Honestly, I would rather be alone. I love my wife and kids and time with them fills me up emotionally. All other people are draining. You need to understand that I am an introvert by nature. I prefer to be alone and live in the quiet shadows of life beyond the public eye. This might work for some people but not for me, because God called me to preach. I didn’t really choose this life, instead God gave me a gift of public speaking and I am trying to use it for Him. This has made my life a constant contradiction of personality and vocation.
Here are some of the realities of my life:
1. Being with people exhausts me. Last week we had Vacation Bible School that ended with a full Church on Sunday and a party after Church. Then I had a couple of meetings to start this week. I have been with people for the last 9 days and I am exhausted. People wear me out rather than fill up my soul.
2. I would rather avoid people. Sunday evening I had a break in my schedule from Church and I slipped away to quietly metal detect by myself. Within a few minutes I looked up and a neighbor was standing there and wanted to talk. I almost cried. I see people in town and find myself avoiding them, not because they are bad people, but because I naturally don’t want to connect with people. People misunderstand my heart and my nature.
3. People issues are my biggest criticism. Through the years I have had people praise my preaching and teaching but I have never had one person compliment my people skills. I struggle to talk to people, I hate going to the hospital because I know it will lead to hours of conversation and I would rather not have people in my home. It is not that I don’t like you rather it is more about my difficulty with people.
4. My personality is a source of marriage conflict. My wife wants to have people in our home. She enjoys talking to people and being outgoing. She says what needs to be said when I hide in the other room. As a result people will talk to her about issues instead of talking to me. We disagree with how to handle situations that involve people. We have learned to handle most of my issues but it is still a source of tension.
5. I would rather serve in the background than out front. I enjoy taking out the trash during an activity because no one ever wants to join me. I like to hang in the back and get involved in whatever needs to be done as a way to avoid people. I have to continually tell myself that I need to step out and talk to people.
6. Deep Relationships are difficult for me. As an introvert I long for only a couple of deep relationships. Those are hard to come by for me. I am extremely slow to open up my life and invite people to connect with me. Through the years I have only a couple of close friends that really knew and loved me. As a side note, I find this to be true of all introverts, especially males.
I do not tell you these things to get your pity. I tell you these so that you will know your preacher better. Maybe it will explain a little bit about me and answer some of your questions. This is how God wired me up and I have spent my life trying to deal with it in the best way I possibly can. I find that most of my struggles are shared by other people who are introverts and maybe this will help you to understand them.
God has been gracious to me and I have had some success as a preacher but I give full credit to God. I would not be doing this if it was not for Him.