The musings of an introvert …
As an introvert, life in ministry has been interesting and difficult at times. I have been told by different people throughout my life, especially as we prepared for moving to Romania, that I really need to be an extrovert to be a missionary. I was told that as an introvert I would not be successful.
I know that these people are right, in the sense that it can take more work for me to meet new people (and it helps to have an extroverted husband), but I also know that they are very wrong in their assumptions that God can not use me and my talents in the way that He has made me in ministry.
If you are an introvert, and someone has ever told you this, please trust God made you who you are.
Each person has their own challenges and strengths, extroverts and introverts.
I love having one-on-one conversations, and sometimes it takes a couple of times to really get to know me, but I love getting to the heart of things. The holiday season is hard for this introvert. Married to an extrovert who is energized by people, the holidays can be a great time to host people, but it is hard to find the balance between supporting my husband’s needs for “people time” and my needs for time alone.
Let’s not forget that there is also a language barrier that I must cross, which makes deep conversations all the more difficult. Moving to another culture has stretched me. I would even say I have become a little more introverted, but that is the from stress of culture and language and finding my voice here.
After 2 years, it is getting easier and I do not get tired so quickly.
In university, I took some counseling classes and I was able to audit a Self Care/Member Care class from Fuller, which have become secret passions of mine. I am constantly seeking how to feed myself (mentally, physically, spiritually) so that I can feed into others. We often hear “self care is being selfish,” or “taking time for yourself is weak,” or “if I am don’t do it, then who will.” These are lies that have penetrated the lives of missionaries, pastors, lay leaders, etc for far too long, and it is time that we encourage those in ministry around us to know what fills them up and give them space for it.
We have yet to find the perfect balance in our marriage and ministry, but I do know that I am not unsuccessful for taking time to take care of myself. I know that God gave me talents and placed me in my new home with a purpose. I know that my goal in life is to glorify God, in my own way.