Home > Christianity, Church > I’m An Introvert And I’m Not Weird

I’m An Introvert And I’m Not Weird

When I first really started getting into this “church” thing I began to go out on visitation.  I realized that this was what “real” Christians did.  Those fellow believers who were “next level” would meet every Tuesday night.  What I realized was that if I wanted to be one “those” kind of Christians, I would have to do the same.

We would look at maps or visitors cards to determine who we would go where.  I normally rode along with an associate pastor.  We would go knock on someone’s door and talk to them about their visit to the church.  Normally, I would sit over there by myself and wouldn’t say anything.  Afterwards, I would wonder when this would get easier and when I would feel comfortable doing the talking.

You see, I hated every minute of it.

Later on, in other various churches, I would feel the need, sometimes feel pressured, to continue with visitation.  The feeling of dread never went away.  I always felt awkward. I never knew what to say.  I still wondered when it was going to become easy for me like it was for the others I would go with.

I still hated every minute of it.

Why is that?

One of the things I realized is that I am an introverted Christian.  Just like I’m introverted at work, I’m introverted at church and in church activities.  What does that mean, though, because evidently becoming a new creature in Christ doesn’t necessarily mean your introversion goes away.

It means that I don’t get any energy from expressing myself outwardly.  Going and knocking on someone’s door who I don’t know  for me is like how many people view going to the dentist.  In fact, I would rather go to the dentist.  What amazes me when I look back are the platitudes that would be said to me about my aversion to visitation when I would say how much I hated it.

Hang in there, it will get easier.  Nope, never did.

Just trust in the Lord and say what’s on your mind.  So, nothing, because my mind always went blank.

You can do all things through Christ.  Thanks for beating me up with some scripture there.  Not sure Paul was talking about church visitation though.

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe those things.  I just don’t think they are simply name them-claim them type of scriptures and sayings.  In fact, the way many people so casually flip them out makes me a bit tense.

Putting me, and many others, in these situations stresses us out and drains our energy.  We are totally wiped out after going through these situations.

Some would wonder what is wrong with us.

We’re introverts, that’s what.

Few people believe that I am an introvert.  They see me talk to people and engage with others.  I love to proclaim the gospel in a campground ministry.  I love to teach and lead small groups.  And yes, I’m an introvert.

That does not mean I’m shy.  It just means that I gain my energy when I withdraw and focus inward.  What gives me great energy?  Reading a great book.  Writing a blog post.  Watching a good movie or TV show.

What wears me out?  Big crowds.  Parties. Large fellowships.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy them.  I just don’t enjoy them on a regular basis.  I literally hate cold calling anyone.  For eleven years I have been conducting the campground ministry.  The part I dread?  Passing out fliers where I have to engage people I don’t know and invite them to the service.  I get anxious every time.

So, I don’t really know what my point is, except that I want to bring understanding to as many folks as possible.  Introverts aren’t weird.  We are just different than extroverts.  We don’t gain energy from the same things as extroverts, which in turn makes us dislike and avoid some things that extroverts like.  It’s all cool, though.  We’re both God’s children.

I’m an introvert and I’m not weird.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?  How does that affect your church life?

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  1. September 12, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I’m an extreme extrovert and you know what? I NEVER liked doing visitation like that. I despised it. Maybe that is why I never initiated it in any church I was leading. I would visit people by setting up an appointment, but never could pressure anyone. I’m an extrovert and I’m not weird either.

    • September 13, 2013 at 5:35 am

      I like that you set an appointment. I think I could handle that kind of visitation. I also wouldn’t mind visiting folks in the hospital.

  2. Arny Sanchez
    September 12, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Man…I could swear you were talking about me. My wife is the complete opposite…i’m going out on a limb here and guess your wife is the opposite of you too.
    My wife can make friends at the freaking bank line…or grocery line. She can talk to people soooo easily…. I can’t…it takes a lot of energy for me to do anything remotely like that…
    I’m a really reserved guy…I have to get to know you over a long period of time…
    BUT I do love to share the gospel as well…if it wasn’t for me call to do so…I would probably never go out or do anything but stay home…
    I am a wreck right before speaking or leading worship. Big or small groups doesn’t matter. I’m a huge wreck…even thrown up in some cases…
    But as soon as I play and sing the first note…or start speaking…it’s like I can feel the Holy Spirit calm my whole body…but before that….forget about it.
    AFTERwards…I feel soooo empty…and “drained” as you said…

    • September 13, 2013 at 5:37 am

      I think a lot of folks equate introvert with shy. It doesn’t mean we’re shy. In fact, I can get pretty energetic in certain situations. But I have to recharge in a totally different way.

  3. September 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

    According to my last MBTI (Myers-Briggs Temperment Index), I am border-line between both with a slight leaning towards being an Extrovert. I think this is one of the reasons I’m a huge proponent of small groups and other connection ministries.

    • September 13, 2013 at 5:39 am

      Jon, I think in the Myers-Briggs I am a INFP. I think. But I am not an extreme introvert. I found out last week that a guy who I thought was a huge extrovert is actually a huge introvert. Interesting how we can be wrong on these things.

  4. September 12, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Like Jon, I’m somewhere in the middle. Love large groups and interacting but also enjoy alone time. You are not weird, my friend.

    • September 13, 2013 at 5:40 am

      Rob, at least this doesn’t make me weird. Not going to say something else doesn’t make me weird. 🙂

  5. September 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I’m an introvert who relies on God to help me overcome it in order to minister to others. I haven’t read it yet, but apparently Jared C. Wilson’s book The Pastor’s Justification deals with this fairly well.

    • September 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      I like old J.C. Wilson. I don’t see it as something to overcome. It is just something that is. It would be like trying to be left handed. It doesn’t mean I don’t like people or even visiting people. I just have to do it within the context or it will wear me out. And sometimes I just have to be worn out.

  6. September 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    As I was reading this, I kept thinking about what you said to me about us all being in ministry. Visitation would not be best suited for my personality type, either. I think you hit it right on the head, that we all minister to others right here from inside our own skins, and we just have to do what God made us best to do. I think it’s wrong to pressure people into visitation – maybe God made them to minister in a different way!

    I think of myself as an introvert more. The older I get, the more large crowds just sap my energy. But I can talk to the person in line with me just like I’ve known them forever. But all of that is sometimes. Sometimes I can, some days or moments I just don’t have it in me to blossom out. If that makes sense.

    • September 13, 2013 at 5:34 am

      Exactly, Michelle. We wouldn’t expect an eye to minister like an ear. Or vice versa. And what you said totally makes sense.

  7. September 14, 2013 at 12:22 am

    I’m on the Introvert/Extrovert cusp (INFP) – and it works well for me that I know that. I can get up on stage at church and play my heart out, get people involved – but don’t ask me to “cold call” total strangers in between services, as I need that time to recharge. Serving is draining – a fact that a few (extremely extroverted) pastors I know don’t get. After services are over? Let’s talk.

    Visitation? While it isn’t exactly my thing, I’ll go visit someone in the hospital or hospice – not because someone guilts me with scripture – because I would want someone to visit me. I’ve been there; when no one from your church family comes to see you, it gets pretty lonesome.

    • September 17, 2013 at 6:15 am

      That’s the kind of visitation I can handle, Rick.

  8. September 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Here’s the funny thing, I don’t really know what I am any more! For sure 15-20 years ago I was an introvert, now I regularly get up in front of hundreds of people and speak but at times I still feel like I’m an introvert. I think God changes you along the way.

    • September 17, 2013 at 6:14 am

      Caleb, I disagree with you slightly, but not enough to quibble too much about. My understanding of introverts/extroverts is in what energizes us. I don’t think that changes much. I’ e learned to speak in front of people and even enjoy it. And I get energized during the process. But I’m wiped out when I’m done. But if God wanted to change me, He could.

      • September 17, 2013 at 6:30 am

        Interesting, observation. In general I’d say you’re probably right, some people are just more naturally introverted or extroverted but we can all learn to be a little bit more of what we are not.

        Concerning being wiped out after public speaking, I’d say that has less to do with being and introvert and more to do with the task it’s self. In my experience extroverts are also wiped out after public speaking. In fact some of the most extroverted people I know tell me they need time away from people after big public speaking events.

  1. September 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm

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