Previous to September 30, 2015 ‘Introverted Personality’ was a billable mental disorder. The American Psychiatric Association nearly added it to their most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), but thankfully enough people spoke out (well, as introverts, they probably sent letters) so we can safely say that introverts are just normal people (whatever normal is).
Previous to September 30, 2015 ‘Introverted Personality’ was a billable mental disorder
But that doesn’t change the fact that when faced with the decision to do something that made me uncomfortable, I would often opt out and refer to my introverted personality as the culprit…that way I didn’t need to take responsibility for my insecurity.
What I couldn’t understand, however, was other introverts who didn’t seem to have trouble with the same insecurity as I did. They didn’t have any trouble talking to complete strangers…what is wrong with you people?When faced with the decision to do something that made me uncomfortable, I would often opt out Click To Tweet
While I understand that there are different spectrums of the introvert/extrovert line, I couldn’t help but feel that maybe I was using my introversion as an excuse. What I discovered was that through my aversion to discomfort, I was missing out on a lot.
The problem with excuses
Years ago when I began to step up as a leader in my church, it was expected that I would go up to new people and make them feel welcome (uhhh… I have to do what now?) So I sucked it up (some of the time) and made my way fretfully over to a complete stranger and introduced myself, often making some comment about the weather (uhhgg).
The problem is, I really do love people, and I love connecting with them. By not stepping out of my comfort zone I was missing out on relationships and opportunity to encourage those around me, something that gives me an incredible amount of joy. And interestingly, I have found that as I get used to talking to strangers, instead of being clouded by fear and finding nothing to say besides ‘gee it sure is hot today’, I have been able to engage in more fruitful conversation.
By not stepping out of my comfort zone I was missing out on relationships and opportunity to encourage those around me
The truth about insecurity
It all began to change as I’ve stopped using my introversion as an excuse. When I’m feeling insecure, I recognise it for what it is…fear – fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of man. My insecurities are not indestructible even though I made room for them for a long time. But I’ve found that by standing up to my fear, God has opened up a world to me that is infinitely more satisfying than staying safe. As I allow Him to build up my security (in Him) I have had more opportunity, and well…my life is changing for the better.
Do I still find it hard sometimes? Absolutely, and I don’t ever expect those challenges to fully go away. The fact that my energy comes from my alone time, and there is nothing I like more than staring at a wall thinking and processing will never change. But by refusing to settle, I have certainly overcome a lot of my fear.
The parable of the talents
In the Bible there is a parable about three servants given a certain amount of money (Matthew 25:14-30). Two of the servants invested the money and it grew. The third hid it in the dirt out of fear. That’s what I’ve done for a long time. I’ve hid my gifts and talents out of fear. That servant ended up losing what he had while the other two gained more. I want more.
If you are an introvert making excuses…STOP. Stop missing out, stop allowing fear to conquer you. Don’t let your insecurities have the final say, they don’t own you. By working to overcome your insecurities you will find out the depths God created within you.