|Photo courtesy of jkt_de.|
And just for the record, being introverted doesn't have anything to do with being AFRAID of people or social situations. Yeah, I've heard that one, too. Fear/phobia is a whole different ball of wax from being an introvert. Fear is SO totally fixable. I'm not talking about that.
For a while, I actually listened to such ignorant advice, thought they were right about there being something wrong with me. In the process, I didn't honor the way God made ME. It cost me dearly in terms of health, though I really didn't understand why at the time. Recently, the answer to that "why" has come to light.
Science is showing that the brains of introverts and extroverts are actually hard-wired differently. There are differences in the way our brains handle acetylcholine and dopamine (two important neurotransmitters) as well as the workings of the blood supply. Don't fret or fear. I won't go into a full-blown science lesson about it, though I am tempted since science was my first love and probably will remain so for the rest of my life.
Introversion isn't about temperament, personality, or fear as some like to accuse. God actually made introverts PHYSICALLY different from extroverts. He made us unique. Imagine that!
Being an introvert affects every area of my life, including writing.
Normally, social settings with large numbers of people make me a nervous wreck. The longer I have to be in them, the worse my nervous system reacts. Needless to say, being a true introvert on top of having neurological issues, I don't like crowds. I end up jittery for hours. NOW I understand it's because of the dopamine overload crowds cause in the brain. (Something extroverts thrive on, but introverts suffer under.) Worst I ever had, I couldn't sleep for three days because my nervous system got so overcharged. Sounds like fun, right? Not! Because of the accompanying jitters, I couldn't even use the time constructively. Talk about annoying. If I can't sleep, I at least want to get something accomplished.
In small groups, and one-on-one, I'm perfectly fine. In fact, I thrive in those environments, particularly with people I actually have things in common with. I don't have many close friends, but the real friendships I establish run very deep. I'm definitely a quality over quantity type of mentality when it comes to relationships.
A couple of interesting sources of information are:
So I've learned to work with the way God designed me. Instead of going against the flow, I work WITH my body and the hard-wiring of my brain. I no longer try to force myself to fit a social mold made by others who simply don't "get it" that God doesn't intend for all of us to be social butterflies and people-people (couldn't help myself). Society most definitely needs its share of those, but I'm not one of them. And that's okay.
As an introvert, I spend a lot of time in my own head. I think a LOT. About myself, the world around me, my faith, "what if" scenarios, you name it. I'm also an absolute research nut (not something common to all introverts). I'm a deep thinker and couldn't stop myself from doing it even if my life depended on it. I also have a very active imagination. All of that translates into an avid love of reading and writing.
Interestingly, writing in some social settings can actually be good for me (I know other introverts who can't do what I do). I have learned to channel the energy it creates in my brain in a constructive way. Being creative and in my own head, so to speak, buffers the dopamine-producing effect of being in a crowd if I write. I can control the effect crowds have on me to some degree plus use it constructively. If I have the opportunity, that is. It's not feasible in every situation.
So, is there anything wrong with me being an introvert? Not on your life. And I no longer let people make me feel defective or broken because I'm not an extrovert like them. Society needs us introverts as much as it needs extroverts. The church does as well. We are merely different, neither better nor worse than the other.
God made me this way for a reason, and a purpose. I consider introversion to be one of the gifts, just like the talents and spiritual gifts God has given me, that make me a unique creation.
Are you an introvert? Do others make comments or ignorant judgments that make you feel damaged? Don't listen. Find peace in who you are in Christ, in the incredible creation God has made you to be. Let go of your fears, insecurities and brokenness, including the ones that come from people judging you for being born an introvert. And remember. They don't know any better.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, embrace the freedom He promises, including the freedom to appreciate your God-given talents and gifts, including those inborn ones like introversion/extroversion. Be who God has created and gifted you to be, serve the purpose He had in mind for your life before you were ever born. Don't let the ignorance of the world keep you in bondage.
Are YOU honoring God by being the person He created you to be?