Fellowship for the Christian Introvert

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You may be a Christian introvert if:

  • you always look for a seat with elbow room
  • you want to crawl under the pew when the pastor tells the congregation to greet each other
  • you’d rather face a den of hungry lions than a friendly hug from a casual acquaintance
  • in every new Sunday school class, you consider spending the “introductions and mixer questions” part in the restroom

It’s humorous to a point. That point being where you hardly hear the program because you’re sulking over how extroverts and cheerful types run the world and don’t care about your feelings. Or where an introvert decides to quietly slink away from church because they “can’t stand all this touchy-feely stuff.” (1 Corinthians 8 on “weaker brothers,” anyone?) Or where a pastor can feel ashamed of himself, and convinced God is disappointed in him, because he likes spending time alone.

Still, it’s not good for even introverts to be alone all the time. And most of us love our neighbors as much as anyone–what we can’t stand is having our senses assaulted with chatter and crowding at every turn.

So here’s my advice to fellow introverts:

Know That God Loves You as You Are

As Linus said in the old Peanuts strip when his sister presented him with a list of habits she wanted him to change, “These aren’t faults. These are character traits!” Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, especially in a fallen world overloaded with “I do it because it works for me” attitudes. Still, I state with confidence that God made some of us to be introverts: quiet and thoughtful types who come up with our best ideas during time alone. In many ways, our introversion frees us to develop more original ideas than our crowd-loving peers.

To paraphrase Blaise Pascal, this world is a better place because of people who know how to make good use of time spent quietly in their rooms. Don’t feel you must accept invitations to large gatherings because “everyone’s going.” Don’t apologize if you’re first to leave the party because you’ve had enough stimulation for one night. Be assured God isn’t ashamed of you–and you shouldn’t be, either.

Think Quality, Not Quantity

Who cares about being the most popular person in church? Two or three trustworthy friends will do just fine, thank you. Introverts prefer getting to know a few people, at deeper levels–knowing whom they can trust with their secrets and struggles.

A few tips on locating good prospects for “quality-based” friendships:

  • Join a small group–and consider a really small group, about eight people.
  • When you meet someone you’d like to get to know better, invite her to share a cup with you at a quiet coffee shop.
  • Offer to help someone clean up their yard, paint their spare room, or work on another activity that allows for easy one-on-one conversation.
  • Look for a spiritual mentor (your pastor or small-group leader may have recommendations).

 

Remember You’re Never Really “Alone”

Of course, one disadvantage of introversion is that sometimes we feel we can’t make friends at all. If you’re feeling particularly lonely, have a prayerful talk with the One True Friend Who never leaves you. Tell Him just how miserable you feel living with this temperament, just how hard you find it being an introvert in an extrovert-oriented world.

Then be still and listen for His response. Open yourself to receive His comfort and His reassurance that He makes everyone–and every personality–for a purpose.

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7 Comments

  1. Jo Swank

     /  July 20, 2018

    Very insightful and helpful as always!!….Even though you know I am one of those annoyingly friendly types. : )

    Reply
    • Katherine Swarts

       /  July 23, 2018

      A word to the extroverts: Always let the introvert take the lead on degree of physical contact. Once you’re already close friends, hugging is often all right.

      Reply
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  • A blog for naturally melancholy Christians tired of being told to "snap out of it"; for Christians who struggle with mental-health issues and long for assurance God delights in them nonetheless; and for naturally optimistic Christians who want to understand their "gloomy" loved ones.

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    I am the go-to writer for people with tough stress issues and special emotional needs—and for those who love them, organizations that serve them, and anyone who just wants to better understand the world of mental/emotional struggles. Or who just wants to pick up some good stress-management tips! Visit my main website at www.PositiveContentFactory.com.

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