Thursday, August 29, 2013

Are You "In" or "Ex" (-troverted, That is)?

There's been a lot of articles making the rounds on facebook (at least, among my friends) about the introvert/extrovert divide. Some are funny, some are informative, some are just kind of dumb (Kanye West an introvert? Really?!?). It's certainly food for thought in considering the plentiful ways that humanity demonstrates its brilliant diversity. When you know which "club" you belong to, suddenly you know yourself a little bit better.

On a related note, one of the most personally enlightening part of the ordination process for me has been the psychological evaluation. No, not the entire thing; it was exhausting, draining, and painful. The one part, the moment--only a few seconds, really--that changed the way I viewed myself was the discussion of the Myers-Briggs Type indicator. The results of the test were not surprising; I had taken it at least three times before (pretty consistently INFJ, in case you were wondering). No, what surprised me was was the explanation of what the results meant; specifically, regarding the dichotomy between introverts and extroverts.

What some of you may already know, but I only just found out a few years ago, the terms "introvert" and "extrovert" indicate a far more nuanced difference than simply "shy" and "social." They refer, in fact, to the places and ways that an individual gets energy or gets "replenished". Since high school, I have wondered why I consistently test as an introvert while still enjoying being with people and being particularly skilled (as far as I can tell) in social situations. With this new explanation, however, everything suddenly clicked into place. While I do love people, I prefer small intimate groups to large chaotic ones, I begin to feel mentally exhausted after too many hours, and I like to wind down at the end of the day with personal time. I derive my energy from the quiet, the slow, and the private at the same time that I love being a part of a community.

That got me to thinking. While I do enjoy a good party, not all external stimuli are created equal. I find that, even more than being alone, I derive energy, fulfillment, and a sense of peace from being at church, even when I'm working.

So that brings me here. Coming out as a Churchtrovert.

No matter what has happened during the day, week, or year, when I get to church, it all evaporates and I know that it's where I am supposed to be.

And its important to distinguish that I don't mean the church building. I capitalized "Churchtrovert" for a reason. A vacant church building, while inspiring and comforting, can't hold a candle to a vibrant, busy, and alive Church. It's the people--being the family of God--from which I derive the majority of my energy.

It's very helpful to know this, especially as I begin a career that will require me to clock many, many church hours. Sometimes, I feel more at home at work than I do in my apartment. Believe me, the blessing of loving my job so much is not lost on me.

So what about you? What type of "-trovert" are you? A Churchtrovert, like me? A CoffeHousetravert? A Schooltrovert? A Hometrovert (these guys are pretty lucky, too)? Let me know in the comments!

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