Do you find being around other people tiring and hard work? These tips are for you.
Do you find being around other people tiring and hard work? Are you more of the ‘quiet and reserved’ type who finds it difficult chatting to others? If so, you are not alone! You may be what is called an ‘Introvert’. I am one of these people. I love people, but I find being around lots of people tiring and hard work.
So, how are we ‘Introverts’ meant to be in a community like church or youth group? Here are some thoughts:
1. Accept yourself
God made you as an Introvert. Psalm 139 says that God “created your inmost being” and “knit” you together (v. 13). It says that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (v. 14). God made you as you are, with certain abilities and tendencies. And you need to accept that. There are great things about being an Introvert. Try and discover them.
2. Focus on others
This is what Paul said should community should be like, “Each of your should not look to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:4). This is like Jesus. Coming together is about loving others.
Loving others is a choice. In our case, it’s the choice to use our energy to focus on others. Some gain energy from community, others use it up. For us, this means that it will require us to intentionally muster up our energy.
The benefit of this is that when we focus on others, we take the focus off ourselves. And this helps if you are someone who feels socially awkward or insecure.
If you’re not sure how to focus on others, learn to be a question asker. Store up some questions in your back pocket to whip out when needed. Such as, ‘How was your week?’ ‘What’s been on your mind lately?’ ‘What’s Jesus been saying to you lately?’ etc. And then ask follow up questions, like, “how did that feel?” The key is to be interested in others. In doing so, we love them.
3. Get good rest
If you are spending your energy on others at church or youth group, make sure you get good rest before and afterwards. You will be tired. As a Youth Minister, I always made sure that Saturday morning was chilled. I needed a sleep in and a quiet coffee with my wife. Do things that restore you. Spend time with Jesus. Read a book. Stare out the window. Listen to music. Jesus regularly took time out to pray (Luke 5:16) and sleep (Mark 4:38). We need time out too.
4. Use your introverted-ness
There are great things about being an Introvert, and your church and youth group need those things. Paul uses the image of a body to say that we need each others differences (1 Cor. 12:14-27). If you are a good listener; listen! If you are a one-to-one person; get alongside someone! If you are a thinker; think and share your thoughts! If you are a prayer warrior; pray! God has made us with certain abilities and will use them to benefit others when we allow Him.
Introverts don’t need to struggle in community. It may take a bit more work, but we can still love it and thrive in it. My hope here is that you will better understand yourself and learn how to live as the Introvert God made you in community.