I am an introvert. There, I’ve said it. I’m an introvert in an organization whose purpose is to help everyone know someone who truly follows Jesus. Sometimes it feels like being an introvert in an extrovert organization!
Yesterday was a great day. After 2 weeks of people, people, people as the host or director of several conferences, Kay and I had a day by ourselves. It felt good! Several asked Kay and I to join with them in exploring Budapest, cruising the Danube, exploring castles. All sounded good, but they were with people.
What did we do? Kay and I sat in 3 different coffee shops. We talked. We wrote postcards. We read. We just sat. And it was good.
Kay and I are in Budapest helping host 8 conferences over a 3 week period for leaders from every area of the world. I am directing several of the conferences.
I can remember sitting in Bolton Hall as a newly enrolled freshman in Texas A&M’s College of Engineering. The course was Engineering 101. The discussion was all the roles an engineer can have in an organization — all the way from pure researchers in white lab coats with slide rules (the calculators of that day) to sales people who vaguely remember studying engineering in their distant past. I can clearly remember thinking, “The white lab coat guys seem to have it made. They don’t have to deal with people. Ohm’s Law works, all the time. Kirchoff’s Laws aren’t flaky and disappointing to me. I really don’t like people. The lab is the choice for me!”
I was an introvert, and didn’t know it at the time.
On the way to my ideal lab research job, I met the Holy Spirit. I was a believer, so He already indwelled me. But He didn’t direct my life. During my junior year, a student involved with Campus Crusade shared how I could allow the Holy Spirit to give meaning and purpose to my life every day. A light bulb clicked on, and the light began to reveal truths I had never fully understood about the source of power and purpose in life.
And I began to like people.
It’s an amazing thing. I never really disliked people, I just had rather be alone. I never expected to enjoy being around people. But as I grew as a Christian, I found myself becoming more and more concerned about people, about their hopes and dreams, about their fears and concerns.
It is not possible to walk closely with Jesus and not be deeply concerned about people.
And I am still an introvert.
I’ve learned that the difference between introverts and extroverts is where I get my energy. Being around a lot of people consumes energy for an introvert. Being around a lot of people generates energy for an extrovert. Times of aloneness and solitude generates energy for me, as an introvert.
Being in fulltime ministry does not mean changing from introvert to extrovert. It means learning to draw energy from God. So where does the energy come from to host 8 conferences in 20 days? Paul says, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Colossians 4:13). "’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).
Any good electrical engineer knows that power is the measure of energy over time. It’s probably not what the Greek means by “power”, but 2 Corinthians 12:9 is very meaningful to me by realizing that Christ’s power is Christ’s energy released over time as I help host and lead 8 conferences over 21 days.
So yesterday was a great day. I think I could use several more days, but God gave me one, and He gave me His Holy Spirit who gives me the strength to do all things. Christ’s energy is available to me.
He is sufficient.
this is so inspiring! i’m not into fulltime ministry but a medical student striving to be of use to God in my chosen field of study and i have often stuggled with the overwhelmning need of people all around for love and care. i’m also introvert and i feel guilty for seeking to be alone sometimes. your article has been of great help.
I’m glad it helps you. It has liberated me to know how to connect to God’s power through his Holy Spirit.