Monday, August 17, 2015

People Need People

People are pretty much alike. It's only that our differences are more susceptible to definition than our similarities. -Linda Ellerbee

My muse Ganieda wrote a post titled Introverts 4 Christ in response to another blog post Reading in the Day written by another friend, who described the guilt she feels as an introvert, particularly as a Christian introvert. I have quite a few introverts for friends, most of whom I have met through the Internet, and I have a few extroverts for friends, most of whom I have met in person. Yes, I think there is a correlation.

Introverts are usually more self sufficient types who can stimulate and entertain themselves with their own thoughts and can even feel rudely interrupted by a person's chatter or presence while they are submerged in a thought. They need time to process, not what is obvious, but what is beneath it and when there is much going on, it is overwhelming. While introverts obviously feel more comfortable not being in the presence of people doing the day-to-day business of people, they need people in the forms of individuals. Even those who would rather tune out the world enraptured in a book needed someone to write the book, someone who expressed his thoughts or told the story. In short, they had a deep desire for persons to connect with them and for them to connect with persons, more to the point, the subsurface of each person: how the person thinks, what he believes, the condition of his soul. Introverts usually are starved to share their thoughts with individuals of the same persuasion, but introverts, being what they are, have trouble finding each other because they shun the presence of people; the Internet has provided introverts the perfect meeting grounds.


Extroverts, on the other hand, are people who need people to just be the day-to-day people they are. They absolutely need the stimulation and entertainment that others provide. They want to experience life through people. They want to be involved and to interact. They feel connected to people by their presence. They use technology as a means to stay connected when outside of the presence of people and to arrange get-togethers. They feel lonely without people. Many are quite dependent on people: I have extroverted friends who are not motivated unless they are doing something for someone else or have someone with them while they are doing it.


What am I? Both and neither, but not something in between, either. I am something even more complicated. I have struggled with feeling guilty about not being what I thought I should be, but somewhere along the way I changed my thinking to just being as God wishes and I find peace. I am not in that "God made me that way so I can just be...ME" crowd either. We all have had different experiences that challenged us, even injured us, that resulted in shaping us and when we are seeking God's guidance all those things, bad and good, works toward His good, which means we are not meant to stay the way we were when we found God, but to walk a journey with Him and be changed by Him.

Beyond the introverted and extroverted concerns, I am empathic, creative...and so much more so all those things wrapped up together make me more like a cross-over chameleon. To my extroverted friends, I am extroverted in appearance, sometimes drawing on my creativity which covers an introverted undercurrent. My introverted friends recognize me as one of their own, one who sees beneath the veil. It is not that I am trying to fool anyone, but rather that I have found special niches in which I can happily flourish and honor my Lord.

For instance, I often offer to face paint at large get-togethers with children. This way even adult introverts and extroverts have an opportunity to meet me while the crowd is funneled down to just a few at a time doing something creative that I enjoy. Everyone thinks I am as friendly as I really am (after that initial meeting), but I did not have to think of a way to approach them, which is where I trip awkwardly over my introverted tendencies. In the end, everyone benefits. I also do well on stage as a speaker or acting, even singing or playing a guitar, it is better for me than sitting in the audience. The reason is because being empathic the closeness of so many people can really affect me, strong emotions added to the aches and pains that I can feel from so many; although I try not to think about it, sometimes it is very distracting. I know I am suppose to pray for those people, but sometimes I just want to be left alone while I am watching a play or listening to a preacher. So, I am drawn to things where I use my creativity as a buffer with crowds, but am still contributing and even interacting with everyone.

We all like to think we had something in common with Jesus and I am no exception. I believe Jesus keenly felt the sufferings of people but He was also driven by His love for people. I believe that once in awhile also He needed to commune with God alone. I believe that He was neither introverted nor extroverted but something more complex and yet so very simple: He is God. I believe God made us all unique and gave us the Holy Spirit, not just so we would be saved, comforted, and have His gifts, but also because God could experience the uniqueness of each of us.

As to feeling guilty, that is simply a person placing a judgement upon himself. The only guilt one should ever feel is as a warning when one is disobeying or not acting on what God wishes him or her to do at any time, when we are being self serving rather than God serving. We can judge ourselves so harshly but the only judgement that is true is God's.

Thank you, my Lord, for the differences in people and the two things we all have in common: the need for You and for each other.

2 comments:

  1. What I didn't cover [not the place for it] was the ways introverts express extroversion. The number of actors, musicians, dancers ...Preachers! ☺ Who are introverts always amuses me. Yes, introverts need people too ~ they just need them in a different way to the extroverts amongst us. And there are degrees...

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    1. Well, I am still of the mindset that there are four main temperaments correlating to blood types because of their associated energy patterns...but that I did not cover that either. ;)

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.