It can be frustrating to feel like you’re doing all the right things but still have struggling faith.
Show of hands if you feel like, or have ever felt like, you were doing all the things that you were supposed to do in regards to growing your faith and getting spiritually strong, but it just wasn’t working. Today, I’m going to share with you why you’re doing all the “right things” but not actually growing any closer to God.
Have you ever felt like an outcast or a misfit or like something was wrong with you because you couldn’t quite seem to do faith the way other people around you were doing it? They seem to be doing the Bible studies, growing stronger, serving here, and doing all these big things for the kingdom and for God. You keep trying all those things and it’s not working and so you feel like you must be doing something wrong.
I have been there. For most of my life, that’s where I was. I felt like I didn’t fit in with my church community or my church family. I felt like there was something wrong with me because I just couldn’t get this faith thing right. No matter what I tried, nothing really seemed to work. I never really felt closely connected to God.
I never really felt like I was connected to my church family and the community. I just knew that clearly everybody else had figured it out I must be the problem. I want to tell you today that I was not the problem, and if you are feeling like that, you’re not the problem either.
Struggling Faith: God Made You an Introvert
The one thing that you need to know in order to make a difference in your faith walk and your spiritual growth is how God created you to connect with him and with others. God is so creative and he makes each one of us unique, and because we are all made uniquely we have unique ways that we connect with him and with other people.
What I have seen in the church is that often we have this ideal person in mind, the quintessential Christian. They look like this, they do this, and so that’s what everybody needs to aspire to be. What I’ve noticed is that this person tends to be extremely extroverted. They’re talking to all the people, they’re going to all the places, they’re really vocal and they’re super passionate and they’re just go, go, go all the time.
But you know what? We’re not all made like that.
God made introverts and extroverts and, despite what you might have been told growing up or what you kind of see around you, it’s not wrong to be an introvert. It’s not wrong to be an extrovert. These personality traits are not faults, they’re not defects that need to be fixed, and they’re not sinful behavior. It’s just how God made you.
When you understand that, it really revolutionizes your faith walk and your ability to have strong faith and grow closer to God. If you don’t have that it’s really hard to walk through this Christian life and it’s even harder to do that when things aren’t going well in your life.
Struggling Faith: Understanding Introversion
You may be wondering how to know if you’re extroverted or introverted. I’m going to give you a simplified definition or way to know where you land on the spectrum. It is a spectrum. One side is introversion, one side is extroversion, and you may fall somewhere in the middle.
Introverts recharge alone. For an introvert, being around people and being out and about is really draining. For an extrovert, they recharge by being with people. Being with people and being out about, being on the go, energizes them, and being alone actually drains them of their energy. It’s not about introverts being shy or all these things that you may think or have been told.
Shy and introversion are not the same thing, just like loud is not the same thing as extrovertion. At its really basic level, it’s about how your body and your brain respond to different stimuli. As introverts, you can be with people, you can be out there and talking and interacting with others, but it’s really draining on you. At the end of the day, you’ll need to go home, get comfy, and sit in some quiet so you can rest and recharge.
The reason that it’s so helpful to understand this is that when you’re looking at the ways that you grow your faith, the ways that you interact with others in the community, and the ways that you connect with God, understanding that distinction is really helpful. If you are an introvert who’s trying to go and do all the things, then you’re going to feel like you’re not doing it right, because you’re going against the way that God made you.
This is why, when you go to church or you’re talking with people and you share that you are really struggling with your faith, they respond by inviting you to join their group. It’s so awesome, there’s so many people. It’s so great, there are all these people sharing ideas, digging into the word together.
As an introvert, you show up and realize there are so many people there and it isn’t going to work for you. So you jump out of the group and your friend doesn’t understand so they try and convince you to stay because it’s going to be great for your faith. This is why you feel like you’re doing all the “right things” but you’re not really seeing the results that you want.
When you know who you are as an introvert, it’s going to help you know how to connect with others. It’s going to help you build those relationships, build that community, and even interact with the world because you’re going to be leaning into who it is that God made you to be instead of working against who he made you to be. You want to understand who God created you to be and when you lean all the way into that, you are going to see God use you and do great things in and through you.
Struggling Faith: Benefits of Being Introverted
What do you know about being an introvert that can really help you when it comes to your faith and your relationship with God? One thing is that introverts tend to be deep thinkers. You like to have time to process, reflect, and think deeply about things. This is usually why, those group studies where you have to go at a certain pace, don’t always work for you. It’s why you’re not really good in groups.
You need time to process and think about what you want to say, and how you feel before you’re ready to actually open up and share. It may also be why it’s hard for you to pay attention in church on Sunday. There’s a lot of input on Sunday mornings, there’s music, people, and there’s all these things going on. That can make it hard for you to really focus on what’s going on.
If you’re anything like me, your mind is might start doing rabbit trails while the sermon is going on. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been sitting in church and my pastor has mentioned something and highlighted something that was really new for me, and suddenly that’s all my brain wants to think about. It just wants to spiral into all the things that have come from this new revelation.
By the time I tuned back in, he was two points from where he was before and I’m lost. Then I have to go home and watch the replay. These sorts of things are important to know because they can help you figure out how to engage in church services, and how to engage in your personal quiet time too.
Another thing that’s really a gift for introverts is that you are really good listeners. You are really really good at listening because you don’t like to do a lot of talking. Your extroverted friend might know everybody in your church family. As an introvert, you have the gift of being able to excel in one-on-one interactions.
While you’re not going to know everybody in your church family, you are going to know a handful of people really, really well because you want to take that time to form those deep connections and really listen. It also makes you a great prayer partner and intercessor because you really listen and understand where people are coming from and what they’re going through. You’re able to pray for them and support them in ways that your others may not.
This is something that I cover in-depth in my course Introverted Faith. It’s all about spiritual growth for the highly sensitive, introverted Christian woman who’s tired of trying to force herself into an extroverted faith. The first module is all about understanding introversion, understanding what it means to be a highly sensitive person, and understanding where a gift of empathy might come in with your faith.
Also, understanding what that means and what that looks like for you so that you can take that information and know yourself and begin to apply that to the different areas of your faith walk and in your different relationships.
Related Introverted Christian Women Articles:
Understanding what it means to be an introverted Christian woman can make all the difference when you have struggling faith.
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