is that anywhere you are becomes sacred space as you shut out the world and spend time with God.
-Don’t expect Introverts to have a definite answer to some of the most pressing questions of faith. Because introverts tend to be deep thinkers, they don’t always like to have answers to spiritual questions. It isn’t their goal to have the mysteries of the faith answered. They find solace in not having to know the answer to every question humankind has posed to God.
Whether extrovert or introvert, it’s important to remember that God has made us all with different personality types. One type is not better or worse than the other, they are all simply different. Our relationship with God is going to look different for each of us because our personality types influence how we view, worship, and communicate with God. We worship one who has enough love to accept us and see the good in each personality type. God doesn’t want us to develop the negative aspects of our temperament, so therefore His Spirit is with us to help develop the healthy personality traits which lead to a more Christ-like character.
- Are you an extrovert or an introvert? (This means you lean more towards one side of the extrovert-introvert scale than the other.)
- How do you react towards introverting introverts? (Do you take it personally when they turn down your invites? Do you expect them to always share what’s on their mind? Do you try to force them to be more extroverted?)
- Have you been able to recognize the spiritual gifts, talents and contributions that Introverts contribute to the Christian community?
- If you have a difficult time understanding Introverts, ask God to help you be more aware of the traits of other personality types. Not for the purpose of changing them or judging them, but instead, for the purpose of loving them as they are and seeing their value.
- If you struggle with accepting your personality type, ask God to help you be at peace with the temperament you were born with. If the negative traits of your personality type are causing trouble in your walk of faith and in relationships with others; ask God to help you be aware of the issues and make changes that will develop the positive aspects of your temperament.