The noise was overwhelming. Not only could I hear the music playing, but I could feel it vibrating through my whole body. All around me, people danced and cheered, seemingly having the time of their lives.
Beside me, the friend who had insisted we get to the front of the crowd was in her element, but as I was not only being deafened by the noise, but also constantly jolted from behind by the other exuberant worshippers, I just wanted to leave.
The band members seemed determined to whip the crowd up into an even greater frenzy. Then one of them yelled, “Jump up and down if you love Jesus!” And as everyone around me jumped and whooped I started to wonder what was wrong with me.
I knew I loved Jesus, but why did I have to jump up and down to prove it? Did this mean I didn’t love him as much as those around me? Why could I not enjoy this like everyone else?
What I didn’t realise at the time was that there was nothing wrong with me, and my response said nothing at all about the depth of my love for Jesus. It all came down to one simple fact – I was an introvert.
If you’re an introvert, I’m sure you’ve had some moments like that. At times the world can feel overwhelming. It can feel like everything is geared to extroverts – that those who are outgoing and gregarious are valued while those of us who are quieter and less vocal are sometimes overlooked.
Over the years, I’ve learned more about being an introvert and come to accept it as part of who I am, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to be on the launch team for Holley Gerth’s new book “The Powerful Purpose Of Introverts.”
The book explores what it means to be an introvert – delving into the science of how introverts’ and extroverts’ brains are differently wired and looking at the impact of introversion on different aspects of life.
It addresses some of the struggles that introverts commonly have, such as anxiety and depression, but it also looks at the strengths introversion can bring and encourages that us that these are just as valuable as the strengths of an extrovert.
Whether you are an introvert, or you are close to an introvert, this book is full of helpful insights. Holley shares her own and others’ experiences and writes in a friendly and relatable way. It is an encouragement to introverts to be who God made us to be.
Here are a few of my favourite quotes:
“Our fame-loving culture needs people brave enough to walk off the stage to talk with one person in the crowd.”
“Yes, the most talkative person gets the attention, but thoughtful listeners build trust, likeability, and solid relationships.”
“Our social schedules aren’t a measuring stick for our spirituality. If you want to grow in love, measure nothing. Instead, make one connection, have one conversation, show kindness to one person at a time.”
And finally, a quote that sums up exactly how I felt in the incident I described at the start of this post:
“When loving God and others seems to look like extroversion, it can be distressing. We may not doubt God because of it, but we start to doubt ourselves.”
Fortunately, there is a more encouraging postscript to the story:
Later that night, there was an acoustic worship session, so I left the rest of the group to go alone. The room was dimly lit and spacious. People were scattered across the room on their own or in small groups.
As the lone musician played and sang, some sang along while others sat in silence, listening or praying. Others were reading their Bibles or journalling, while a few simply laid back, closed their eyes and rested in God’s presence. There was a sense of freedom to worship as you wanted.
It was beautiful, it was peaceful, and there was a sense of connection with God that I never would have experienced in the midst of the noisy, jumping crowd.
I knew that it was ok to come as I was.
The Powerful Purpose Of Introverts releases on 15th September. You can find out more here and there’s also a fun quiz to find out what percent introvert you are – I got 77%! You can also find the book on Amazon at these links: UK, US.
I’m grateful to Revell and Netgalley for access to a complementary digital copy of this book. I only share books here that I genuinely believe will be beneficial to my readers.
Amazon links are not affiliate links, but simply provided for your convenience.