3 Things I've Learned from Being an Introvert at Church
- Jennifer Heeren Crosswalk Contributing Writer
- 2016 18 Feb
Sometimes being around other Christians can make me feel like something is wrong with me. I’m an introvert and that can seem like the opposite of an evangelistic, bible-believing, doing the impossible, doer-of-good-deeds Christian.
I see people starting conversations about the Lord with total strangers at Starbucks and I love their enthusiasm, but the thought of doing it myself makes me jittery and not just because I’ve had a double shot of espresso.
Being an introvert definitely has its drawbacks. It makes it harder to find a new church when you move to another area and it makes it harder to connect even once you find that church. Being an introvert can also make you feel left out and alone. It sometimes seems like extroverted people are looking down on you because quiet people don’t always look like they are living out their Christian life purpose.
However, a quiet Christian is still a Christian. They’re just not always as vocal and that isn’t always a bad thing. After all, the apostle Peter said that we should clothe ourselves with the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit and this pleases God. James also wrote that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Introverts do these things almost intuitively. Thinking before I speak is almost guaranteed.
In spite of my quietness, and sometimes because of my quietness, I can actually be a good Christian.
1. I can pray.
I crave time alone and that is very conducive to spending time with God in His word and in prayer. I am also contemplative which allows the Holy Spirit to interject wisdom into my life.
2. I am a good listener.
I kind of despise small talk but I love deeper talks—conversations that really get to the heart of the matter and the root of the issue. Large groups scare me but one-on-one conversations enliven me. I am often good at lay counseling because of this quality. Great counselors are wonderful listeners. I also tend to pay close attention to peoples’ needs around me and can be there for them in their time of trouble. I genuinely want to hear your side of the things. I don’t just tell my own viewpoints.
3. I am perfectly happy tending to unsung, behind-the-scenes duties.
I enjoy setting the tables for a church dinner. I like making copies of church bulletins. Even helping to set up and tear down chairs is a job that I enjoy. I don’t just tolerate these types of duties. I relish them. Somebody has to do them and it might as well be me if that’s where God seems to want me in the moment.
Being introverted in the church can be a very good thing. However, it can also be a convenient excuse if I’m not careful. I also have a tendency to use introversion as an excuse not to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. I have to make extra efforts to guard against this thinking. Being quiet doesn’t excuse me from learning. I still need to do things that scare me sometimes because that’s how I will grow. If I never step out of my comfort zone, I’ll never know God as the provider that He was meant to be.
God made me an introvert for a reason and I want to honor that by displaying a gentle and quiet spirit a lot of the time. But sometimes, I also want to honor Him by branching out into more extroverted activities. For example, I have been a greeter even though of 90% of that duty is making small talk. God has provided strength that I didn’t even think I possessed.
As I grow in Christ, I can do more and more stepping out of my comfort zone. One day someone that I’ve never met before may even pinpoint me as an extrovert. With Christ, anything is possible!
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. Isaiah 41:10
Jennifer Heeren loves to write and wants to live in such a way that people are encouraged by her writing and her attitude. She loves to write devotional articles and stories that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk.com. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at www.jenniferheeren.com.
Publication date: February 18, 2016