For most of my childhood, I was painfully shy.
So shy, in fact, that my parents had to make me a star chart and I was rewarded for speaking to adults because otherwise I would just ignore them, not out of rudeness but out of sheer anxiety of speaking.
Fast forward a few years and the thought of me being this painfully shy person is almost laughable. Ask any of my friends and they would almost not recognize the story above. I love to talk, I love to laugh and I’m happy to strike up conversation with almost anyone.
So what led me to thinking about whether introverts make better pray-ers?
Well, because The Quiet Time is something that in the traditions of the church that I have grown up in is seen as almost the bread and butter of a relationship with God. And having now become a naturally extroverted person, I’ve found the concept of a sacred quiet time personally challenging.
Because I want to be noisy, expressive, animated…and in truth…I’m an external processor, I found that the only way I could really express myself to God in the silence was by writing. I struggled to spend long amounts of time on my own, even if I felt the presence of God really strongly.
I sometimes think that I’m part Labrador puppy that is just desperate to play and can’t sit still!
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering recently whether introverts make better pray-ers, or even just better Christians in general, because of that depth of relationship they can find with God on their own.
But then God challenged me on this.
First, he put a spiritual companion in my life that really encouraged me to press into His presence, not to rush on in my silent time with Him. It took discipline, but the more I allowed Him the space, the more of His presence I felt and the deeper sense of peace I knew.
Secondly, He put people in my life to journey with in learning the spiritual discipline of quiet, silence, and reflection.
I was recently part of a monastic community and prayer was a huge part of that year.
Since that season came to an end a few months ago, I decided to get more connected with the prayer at my local church, and I’ve just started a new prayer group focusing on more completive and reflective forms of prayer. To be honest, I need the accountability of others around me to stay motivated.
My co-leader is the polar opposite of me in terms of energy, she is an extreme introvert that finds her quiet time of prayer a place of depth and peace. There’s a huge amount that I can learn from her, but I know that my spiritual gifting is organizing and bringing people together (because I like to know all the people!).
So I’ve concluded for now that introverts don’t necessarily make better pray-ers, there is a place in the family of God for all personality types, including extroverts like me.
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
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