I’m an introvert. I love my alone time. Love, love, love it. If I don’t get enough, I get incredibly grumpy. Not old-man-you-dang-kids-get-off-my-lawn grumpy. Like, Smaug-the-Terrible-burn-down-entire-villages grumpy. It’s not pretty. People are cool and everything, but most of the time I’d rather be in my room with a bag of Starburst and with Netflix for company.
But Genesis 2:18 says, “…It is not good for the man to be alone….”. I’ve looked and unfortunately there is not an addendum that says, “Unless you are introverted.” So if it’s not good for man to be alone, it must mean that we are created for community. That means coming out of our rooms every once in a while and actually *gulp* talking to people.
This is typically the part in a blog post about introverts and community where I’m supposed to be like, “But you need people to pour into you so you don’t turn into a shriveled pecan.” But while that is definitely true, I think that’s a rather self-centered way to think. If the only reason I live my life in community is to get something from others, that’s incredibly selfish.
Living in community is a give-and-take proposition. Yes. you are being poured into by the people around you. But you should also be pouring into them. You should be lifting them up; spurring them onward and upward; pushing them towards the best version of themselves. If you aren’t giving to the people around you, then you’re not living in authentic community. There are going to be times when you’re riding on empty and you have nothing to give. And that’s completely fine. Those are the times when the people around you should lift you up. But when you’ve got that metaphorical full tank of metaphorical gas, then it’s your turn to give yourself to others.
“But I have nothing to give.”
Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and call B.S. on that one. Literally, everyone in the world has something to give. You may not know what that something is. You may be already impacting the people around you without knowing it. But I promise, you have something to offer the community around you. It could be your sense of humor. It could be your gift of encouragement. It could be your knowledge of all things Doctor Who. Whatever it is, it’s something that only you could give because you’re uniquely you.
So introverts, hiding in your room and only coming out for food can be really, really awesome. Trust me, I know. But not only are you missing out on the growth you can receive from the people around you, you’re also robbing your community of the gifts that you and only you can give them. So..don’t. Give yourself to authentic community even though it’s uncomfortable. It’s actually a lot better than Netflix. I promise.