How can I reach out to others when I'm an introvert and would rather be alone?

I understand this question because I, too, am an introvert that has to make myself reach out. I first truly understood how difficult this is for me when I was at my friend Mary's house along with a woman who was in campus ministry. This woman told us of an Indian student who needed housing. As she was telling us of this girl's situation, I was saying to God, I don't want to have her live with us, but if that's what you want, I'm listening. But every fiber of my body was resisting the idea. Before she could even finish telling us about her, Mary said, "We'll take her. We'd love to have her!" In that moment I realized what a struggle reaching out is for me.

The one thing I cannot live without is alone time. Whenever such time is crowded out of my life, I feel like I'm being crushed in a vice, with so much pressure that I'm going to crack.

Extroverts don't understand this struggle. They will overcome all sorts of obstacles to be with people. In fact, they are so motivated that they reach out naturally as they go about their days.

We introverts, on the other hand, usually look for ways to avoid people. We're the kind who look the other way when we see someone we know in the grocery store because it means we'll have to talk to them. Most of us are content with having just a few friends around us, but we certainly don't enjoy going out of our way to meet new people and invite them into our living space.

But Scripture is full of encouragement to reach out to those around you. So, I've given this quite a bit of thought and come to terms with the commands and my personality. So for those of you who belong to the introvert camp, I may have some wisdom to share....

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