1. You are not stupid because you don’t have an immediate response or a snappy comeback. Don’t be ashamed that you need time to think, ponder, process, and decide on things. Be patient with yourself; this is how your brain naturally functions, and it’s okay.
2. When you end up in classes that emphasize participation, meet with the teacher/professor to talk about it. Explain your way of thinking and see if you can reach some sort of compromise. You may have to work a little harder to prove that you’re not just making excuses or being lazy. Keep meeting with that teacher if you think of more questions or ideas when you’re not in class.
3. It’s okay to go back and ask questions long after a conversation is over. Don’t worry that someone might think you are weird for bringing up an old topic or creepy for remembering something. They might be grateful that you’re still thinking about it. Even if they aren’t, there’s nothing wrong with looking for answers.
4. It’s totally fine to prefer non-telephone communication. Again, don’t be afraid that someone thinks you’re weird for it, but be open about it.
5. You don’t have to spend the weekend doing anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have to spend the weekend trying to meet guys. You don’t have to try to make as many new friends as you can. You don’t have to go to that party or dance if you don’t want to. You don’t even have to leave your room that night if you really don’t want to. It’s good to try new things and leave yourself open to new ideas and activities, but it’s okay to get alone time if that’s what you really want.
6. Be patient and charitable if you do try new things, even (or especially) when people invade your space. Be polite until you can get to your happy place. I know you can do it.
7. Stop rolling your eyes when other Christians quote C.S. Lewis at you. You will become one of them, and you will be even worse. (This is just one of the many bizarre things that will happen to you in 2012. Be warned.)
8. Yes, actually, you are broken. But not because of your introversion. It’s because you are an imperfect person in an imperfect world. There is no book, vacation, or significant other who can fix you. Christ alone can save you–but He can, and He will.
9. Don’t beat yourself up to find a particular ministry in the church to serve. Help people where you see a need that you can fill. “Serving the church” is not just about filling a spot in the children’s ministry every third Sunday, or leading the worship team, or taking a missions team to the Congo. Those are good ways, but they’re not the only ways.
10. You’re a nerd. You’re going to take a few years to admit it, and I know you were made fun of for it in middle school, but it’s okay. Embrace it. Roll with it. There’s nothing wrong with it. It means you’re enthusiastic. Good for you: you enjoy things. There are a lot of people who think it’s cool to be indifferent, ironic, or impersonal. Ignore them.
7 thoughts on “10 Things This Christian Introvert Wishes She Could Tell Her Younger Self”
Can I just say… “YES!!”? :) This is what I was saying, outloud, while reading many of your statements, above.
Oh, and #4? I couldn’t call to order pizza or even call Blockbuster to ask their store hours (true story), because I was so insecure about talking on the phone. I felt like they would think I was silly or wouldn’t take me seriously because I was just a kid to them and not someone important.
But, to quote our wonderful Doctor: “Nobody important? Blimey, that’s amazing. You know, nine hundred years of time and space and I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important before.” ;)
Aww, I love that quote.
I had the same (insecurity) issues when I was a kid, and it didn’t help that for a while I also had a really bad lisp. Regardless, though, I think what else I hate about the phone is that it requires almost-immediate responses, without being able to gauge face/body language, and it usually just feels intrusive to call or be called. Even now, I have to psych myself up to talk to anyone, even for a short amount of time.
I went out a few times with this one guy whose favorite form of communication was evidently by phone, and … well, surprise surprise, it didn’t work out.
I also had a speech problem! I attended speech classes for 7 years, because I stuttered and couldn’t say the “r” sound (I pronounced it as a “w”; reeeeeally not cool when your name has an “r” in it, and is unusual to begin with, so it typically needed to be repeated!). But, even now, I dislike phones, too. My husband just laughs at me, when he is on trips and I am awkward when he calls. I usually spend most of the short call being too “INTJ” (short, to the point, relate facts, not mushy, etc.)… then, text him after we hang up and say, “Sorry about that. Love you!” :)
Your story about that failed relationship reminds me of a scene from the movie, “Elizabethtown”. My husband loves that movie, and at one point, the main characters spend a whole night on the phone together. That’s like a nightmare for me! :)
Oh my gosh, I tried watching that movie years ago and couldn’t finish it because I hated it so much, but I REMEMBER THAT SCENE!
Truthfully, there are a few friends I could spend hours on the phone with, but they are FEW, and it’s usually because we don’t run out of things to talk about anyway, but that’s still not my preferred medium.
“I think what else I hate about the phone is that it requires almost-immediate responses, without being able to gauge face/body language, and it usually just feels intrusive to call or be called.” Yes! Yes, yes. And at 43 years old, some of these I still need to learn — like asking questions after the fact, not being afraid to take the time and space I need instead of feeling like I “have” to (go out, party, make friends, go to a family event because it’s expected, fill in the blank). And it’s been in the last couple years, maybe less, that I discovered that a “good Christian” doesn’t have to (work in the nursery, be a greeter, serve on a committee/fill in the blank). In fact, more likely, it’s just me doing something (— something ineffective because it’s “my” thing, not God’s thing) I feel like I have to do. Much appreciated post! Thanks!
Well thought out, Em. This is all stuff I could have used years ago. The awkwardness and the incoherence is all something I feel/felt acutely. And the fact our brokenness is not because of our intoversion and actually might be part of God’s plan/gift.
So glad to hear from you again.
Thank you, Shannon. And I’m always glad to hear from you!
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