Sunday, February 23, 2014

An Introvert's Plea

A couple of months ago, my husband and I left our church. As with any change in life it was a bit difficult and sad. However, I really had a peace about it and felt God was calling us toward something else. So we began visiting different churches as we tried to find God's will for us in this area.

As you may have assumed from the title, my husband and I are both introverts. Since I feel most of us that "suffer" from introvertism  (pretty sure that's a word) are completely misunderstood, I will take a moment here and lay out some of the qualities and handicaps of being an introvert.

  • Energized by time alone
  • Private
  • Keeps to self
  • Quiet
  • Deliberate
  • Internally aware
  • Fewer friends
  • Prefer smaller groups
  • Independent
  • Not socially inclined
  • Enjoys solitude
  • Thinks before speaking

  • I would add (just my opinion) that introverts may even have heightened senses, almost to the point of not being able to function correctly when surrounded by chaos. It may not seem chaotic to others, but most concerts, shows, sports, and even large family gatherings can be overwhelming. Of course, that could just be me.

    I know that I crave peace and quiet. I need time to myself and get irritable if I go too long without it.

    Now, I do have some close friends that would snicker at the thought of me being an introvert. But they are MY people and I feel comfortable opening up to them. I'm still not good with hugging though.
    - Respect the bubble -

    HERE is a list of comparison I found interesting .... Anyone else an INFJ??

    Having said these things I have a slight criticism - plea - to the church. Sometimes, the way we go all out to seem all inclusive can come across as overbearing and do exactly the opposite of what I know we're trying to do!

    I tried to write about this months ago, but never published it. I went back and read it today and you can just feel the frustration I had! Here's a small excerpt:

    As I visit our local churches, I am really disappointed. I have been welcome-wagoned to death! I do appreciate the nice mugs, flashlight key-chains, and cool stickers, but the emails, cards, MULTIPLE phones calls and such are just not for me. Neither is the big fuss and applause appreciated. I'm not trying to be rude, but some churches go way overboard with their "join our club" culture. I don't remember the guys in the book of Acts pasting on clown-worthy smiles and blocking the exit until you fill out their "guest" card. Can I just say, ugh...just ugh!

    *I'm almost ashamed to post this. I think I was being too critical, but I just wanted to share the feeling, even if it wasn't expressed in the most admonishing way.*

    I'm not asking the church to come around to my liking. I'm just hoping to shed some light on an issue I've seen. Introverts are not likely to be comfortable with you grabbing their hand and asking them tons of questions. We are processors! Analyzers! Please give us time to take it all in. If you are preaching the Gospel, let IT be what makes people feel welcome and loved. And when you do approach someone, even extroverts, be sincere. You'd be amazed how obvious it is when we aren't. Let us ALL walk in love and we will point people to Christ, at church and else where, whether we are introverted or extroverted.

    Oh, and if you're wondering, we have found a church and have seen God's hand directing us through this change. I now believe even more that we were obedient to His voice when we decided to leave. My heart is full of thankfulness when I think about our journey in Christ so far. I praise Him for His guidance and provision for us. His love truly IS amazing!



    1. That sums it just about up. No different no matter where you live it seems. Perhaps membership is all about money money money! The more members, the more $$$

      1. Yes, I agree it seems too often that churches think that way. I CAN see that it would be easy to fall into a rut when you're funds are completely reliant on the charity of people. However, we have to remember that God is our source and our provision! Worry and fear come when we take our eyes off of Jesus and all He's done for us. It's all about faith!

    2. I'm an introvert as well and that can definitely be overwhelming! At the same time, I do want someone to reach out in a comfortable setting. We went to a church for 4 months and only 2 people out of over 200 ever spoke to us! And that was when I forced myself out of my comfort zone to go to women's meetings, etc. I'd moved 5 hours from home and though I am an introvert, I do crave acceptance (on my terms, of One of the people who spoke to me at that women's meeting said "excuse me" because she wanted to squeeze past me to sit beside her friend. She turned toward her friend away from me and I sat there completely ignored the entire time. Literally no one spoke to us! So, while I definitely agree sometimes it's overkill, I also think churches need to be welcoming--but in a more natural way! A part of the reason I dislike what you describe is because it isn't authentic.

      1. Yes! That's so true! Our first experience with church was in a setting like that. I didn't go to church as a child, so when my husband and I first decided to join a church I was SO excited and tried to join and help out as much as I could. To my amazement though, people seemed to resent me for it. They had a HUGE choir and before the services everyone would gather in the choir room and chit chat. NO one talked to me. It was like I didn't belong there! Thanks for sharing, I had almost forgotten that side of it! ....and I totally relate to the desire for acceptance :)