I am an introvert. I think everyone knows that about me. Some because they know me well, others because they see me in the corner at parties with a look of strained pleasantness on my face, anxiously clicking my fingernails and repeatedly moving a strand of hair out of my eyes. The same strand that has been nicely tucked behind my ear all the time. I try to look like I’m just enjoying my surroundings, but I’m really wondering how many times I can get a drink refill, go to the restroom, or check my phone without it looking suspicious. If I have a choice between going out to socialize at a party or staying at home in my sweats and smartwool socks I’ll always take the latter, unless my conscious prickles me too much and then I’ll bribe myself into going with a promised extra long time on the couch the next day to read and sip my coffee in solitude. Let me know when the pictoral encyclopedia is looking for a new update for their entry on introversion. I can send them my picture.
Other than the problem of the world having so many people in it that I’ll probably have to encounter – or worst of all call on the phone, I really like being an introvert. I am an advocate for equality among personality types – and want everyone to know that introverts are awesome. Just as awesome as those fun, talkative extraverts. I’m all for living into your personality and finding the best ways to function in the way God has made you. Sometimes however I find myself using my personality type (do you remember that MBTI test you took in college? My introversion was at the very farthest it could go) as an excuse to justify avoiding people. I decline invitations, look for quick exits, and opt for an evening in frequently because I am an introvert and those things just have so many people. I’m fairly happy by myself and my husband provides me with the social life that I need. Other people are just time away from these things that I enjoy most.
At least that’s my thought process when I’m at my house debating whether to go out or stay in, to pursue a conversation with someone or just keep to myself.
But there’s a fullness in community that, in spite of my strong introversion, I am refreshed by. I forget about it, I think I’m fine on my own. And then I force myself to do something, to be with people, to share life a little. And I remember. There’s a reason we’re called a body. We are not whole without fellowship with others. We are a small fragment, doing our job in this world, a pinky toe or an elbow. Our jobs are small on our own. But when we come together we are whole, all the parts functioning together to form a complete body.
I am still an introvert. That won’t ever change. Large groups will probably never excite me. But it cannot be an excuse for isolating myself. A shared life is a whole life.