For anyone that’s known me for a considerable amount of time, you’d know that I would consider myself an introvert. I won’t go into the percentage breakdown between introversion vs. extroversion (partly because I am not entirely sure of what that breakdown looks like) but what I do know for sure, is that between introversion and extroversion I tend to lean toward the former as opposed to the latter.
On good days, this means any number of things: (1) My rest and rejuvenation often come from my time alone away from the loudness and distraction of chaotic energy. (2) It gives me time to think and process through issues that I may not have had the emotional/mental fortitude to think through otherwise. (3) Once I get my rest, I am more able to give myself to the needs of others and to the mission of God in my life.
On bad days, it might more mean that: (1) I use the title of “introvert” in order to withdraw from my friends and loved ones so that I can retreat from their care, compassion, and conviction. (2) I sometimes think too much within a vacuum and do not have the perspective of others to guide me away from harmful thoughts and beliefs. (3) If I’m not able to get rest, then I’m generally not capable of discerning the desires of my own heart from the desires of the Lord in my life.
I find that I often struggle with ‘isolation’ and mask it as ‘introversion’ that then leads me down dark and destructive paths. And, while I believe that not every issue needs to be brought before the council of others, I must also be true to myself and concede that a lot of the heartache and difficulties of my past, present, and (undoubtedly) my future can be avoided by simply heeding the call of the Lord in Scripture and giving myself more fully to the idea of biblical community.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
These are but a few Scriptural examples spurring us toward the beauty of community. Please understand, I am not suddenly saying that introversion is not important, but nowhere in Scripture does it say that you can’t be introverted while also loving your community and, in turn, allowing them to love you. Whenever I find myself in those ‘dark’ places, I have to remind myself that biblical community was something that the Triune God modeled in Himself and then entrusted to His people.
Friends, if you find yourself reading this then I hope that you don’t make the same mistakes that I often make. Whether on the mountaintop or in the valley, know and remember that you are not alone.