This could have been a normal post. But I simply can’t talk about introversion and genuinely challenge you to grow without pointing three fingers back at myself, we’re going to have to keep each other accountable with this one.
We’ll call it… my big dread. But that’s for next week.
Hi, my name is Cynthia.
I’m an introvert at heart. But a lot of people get the whole introversion thing wrong.
So let’s make one thing clear right off the bat: introversion doesn’t equal shyness.
And although I thought I knew this, this misconception has evidently played a role in my life for a long time. In fact, until recently I thought that the ideal Christians were these bubbly and outgoing souls. The ones that were able to charm their way straight into anyone’s heart.
But I’m learning that I was SO wrong.
I’m learning to love and make the most of my strengths while also not clinging onto the weaknesses as just “a part of who I am”.
If you were looking for a post that’s sweet on the ears, a beautiful flow of words that don’t ruffle any feathers, you’re in the wrong place. Introversion is a gift but parts of our personalities need to grow, and I’m going to challenge you to do that today, right here.
First things first…
Introversion and Shyness Are Different
First we have to make a very important distinction, although introversion and shyness are often paired, in this blog post they’re separate. Now I say in this blog post some dictionaries group them together, but take a look at Walden University’s talk about introversion and extroversion’s origin:
“The introvert and extrovert are part of a theory of personality pioneered by 20th-century Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Introversion is a personality type characterized by a focus on internal feelings, as opposed to the extrovert’s external sources of stimulation.”Walden University
Did you catch that?
The difference between introversion and extroversion is one’s focus.
You know what this means 🙂 shy extroverts and outgoing introverts are definitely a thing.
The Bad Christian
Equipped with a little more insight into our characters and the correct way to define our traits, let’s bring this lens over to Christianity.
Now I mentioned earlier that I used to think the perfect Christians had to be “these bubbly and outgoing souls that were able to charm their way straight into anyone’s heart”. Well is this true? Or has the church and Christians let modern society influence its preferences and “ideal”?
Well yes and no.
Has the extroverted bias of society seeped into your own view of the ideal Christian?
Let’s look to the infamous 2 Timothy 1:7, but with a twist! Check out this TLB (Living Bible) translation:
Introversion Is Lovely, Shyness Is Not
So what can we gather from that? The root principle is we as Christians should be growing towards acting completely from a place of love instead of fear. Fear of other people’s opinions, fear of other people’s reactions, and fear of our own insecurities being discovered. Not only is fear crippling, it creates a spiral. Fear focuses on the “me”. It turns this blinding spotlight onto our own insecurities and takes our eyes off of the source of our strength and power, God. Pride truly is one of the sneakiest sins, and it won’t miss a beat when given the opportunity to show up in places of your life you’d never expect.
How is introversion lovely then? How is introversion not a form of pride? Introversion is a personality trait largely agreed to be set at birth (though it can change over time). This personality trait encompasses the ways people get drained and the ways they get stimulated. Our brains are literally wired differently (Anne Bogel, Reading People). And that’s more than ok, that’s beautiful!
So how can we actually implement fearlessness? We’ll dive right into that along with much more biblical insight next week in Part 2 next Thursday. And check out Part 3 for tips on how to combat shyness!
But to leave off on a hopeful note for now, here’s a hint: prayer, identity, and God’s Word are just three methods out of many that work wonders. See you next week for more!
Have any personal tips or struggles with shyness? Let’s talk in the comments!