Bible study, score study, thought and planning—all these are done with a view toward helping groups of people later. I prepare for the purpose of helping others. The helping activities appear inherently somewhat extroverted, but the preparation activities are mostly rather introverted. I often do my clearest-headed thinking while walking or driving alone. Even work-related memos sometimes need quiescent thought before dissemination, so I’ve been known to repair to a different chair or to ponder important writings in the quiet hour before anyone else arises, before such things are finalized.
What if I have so few opportunities that the introverted, energized time ends with no purpose in sight—or with frustrating roadblocks? If the introverted activities do not have an outlet, they are forced back into themselves, and the whole enterprise become preparation for nothing, really. This, at times, is my crisis.
I know a woman who seems even more introverted by nature than I am. This woman is my mother. She has seasons of rather intense lesson preparation for a class full of women. Her need for silence and focus is like my own. Can she, and can I, be pleasing to God even in our introverted times of preparation, of thinking, of dreaming and wondering? Or do the times of sharing in groups present the only fulfillment?
In the next post, I’ll discuss—in some detail with respect to church groups where I feel no real opportunity—what I experience as a “crisis of “ministry.”