Quietly Faithful: Be ye affirmed

By Stephen R. Clark

by Danielle Dolin

Ah, New Year’s day. The time of new beginnings and starting over. We look back on what was and might have been, while looking forward to what we long for. Many of us will write long lists of longings we aim to hit in this shiny new year.

Often these lists grow out of things we want to change from. Our attempts to turn failings into successes. To rid ourselves of perceived bad habits and build new good ones.

How about this year we, instead, we embrace affirmations of who we are as introverts?

Embrace solitude. It’s okay to be alone, to take time to reflect and meditate. In fact, it’s very Christ-like. More than once, scripture tells us that Jesus went off by himself to pray and be alone. He would not only seek solitude, but he would send others away! Matthew 14:23 states clearly, “After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone” (CSB).

Embrace being quiet. The best listening happens when we’re quiet. This is true when we’re one-on-one with a friend, in a small group, or participating in meeting. Being quiet and focusing on others allows us to get a better read on who they are and what’s happening. As Proverbs 13:3 cautions, “The one who guards his mouth protects his life; the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin.” When we do speak, we will speak to what’s needed and our comments will be measured and wise.

Embrace leaving. Interactions, even those we truly enjoy, drain us. When we engage, we tend to engage wholeheartedly. But we know that without taking time to withdraw and recharge, we’ll become ragged and useless. At gatherings, to avoid overstimulation, it’s okay to step aside and regroup. It’s okay to excuse yourself from a heated exchange, to insist on a time out. It’s okay to leave a meeting or party when overwhelmed or exhausted. Hebrews 4:9-11 reminds us, “…a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from his. Let us, then, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.”

Embrace saying no. No one can do everything or be all things to all people. This is especially true for introverts. Introverts have a driving propensity to help where help is needed. Saying no can be very uncomfortable. But it’s necessary if we want to be effective when we say yes! When confronted with opportunities, we need to bring all our introvert skills to bear to discern where God wants us to be. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.”.

Dear fellow introvert, may 2024 be your best year ever! Cheers!

Sound off! I would love to hear from you. Share your experience as an introvert. Suggest topics for future columns. Ask questions. Please email me at cnjintrovert@gmail.com.

Stephen R. Clark is a writer who lives in Lansdale, PA with his wife, BethAnn, where they are members of Immanuel Church. His website is www.StephenRayClark.com. He is a member of the Evangelical Press Association and managing editor of the Christian Freelance Writers Network blog. He is also a news writer for The Baptist Paper and contributor to the Englewood Review of Books. His writing has appeared in several publications. You can contact Stephen at cnjintrovert@gmail.com. The content of this column is copyright © by Stephen R. Clark.

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