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An introvert’s struggle in Christian community

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Recently I’ve been increasingly struggling with my introversion- and I say “struggling” because some part of me feels like I shouldn’t be this way, that it’s not helpful to others or not right for some reason. I’m supposed to be loving others…but I just…can’t? In bigger gatherings where a lot is going on, I can see people socialising and chatting happily and full of energy. But when I think about where I stand, I am instead overwhelmed and can’t seem to even muster the energy to open my mouth and speak, let alone engage in a solid conversation with (God forbid) more than one person! I realise that I end up standing or sitting somewhere near the edge of the room just absorbing my surroundings, simultaneously wanting to escape into a quieter place but also to stay and be part of it all. 
And somehow while I am wrestling with all of this, I feel God’s call to speak-not just with the person who is next to me, but up the front – in front of everyone. In the sharp spotlight of people’s gaze. Somehow when all I want to do is stand and watch at the back of the room, I must stand and speak at the front of the room. Every fibre of my being wrestles with this and fights against it. But my heart beats deep within me and I know that the thoughts inside my head are important. I can’t keep them within myself but must share them. For somehow, God has chosen to inspire thoughts and ideas that aren’t just for myself but to bless others. 

So I actually want to take this moment to say sorry and thankyou. Sorry that often you may find that I don’t take active steps to come up to you and say hello or to greet you, that in fact I may sometimes do the opposite and hide or say nothing at all. I’m not trying to ignore you and its not because I don’t like you or acknowledge your presence. It’s just that I’m struggling. I want to communicate to you that I see you and that I value you, but I can’t sometimes. In my head I say your name and I feel happy that you’re here, but I can’t manage to tell you. I can imagine that there must be huge gap between what happens in my head and what I express outwardly. This is my struggle and weakness.

But also thankyou. Especially to the extroverts. I’m so thankful for the body of Christ, and that others seem to be able to socialise and communicate and welcome others so naturally! I’m always thankful when I see people that I wish I could greet and welcome, and you guys step in and show your love and care. Every time I see this I rejoice (on the inside lol). I’m so thankful that we can be a community that loves together-that this mission isn’t limited by my inabilities and weaknesses. Thank you for loving one another and thank you also for those that take the 100 steps towards me to greet me when I don’t seem to have the social energy to even take 1. For helping me feel a part of it when it’s easier for me to feel distant from it all.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

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