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The Truth about Introverts

acessThe dictionary definition of introvert is,

a shy person : a quiet person who does not find it easy to talk to other people

While that’s part of it, I would add that an introvert recharges in solitude. Having that alone time is not just about preference, but about fulfilling a need.

I’m introverted so I know this from experience, but at the same time, I also recognize my deep need for others. Introverts may like to be alone and find rest in that solitude, but you also need to know there are people and friends with you.

That knowledge and assurance gives meaning to the time you’re alone. When you don’t have that certainty, the alone time becomes oppressive. It breeds loneliness.

As Margaret Feinberg continues sharing in Fight Back with Joy about choosing doctors and her friends’ responses in the wake of her cancer diagnosis, she wrote this,

For me, true refreshers didn’t sympathize with the burden, or worse, add to it; but rather, they entered in and did the hard work of carrying the weight.

Introverted or not, you need those who refresh you. Burdens, especially big or negative ones, aren’t meant to be carried alone. As you learn to receive grace and love from our Father, you also learn to receive grace and love from others.

I’ve been reading 1 Peter 5:5 a little differently because of this.

…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

I do believe you apply this in humbling yourself in dealing with one another, but also in that receiving aspect. It’s scary not to have it all under control. God said He puts the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). Do you think that’s because it’s a nice thing to do or it’s what you need?

Whenever you experience a sense of withness–the awareness that others are alongside you–you can’t help but experience the presence of joy. —Fight Back with Joy

When I’m by myself but still have that sense that others are with me and for me, it’s a beautiful thing. When I don’t feel that, it leads to all sorts of problems as fear and anxiety rule the day.

That’s not to say it’s automatic or seamless. God gives the lonely a home, but if you keep running away from home, you don’t get the benefit. You have to engage. There is intentionality and even work involved, but the joy that results and is sustained by that togetherness is invaluable.

He’ll give grace to the humble who receive from others. It will change your life; maybe even save it.

What do you think? Are you more introverted or extroverted? How does that affect your relationships or view of people?


fbwj-buttonWelcome to week 3 of our discussion of Fight Back with Joy (disclosure) by Margaret Feinberg. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

15 Comments

  1. Great point jason: introverted or not we all need a refresher. As an extreme extrovert I need a refresher also. I’ve been reading several posts about this book. May be one I need to look into.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..BenefitMy Profile

    • I am really enjoying it, Bill! I’d recommend it for sure. Thanks so much

  2. I lean more on the introvert side as well. I tend towards not having many ‘close’ friends or refreshers. :/

    Something I am praying about.

    • I don’t have a lot of close friends, but I do have some that I’ve entrusted all the good and bad with. There are refreshers in the friends and family category, but I would say I need a few more myself. Praying with you, Dusty! Thank you.

  3. I’ve been characterized by many as “extroverted” however I would label myself as introverted. I seek alone times. I NEED them to refresh my soul. However, I don’t get them as often as I’d like.
    I struggle to find the balance.

    I also struggle to allow others to be there for me. I’m much better at reaching out and offering help than I am at receiving it.

    • It can be difficult, especially for parents (and even more especially for mothers). Letting others support can be so uncomfortable, been there and done that too. Although it can still be a struggle for me, I have seen the difference now in letting people in and receiving the grace God has placed in them. It’s what we’re made for. Thanks TC.

  4. Though I’ve never been shy, I am definitely an introvert at heart. I love my “alone time.” But the point you made here, Jason, about having the knowledge that we are loved and supported by others, is such an important one. Because of them, we can be alone yet never lonely.
    Blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..The Great TeacherMy Profile

    • That’s great, Martha. I have battled shyness for all of my life. Amazing how God would take me and bring freedom so that I could become a worship leader and pastor. It’s got to be Him, that’s for sure! Thanks and blessings to you too, Martha.

  5. I used to believe I was an extrovert because I loved social gatherings, but I’ve learned that I really need alone time. Maybe I’ve learned the joy of peace and contentment supersedes the need for crowds.
    Deb Wolf recently posted..How to Take Your Troubles to the CrossMy Profile

    • I think you can certainly be extroverted and learn the value of alone time. Good for you! And I have had to learn the value of social gatherings (even large ones) and understand why they’re important. It’s good not to get too comfortable in those comfort zones, right? 🙂 Thanks Deb.

  6. This one made me think. I do find that we all need others. I used to think I didn’t need anyone and gave it a go for a time, but that brings about disaster in other ways.
    The older I get the more I find fellowship to be a refreshing gift from God.

    • I’ll take ‘thinking’--that’s good! 🙂 I think it’s definitely a part of growing and getting older. When we’re younger (especially us guys), we can take the “us against the world” mentality. We always need help, of course, we just don’t tend to acknowledge the contributions of others as readily! Now you’re making me think. 🙂 Thanks Floyd.

  7. Wonderful post here! So much to think about. I am introverted and have often found that I only feel truly refreshed and energized in the presence of a certain few. It was something I’d always known but took a while, very recently in fact, to truly accept and realise the implications of, i.e., to stop pretending it was otherwise and thereby compromising my wellbeing. Those Margaret Feinberg quotes really resonate in that respect. It’s important to engage and seek serve in every opportunity God provides, and as important to discern when it’s an opportunity He has provided, because the reality is we cannot engage with and serve everybody, and God neither needs or wants us to. Great read, thanks for sharing it!
    Micah recently posted..The Novel: Shark or Dinosaur?My Profile

    • So true! We can only serve and give when there’s something inside us and we are meant to or able to serve everyone. God talks about the Body of Christ for good reason! Everyone has a part. Thanks so much, Micah.

  8. I was surprised recently while doing a personality test to find that I am an introvert. I had the mistaken notion that because I speak in front of people that this meant I was an extrovert.

    Wrong.

    I do recharge by being alone. But, I have also discovered over the past two years (as the result of hardship we are going through) that I tend to isolate when hurting. That’s not good. I don’t recall doing it during other seasons of life but there’s always a first.

    I’ve always enjoyed being that refreshing person. I suppose that it’s easier for me to give than receive. But I’m learning that we need to do both.

    We were not made to go it alone, that’s for sure.
    Melinda Lancaster recently posted..By Your Side: A ReviewMy Profile

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