What does it feel like to be an introvert in a high-pressure, driven church environment. Here are a few stories from some introverts:
- Dan says:
As an introvert in ministry leadership at two different churches I often perceived I didn't measure up because I would feel empty, tired, and in need of time alone following ministry events. I thought there was something wrong with me because I wanted to barricade myself in my office after preaching on a Sunday morning or leading an evening with students as a youth pastor. Understanding the "gift of introversion" has been a blessing.
- L.H. says:
I think 'high-reactive introverts' may be in high numbers among the pioneers of what is often termed "emergent church." [Things that drive "high-reactive/high-sensitive introverts crazy are]: the loud music, the showiness, the competition, the mixed messages, the performance-based environment, the hypocrisy, the frenetic busyness. Being a highly-sensitive Christian lent itself to being intensely uncomfortable and discontent at traditional church nearly all the time.
- Amy says:
Unfortunately, for years all I got was the message that I wasn't good enough. The church institutions I was involved in were all well-propped up by natural achievers who thrived on always doing more. I often encountered teachings and articles written by blazing extroverts that said do more, work harder, run faster, keep up the good walk for Jesus! Remember, He's keeping your scorecard and you want to hear Him say, Well done, good and faithful servant! You don't want to be one of the ones that hears, Depart from me, I never knew you! ...
...This type of religious environment cuts especially deep with introverts. We tend to be more sensitive by nature, and more deeply internalize the arrows hurled at us by the enemy, who unfortunately finds his job all to easy to do through the hands of often well-meaning religious leaders. We also find it more difficult to find a place to belong in the midst of the frenetic activity and performance of today's average church institution.