You’ve been a heady cocktail of nerves and excitement this past week. Chest swelling inside new-true-blue Grade 1 shirt the exact colour of your eyes. Heart pounding inside same chest because it’s still hard to tie your laces and What if I’m not sitting next to Jason?
You’re not one for crowds, noise and new things. You’re all imagination and crazy humour. You’re the kid who packs a Treasure Hunting Quest Bag, dreams up obstacle courses in the garden for the puppy and pain. – staking. – ly. types out sentences on my old laptop because you’re sure there’s a book in you.
I don’t like pigeonholing (because it sounds like the opposite of wing-spreading) but I’d say you slot into the roughly 42% of people called introverts. (At the very least, you’re an ambivert like me – someone with one foot in the still waters of introversion and the other kicking madly and cheerfully in the public swimming pool with all the other extroverts.)
As an introvert, there are things you need to understand about how humans run the world.
The loudest voices dominate the most important conversations even though, as Susan Cain says, the best talkers don’t always have the best ideas. The garrulous are set up to appear bravest. Personality trumps character. From social media to Starbucks, from schools to malls to movies – extroversion is held up as the ideal.
You asked me the other day if it’s ok for you to get baptized in our pool one day, with just your cousins watching? Because it’s too loud at church and you’re shy of all the people cheering and clapping and I’m freshly struck that even our culture of cutting-edge contemporary church is pretty much designed for extroverts.
And all this is completely fine.
So long as you know the truth.
And the truth is that the world desperately needs leaders and creatives, and leaders and creatives need solitude and space. The most remarkable Leader and Creative ever, drew away to quiet places to pray. So, it’s totally fine for you to do that.
Go quietly inside yourself.
There’s more than enough room inside your skin for you to feel absolutely comfortable.
When you realise this, strength and peace are yours. The crowds and the clamour aren’t a threat. Actually, you begin to enjoy them. You’re not tempted to retreat, pretend to enjoy things you don’t, or overcompensate by showing off.
You learn to live with vulnerable dignity.
Vulnerable doesn’t mean weak or hanging-out-your-dirty-laundry. That’s why I added the dignity. Vulnerable dignity is the fearless humility of an open heart that says, I’m here to make a difference, not an impression.
There’s a calm consistent courage in you that will give people hope and rest. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
God gives wisdom to those who ask. He’ll show you how to navigate the loud and the lively. Like a boss.
I’m echoing for you bits of what Sir Francis Drake prayed in 1577 –
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore…
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
. . .
Go ahead and share this post if you know an introvert. And thanks for reading here – I’m grateful! You’re welcome to leave a comment, or get in touch here, on Twitter, or on our Facebook community page. Sign up in the sidebar to get these posts by email.
Walking in Grace
366 inspirational devotions for an abundant life in Christ
is on its way to stores in SA and the USA. Looks like it will be hitting the shelves in February.
I’m sharing the January devotions on Instagram – follow along!
(Big thanks to Christian Art Publishers for making this free offer available.)
Here’s what’s on the menu, if you’re reading this in an email: