One of my greatest facades, or one of the greatest misinterpretations of who I am is that people think I am an outgoing, loud-mouth (which is probably true), or somehow the life of the party. While I am an articulate and somewhat polished communicator, I am also very introspective, go through periods of withdrawal. I really don’t like small talk. If it’s not engaging, funny or informative, it is draining to me. Talking to and meeting new people is often exhausting (although still very exciting if that person is engaging, funny or informative) for me unless I feel the safety to share with them my deeper inner life. Even though many people are surprised by this confession, I am an introvert. I love solitude, prayer and being alone, its how I recharge spiritually, psychologically and emotionally.
Being an introvert, one of our greatest fears, I believe, is that we are missing out on the life outside of us. We feel the stress of not meeting new people, not going to the new place, or for those of us who are not married, finding the “right” person. We feel we are missing the life “out there”. When we look at people who are changing the world, we often believe that these people have big crowds, big movements, big speeches. All of which are draining and exhausting to the introvert (even though many introverts can do these things very well). If you find yourself in the introverted camp and are discouraged by your work, your relationships, your social contribution, let me encourage you with this.
Jesus tells about the parable of the mustard seed. That when we plant small seeds, they produce big things. The small acts of love that we do, the small acts of justice that we participate in, the small amount of money that we give, can really go a long way. When we look at Jesus, although he had public moments, he changed the world with a group of twelve men, which isn’t very much. Many of us have more than twelve relationships in our life. If we poured our love, our hope, our faith, our prayer, our peace into twelve relationships, the world can be changed. As Jesus poured his life into this small group of twelve, they changed the world through their own small communities. This is why your job as a mother/father, daughter/son, friend and significant other is so important. If we give our lives to even just twelve people, the world can be changed. Your contribution of your inner life and seeking of wisdom will bless and give in love to those in need. Don’t discredit the value of the life that you give to your 12 (even if its less than that). Large communities are not for all of us, but, as extroverts give themselves to many, we can give much of ourselves to a smaller amount.
Your life, your small communities, your “small” amount of relationships can change the world.