Hi, my name is Rayni and I’m an introvert.
I used to attend Introverts Anonymous, but usually no one would show up and if they did they didn’t want to talk. (Okay, that was joke). But being introverted is a serious business that many people don’t understand. In college I lived in a dorm on the top floor. Many mornings I chose to walk down the seven flights of stairs just so I didn’t have to say hello to anyone in the elevator. Today, if I see you in the grocery store and you haven’t seen me first, I will most likely immediately turn and walk in the opposite direction with great gusto so I don’t have to talk to you; even though I may like you.
What I’ve just shared probably sounds a bit odd or even mentally ill to all of those bustling extroverts out there. But I know the introverts are tracking with me. So, what is an introvert to do when God has clearly given you spiritual gifts that require interacting with people? You know, those “pesky” gifts like teaching, counseling and leadership that require you to be in front of or with people rather than behind the scenes?
Take Short Trips Out of Your Comfort Zone
After college I worked for two years at a church as a Campus Pastor. Looking back it is my favorite job I’ve had but at the time it was a bit overwhelming as an introvert. I regularly interacted with college students, led services and preached sermons when the pastor was away; and mentored, counseled, and prayed with students. It was a great growth experience but I found that I was continually living outside of my comfort zone with all of this “other people required” interaction.
I’ve learned that it’s a good thing to sometimes step outside your comfort zone, especially when God is leading you to.That’s where you grow. But if you constantly live outside your comfort zone its easy to go into survival mode rather than abundant life mode. Learning how to have healthy boundaries in this area will help you to live fully in the gifts God has given you.
Fill Up on God’s Strength
It’s no joke that God is full of limitless strength (Psalm 147:5) and that He wants to partner with us in using the gifts He created in us. God is glorified when we are authentically who He created us to be. I continually rely on God’s grace and strength to help me step through any fear associated with using my gifts. I invite God into the situation, ask Him for wisdom, guidance and help. He always comes through. He’s reliable like that. And it’s for His glory anyway. So, don’t be afraid to step out with God to use your gifts even if you’re feeling weak. God’s not weak. And I seem to remember some guy named Paul talking about how God’s grace is sufficient in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It Is What You Make It
If I let myself get psyched out about walking up to someone new at church and striking up a conversation, I will probably make a last minute turn into the restroom to avoid them. But if I just relax, don’t think about it too much and simply say hello, more times than not it turns out just fine. In my heart I want to reach out and be welcoming. Sometimes I let my introvert tendencies get in the way, and often I reach out anyway.
I am always glad when I get past my issues and do the things God has placed in my heart to do. You can talk yourself out of doing something good or you can just step out and do the thing. It is what you make it. That goes with walking in the other extroverted gifts God has given me as well. As soon as I surrender it to God, and take that first step through the fear, my heart comes alive with doing what God created me to do. There is much joy in that. And there is much triumph in trusting God enough to make that first step.