If someone would have walked into my ninth grade classroom and was told by God “somebody here is going to be a missionary” they probably wouldn’t have picked me. That’s because in those days I was extremely introverted and had the social life of a large rock. Even today I’m not an extrovert and recently found myself identifying with the first paragraph of author Sammy Rhodes in his book “Awkward: How Life’s Uncomfortable Moments Open the Door to Intimacy”
I’ve always considered myself an awkward person. I can’t tell you the first time I had this realization. It probably was a social situation that involved small talk. If I could have any superpower, it would be the ability to do small talk well, because anyone who does it well is a superhero as far as I’m concerned. I’m more like the Aquaman of small talk: people don’t remember much about me except that I’m weird.
That doesn’t mean of course that God cannot use introverts (people who have hard time starting conversations) but missionary definitely wouldn’t be on the list of things that God could use me as. I mean honestly we know that all missionaries have to be.
- Fearless in the face of all danger
- Able to strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere, at any time
- And of course never admit weakness
Now of course I’m laying it on pretty thick, but the fact is as a teenager I definitely didn’t fit the qualifications of being a missionary. Which is why when the Lord started leading me to missions as a Sophomore in High School my initial response is “you’ve got to be kidding me!” Yet no matter how many times I explained to God missionaries had to be swashbuckling extrovert types His calling just got stronger. Finally following about a month of conviction I accepted the call to missions but still had my doubts that God can use an introvert as a missionary.
Now many years later I no longer have doubts, though I continue to be an introvert;
- I’m still someone who prefers a night in reading a book to hanging out with others
- I still struggle making eye contact when I talk
- I still use the words um and uh roughly twenty-times when meeting someone
- And I’ve yet to master the fine art of getting past the “how are you today?” stage of a conversation (you know what I’m talking about….”how are you today?” “good and you?” “yea good” followed by an awkward silence.
But you know what? None of that matters because it isn’t my witty conversation starters or small talk that leads someone to Christ. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. Mine is just to share God’s Truth. Now yes its harder for an introvert to share the Gospel sometimes. But its a comfort to know I can make myself look like the biggest buffoon in the world but still glorify God is the gospel is shared.
If winning people to the Lord is our job then the Lord probably wouldn’t choose introverts. The role of missionary or evangelist would be reserved for the people who are tall with rippling muscles, perfect teeth, and a Harvard education. But since our job is to simply share the truth He takes great joy in choosing the introverted teenager wearing “husky jeans.”
But then God does something amazing
He uses that introvert who as a teenager struggled making friends as a vessel for His power and Glory.
I’m not saying that evangelism is easy for introverts, but I am saying your lack of confidence is no excuse for not sharing the Gospel. Because God doesn’t call us to be fearless extroverts, He just calls us to be willing