Naked Before God in Community: But I’m an Introvert!

The other day, I asked for your comments at the end of the post “Naked Before God: In Community (2)”, and I would like to thank those of you who commented. The reason I asked was that I believe that this topic has almost run its course, at least as much so as I am going to take it for now, and I wanted to see if someone would mention something I should have covered.

Many thanks to Steve B. who gave me the comment with the subject I hadn’t thought to address: Introverts.

The really ironic thing about it is that like Steve B., I am INTP-A on the Briggs test. That’s right gang, I am one of those introverted characters who hates parties, social events and… community in general; I would much prefer to be alone and unnoticed. The funny thing is, quite a few people that I know, have no idea that I am an introvert, particularly if they only know me from seeing me in front of a room full of people, for being in front of a room (public speaking in other words) has never been even the slightest problem for me; maybe that’s because of the “A” part which stands for assertive.

At any rate, in my mind, being introverted is sort of a given, and it hadn’t even occurred to me to mention it.

Most of the time, spiritual gifts and personality traits are more or less in harmony, so that extroverts are more likely to have leading gifts like leadership, exhortation or teaching. They might also have gifts such as hospitality, while introverts more commonly have serving gifts like helps or service or mercy. Yet for some of us, God has seen fit to give leading gifts to introverts like me. As a result, we are called to serve in the place where our service is uncomfortable; that is my story. I can truly tell you that God is strong where I am weak, and thus, He is glorified by my weakness in certain areas. While this is encouraging, it is still uncomfortable.

I really don’t know why God gave me a personality that doesn’t want to be noticed, and called me to leadership where you must be noticed… but that is the reality of my situation. Yet I can tell you that even though I dread those situations, when the time comes, He more than compensates for what I lack and people seldom suspect there’s a problem. The long and short of it is this: When God calls you to serve, go where He leads you secure in the knowledge that He will sustain you. Where God has given you spiritual gifts, use them, even if it’s scary, for God will be glorified in your discomfort.

The whole theory of naked before God in community however, is not really dependent upon our personality types, for it is instead dependent upon the quality of our relationships with Him. Please note that I haven’t called this “naked before the community”, I’ve called “naked before God in community”. In community with other believers, God is present in the midst of His people, and our nakedness is before God. It follows that our spiritual nakedness will spill over into our relationship with the humans who are also present. The key is for us to perceive His presence in the midst of the people, and as believers in the promises of Scripture, this perception is not as difficult as one might assume at first, once we have a little practice looking for Him.

Does this sound abstract or theoretical to you? Please believe me when I tell you that it isn’t; it is entirely practical. If you’ve never read it, or even if you have, please read a very short little book called The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence; you can find it online for free. It is a classic of spiritual discipline that is on required reading lists in Seminaries of every denomination, and it is so simple and easy to understand that a child can master it in an hour or two. Brother Lawrence will tell you how to be naked before God in community.

I know that for the introvert, this whole subject can seem a little bit daunting, but in truth, we introverts have a decided advantage over the extroverts, for we do not crave attention, and are unlikely to perform in front of others, thus we must rely upon God in social settings… or just hide in the darkest corner of the room until we can escape. We also have more time available to be alone with God, and this gives us an enhanced opportunity for a deeper personal relationship with Him. If we recognize that our apparent disadvantage is actually an advantage, with a little effort and a degree of faith, we can let God do amazing “naked” things in and through us.

Once again, please don’t hesitate to tell me what you think!

Advertisements

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Christian Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Naked Before God in Community: But I’m an Introvert!

  1. I, too, am an introvert (ISJT) with an introvert rating of 72% (being generous at that). Like you, I feel comfortable when asked to speak in front of a group, but prefer the solitude of my hikes; in fact, if I don’t go on walkabout twice a month I get downright unlivable.

    I think why I do well in front of a group is that it’s an impersonal situation, I’m not interacting with a single person, or a small group, so I can depersonalize the situation. Put me into a situation where I have to deal one-on-one (or anything less than 20) and I’m headed for the hills before I’ve finished my first drink.

    That’s one of the reasons I like blogging, very impersonal for me. I can relation sort of one-on-one, like here, because you’re not really here, it’s just me and a keyboard. IMO! I am the way God made me, why He did so is known only to Him, but I figure it fits into His plan somehow, and I’m fine with that…so long as He and I don’t have to do a one-on-one. 😉

    • Don Merritt says:

      Yep. For me one-on-one is hard, small groups are harder (I lead 4 of those) and being “up front” is a cakewalk. I think that in my case, public speaking has always been easy because I started doing it before anyone told me it was scary (true story). It really isn’t rational, but then these things often aren’t.

      • Speaking in front of people, for me, started when my church needed someone to help the aging priest do the readings for the early morning liturgy. I grew up in a steel town, so on Sunday he had two early liturgies, one for those headed to work, one for those coming home. He figured that was the only way to get them into church. Those going would be in the mill all day, and those coming home weren’t going to come back at 10, they needed to get to bed. No one else wanted to get up for those liturgies, so I was “volunteered.:

  2. Sherron says:

    There are so many of us out here who identify with your post. I cringe when called upon to participate in social gatherings of any kind or public events. The only way I can cope is to ask God to give me courage to “power through it”! He always blesses my sincere efforts to share whatever He has given me to His glory. I try to focus on that. Great postings and thank you for encouraging the brethren.

  3. blmaluso says:

    ” If we recognize that our apparent disadvantage is actually an advantage, with a little effort and a degree of faith, we can let God do amazing “naked” things in and through us.”

    This is so true of all of us! I am an introvert, and for many years fought against all that I am, because I thought there was something wrong with me. It is hard to explain how much I love people and look for Jesus in them… however cannot “connect” at all in a social gathering. One on one relationship and mercy are my gifts. We all were designed for a specific purpose, and all of our gifts and service work together.

    My prayer now is that the Lord lead me and work through me to touch those he places in my path, especially when I am weak or unaware.

    Bernadette

  4. etaxwiz says:

    Steven B must have the gift of knowledge because being naked before God in community is terrifying. At least it is to me.

  5. etaxwiz says:

    If someone would have told me ten years ago that today I would be teaching the bible to my pastor’s mother in a small group I would have never believed it. We had group today. It turned out amazing. One of the attendees lost her daughter recently and it was a mother’s day theme. Yes, I do think it is wonderful what He does.

  6. Steve B says:

    Nice post Don

    I am ok with public speaking as long as I know the subject matter. For me going to a group meeting kind of bores me more than anything else. Knowing that I may be with a bunch of people who do not share my interests puts me off. Two day church camps – by the middle of day 1, I am twiddling my thumbs and want to take a long nap.

    A person further up commented that I have a gift of knowledge. Close, I am an analyst, I spent years working for Telecom companies identifying and repairing quite complex computer and network faults. Now I am a driving instructor and teaching someone to drive is relatively easy but to be able to get them to drive well again needs good analysis of why the person is not driving well. Having said that I believe that the Holy Spirit has given me special knowledge at times when needed.

  7. dawnlizjones says:

    My daughter had to teach me that introverts are not necessarily shy, but folks that refuel their energy with solitude, whereas extroverts gain their energy from other people. I’m anything but shy, but silence and solitude are a must. Thanks for this post!

  8. I, too, am an introvert – high on the charts! I crave for quiet, solitude and have to psyche myself up to be in public. In God’s design, not mine, I have found myself on the lecture/workshop/retreat platform for the past thirty years directing programs for women and men. I experience much anxiety before every presentation and often feel like running away. I invoke the Holy Spirit and surrender myself and my presentations to Him. I generally get positive feedback with people perceiving me to be calm, peaceful and connected with them. Inwardly, I feel that I am in the midst of a whirlwind. God is gracious. I, too, have benefitted from reading the works of Brother Lawrence on the Presence of God.

  9. Pingback: Where is the government strategy to prevent violence against women? | From guestwriters

  10. laila says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I’ve scored both INFJ and ENFJ, and I’m actually right down the middle with the I and E, with a bend towards I. My most dominant spiritual gift is exhortation (though teaching, perceiving and administration all fall closely behind it). Since my gift is exhortation and I have the talent of singing, it’s no wonder that I’m a praise and worship leader at my church. What I love about P&W is that in order to be effective, all the attention MUST be on God (not on me!). This really makes for a great balance of my I and E sides as an exhorter. I can encourage the entire congregation to lift our voices in praise to the Father, but if it were about me, I’d get clammy because of the attention.

  11. Mary Ann says:

    I am quiet and shy.. and I guess I have always been an introvert.. But God gave me a nudge, and I am working on becoming a bold witness 🙂

  12. I too am an introvert. But it seems over the years the pastors that have been the most loved by congregations are those that are introverts. I think God put introverts in positions of leadership because they are not seeking attention and give more attention to others. Introverts also need to refuel on a regular bases and by refueling they also serve others better for they are more refreshed. Thanks for the post. Blessings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s