Finding my place as an introvert ….in my church.

Its very unlikely that you’ll ever hear me before you see me, and even when you see me you will likely not hear me.

However, find me on the football pitch (soccer field) and you’ll immediately notice the loud, aggressive English bloke who is not shy in giving orders and instructions.  Locate me on the battle field and you will find an enthusiastic, vocal and energetic leader.  Advancing towards the enemy full of confidence, larger than life in every possible way.

Put me in a room of people I don’t know, or put me in a room with work colleagues, in my own church, even my in-laws; and I vanish.  Not easily intimidated, offended or weak.  Yet I become rather…… invisible.

I don’t like to talk, I often don’t want to listen either if I am honest with you.  I have always been comfortable with my own company.  I have very rarely felt lonely or in need of company.  I don’t always like that about me, I have sometimes thought about how nice it would be if it was different.  None of this is because I feel that I am better than everyone, quite the contrary.  Sometimes I even feel jealousy towards people who I see just strike up conversations with anyone and everyone.  Watching, often searching myself for “Why cant I do that”?  I sometimes feel inadequate, more so at church.  I am happy and confident of my relationship with God.  Having said that, I find myself intimidated by other peoples’ knowledge and strength in their faith.  Of all the places, surely God’s house is the one location I shouldn’t feel intimidated right?    If I knew the bible word for word, would that change it for me at church?  I think the answer is no.  I know the answer is no.  I have read the bible, and I continue to read the bible.  I know the stories, the people and the basic requests God has of us.  Yet, didn’t he make me perfect, in his eyes? He knows how he made me and why he made me the way he did.  This isn’t a cop out so I can do and say what ever I like or not say or not do what ever I like.  But it leaves me confused.  I spend time thinking of what else I could be doing for God, for his church.  Do I have talents? I think so yes but they don’t seem to be something tangible that I could use for his good.

I get so awkward in most public situations, unless I have had a few beers.  Which clearly isn’t the best answer.  At least not on a regular, long term basis.  Can this be conquered with practice and exposure to uncomfortable situations?  Do I have the courage to try to beat it?  Is it something that can even be defeated? I have done some reading about this and recently came across an interesting article about introverts.  It stated that God loves us (introverts) and he made us this way on purpose.  He does love us and that he has a plan, even if its a quiet plan.  As much as I enjoyed the article I know it wont take away my self doubt in church and will not stop me asking myself.

“Is God happy with me? If not, why did he make me the way he did”?

Thoughts, advice and suggestions are absolutely appreciated! 🙂

 

I always had my brother’s back.  My job would sometimes absolutely depend on me be quite.  I will always be my brothers keeper.

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Author: 22PTSD

I'm from England and moved to the US in my mid 20's. I served in the US Army for 8 years and deployed over seas 3 times between 2006 and 2013. I'm now 39 and am married to a wonderful, beautiful woman from Massachusetts. She has been my rock during some very dark personal struggles with my combat PTSD and continues to support me daily! We recently relocated to Texas with our pup! I work for the federal government and am a die hard Manchester United fan!

One thought on “Finding my place as an introvert ….in my church.”

  1. Not my words, but maybe a helpful perspective:

    (From compellingtruth.org)

    Introversion and extroversion are best understood as two ends of a spectrum explaining how people prefer to relate to the world. No one is completely introverted or extroverted. Neither is right or wrong; both are simply descriptions of personality traits. There are positives and negatives to both introversion and extroversion.

    A very truncated description of an “introvert” is a person who gains energy and strength from solitude and focus on his or her inner life. Introverts tend to gravitate toward deep, one-on-one conversations rather than party small talk. They’d rather avoid crowds to spend time alone or with one or two other people. Introverts often have an active inner-thought life. Introverts also tend to express and energize themselves through solitary, artistic pursuits such as painting, writing, music, and art.

    These traits can be beneficial for a Christian. The practice and discipline of prayer takes stillness, quiet, and aloneness. Certainly we are to pray corporately, but Jesus also tells us to pray alone: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). Jesus also modeled this by spending time alone with God (Luke 5:16).

    Being able to focus and meditate on Bible reading and study comes easier, in general, for introverts. The ability to spend time alone in sustained thought can be very beneficial in pondering the things of God.

    Though introverts have traits that can be applied to growing more Christlike, these same traits can also be a hindrance to sharing the gospel. Jesus tells us to go, make disciples, and teach people about Jesus (Matthew 28:19–20). This can be difficult for introverts, but it is still something we are called to do.

    As Christians, we are called to spend time with others and build each other up (Hebrews 10:24–25). Introverts are not exempt from the need of fellowship and cannot use their personality trait as an excuse to disobey God’s Word. However, it is also important to recognize that fellowship does not require a large group or a lot of noise or activity.

    Introverts, like everyone, should watch their motivations for how they act. Some introverts can spend time alone to avoid people due to fear or insecurity. Introverts are more apt to struggle with self-image and a critical spirit. God tells us to view others with respect and gain our identity from Him (Philippians 2:3–4; Ephesians 2:10). We cannot use a personality trait as an excuse to disbelieve God’s Word about who we are in Christ and how we should live as a result. Rather, introverts can leverage their strengths to draw closer to God and find security in Him. Security in our identity in Christ comes from spending time with God. Loving others comes from first receiving God’s love for us (1 John 4:7–12).

    It is not wrong for a Christian to be an introvert or to be an extrovert. God has made us each unique and given His children spiritual gifts for the mutual edification of the church (Psalm 139; 1 Corinthians 12). Introvert or extrovert, we each struggle with sin. There are strengths and pitfalls to any personality type.

    No matter our particular tendencies, we know that God is able to equip us to do what He calls us to do (2 Peter 1:3). We simply seek Him, submit to Him, and allow Him to transform us into people who more closely resemble Christ (James 4:7; Romans 8:29; Philippians 1:6). When our personality tendency helps us in our walk with Christ, we give Him praise for it and make the most of the gifts He has given. When our personality tendency gets in the way of obedience to Christ, we ask for His power to help us live beyond ourselves.

    Like

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