Do you ever look at your life and think, “Yup! God must really have a sense of humor”? When I look at my life, that is something I think about a lot. I say this because when I really stop to think about the way God uses me, I will be the first one to say, that’s not natural for me! As a child I was outgoing with people I knew and trusted, but with strangers, and I would shut down. I was the teenager who dreaded presentations in class where I had to stand to talk to my peers. Any time I had to do any public speaking, my asthma would start to act up and my right leg would start to shake. I remember trying to fake being sick anytime there would be a slight chance I would have to talk in front of a group of people. I absolutely hated talking in front of people and now it is something I do almost every day! So yes, I do think God has a sense of humor. I also am a firm believer that God calls us to what we are not. The best way I can put it is by saying what I heard as a Bible school student, “God does not call the equipped, he equips the called!” When I first heard this saying it all made a lot more sense to me. He calls us to what we are not because it gives more room for him to shine through!
Some people may think God can’t use introverts. That is so far from the truth! I think there is purpose behind our different types of personalities. There is beauty in the fact that we are all beautifully and wonderfully created as well as beautifully and wonderfully different from one another. I will be the first to say that I am an introvert. And honestly, I haven’t always seen being introverted as something beautiful. I used to think of it as a disadvantage in my life. I used to think that I would never be used in certain ways like preaching and teaching because I was so shy. I was in Bible school and I would see my peers preaching and I so desperately wanted to share God’s word in the same way. Not to mention that I come from a family of ministers where preaching doesn’t just happen at church, but also at birthday parties and family dinners. It seemed like everyone around me had this public speaking gift except for me. I remember praying for God to give me boldness. I remember the first time I had to give a devotion I prayed and prepared my young little heart out. I got behind the pulpit and it was like I came alive for the very first time. I know it was God’s anointing over me! It was God shining through my insecurities and shyness.
Now it is important to know that what a pastor does behind the pulpit is only 10% of what a pastor does. It is the 90% off the pulpit that really makes you a pastor. I have learned that if I am not active in the 90% the 10% is greatly affected. Part of that 90% is fellowship and one on one counseling. It is easy to fellowship with the people I know, but just like when I was a kid I want to curl into a ball when it comes to meeting new people. In ministry you can’t avoid people because people are ministry! It takes a lot for me to get out of my comfort zone and greet people- but I have to do it. I learned this lesson in a hard but impactful way.
I was once teaching a class of new believers at my previous church. The class had a wide range of new believers. One of the new believers was a doctor, one was a professor, and another was a stay at home mom, and one of the new believers had just recently gotten clean from a drug addiction. On the first day of class, we were going to start off by sharing our testimonies. Since I was teaching the class, I went first. I started to share my testimony and I was aiming to be as transparent as possible. I shared some major things I had overcome to get out of my comfort zone and walk fully in my calling. As I was sharing my testimony one of the men there, who was over 6 feet tall and looked like he could have played professional football at one time, was balling his eyes out as I was sharing. I stopped talking to ask him if he was ok. He composed himself a little bit, cleared his throat and said, “I just need to tell you I am sorry.” His next words were, “I hated you! I thought you were the most stuck up person in the entire church.” I was so caught off guard when he said this. I was going to say something and he went on to say that he was so sorry for judging me. He said, “I didn’t know your story. You’re not stuck up! You have just been through things and you are naturally shy.” Even though he was apologizing to me, I learned a great lesson from him. I never did take much time to greet him. The truth is that he intimidated me a little bit. I started to think about how many other people felt this way towards me in the church. I knew from that point on that I needed to greet people more. I had to push myself little by little. When I first started in ministry I thought people were going to come to me just because I was a pastor. Little did I know that I had to learn to go to the people too. I had to learn to communicate and build relationships.
Pastors are often described as shepherds. Throughout history, we can see that shepherds would spend so much time with the sheep that they would start to smell like the sheep! I believe that the best pastors smell like their sheep. I want to be a pastor/leader that smells like their sheep.
Since we are all different, we all react to things in different ways. I know some people who are introverted, and a loud extrovert can make them shut down. Also, I have heard that if someone is extraverted and they are around a quiet introvert, the silence can make them uncomfortable. People are different from one another and that is something to celebrate and embrace. Since people are so different, we too need different kinds of pastors and leaders. How ineffective would ministry be if we were all the same? How beautiful would it be if we embraced and celebrated one another as extroverts and introverts?
If you are shy, God wants to use you!
If you are quiet, God wants to use you!
If you are loud, God wants to use you!
If you are hyper, God wants to use you!
We are greater together! I may be introverted, but I got loud passion for my God and his people!