Recently I’ve realised that there are a host of people out there who are called to people, but are naturally introverted themselves.
This is me. I never realised it was me until I found myself day dreaming of quiet vistas, lakes, forests, mountains and isolation. I don’t know if I changed over the years, or it’s just been highlighted by the fact that I have less time alone due to being a mother, and having a business.
It’s a difficult tension to balance when you are called to connect and to genuinely touch heart to heart with others, while also needing space and time alone and quiet, in order to fill up so you can cope with the people you’re called to!
I think that God has made us this way on purpose and probably more of us are made this way than we realise. I think it’s easy for extroverts to find their fuel from being around people and interactions from others. I think I used to be like this. I used to get such a high from being around others. But then something changed! I don’t even know what it was, but suddenly I found that if I hadn’t had some down time, alone and quiet, then people just positively drained me.
It’s interesting that even the gift that God puts in us, when it’s not framed by him can become the very thing that drains and empties us. Our gifts are only effective when they’re fuelled, and anointed by him. The moment the gift itself becomes ‘enough’ to get us through, it will eat us from the inside out and be a loud and clanging sound.
Our gifts are there to both reflect an element of God’s character and to bless the hearts of those around us. Our gifts are not only there to enjoy by ourselves. If you’re an introverted people person like me, then your gift is only going to be effective when you’re filled up in the secret place, so that you can be the fullness of the blessing that he wants you to be when you’re with the people that he wants you to bless.
Sometimes loving others well is a sacrifice, and the opposite of what we feel like doing. It fills us with dread and we’d rather run away and hide alone somewhere (preferably somewhere with an epic view, some hot chocolate and a crackling fire!). But it’s in those moments when we’re filled up by him, and we don’t feel like it, that we can be the greatest blessing. I believe that Yeshua meant so much more by the verse ‘greater love has no man than he who gives up his life for his brother’ (John 15:13), than life and death. That’s not to belittle or reduce the enormity of the sacrifice of life, however I do believe that we can show this same love by putting others before ourselves, especially when we don’t feel like it.
The most difficult thing for those of us who are called to connect deeply with people, and who’s greatest gift is to love others well, is to find the balance of self care, vs. others care. Sometimes we can pour out and keep pouring and seeing needs and forget that we are less effective and less loving when we have not taken care of ourselves and our own ‘filling up’ from God.
Sometimes introverts can assume that they mustn’t be people people. I think the ‘introverted people person’ is a special and deliberate breed, because God has made us with a need to be dependant on him. We cannot coast through on our nature, we NEED him. He’s given gifts which seemingly clash with how we’d choose to operate, so need to depend on him all the more for ‘enough’ to give to others. So if you’re an ‘introverted people person’, take encouragement that God is jealous over you. He wants you to be fully effective in your gift to love others well, by taking him along with you. He’s made you in a way that needs him.
This article originally appeared on Simcha Natan’s blog, March 7, 2019, and reposted with permission.