I've grown used to the incredulous stares I receive when confessing that I'm an introvert. "But you don't seem shy at all!"
I didn't say I was shy. I said I was an introvert. Stay with me.
To be fair, when I speak of introversion I'm referring to its use in psychology. In everyday vernacular, it often describes shyness and reclusiveness.
Just so we're on the same page, when I say I'm an introvert, here's what I mean--
Extraversion and Introversion as terms used by C. G. Jung explain different attitudes people use to direct their energy. Where do you put your attention and get your energy? Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (Extraversion), or in your inner world of ideas and images (Introversion)?
Contrast this definition with my experience in evangelicalism. As Adam McHugh states "The evangelical culture ties together faithfulness with extroversion. " This has definitely been my experience. The impulse I sometimes feel to retreat or be alone or spend time with just one or two people is often met with suspicion, even judgement.
Good Christians are constantly around people. Larger and larger community. More and bigger activity. Talking, engaging, initiating.
But if evangelicalism is correct, any person I don't talk to or conversation I don't engage or party I don't attend may condemn someone to Hell because I didn't share the gospel. That's a lot of guilt for someone who is concerned with how they're viewed by other people and by God.
But is that correct? Are godliness and sociability inseparable? Is extroversion really preferable? Is introversion less valuable in the kingdom of God?
What do you think? Any introverts want to share their experiences?
Seems a good place to stop for today. More later. Stay tuned.
Kelli is a writer, speaker and consultant equipping leaders for a deepening intimacy with Christ, greater impact in ministry and more effective intentionality in all of life.
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