Introvert/Extrovert

When I was in high school, our church did a Spring Retreat at our Presbytery’s camp and conference center. I remember playing games, hiking in the woods, hanging out with a guy I liked in the main hall, the granola cereal…and completing a Kiersey Temperament Sorter.

Um…I have no idea what that was about or why it was part of our retreat. I just remember Rev. Scott coming to camp to administer it and that I was probably the only one kind of fascinated by it. I’ve always been kind of nerdy like that. As a youth director, I realize that if I were take a Kiersey sorter to my Fall Retreat and spend an hour administering it and then two hours explaining it right before bed time, I probably wouldn’t have to do much to enforce lights out. YAWN.

This part of my past is important because it was on that day that I realized that I am, in fact, an introvert.

Oh, I was embarrassed. Most of my friends were extroverts, but here I was–an ISFJ.

“Introvert/Extrovert is the difference in how you are energized,” Rev. Scott explained to me when he could tell I was concerned. “Do you get your energy from being around other people or from spending time alone?”

Well, if you know much about me, you know that Introvert fits me well in that respect. And now that I know myself much better, I realize that the word “introvert” explains me pretty much all the way around. I need time by myself and my loved ones can usually tell when I’m lacking that. Also, I’m really very shy. And I really hate to be the center of attention.

The thing is, when you’re in youth and children’s ministry, when you lead as many ministries and volunteer groups as I do, when you are called to preach regularly and take the microphone often–it’s hard to be an introvert. I’ve learned to fake extroversion. I take a deep breath and face everything that makes me nervous/worried/anxious. I stand up and speak, I joke loudly (and not well) with a group, I pick out the kids who seem the most different from me and strike up a converation, I move to the front and get a little bossy when everyone else is hesitant to take the lead. It’s hard for me, but I do it because it’s what I need to do as a leader.

(Just an observation–I think it’s interesting that when I ask ministers if they are introverts or extroverts, I find that they are more often introverts.)

It’s November. November is the busiest month on my calendar every year. Girl Scout Fall Product Sale, Youth Group Fall Retreat, Operation Christmas Child, Turkey Trot, Thanksgiving stuff, Girl Scout Cookie training, meetings, practices, planning for December–it all happens in November. There’s no hiding in the corner and there’s little time to be alone.

It’s exhausting…but it’s worth it.

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