Quietly Faithful: We come bearing gifts

By Stephen R. Clark

by Danielle Dolin

To paraphrase Nathanael when he commented on Jesus (John 1:46), “Can anything good come from introverts?” Historically, the answer to that question was, “Of course not!” But how people are viewing introverts, recognizing their value, has shifted a lot in past decades and continues to improve. As it should!

Contributing to this shift in perspective, in 2001, Jim Collins released the book, Good to Great. In it he reveals a stunning discovery. He states, “We were surprised, shocked really, to discover the type of leadership required for turning a good company into a great one. Compared to high-profile leaders with big personalities who make headlines and become celebrities, the good-to-great leaders seem to have come from Mars. Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy–these leaders are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.”

Who knew? Effective leaders are introverts! So, yes, a lot of good can come from introverts. Just in time for Christmas, here are gifts introverts have to offer:

Calming. Being frantic and frazzled tends to generate more anxiety. In the midst of chaos, introverts can help you slow down, breathe, and center. They can help reign in extroverts who may be rushing a decision or action. They’re like the coach in the movie Hoosiers who encouraged his players to pass the ball and be patient before taking a shot at the basket. If, dear extrovert, you’re feeling a little frenzied, seek out an introvert friend who can help you relax and refocus.

Perceptive. Failing to understand what’s going on behind the scenes leads to confusion and distraction. Introverts often can perceive what others don’t see, such as subtle group dynamics, hidden agendas, mixed motives, and underlying hurts that are otherwise invisible to extroverts. Introverts can also often foresee potential challenges to a particular course of action since they think differently, tending to carefully examine ideas and proposals from a variety of angles. If you’re in need of some clarity on a situation, seek out an introvert friend who can help your sort out your dilemma.

True. In his book, Introverts in the Church, Adam McHugh stated “Introverts treasure the relationships they have stretched so much to make.” Introverts don’t have dozens of friends, but the friends they have are treasured. Introverts will be tenaciously true (loyal) to their friends. They love deeply from the heart (1 Peter 1:22). If you’re feeling unloved or shunned, seek out an introvert friend who values you for who you are.

Creative. Everyone is inherently creative. Introverts, however, draw from a deep well of emotion and experience to deliver unique results. Introverts have an almost uncanny ability to make connections that others miss. This allows for resolving complex problems in unforeseen ways and providing fresh expression to stale ideas. If you need a fresh take on the mundane, seek out an introvert friend for a new perspective.

Please feel free to enjoy the gifts we introverts of the world bring to you. Just unwrap them quietly and handle them with care.

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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