Thursday, October 3, 2013

Introverts, Honor God With Your Personality

By Jill Daniels
How would you define an introverted person? 
I've heard things such as someone being shy, depressed, anti-social, selfish, etc. So, before I start talking about introverts, let’s get a correct definition and view of what an introvert is--just so we are on the same playing field.

In an article titled “Introvert”, Carol Bainbridge gives an interesting definition:

“Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert!...Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.

Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking and exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to ‘recharge.’”

I would consider myself a person who is introverted. Although I enjoy social situations, I tend to retreat afterwards to refresh by myself. It is harder for me to make friends when I do not know anyone at all because small talk and getting to know people takes a lot of energy out of me. 

Even though I know I do not need to do things to win God’s favor, at times I feel as if I am not doing enough, especially in the church. I feel as if my personality is not allowing me to be used as much as an extrovert might be used. 

I know this is a lie. God made me an introvert, and guess what? He made me in His image. So that must mean that at least part of God is introverted and that He is well pleased with the creation he has made.

This truth has been popping up all around me recently. I was given a book to borrow called “Introverts in the Church” by Adam McHugh (which I’m sure I’ll be writing about soon!). I also have been reading a lot about how Jesus lived when he was here on earth.

I am learning that God not only made me an introvert but he wants me to use that personality in a way that honors Him! Let me show you what I mean.

In the past couple days of the Bible study I am going through, I have noticed three separate times Jesus retreating to be alone to pray to God:

“And when it was day, he departed and went in to a desolate place.” (Luke 4:42)
“But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke 5:16)
“In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)

Jesus, Himself, had time alone. He would take time to rest and spend time with God. Even though in these verses it talks about him spending time with God, we can also assume that it was a time of rest. This you can see when Jesus told his disciples to rest:

“The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’” (Mark 6:30-31)

The disciples had just been given the authority to do things in Jesus' name. Can you imagine their excitement as they came back to share with Jesus what they did in His name? Jesus listened--and then told them to rest. 

I tend to think that Jesus and his disciples were all extroverted because of how often they were in huge crowds of people. I also think those same thoughts about most pastors and leaders in the church. Then I think about how much introverts would be missing out if we all thought this way.

God has made me (and maybe you!) an introvert to further His Kingdom. I am not yet sure how being an introvert does that better than me not being an introvert, but I am going to step out in faith to serve Him anyway.

It may look different for introverts to serve in the church, but we must be reminded that Jesus took time to rest as well as the disciples. Let’s work together to find out how to work in the church better because of the personality that God has given us. 

God, I just want to thank You for the personality that You have given me. I do know that I have things to work on and I’m not perfect, but I want to acknowledge that You made me in Your image. I pray that You would help me to embrace the personality that You have given me, instead of looking at pieces and thinking that parts are not as good as others. Help me to see how I can better serve You because of the way You have made me. I love You so much! 

Amen.

Ask the Lord today how He would use you for the furthering of the gospel. Praise Him for being fearfully and wonderfully made!
[This post first appeared on Radical Everyday Living, September 30, 2013.]

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