At some point during the day, you’ll find me leaning against the rail of my back porch and staring into the woods. Alone. I love my family, and I look forward to twirling my daughters around the living room or spending uninterrupted time talking with my wife. The boisterous laughs and jumping-into-arms and books, books, books make for a fulfilling evening.
But I also need the stillness.
I’m “on” at work, “on” at church, and “on” when I first get home. At some point, though, my introversion pops up and asks for a moment to not be on for a few minutes. And that’s one call I have to take.
Thankfully, I have a family who understands, but not every introvert does. That’s why pastor and blogger (and fellow introvert) Ron Edmondson has put together a list of seven thoughts for our families. Here’s what he wants you to know:
1. We aren’t crazy.
Even if it might seem like we’re a bit “weird” at times, understand that introversion isn’t a malady or a problem. (Even Jesus needed to get alone sometimes to pray.)
2. It isn’t personal.
We’re not trying to get away from any particular person. “It’s hard not to take it personal though, isn’t it? But, it most likely has little to do with you when we don’t talk to you as much as you wish we would.”
3. We do love you.
Introversion does not limit how much we can love other people. We love deeply, even if we don’t love talking as much as you might like.
4. We need time to recharge.
The more time we spend in social settings and around lots of people, the more time we need to recharge. Please help us find the margin in our lives to make this happen.
5. Preparation helps.
If at all possible, please give us a warning before we have to be involved in social situations. You may love spontaneity, but it can make it very tough for us.
6. We don’t have a right to ignore you.
Introversion is not an excuse to ignore our family and friends. “Relationships are built on communication. We just have to figure out how to make it work with your personality and ours.”
7. Activity often produces conversation.
If you want us to open up, one of the best ways is for us to be involved in some sort of activity together, such as walking or playing games.
Recently on BibleStudyTools.com, Stephen Altrogge blogged about some of these same ideas and suggested that maybe we should stop asking Christian introverts to “get out of their comfort zones” so much:
“I would humbly suggest that many activities that take place in church tend to be biased toward extroverts. Talking to lots of people on a Sunday, cold contact evangelism with complete strangers, loud worship, and small groups are all activities that are much better suited for someone with an extroverted personality. And these things aren’t necessarily wrong, but I think we need to make sure we don’t assume someone is more spiritual based on their participation in these things.
“The beauty of the body of Christ is that it is made up of all sorts of people with all sorts of personalities. Introverted people and extroverted people both need to worship God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. An extroverted person may gravitate toward loud, outward expressions of worship while and introverted person may gravitate toward quiet, humble reverence. Both are appropriate, God-honoring, and necessary in the church. Both types of worship are commended in scripture.”
What about you? If you are an introvert, what would you tell your family and friends? If you’re an extrovert married to an introvert, how do you relate?