I’m an introvert in the truest sense of the word. Quite often, people take an introvert as someone who is socially anxious or shy. However, the biggest personalities can also be massive introverts. My introvertedness (not sure that’s a word!) didn’t stop me from pursuing acting as a young man, training people in my 30s or preaching to crowds in my 40s. All these activities meant I needed to engage with others, work within a team, or present inspiring content to a room full of people. If social anxiety were all that made up introverted nature, I wouldn’t have chosen to do any of those things.
Introverts can indeed tend to be more quiet, reserved, and reflective, whereas you might think the opposite of extroverts. These people seem to gain ‘energy’ from social interaction, while introverts expend energy in social situations. After attending a party or spending time with a large group of people, introverts often feel a need to “recharge” by spending time alone, retreating to our “cave”.
My wife, Kathi, and I are precisely these two kinds of ‘verts which make for some interesting situations. Just as I’m about to collapse from mental fatigue after spending an evening socialising, Kathi is about to hit her stride. My introvert nature knows when the time is up and is glad for it, Kathi’s extrovert nature would be sad when it’s over. However, after our many years of marriage, I like to think that between ourselves, we’ve learned to create a good balance of crowd time and cave time!
Here’s the important thing, we both value people and know that God made us for community. As Christians, we are called to live in community with other believers, reach out to others outside that community and invite them into our lives. But we’re also called to rest in Jesus; maybe, it could be said, we need to learn when to replace an earthly community with a divine one.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)