So what is the answer for us anxiety filled introverts who find church tough going and some times depressing?
You won’t like this but for the most it is us who need to accept and deal with it.
The first thing is to understand that God has allowed you to be an introvert for a reason, it is part of his plan for you and if he planned it you can be sure there is a good reason. So maybe that reason is so you can connect with another introvert in your church and help each other, and yes I know how scary that sounds for an introvert to approach someone else. Maybe it is to end up working with the leaders of the church to make their services less of a stressful place for introverts. Maybe you are to start a blog about your experiences as an introvert in church in order to help others. Just remember there is a reason why you are the way you are and you should embrace that rather than thinking you need to be more like someone else, trying to be someone you are not leads to misery, trust me I have been there.
The second thing is that we must never stop praying in the times we may struggle, such as when anxiety grips hold or you feel down because you have struggled with the social aspects of church. Trust me God listens, he has a plan and he hasn’t made you to feel bad about yourself. Looking back on my life I now realise that I have struggled with being an introvert ever since I was a teenager but I also now realise that the reason I am like this is because God has a plan, I am part of that plan, being an introvert is part of that plan for me and he is with me in those moments when I struggle and wish I wasn’t an anxious introvert. Will I always be an introvert, I don’t know but knowing it is part of God’s plan helps me to be at peace with who I am.
Thirdly; until you accept who you are and realise you are like this for a reason you are going to have more days where you leave church feeling down than those where you leave feeling blessed. And I won’t lie because there are still times that I leave church not feeling as blessed as when I went in. But by accepting yourself you begin to see the bigger picture not only where your talents lie, remember we are blessed to be deep thinkers, but also why you may struggle to find a church where you truly feel comfortable. Maybe in an ideal world we would like to find a church able to cater for our introverted nature but we can’t expect them to change just to suit us. In truth I would stop going to the church I go to and find another if it suddenly stopped being evangelical and go-getting.
Fourthly; don’t bottle it up, how are those in church meant to know that you feel uncomfortable unless you tell them. It isn’t that you need to be rude about it but find someone in the church you trust and explain to them how you feel, you might be shocked to discover those you thought were extroverted are in fact introverted. Being an introvert or anxious is not something to be ashamed of, it is who you are and by sharing how you feel can help no end; it helps to lift the burden of feeling that it is you having to cope on your own.
Finally; get a pen and paper and write down how you feel in those times where you are struggling to be a go-getting Christian or part of an evangelical church. You don’t have to share them with anyone but I have discovered that in those moments when things get to me writing them down helps to not only process my thoughts but also to let go of them rather than letting them loop around my mind for hours on end, tormenting me.