Hello there my friend! Indeed, I’m an intense introvert, though I’ve also been labeled a “social introvert” because I get along just fine in social situations, but I also need plenty of rest and recharge time. But yes, I can go days or even weeks without being in a group of people, because I’m wired for small spaces and one-on-one intimacy.
A couple years ago, I wrote a post on introverts that went unexpectedly viral, and shortly after there was an online backlash against introverts. Mostly I heard, “You’re using introversion as an excuse to be antisocial, moody, critical, and crappy!” And while it’s true that perhaps a few “introverts” were doing that (just like some people hijack the words “struggle” or “broken” and therefore diminish actual struggling people), the majority of introverts find it absolutely difficult to adjust to our fast-paced culture. Extroverts are prized and treasured in a Westernized society of achievement and productivity, while introverts are viewed as lazy or dysfunctional or unpleasant.
I see this as a two-way street. On one hand, we all need to have grace for how God has made us. I beg of us to please respect and cherish your introverted friends. Introverts like me simply cannot be in a crowded gathering for too long, or are very unsure of how to start a conversation, or generally get along better with our pets than people. There will be NO changing that. Not every Christian wants to share in Bible Study, or raise their hands to sing, or try to make a good first impression during meet-and-greet. Some of us feel comfortable with only one or two people, and we don’t want to be friends with every person in the room, and we only want to be our awkward shrill weird loud self around someone who understands. We shouldn’t be shamed for that.
On the other hand, if your introversion is imprisoning you, we must also remember that grace is what brings out the best in us. It’s what allows us to risk ourselves in those big crowds, to attempt to trust people, to let down our guard. I know you’re scared to do this, and so am I. It hurts to be vulnerable. Yet we do have a cushion called grace, which is the fixed, unfailing, permanent love of God as our anchor, so that we would not be crushed by the praise or criticism of others.
I’ve seen plenty of introverts become pastors, praise leaders, doctors, civil servants, business owners, and more. An introvert can do everything an extrovert can do too. It’ll look different and there will be different obstacles to overcome: but please do not allow the binary labels of “introversion” or “extroversion” to hold you back nor to mold you into something you’re not.
God has called you His child, and that’s more than enough. God has wired you to be you, so please let yourself out to play.