I was excited to find a new book written by Holley Gerth entitled The Powerful Purpose of Introverts. It reminded me of when I was in school and I was able to sit in a desk made for left-handed writers. While I am used to adapting to what seems like an extroverted world, I feel like this book was written to describe me.
Using these labels to categorize everyone in one group or the other seems too restrictive since most people fall somewhere in the middle of the continuum. However, for the sake of clarity, I will use introvert to describe people who generally are recharged by solitude and extrovert to refer to those who are primarily energized by being with others. Here are a few interesting things I learned. Introverts and extroverts tend to use different words to describe feelings of happiness. While someone else may be enthusiastic or excited, I may feel calm or content. This was validating to me because I don’t often feel “happy” in those extroverted ways, but when I examine my moods, I frequently feel cocooned in the Lord’s peace which is my version of happiness.
Introverts’ nervous systems are differently wired than extroverts. Overall, they are more like to also be “highly sensitive people” which means over stimulation in the environment may overwhelm. This could result from loud noise in the background, clutter, continual binging of cell phone notifications or busyness. However, the positive aspect of sensitivity means we are also sensitive to perceive unspoken hurts or needs. Our schedule may not be as busy, but we are present and deeply connected to those closest to us.
There is such a thing as an “introvert hangover” which explains why I want to take a nap after church. According to the book, I have overindulged in dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is released when spending time with people. As much as I enjoy seeing familiar people and hearing about what God is doing in their lives, I reach a point of overload and need time alone to de-compress.
Reading this book helped me to reframe what I perceived were the more desirable traits of extroverts to examine strengths I have inherent in the personality the Lord has created in me. I am a good listener, resilient and patient. While I may not be good at small talk and quick responses, I am a deep thinker who enjoys pondering what to write about in my next blog 😊
When we were first dating, Mike would ask me what I was thinking about and I would say, “nothing.” He would get frustrated because he rightly suspected there was something going on as the wheels were turning in my mind. Well, today I have been thinking about “nothing,” specifically how the word appears in the Bible.
For NOTHING is impossible with God. Luke 1:37
The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes NOTHING. John 6:63
Those who remain in me and I in them will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do NOTHING. John 15:5
Be anxious for NOTHING. Philippians 4:6
If I do not have love, I am NOTHING. 1 Corinthians 13:2
For NOTHING in all of creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of ours that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39
Since God says it better than I ever could, I will end here to leave you thinking about nothing.
Our ladies Bible study was discussing Colossians 1 where Paul states in verses 28-29 the goals of his ministry “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose, I labor striving according to His power which mightily works within me.”
I love this idea how we all work together for the common goal of presenting every man (or woman) complete in Christ. One of us may present the gospel, but another shares teaching, another wisdom, and another encouragement. We are working toward the same end – to come along side one another to help others grow to spiritual maturity. We are unified in the desire to see the gospel bear fruit.
Perhaps when you think of the gospel bearing fruit, you think of new believers and sharing with someone who does not know God’s way of salvation through Jesus. Although evangelism is a significant role of the body of Christ, consider the birth of a baby. After about nine months of gestation, a new life is born with the help of doctors and nurses who care for the infant. In a day or two, the baby leaves the hospital and except for well-baby checks, shots, sickness and emergencies, the role of the physician moves to the background. The primary responsibility of helping this child grow safely to maturity is in the hands of parents, teachers, family members and friends. This baby will need care, nurture, and supervision and support for 18 or more years.
I am writing this to anyone who has not been given the gift or calling of evangelism. By using your gift of serving, teaching, mercy, administration or encouragement, you are still bearing fruit for the gospel and enabling believers to become compete in Christ. Yours is the day in and day out child training, sleepless nights and countless prayers that don’t end with a new birth but merely begin there. You are helping to establish, strengthen and equip fellow believers to walk in a way pleasing to the Lord. Let us not grow weary or diminish this role.