Said no one ever! As an introvert, a lot of things make me uncomfortable. I err on the side of silence and caution and comfort, instead of transparency and risk and reaching out.
Have you heard the quote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”? How do you make yourself do something that you know will be hard or scary or uncomfortable?
I read this recently: “Why don’t we [introverts] make ourselves known better, so people don’t mistake and overlook us? It’s easy to grumble about not being known. It’s harder to make an effort, to do some action that lets people know you are there and have something to contribute.”
And it was challenging. It’s not wrong to be an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I automatically earn a get of out jail free card, either. I am part of a body. And a body functions best with all of its parts actively working. The body depends on each part, and isn’t it easier to work together when you know the strengths and weaknesses of each part?
Though I feel like a fish out of water at times, the truth is, we all are in desperate need of community. Somehow, though Jesus is ultimately all we need, God also made us to need each other. So if we need community, then that community also needs us. Each of us. Deep down, we all have a desire to be known, no matter how much we may want to hide. It is good to remember that we are all different, and there are specific ways we can love and serve each other well. The body is truly made up of different parts, beautiful parts. It can be a challenge to know who you are, know how you are gifted, know that there is always room for growth, and then not compare yourself to the other parts.
Sometimes I like to say that in the body of Christ, I am a tonsil or an appendix or something. God created them, so they serve a purpose, but when it comes down to it, the body can function perfectly well without them. This is not biblical, but it’s how I feel sometimes. But, according to 1 Corinthians, even those weaker parts are indispensable. Even the hidden parts are important.
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:21-26)
This is the beauty of community, and I want to make sure I am loving others well, considering them first, and that I am open to being known and embracing the uncomfortable, ultimately, so that Christ will be known. I want whatever part I have to function well. I want to have the same care for one another, but know that it might look different for each of us. I want to suffer together, and rejoice together, and not worry that the eye suffers differently than the hand, and the head rejoices differently than the feet. I want this because we will be known by our love for each other (John 13:35).
We are one body, and we desperately need each other.