Even Introverts Need Community

As an adult, I prefer to be single. The funny thing is, I didn’t really think I’d struggle to find time to be alone until one day, I woke up a married woman with two kids and three dogs and realized I never had. Always Alone. While some people are afraid of being alone, I am more afraid of never being alone again.

Months often go by without me hanging out with friends. It’s not really a planned or deliberate thing; I enjoy my time alone and am very protective of it.

If you’re an introvert, I don’t need to explain myself. Do you understand? There’s definitely a tug-of-war between spending quality time with the people you love and finding the solitude that makes you fully present when you’re with them.

Over the years, I’ve learned to carefully navigate the boundaries of the soul protection I need by making sure I get enough alone time so my family and friends aren’t neglected. One area I have struggled to improve on is community. I’ve always had a take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards anything that seems social; It wasn’t until recently that I had my first real, life-giving social experience.

Even introverts need community

Even introverts need community, and let me tell you why. God created us for society. He tells us to gather together with other believers to help one another, serve one another, and encourage one another. God created Eve so that Adam would not be alone. Jesus had his disciples. Throughout the Bible, we read the stories of people with others.

Think about it – if God didn’t want us to be in community with others, there would be no need for us to be united as one body (Church), and all passages in the New Testament tell us how to behave. Others are meaningless. However, community is important to God, and as an introvert, I have to constantly remind myself of all the reasons why I need community.

Find a life-giving community

If you’re an introvert, you might not agree that socializing is necessary. So let me say it again – introverts need the right community, a life-giving, not a life-sucking community. A year ago, I didn’t feel such a strong need for community, but last December, I traveled across the country to attend a retreat with over 100 like-minded women. Not only am I an introvert, I’ve always struggled to fit in with other girls. You can imagine the anxiety I felt when I walked into the room the first day. I even woke up early that morning to mentally prepare myself.

However, during this two-day retreat, I felt a bond and comfort with such a large group of women that I had never felt before. For the first time in my life, I was able to be myself and felt comfortable talking to strangers. Since then, I have been craving this kind of experience more and more. Until you experience a community that feeds your soul, you will never understand what it’s like to be part of a community where even the most introverted person can thrive.

If you can’t find your community, develop one

After this experience, I looked for a community that could reflect what I felt during those two days. A few days after the retreat, I realized that such a community is rare and impossible to find. I came to the conclusion that I needed to develop a community of my own. I need to find like-minded people who are rooted and grounded in love, sharpening each other and committed to seeing each other flourish in their faith and spiritual gifts.

Based on my experience in a life-giving society, I determined the qualities that my fully civilized society should have:

To feel the presence of God

A great example of the sense of God’s presence is Sunday morning worship. The feeling of a room full of people whose hearts are connected to God is electric.

When you are fully involved in a community of like-minded people, God’s presence is fully felt, even when worship music isn’t playing. A room full of kingdom-minded people is a force to be reckoned with. When God is on our side there is no stopping us from achieving our goals in unity.

“If two or three are gathered together in my name, I am among them.” Matthew 18:20 (ESV)

Each person can fulfill their calling

The great thing about a community is that each member has unique skills and talents that benefit everyone else. Just as a city has many different but necessary professions (doctor, plumber, carpenter, teacher, etc.), a church has many different but necessary parts.

A life-giving community equips and empowers each person to use their spiritual gifts. Each person should have the opportunity to contribute according to what God has called them to do. No one should feel abandoned or worthless.

“As we have many members in one body, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members in another.” Romans 12:4-5 (ESV)

Service should be key

Recently, my church held a large community service event where we took on several projects in the city. I was on a high school campus cleanup team. It’s amazing how quickly 20 people can repaint the exterior walls of a classroom building when we each jump in and do a specific job.

Our church’s desire to serve our hometown community allowed us to be the hands and feet of Jesus and show the students and teachers of that school what Jesus’ love is.

A life-giving community not only encourages and promotes service, but actively engages in it as a whole. As we serve together, we experience the overflow of God’s love and see its full effect on those around us.

“Even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (ESV)

Solitude has its time and place

Although community is necessary for us to grow in our faith and keep God’s commandments, friends of spirit! There is still time and space to feed our solitude-loving souls.

Although Jesus is known for his dealings with people—how he loved them, showed compassion to them, and served them—the Bible also emphasizes his need to be alone.

He spent most of his waking hours healing the sick, preaching, baptizing, and dining with sinners. The thought of this makes me tired. Not surprisingly, after a long time, he was found alone in the mountains.

“He left the crowd and went up a mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was alone. Matthew 14:23 (ESV)

Not only does he find solitude at the end of a long day, but he wakes up early for quiet time. This is another best practice that I can work without. If I miss my early morning quiet time, I feel unworthy of the day.

“Rising early in the morning, while it was still dark, he set out and went to a desolate place and prayed there.” Mark 1:35 (ESV)

Beginning each day in silence, away from others, and in prayer gives us the energy and refreshment we need to continue to engage in community.

Pro Tips for When You Can’t Quit

If you feel overwhelmed and need to be alone but can’t escape, learn how to retreat into yourself through the Holy Spirit. If you learn this one simple “trick”, you can find solitude in loud and crowded places. Seek comfort in God and He will give you the inner peace you need.

“You are my hiding place; You keep me out of trouble; You surround me with slogans of liberation. Selah.” Psalm 32:7 (ESV)

Sometimes, if the tension is high and I have to be alone, I can get irritable and easily agitated. The last thing I want to do is act less than pleasant. Learning how to retreat to a safe, peaceful place within my soul keeps me out of trouble. I learned to take deep breaths, pray quietly to God to help me be patient, and be calm so I wouldn’t regret it later.

Be encouraged my friend. Being an introvert is not a curse. If anything, I see it as a blessing. I find just as much joy in being alone as I do in being part of a life-giving, kingdom-minded community. I encourage you to give it a try and see how even introverts can thrive in the right kind of community.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/LeoPatrizi

Jennifer Jaber Lives in the beautiful San Diego countryside with her husband, adult son and teenage daughter and their hilarious English bulldog. Jennifer holds a BA in Integrated Business Communications and is a Go + Tell Gals licensed life coach. Jennifer hopes to use writing, coaching, and speaking to help women clarify their vision, step forward boldly in response to God’s call on their lives, and educate and inspire others to experience the abundance of God’s goodness. When they seek Him first in all they do. Jennifer is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a photographer and an avid outdoorswoman. In her spare time she enjoys camping, hiking, running and playing the piano.

You can keep up with Jennifer on her website https://www.jenniferjabbour.com.

Leave a Reply