Introvert To Extrovert

I don’t know why this has been on my heart but I need to obey and open up. I’ve been thinking about how I have changed in the last thirty years. Ever since I can remember, I was always hiding from people and being extremely shy. I mean we are talking painfully shy. When I started college back in 2001, I made a pledge to start stepping out of my comfort zone. I made a bunch of friends and thus started my journey to fake extroversion. What do I mean by that?

From urbanDictionary.com

Introvert
Opposite of extrovert. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to “recharge” afterwards. The word “Introvert” has negative connotations that need to be destroyed. Introverts are simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts.

From dictionary.com

Extrovert
1. an outgoing, gregarious person.
2. Psychology . a person characterized by extroversion; a person concerned primarily with the physical and social environment (opposed to introvert ).

I recharge my “batteries” better by myself than I do with lots of people. My husband still doesn’t believe that I’m an introvert. In reality, I just made up my mind to be a people person so that I could reach others for the cause of Christ. I wanted (and still want) to be relational. I want to love others to Jesus. We were called to make disciples. The best way I know to do that is by doing what Jesus did. He loved people right where they were at. Afterwards, He would go off by Himself to recharge with God alone. In all honesty, I tend to recharge by goofing off instead of spending time in God’s Word. I often excuse myself and say, “I’m brain dead and after being up for most of the night, I just don’t have the capacity to understand.” (note: I currently have two kids under two. Let the reader understand.)

When I goof off instead of reading God’s word, I tend to become even more introverted. I get very afraid of people and all the stupid things that may come flying out of my mouth. When I decide to give my day to Jesus, to start off with Him in my devotions and prayer time, I am much better at looking like an extrovert and creating friendships. This is because I (1) learn to be a better friend when I learn what real friendship is, and (2) have the love and compassion that only comes from having an intimate relationship with the Lord.

I remember being seventeen and watching my best friend’s mom start talking to a random stranger at a K-Mart. I thought, “How did she do that? I can’t do that. Just talk to a stranger?” Talking with strangers has gotten easier thanks to age and the four years I spent working at Family Christian Stores. At Family Christian Stores, I read all the time. I realized that people need others in the church to pray for one another out loud, right then, and not just say they’ll do it later at home. I started praying for people, out loud, which is something that has always terrified me. I found new strength and power in Christ. I started to make more friends. I even met my (future) husband at Family Christian Stores. At the time, he was just some guy who would come in and shop and I would push myself to be extroverted and talk to him.

Later God moved me away from Family Christian Stores and I worked for a theatre for a year. I learned to talk to crowds of people. (Talk about wanting to pee your pants! Oh my goodness, I wanted to die!) I began hating it with a passion but I got better giving curtain speeches. I love having material given to you to act out, but having to come up with your own lines and to be yourself is rather frightening. I’ve also done a few announcements with our Associate Pastor’s wife off the cuff at church. Looking back, there was a time I never saw myself doing that.

My heart wants to burst with all the people I see who are suffering without Christ. I still have a lot to learn because I tend to be quiet around strangers because I don’t want to offend someone. Slowly this shell of introversion is being broken open and I’m learning to walk forth in my calling as a wife, mother, friend, daughter, and leader. It didn’t happen overnight. It took me thirty years to be where I am. Though it’s a lifelong process, I believe (now more than ever) that we introverts must step up and let Jesus control our lives and help others know the saving grace of Jesus. He is the one who bought us for a price. He died so we may live. Who am I to hide that fact from another person; the opportunity to follow Christ and have such joy fill their soul; to have hope they had never experienced before?

We introverts must realize that we can be selfish creatures. It’s time to let the Spirit of God control us and help us make disciples in this world. We are running out of time.

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