The wonder of God’s creation
A part of the wonder of God’s creation of people in His image is how different we all are one from another while still being equal in worth and our ability to impact the world for His glory.
I have had and listened to many conversations about personality differences. I would not classify myself as an extreme introvert (I enjoy an occasional party and can speak my mind when I’m comfortable with the people around me). If A were extreme extrovert and Z were extreme introvert, I’d place myself somewhere around a T. What does that mean? It means I can enjoy people time only if I have enough alone time to compensate. It means I prefer an evening in to an evening out, I would always choose to hang out with one friend instead of ten, and I never volunteer to lead anything. Ever.
Unless you’re an extreme extrovert, I think you can understand these feelings on some level. There’s nothing inherently wrong in these natural feelings and inclinations. God made me with these preferences. The problem comes when I use my natural personality to create a comfort-zone cushion that excuses me from serving God the way He wants me to.
And He has called every one of His people, regardless of personality, to share that way with others.
As one of God’s unique creations, I stand more on the introverted side of the personality spectrum. There’s nothing wrong with that, but lately, God has been challenging me about using that as an excuse.
The Gospel Comes with a House Key
Earlier this year, I read Rosaria Butterfield’s book The Gospel Comes with a House Key. I read this book with avid interest as she told story after story of how God used her and her family to reach out to their community by opening up their home and basically sharing their lives with their brothers and sisters in Christ as well as their unbelieving neighbors.
I ate her words up, but in the back of my mind I kept telling myself, "this wouldn’t work for me." I was amazed at what God did through her sacrifice, but I knew that I could never do what she did. My home is my sanctuary. My place to escape when I get mentally exhausted from being around people.
Butterfield’s description of her own personality completely matches my own, and yet I had never considered that my struggles didn’t exclude me from certain ministries. I’d never seen active, people-centered ministry as something I could do (or at least do well) because I never thought about it as something we introverts are all called to do—just differently.
Some people might be able to jump out of bed and rush right into a day filled with people, activities, and service. I would be drained and longing for my bed and a book by hour two. But instead of telling God I can’t do it, I could ask Him for wisdom on how to prepare myself for something outside of my comfort zone.
In her book, Butterfield detailed how she prepared herself for ministering to people in need by learning to wake up early and have quiet alone time in the morning so that she felt relaxed and stocked up on her “me time” enough to face a day filled with serving people. This is such a different attitude than I have had toward ministry in the past.
We’re all called to share the Gospel
We’re all called to actively serve God and to actively share the Gospel. We don’t have to decide whether or not we’re capable of those things. God has already made us capable. We just have to learn strategies to prepare us for the ministry and Gospel opportunities He sends our way.
What do all of these scenarios have in common?
They all involve something we must change. God is right there prompting us. The Holy Spirit is inside convicting us.
“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
When God calls us to do something outside of our natural strength, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. That is when our pride is stripped away and we can’t boast because we know He is the One doing the work through us.
So, don’t see your natural limitations as excuses to keep you from serving God and sharing the Gospel. See them as opportunities to learn how to rely completely on God’s strength. See them as a way to exhibit His power in your life.
If you're an introvert as well, what has helped you to share the Gospel?
10/16/2020 06:20:39 pm
"Knowing your personality and your sensitivities does not excuse you from ministry. It means that you need to prepare for it differently than others might" - Wow. I've never thought of it like that before. Thought-provoking and challenging post. It really spoke to me as an introvert who shrinks back in ministry because of some of the things you described. Such an important post - I've shared it ❤
10/16/2020 11:04:16 pm
Thank you, Wemi! I’m so glad you could relate! God has been teaching me lately to allow Him to use me in areas outside of my introvert’s comfort zone. It’s been a completely different way of thinking for me too! But it’s already opened my eyes to how I tend to shy away from my weaknesses instead of allowing Him to be strong in my weakness. He can use us introverts powerfully if we let Him! ❤️
10/17/2020 07:42:34 am
Oh, Patsy, I can relate to this on so many levels and guilty as charged 100%! Thank you for your encouragement to step outside our comfort zone in obedience when He calls
10/17/2020 04:55:23 pm
I’m so glad you can relate, Valerie! I definitely wrote this to myself as well. Learning to step out in faith when He asks me to do something not in my natural comfort zone. 🙂
10/17/2020 10:00:38 pm
That’s so great, Sam! I’m glad you’ve found ways to recharge so you’re ready when God wants to use you!
10/20/2020 10:43:53 am
I think I need to read the book you mentioned. My home is a sanctuary for me, as well. But now I'm working from home and I don't really require much outside interaction; I know God wants more than just writing and an occasional speaking "gig" from me. He's been prompting me to invite a woman and her daughter over; it's time to grow out of my comfort zone.
10/20/2020 11:04:43 am
Thank you for sharing this, Tammy! That’s such a specific and wonderful way that you can follow God’s prompting and step outside of your comfort zone a little bit while relying on His strength. That’s so great! I definitely recommend the book! It was eye-opening for me.
10/21/2020 04:00:38 pm
I think a lot of introverts appear quite extroverted in a lot of ways. How you find your comfort zone is often not all that clear to others. #BooknificentThursdays
10/21/2020 05:03:42 pm
I agree, Lydia. Everyone is different and the terms are very broad. But I think each of us, no matter our personality need encouragement to let God use us no matter where our “comfort zone” falls.
10/22/2020 11:44:15 am
I consider myself on the moderate introvert side too. so I appreciate your encouragement to not use it as an excuse to not serve. It's tempting to at times! :) But I know it's not fruitful or obedient to lean on it as a crutch.
10/22/2020 12:06:06 pm
Hi Lisa! That’s a great way to put it. I tend to use my personality as a crutch too sometimes, but it’s funny to me that I don’t even realize I’m doing it....it’s so second nature to rationalize things away. :-)
10/23/2020 09:11:48 am
Thank you, Sarah! :-)
10/23/2020 01:03:16 pm
This article was encouraging and convicting! Thank you for sharing your story, and the resource, The Gospel Comes with a House Key, I feel inspired!
10/23/2020 02:12:03 pm
I’m so glad, Lisa!
Cami, thank you for this well written and insightful post! I am a confirmed introvert, and truly have struggled over the years with following God's call on my life, which included serving on the mission field in a third world country. Often God has asked me to put myself out there, and open myself up to serve, which has never been easy. But as you shared from Rosaria's Butterfield's book, we miss the blessings when we don't step outside our comfort zone. I truly appreciate the reminder! Visiting today from Grace & Truth link up!
10/23/2020 10:06:39 pm
It’s been so great to hear thoughts from so many fellow introverts this week! :-) it sounds like you have an amazing life story of following God’s leading, even when your natural inclination might be to stay home and away from people. Thank you for sharing! I love hearing examples of how God can use people and bless people who are willing to rely on His strength instead of their own. :-)
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