I’m an introvert. Sandwiched right in between two confident, outgoing siblings and with parents who didn’t know a stranger, I felt like the odd one of the family.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like people. I did.
I loved that growing up, our home was always filled with strangers who never seemed to mind the simple meals or the imperfections of our home.
But I was better at sitting in a corner to listen and watch than I was at making friends. I was more interested in wandering around out in the woods quietly than going to a birthday party. I’d rather read a book than go shopping.
I was just an introvert in a family of various types of extroverts and to top it off, I was a Much Afraid with every inch of my being.
I thought I was destined to a life of corner-sitting, of being afraid of making small talk, and feeling awkward and uncomfortable in a room of strangers.
I had the idea that being introverted was the same thing as being shy. It took me years to figure out that they were two very different things. It took me a while to realize that being an introvert was who I was created to be. Allowing myself to indulge in the convenient cover of “being too shy” to get involved was just a nice way to cover up selfishness and pride.
I’ll always be an introvert. I’ll always prefer people watching and one-on-one conversations. I’ll do better as a supporter behind the scenes than a bold leader in front of the crowd. I’ll probably always be better at expressing myself in written words than in eloquent speeches. Being introverted is the way that God created me. Instead of feeling cursed, I’ve learned to embrace who I am and cultivate the ways that my personality lets me serve others in ways that I might not get to experience if I was the bubbly extrovert that I’ve always admired.
But I now battle the roots behind the “shy mask” I used to carry around with me. I battle the fear of rejection that I used to excuse my lack of friendliness. I battle the pride that made me afraid to step in and try to befriend a stranger, just because I might look silly or sound funny.
I give these to God time and time again. I learn to let Him push me out of my very cozy and secure little comfort zones and into the broader zones of service that He has in mind for my life.
I’m not who I was 20 years ago. I’ve learned and grown a whole lot since then. I’m still an introvert–oh, am I ever an introvert! And I can embrace that now. I understand my limitations. But I don’t let it become an excuse to harbor pride and fear that will keep me from being all that I was meant to be.
God gave us unique personalities to enrich and add color to our world. But He gave us the ability to grow and change within those personalities into something better– a more beautiful version of us.
Let’s embrace who He made us, but let’s not fall into the trap of using personality as an excuse to harbor sin. Let Him make the real you shine beautifully, without the “bad” holding you back!