Tag Archives: Introvert

Jesus the Introvert pt.2

Jesus the Introvert pt 2

Matthew 14:13, “Now when Jesus heard this, [the death of his cousin John the Baptist], he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.” Matthew 14: 23, “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,…”

In part 1, I wrote about Jesus’ displays of introversion based on his 40 days of retreating to the desert and him being tempted by Satan while there. This time I will be looking at Matthew 14 where we are shown more of Jesus’ introvert style.

After Jesus is informed about the beheading of John the Baptist, he decides to go off by himself, not to just any place, but to a deserted place on his own. It is easy to say he did this because he feared being next on the chopping block, but I don’t believe this theory is the sole reason for Jesus retreating into isolation. By being alone Jesus is able to process the death of John, pray to God, and gather strength and clarity for deciding what his next steps would be. In the bible, Jesus displays a range of human emotions, he shows compassion, fear, anger, frustration, love, and grief complete with tears. His (possibly) introverted nature leads him to a deserted place to be alone with his thoughts and emotions and most importantly he is finally able to be alone with God.

When people are faced with the loss of someone or something important to them, their friends and acquaintances tend to flock towards them with advice, condolences, questions, and their own emotions regarding the loss. I can imagine the men mourning alongside Jesus, while simultaneously asking him a series of questions: “Jesus, what should we do? Do we organize and fight? Do we leave the area? Where do you think John is in the afterlife? Are you alright?” and on and on.

Jesus knows he needs some time to be away and alone, but somehow others don’t understand that. The crowds found out where he was and went to him. In the midst of his grief and mourning, he chose to acknowledge those who found him and healed them of various illnesses and even made time to perform the miracle of turning 5 loaves of bread into enough pieces to feed over 5,000 people. Again, as in the story of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, he shows us the importance of refueling one’s self and making time to be alone with God. His times of solitude segway into his healing others and performing miracles. If Jesus did not give into these introvert character traits, I’m not sure what his ministry would look like. An emotionally stretched and drained person has less to offer to those he or she serves. Recharging yourself is an important and critical part of being an effective servant of God.

John 6:15 tells us that after feeding thousands of people, the crowd wanted to make Jesus a king against his will. Thankfully Jesus did not get drawn in by such an honour. Jesus knew what his calling and his role was, and it certainly wasn’t to be an earthly king. The end result is that Jesus dismisses the crowds, sends the disciples ahead of him in a boat on their own; and for himself, he chooses to head to the mountains to be alone.

Jesus’ alone time prepares him to say no to the temptations of the world and instead focus on the will of our father God. For introverts, being around too many people for too long not only drains their energy, it also affects their moods, and decision making abilities. Jesus knew how he was wired and he knew what he had to do in order to stay focused on the will of God and not the earthly temptations of people and power.

Read all of Matthew 14, make note of events that happen after Jesus has spent time in solitude.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that the writers mention that Jesus had engaged in intentional times of withdrawing from others.

 

QUESTION: When you have to make important decisions, is your natural tendency to discuss your options and dilemmas with others or be on your own to ponder the situation? Think of some recent examples from this past year.

Why might it be important for extroverts to also spend time alone with God when faced with upsetting news and major decisions?

ACTION: If you are an extrovert, think of some ways that you can spend quality time recharging so you will be well fueled for your calling, your ministry, and your duties.

If you are an introvert, take time to schedule meaningful quiet, alone time so you can be recharged as well. Book the date and time in your planner or electronic calendar. Be intentional.

Peace.

Jesus the Introvert, pt 1.

 

                           40 days alone in the desert, I can handle it!
 “40 days alone in the desert, I can handle it!” 

 

Yes, you read that correctly, Jesus the Introvert. I believe that according to the examples given in the bible about how Jesus lived, he showed signs of being an introvert. Does this mean my fellow introverts are finally free from the social guilt of being an introvert? No. Extrovert types are still more acceptable in our North American culture and everything from homes to cubicle office space is designed to accommodate them.

This is part one of four in my “Jesus the Introvert” series where I will be highlighting some of Jesus’ introvert habits and writing about the significance of these traits as a spiritual discipline that if given a chance, extroverts can find as fulfilling as being in a room full of party people.

What is An Introvert?

There isn’t one “type” of introvert, or extrovert for that matter. There are varying degrees of introvert traits, but they all have some of the following in common:

– gathers energy from being alone, energy is depleted by being around too many people for too long,

-mental and physical energy is drained by over stimulation from being around groups of people in busy work and social environments

-processes thoughts and generates ideas internally

-tends to be more reserved and reflective

-enjoys solitary activities, but is not anti-social

-likes to quietly observe before making decisions or participating

-analytical

Silent Time With God

Prayer and Fasting:

Jesus spent time alone in prayer connecting with God and himself where he utilized that time to rejuvenate his body and mind. In Matthew 4 we read of Jesus’ 40 days alone in the desert. Being alone for 40 days might feel like emotional and social death to an extrovert; but for Jesus, he did what he knew he had to do to prepare for his calling. If Jesus needed to take a social break sometime during this period of prayer and fasting, who knows what might have happened to himself spiritually. Instead of giving in, Jesus passed the test of temptation by resisting Satan with God’s truth straight from scripture. He did this alone. He didn’t need a crowd of people to take up for him. He had no one, it was a battle here on earth between himself and Satan, but don’t be fooled into thinking it wasn’t a spiritual battle. Jesus prepared for and won that battle with solitude, fasting, and prayer. He won that battle for himself and for the entire human race.

Being in community with others is an important part of our spiritual growth, but there is something different about being alone and welcoming God’s spirit to communicate with us.

Being alone gives us time to deepen our relationship and dependency on God. Times of solitude remind us to be quiet and focus on the promises of God and the lessons He wants to communicate to us. God has messages that are meant to be delivered to you in solitude. These are messages that can only come to us when we are alone in silence with a receptive heart and mind. It is also important to not be in a hurry to tell others what God has been laying on your heart. An extrovert will want to quickly run and tell somebody or everybody what has been revealed to him during quiet times with God, but an introvert knows to be still and ponder the message. Whatever is revealed to you during your time of prayer doesn’t always have to be shared with others. If God leads you to share it with others, then do so, if He doesn’t, then it is alright to keep it to yourself.

Let’s not forget about another introvert in Jesus’ family, his mother Mary.

In Luke 1:29 Mary is said to have been “…much perplexed by his (the angel’s) words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” After the post-natal visit and prophetic words from a group of shepherds in Luke 2:19 Mary, “treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” It’s not a coincidence that the bible writers chose to make note of Mary’s habit of pondering what had to have been confusing, frightening, and odd news.

In a society that favours extroverts, let’s not forget to embrace and value introvert traits. We can develop an appreciation for introvert based spiritual disciplines by following the ways of Jesus, and we can do that by starting with prayer and fasting.

QUESTION:

Do you spend more time praying in groups or praying by yourself?

Does your church or place of community gathering place more of an emphasis on introvert or extrovert expressions of faith and spiritual disciplines?

What are some of the introvert and extrovert expressions of faith practiced in your Christian community?

Do you lean more towards introvert or extrovert expressions of faith?

 

ACTION:

Here’s a challenge for you. This week, after your time of prayer see if you can spend at least 5 minutes in quiet solitude, saying nothing, and doing nothing except welcoming the presence of the Holy Spirit. It might sound strange if you are not used to doing this, but I can’t stress the important of sitting in silence by yourself, welcoming the Holy Spirit. We are used to rattling off prayers to God, but it is more difficult to then sit in silence afterwards. You can do this sitting on the floor, lying on the floor, sitting in a chair, standing, but whatever you choose you need to be able to be still in that position for 5 minutes.

 

May the presence of His Holy Spirit bring you peace and wisdom.

 

 

The Blessing of: Introvert Faith

Thank You!
Thank You!

One Word 365

MyOneWord.org

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.

Yes... we exist :)
Yes… we exist 🙂

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.

introvert recharge

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.

QUESTIONS: 

  • 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?

APPLICATION:

  • 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.

 

There's a spectrum
There’s a spectrum