"Personality" is who others think you are; "character" is who you are.*
While researching the topic of introverts, I found this bit of wisdom in, of all places, Volume 28 of the United States Naval Medical Bulletin published in 1930. A section called Psychology for Nurses explores the dynamics of introvert-extrovert behavior. Some conclusions were obviously relevant to the culture of that day (mostly men are extroverts, mostly women are introverts), but others I believe transcend time.
To demonstrate introversion, 56 children were taken into a room individually where an attendant hid behind a screen with toys. The extroverts explored, while the introverts stood and looked. When a sound was made with a toy, the extrovert would go look. The introvert would listen first. When asked to find the duck toys in closed boxes, the extrovert would declare there were none only after searching a few boxes or give up if the boxes were hard to open.
"I can't open. You open"*, was the sentiment of the extroverts.
But the introverts... they continued even if the boxes were hard to open.
In its original mid-17th century language, introversion was never described as "shy" or "aloof", but to turn one's thoughts inwards (in spiritual contemplation)**.
None of us are exclusively introverted or extroverted. We all have things, places, and people that can activate either side. But faith, hope, belief - those are things that (no matter we are exposed to) can only grow from the inside out.
Even if fear is the motivation, use it to create a conversation where Heaven can ignite your hope and develop your faith.
Taking the time to explore how and what you feel about God is like making a candle. You have to place the wick of wisdom in the vessel before you pour the wax. For what can burning wax do alone except melt and perhaps burn you? The essence, the character, the strength, the capacity of the candle to receive light, be a light, and give light is based on the capacity of the wick to sustain fire.
Here are 3 reasons why God loves your introverted spirit:
It keeps you in tune with God's voice of wisdom.
Blessed are those who listen to me [wisdom],... ~Proverbs 8:34a, New International Version
It does not let the fact that you cannot see God keep you from seeking God.
... watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. ~Proverbs 8:34b, NIV
It creates opportunities to blessed from the inside out.
For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. ~Proverbs 8:34-35 NIV
When we make the choice to listen and let God in, we create an environment where he can authentically be revealed to us and through us.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
This is not about who people think you are. It's about who you are. God wants to ignite the fire inside of you.
As you prepare for what is next in your life, don't let society's "culture of personality"* dictate and distort your perception. Take back your "inner introvert". Create a "culture of character"* where wisdom has the last word. Give Christ and his love for you the consideration, thought, and access they deserve.
Father God, we trust you to love us from the inside out. Now, ignite our faith, our hope, and our belief. Don't let the Holy Ghost fire within us go out, but stoke the flames and draw us nearer to the warmth of your wisdom. Thank you for nurturing the introvert in all of us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
* United States Naval Medical Bulletin. United States: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1930
** Definition from Google’s English dictionary is provided by Oxford Languages
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