I am an introvert… I can chat away on the blog, my Youtube channel, and through e-mail, but when you put me in front of a crowd (or a live video) I go blank and I start to shake. Writing is my creative outlet and it helps me to feel connected without actually being around people. That kind of makes me sad to say, but it is true.
I yearn to be around groups of people because I want friends & I want to be a part of a group, but large gatherings exhaust me at the same time. I look for deep friendships instead of acquaintances, but relationships are difficult to build when I overanalyze my flaws and hole myself away. Being a stay at home mom has made me realize how much of an introvert I really am and how much I have allowed it to hurt my ability to make true friends and reach out to others with the Gospel of Christ.
God is Obviously Trying to Tell Me Something…
Over the last month I have listened to a sermon series about what it means to be a neighbor. The sermon series was taught by our pastor who just came back from an international mission trip where he was serving Christ “to the ends of the Earth” so this mama (with her introverted soul) was a bit intimidated. After getting through the first part of the series, I realized that there was no need to be intimidated. It has helped me to seek out “neighbors” everywhere I go…even in my own home.
I also had the opportunity to read a book called Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor by Kendra Broekhuis. The name of this book sounded like my lfe, so I had to see what Kendra had to say about loving on people when you just want to stay wrapped in a cozy blanket inside your own comfy bubble. Her book inspired me to take a harder look at Scripture to see where I am falling short & where I can find opportunities to love my neighbor even in mundane tasks like washing the laundry.
Are you an introverted mama, too? Do you struggle to “love your neighbor”? Do you know who your “neighbor” is?
Settle in and let me walk you through what I learned about being an introverted Christian through the aforementioned sermon series & book…
Who is My Neighbor?
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
I’ll let Jesus take the mic here…
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him,and departed, leaving him half dead.
Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed,he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’
So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
All three men- the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan- were in close “neighborly” proximity to this man, but only one (the least likely of the 3 according to the culture of that time) was a neighbor to him.
Your neighbor isn’t just the person across the street or the family in the apartment above you. Neighbors aren’t limited to your social class, race, or even religion. Everyone that you come into contact with is a neighbor that you are called to shower with love, mercy, and compassion.
Is It Bad for a Christian to Be an Introvert?
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10
Of course not! What we view as a weakness in our character is really a strength. When you think about it, many of the people from Scripture that we view as heroes of the Faith shared introverted tendencies.
God made us this way for a reason, y’all. We may not be aggressive door-to-door evangelists, but God wired us to work in the quiet…to see & hear what others miss in the busy world around us. Introverts are able to connect emotionally and show empathy to others on a level that most extroverts don’t understand. We have a tendency to be excellent listeners… hearing what is spoken as well as things that are left unsaid through body language and expressions.
How Can an Introvert Be Neighborly Without an Anxiety Attack?
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
You can show love & meet needs through thoughtful conversations, giving anonymously, sending cards and care packages, making a meal for a hungry family or a new mother, being a mentor, praying for others, and serving your own family with grace & joy…There are tons of ways to serve in the quiet.
But, y’all, let me say this…If God calls you to something that is outside of your comfort zone, don’t say no. He called Moses to speak when he couldn’t speak well…He called Jeremiah as a youth… He called Jonah even though he was willing to flee to another country to avoid speaking to the people of Ninevah… He can call you even when you don’t have the “qualifications”. Work where you are planted, but be willing to step out on the water if He tells you to go.
What is Holding You Back?
- I am not comfortable leaving my bubble.
- I value my privacy.
- I don’t want to give up “me time”.
- I have anxiety.
- I feel rejected after offering help.
- Making genuine connections is difficult.
Love anyway! Give anyway! Pray anyway! Be a neighbor, anyway…
You can snag Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor by Kendra Broekhuis for yourself by following this link.
What is the biggest struggle you face as an introverted Christian?