An Open Letter to Introverts in the Church
I know you’re exhausted. That day of worship service, Sunday School, service project and small group has left you drained.
And you feel needy. And misunderstood. Or is it just me?
People think you’re shy. Or weird. Or selfish. Or that you hate people.
The truth is, you may not be the least bit shy, we’re all a little weird, wanting alone time isn’t selfish and you love people deeply (you simply need to recharge by yourself).
But you find yourself hiding the desire to hide, the need to be alone. You feel obligated to explain why the thought of another church activity is overwhelming. You make up socially acceptable, godly sounding excuses when the truth is you just can’t handle any more interaction: God didn’t make you the Energizer Christian.
You crave deep friendship but sometimes feel awkward during shake-everybody’s-hand time on Sunday morning. You wonder what people would think if you told them that sometimes the thought of a Sunday school party followed up with a birthday party for your child’s friend makes you want to run home, put on your pjs and hide under your covers.
I get it introvert, I really do. And you’re not alone. There are many of us out here – we’ve just gotten good at plastering on smiles and pretending that we too find navigating multiple conversations with practical strangers effortless when the truth is we can barely manage to clap during a worship song.
We pretend because we’re afraid if we are who God made us to be, we’ll be rejected.
But the truth, oh introverted one? Your desire to be on the outskirts of the party, allows you to connect with the one who feels left out. Your need for alone time makes it natural for you to study, to reflect, to grow closer to our Savior. Your evangelism style may not move you to knock on doors but when your coworker who you’ve faithfully and quietly befriended goes through a crisis, she’ll know where to turn. And your willingness to simply be who you are helps keep other introverts from rejecting our (generally) extraverted church culture.
And I know you might wish you were a more of a jump-up-and-down-in-excitement kind of Christian. Or that you had the endless energy to go from activity to activity; that your limits were less restricting.
But let’s not wish for that. Let’s be happy for our extraverted partners in the Gospel but deeply satisfied with how God made us.
Where do you fall on the introvert/extravert continuum? How does that affect your church life?