Monday, October 7, 2013

Confessions of an Introvert

“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

No matter your personality, whether you'd much rather curl up with a good book on a Friday night or be surrounded by fifty of your closest friends, we were created to live in community. To encourage each other. To love each other. To simply do life together. 

As an introvert, I don't think I really understood the importance of that until I moved over here. You see, I was the one who was content to curl up in bed with a good book on Friday nights. I didn't need a huge selection of friends, as long as I had my 3 or 4 I could really trust. As I live among a people who are experts at community, I see how much I've been flawed in my thinking. As I walk along the streets I pass courtyards full of grandparents, aunts, uncles, moms, dads, full families living together. As I share meals with them, I see everyone eating out of one platter, placed in the middle. 

And while I still love finding that quiet place with my book, I see the simplistic beauty living like this creates. They are happy to share with each other, ready to pour into each others lives-whether it's wanted or not. And I see that community is not about what you can get out of it, but more about what you put into it. I think I was content in my small bubble because I didn't think I needed anyone else. But, that's not what it's all about. Yes, you gain things from community, but how much of a greater joy is it to pour into one? 

So often I have been scared of new groups-scared that they wouldn't accept me. By doing this, though, was I accepting them? I have kept people at arm's lengths, using the fact that I'm an introvert as a crutch. Yet, I'm called to pour into my community. We are all given gifts, to edify and build each other up. If I refuse my part, then how are my gifts being used as part of the church? If you look all throughout Acts you see Paul being welcomed by different brothers in Christ. Some of these are people he didn't even know in person, yet we see over and over in his letters that he poured into them, whether face to face or in written form. This is how community is built. You have to work at it, it's not just handed to you. But the work is so more than worth it. I see it in the communities here, and I think about how much more beautiful a community would be of brothers and sisters, all having the same goal in mind. Then, I'm reminded I have this community. Even though I am separated by a ridiculous amount of distance from many of them, that does not diminish my call to encourage and build them up. 

 Then, there are those here. The community I am loving on, and my brother's and sister's in Christ. Each day I have an incredible opportunity to encourage and serve. I know I have a long way to go, but I pray that each day I am found being more and more faithful in showing them love. This is what we were created to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment