In yesterday’s post, I briefly mentioned introversion. I want to clarify that being an introvert is not a bad thing. For introverts like me, it is simply part of how God created us – like having brown eyes or blue eyes. The same goes for extroverts, for that matter.
I once had an extremely extroverted manager at work who seemed to view my introversion as a kind of sickness, but I completely disagree with that view. Oddly enough, we actually worked well together because our polar opposite personality types allowed us to fill the gaps of the other.
I don’t know if there are truly more extroverts in this world or if it just seems that way because they have the loudest voices. I think some natural introverts act in an extroverted fashion as their coping mechanisms, so that would also tend to increase the apparent number.
What exactly is an introvert anyway?
Despite perceptions to the contrary, we generally don’t want to lock ourselves permanently away from society in a log cabin in the mountains somewhere to write poetry or whatever – though there may be times where we feel like doing just that.
We don’t hate people. No more than any other group unfortunately does, anyway.
We don’t think we’re better than others are, though our quiet tendencies can sometimes be misinterpreted as aloofness.
We don’t feel the need to fill every moment of silence with talk, especially small talk. There is such a thing as comfortable silence. That is one way God manifests His presence among two or more people. It is hard to hear Him (or anyone) if you are always talking. The best way to listen is by being quiet.
The clearest explanation I have heard about introversion and extroversion went something like this:
- An extrovert’s energy is drained by being alone. To recharge, she or he must be around people.
- An introvert’s energy is drained by being around people. To recharge, she or he must be alone.
- Both extroverts and introverts can flex as needed to various situations.
As an introvert, I am not always able to be alone when I need to recharge. For example, in the middle of a busy workday. If I see those situations coming, I try to mentally prepare myself for them. Essentially, I try to get an extra charge so that my energy (and tolerance) lasts a little longer. Beforehand, I do a lot of praying, reading of scripture, or listening to praise music.
In the middle of the situation, I also have similar mechanisms to get mini-charges until I can be alone. It only takes a few seconds to say a quick prayer in your head: “Thank You, Jesus” or even “Help me, Jesus” or one of my favorites, “Please make them stop talking, Jesus.”
You can also keep a favorite verse somewhere you can easily see it – on your phone or a notepad, for instance. If you can’t do that, then memorize one and repeat it in your head.
When JC was helping me overcome the anxiety that used to control nearly every facet of my life, she suggested I repeat “Be still and know that I am God!” in my head as soon as I began to feel anxious (from Psalm 46:10). This often calmed me.
Again, this is not to say introversion needs to be overcome, like anxiety. Far from it. Introversion can actually be a superpower when used wisely. However, introverts do have to learn to function around people without letting their batteries go completely dead.
So, find a verse or two that speaks to you and spiritually charges you, and try using them in the midst of a draining situation. Here are a few potential examples:
“Those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”
“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.”
“Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.”
1 Chronicles 16:11
“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3:17
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Finally, here is an external article about coping with being an introvert in an extroverted world that I recommend.
May Jesus bless you. Thank you for reading.