The crisis of introversion

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.”

9 thoughts on “The crisis of introversion

  1. dinoconstant 02/11/2018 / 9:32 pm

    Hello Brian!

    I found your post rather interesting and I thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    It is my view that God is neither pleased nor displeased with us as individuals as He is Omniscient and His concern is with humanity- the living and the dead (who lived before Christ had incarnated).

    We all have our ways of preparing for activities, teaching etc and for planning the progress of our lives; God understands this. I think He prefers extroversion if we are interacting with other human beings and this benefits His human creatures. I’m not sure what He felt about Hitler’s extroverted activities?

    I like to be brief where I can but I’m willing to explain further anything that I’ve written which needs elaborating. I pray that a serious crisis does not happen to you.

    Peace and love to you,

    Dinos

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian Casey 02/12/2018 / 8:34 pm

      Dinos, thanks for your concern. Methinks I have perhaps abused a word or two here — namely, “crisis.” If we knew either other better, you would know that I exaggerate at times. Let me try a different angle … maybe if you took the word “crucible” and reduced its intensity by 50%, then added a touch of melancholy and a lot of introspection, you’d have the type of “crisis” I was meaning to imply.

      I’m not sure what to make of your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs. They seem mysterious and even set up conflicts with each other as I read them. That’s what comes when we try to express ourselves in abbreviated formats, I think we’ve both just found out. 🙂 I also had someone write me to educate me psychologically on introversion. I’m not sure I used that word well, either. Just one of my problems is that I’ve been bursting with things to say but can’t find time to write and hone the blogposts. I do find conflict with being an introvert and experiencing life with a great sense of inner energy and little outward fulfillment and outlet. (Whatever that means to me may not be what it means to those more trained!) But I don’t think I’m any more heading for a “serious crisis” than I have been for most of my life. (Maybe that’s good or bad.) I’m rambling here, and I’ve just had a rather disappointing last two hours of life, so I need to get to something distracting instead of wondering more.

      Like

    • dinoconstant 02/13/2018 / 4:53 am

      Thank you for your reply.

      I do have some problem communicating my thoughts accurately in a way that other people an understand. Steven Colborne has chastised me and deleted comments of mine that were longer than his original post. Since then, I have shortened them considerably but this leads to misunderstandings.

      God has made many animal species sociable, including us. Christ, as part of the Godhead would be pleased with us for positive social contact because He has experienced being human and He socialised with humans from all walks of life. You could infer then that the Father too is pleased with us when we act according to our nature, as He designed us. I’m not sure that He experiences pleasure in the way we do though. Is God pleased when we act in a positive extrovert way or is this what He expects from us according to our design?

      Hitler was very good at connecting with people and had the capacity to rouse crowds. He was acting according to his design but for evil purposes – world domination was his main goal. You could assert that God was displeased with him but then he had foreknowledge that he was going to behave in an evil way. How could He be displeased if He knew Hitler would act the way He did?

      I’m trying to say that God has no need for human emotions and I wonder if we are being presumptive about how our behaviour to one another “affects” Him. I consider that our purpose is to love one another and to love God and not to second guess if we are gaining favour with Him or not.

      I hope that clarifies my views but, to be honest, blogging is a poor substitute compared to a face-to-face discussion. Also, we have a tendency to put our own interpretation and importance on certain words we read that may not coincide with what was meant by the writer. This also applies to how we read and interpret the Bible scriptures.

      Peace and love to you and your family,

      Dinos

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve Kell 02/20/2018 / 1:50 pm

    “[Ca]n I, be pleasing to God even in our introverted times of preparation, of thinking, of dreaming and wondering”? — so thought Moses … for 40 years…

    Liked by 1 person

    • dinoconstant 02/20/2018 / 8:32 pm

      Hi Steve!

      I doubt that we truly know what God thought of Moses who was disallowed from entering the Promised Land because he disobeyed God when he used the supernatural qualities of his staff to obtain water from the rock in the desert:

      Numbers 20:10-12

      Water from the Rock
      …10and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” 11Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod, and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. 12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”…

      Also, I have to wonder how it came to be that God had given Moses Ten Commandments but the number grew to 613? Presumably, it wasn’t a sin until it became a law?

      Peace and love to all,

      Dinos

      Like

    • Brian Casey 02/21/2018 / 6:42 am

      Dinos, good point about not being able to assume anything. Speculating is involved here. I suspect Steve was probably referring to the prior 40 years — the years in Midian — before Moses returned to Egypt to lead the Israelites out. No matter which long period of years, it’s easy for me to imagine that Moses was wondering whether his dreaming and wondering would amount to anything. 🙂

      Humans often tend to superimpose systems of thought and details on top of God’s expectations. I know there’s a translation issue with the term behind “commandments” (as in the Ten), but I can’t further speak intelligently on that. There are also differing uses of “Law,” depending on the particular Jewish context, e.g., (1) Pharisees in Jesus’ lifetime, as depicted by Matthew, or (2) Paul’s letter to Galatians, or perhaps (3) Philo or other period writers. If people would just get the big picture as God presents (I’m thinking “love God and love your neighbor,” maybe other people wouldn’t need to specify infinite detail, right? 🙂

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  3. Steve Kell 02/21/2018 / 8:57 am

    Dinos–as Brian clarified–yes, I was referencing Moses’s 4 decades of herding sheep in Midian…and yes, there was sin before ‘The Law” (i.e., The Decalogue and ensuing covenant stipulations — Ex 20-24) were formalized: see Rom 5:13-14 which interprets Rom 4:13. As to what God thought of Moses…well, Num 12 should clarify that, despite Moses’s ongoing challenge to keep his temper under control. I’ll take some exegetical license here, but I’m guessing when the Lord Almighty conducts your funeral services on your behalf (Deut 34:5-6), and you are entered into the Hall of Faith in Heb 11, and you show up (after all!) in Canaan’s Land (Luke 9:28f) having a chat with the Son of God, you probably are going to be OK.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dinoconstant 02/21/2018 / 11:58 pm

    Dear Brian and Steve,

    Your comments are helpful and useful to me.

    It’s easy to misunderstand me because I don’t write clearly and I apologise for that and appreciate your patience for my communication ambiguities.

    I’ve said as often as the opportunity presents itself that to love God and one another is the most important thing to keep in mind and they are probably the most memorable. Loving God and one another is taken from what is often referred to as the two Great Commandments given to the Pharisees by Christ:

    The Greatest Commandment (from Matthew 22)

    34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    I confess I do not see a need to distinguish between The Law and God’s Commandments. But when Christ stated the two Great Commandments, He was quoting from the Law:

    http://www.gospeloutreach.net/613laws.html

    Specifically, the laws as listed from the Torah are numbered and laws 3 and 206 relate to Christ’s reply to the Pharisees:

    3. Love Yahweh with all your heart, soul, and might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

    206. Love your neighbour, whether a brother or an enemy, as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18).

    On the question of why Moses wasn’t allowed into the Promised Land, extracts from gotquestions.org suggest:

    1) In Numbers 20:8, the Lord told Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water.

    2) Instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff, not once but twice and took the credit for bringing forth the water. Notice how in verse 10 Moses says, “Must we [referring to Moses and Aaron] bring you water out of this rock?”

    3) Moses committed this sin in front of all the Israelites. Such a public example of direct disobedience could not go unpunished.

    4) It seems that God had intended to present a type of Christ in this circumstance. The water-giving rock is used as a symbol of Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:4. The rock was struck once in Exodus 17:6, just like Christ was crucified once (Hebrews 7:27). Moses’ speaking to the rock in Numbers 20 was to be a picture of prayer; instead, Moses angrily struck the rock, in effect, crucifying Christ again. His punishment for disobedience, pride, and the misrepresentation of Christ’s sacrifice was that he was barred from entering the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12).

    I’m sorry if I’ve said too much.

    Peace and love to God and to all people,

    Dinos

    Like

    • Brian Casey 02/22/2018 / 9:37 pm

      Dinos, I’ve just now read your reply from 2/13 — sorry. You’ve got lots of thoughts, and it’s not that you haven’t expressed them more clearly (after the first one). It’s that there’s a lot to think about and /or respond to. Historically and exegetically, I think it can be very important to know what is being referred to by the expression “the Law.” I’ve come to understand that, depending on who’s using the phrase,” it can mean the Decalogue, the Torah, all the Hebrew Bible, and probably the 613 laws, too. Practically, I’m not sure this distinction makes much difference in what you’re trying to say.

      I think we all agree that no mere man (including Moses) has been able perfectly to keep The Law or any section or expansion thereof! Paul makes this point fairly clear in both Romans and Galatians, I think, and it stands to reason anyway. But as Steve has said, the breaking of a commandment or law doesn’t preclude God’s grace. (I’m paraphrasing very loosely, but at least this is what I’d say.)

      Thank you for the pondering.

      Liked by 1 person

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