It was one of those days an introvert dreads:
12pm – shop at Rhea Lana
2pm – friend’s daughter’s birthday party
4pm – husband’s work party where I knew no one
Granted, shopping at Rhea Lana was fine but the fact that I had to interact nonstop with people starting at noon with no breather was quite overwhelming. (Introverts, you’re feeling my pain. Extraverts, stop crinkling your eyebrows – keep reading; you may learn a little about us weirdos.)
I recently read an article here about introverts that said it best: Small talk with strangers is my kryptonite. YES! (And truth be told, small talk with friends can be my kryptonite some days as well! Of course, this is never to be confused with deep talk. I could deep talk for hours!)
But here’s what I’ve learned about this aspect of my personality. It isn’t a flaw. It is God-designed. And it isn’t meant to help me avoid people and situations where I’m uncomfortable.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
For me, as a believer and follower of Jesus, my weakness is meant for an entirely different purpose than my strength.
For example, my sweet spot is teaching and speaking. (The great irony is that I can speak in full confidence to a room full of people yet quiver talking to a small group in a social setting…can anyone relate?) So, if I’m not careful, I can head into a teaching or speaking situation with full confidence in my ability. How many times have I left a classroom feeling I’ve completely failed only to realize that I hadn’t prayed before I ministered to my class? I was operating in my own strength – even within my own spiritual gifting – yet I fell on my face without God’s anointing and power.
But every time I find myself with one of those days like I mentioned above, you’d better believe I’m spending a LOT of time in prayer! Why? Because I know my weakness threatens to cripple me. My anxiety leads me to only think of myself instead of how I might minister to another person.
In my weakness, I sink into the background. In my weakness, I avoid small talk. In my weakness I grit my teeth and bear it until it’s over. In my weakness I never seek to know another person.
But when Christ’s power rests on me, I see outside myself. I look for opportunities to ask someone about herself and open the door to conversation. And because being deep and sensitive many times accompanies an introverted personality, meaningful connection can occur in ways that are more difficult for the extravert. Sometimes this connection happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least I don’t leave the situation defeated. I leave knowing that truly Christ’s power was resting on me as I sought Him to use my weakness for his glory.
It’s not perfect. It’s never easy. And I still put my foot in my mouth plenty.
But it beats the alternative of letting the weakness of my personality cripple me instead of being used by God to take me farther many times than my strengths ever could.