It didn’t take long for a couple of people to contact me about my blog post on being an introvert from yesterday. These people all had the same thing to say, “That describes me,” or “That describes someone I know.”
The world is full of introverts and yet I believe God called us all to live in community. He commands us to love our neighbor and not ignore them. Being a Christian is not about my relationship to God alone, but also my relationship to other people. I clearly understand that to follow Jesus puts me in connection with all others who are following Jesus.
With that said, here is how I am trying to overcome my introvert ways:
1. I continually remind myself that I have to connect to other people. When I am standing quietly in the back of the crowd and not interacting with other people I have to purposely step out and talk. If God wants me to care for other people then I have to follow his will and connect to other people. I have to purposely make a decision to get out of my own head.
2. Focus on one or two people and not the whole group. I do not have to run to the front and shout, “I am here. Talk to me.” I do not need to have everyone’s attention. If I take the time to have one or two solid conversations each week, then I am doing okay.
3. Put meetings on my calendar. Someone showing up at my house unexpectedly can freak me out. But if I invite someone over for next Friday I am much more at peace. I can focus my mind and pray before they show up at my door. This allows me to meet people in a more controlled setting that I need.
4. Pray, Pray and pray some more. Before events I have to ask God to give me courage and strength. I ask him to remind me of his will. Being with people is not natural for me and I will need supernatural help to get through it.
5. Find a balance with people and away from people. Every Sunday morning pushes me to my maximum people limits. To balance that I need time to myself on Sunday afternoon. In fact, I often take a nap and quietly watch TV. If I have people over to my house on Friday night then I need to be alone on Saturday. I desperately need balance.
I have been preaching almost every Sunday for 22 years. I wish I could say that I do not still struggle with personality issues, but I would be lying. The truth is that I have to push myself and make a conscious effort to become, not an extrovert, but more like Christ.