I am an introvert. Some of you may take that to mean that I am shy. But, really, I’m not. I just don’t want to talk to you (I’m kidding!).
I’m often quiet because I am an introvert. In other words, I process things internally.
Extroverts process things by talking through them with other people. Introverts process situations and ideas internally – by turning them over in our minds; by playing out possible scenarios mentally; by figuring out the details before we talk about them to others.
Additionally, as an introvert, I “recharge my batteries” or re-coop my energy by spending time alone or with very close friends. The smaller the party, the more I am energized. Extroverts, on the other hand, recharge by spending time with other people. The bigger the party, the more amped they get.
As an introvert – as some of you will understand – it sometimes looks like I am shy. For example, if I see a Facebook friend in the grocery store (not as a close friend), I may spend half of my grocery-time hiding from them. I peek down the aisles and make sure they don’t see me. If I’m spotted, I might act like I never saw them and hope they pull the same avoidance trick. It’s not that I dislike them, it’s just that I don’t always want to talk. (Ironically, when I engage with people in situations like this, I generally come away feeling better…but my introverted brain still wants to pull into isolation!)
Another example: On some airplane trips – even though I generally like people – I might be the guy with the headphones. And in worse case scenarios, I may be the guy pretending to sleep in the middle seat between two extroverts who are amping each other up through incessant conversation. At the very least, I will have a book beside me as my backdoor out of a draining conversation.
I know. It’s weird.
Why do I make these excuses to avoid interaction?
For me, excuse #1 is my introverted nature. God made me this way…and I kind of like it.
We all have our excuses for avoiding certain situations. You may not be an introvert and your excuses may be different from mine, but we all have excuses.
I’m Not the Only One With Excuses
My extroverted wife rarely meets a stranger. I think it’s something in her blood. While visiting a church recently, she was spotted as a newcomer. During the greeting portion of the service, another lady – who was honed in like a heat-seeking missile – almost jumped the pew to embrace my wife with a bear hug. Awkward…
My wife had never met this lady, but she had an instant friend. In the same way, she rarely stands in line at a store without meeting someone. Often those people end up at our home for dinner within days or weeks.
In spite of her extroverted nature, my wife has her own life-situations that push her toward excuses. If you ask her to be the leader of a group, she will say anything from “I have to wash the dishes that day” to “Isn’t there someone else, better qualified?” She will find a way out.
When it comes to making disciples, both introverts and extroverts tend to sneak out the side door. We dip our hands in the excuse bucket and pull out the first thing we can find. I think most of us clearly understand the mandate from Jesus:
“God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
We know that, but we find ways to rationalize our inaction.
- I’m not good at this kind of thing.
- I don’t know enough.
- I’m not sure that I have the spiritual gifts necessary.
- I don’t know any people who need to be discipled.
- This subject is off limits at my job and my neighbors just want to keep their privacy.
If you need an excuse, you don’t have to work hard to find one. (I just gave you five.) But, avoiding the situation doesn’t make it go away.
It’s time for us to stop making excuses and star making disciples.
We Share God’s Joy as We Make Disciples
Through discipleship, God is inviting us into His joy! He’s inviting us into the abundance of His Kingdom…today. And as He calls us to make disciples, He’s asking us to help people find their way into the best life possible.
So, why would we make excuses?
Here’s the thing. In order to cross this field of excuses, we need
- inspiration to get started and
- confidence in the “how to’s” of making disciples.
Here’s the good news: That’s why this website exists! So that you can be INSPIRED and EQUIPPED to live our your God-created purpose!
Are you ready to stop making excuses and start making disciples? The Disciple’s Manifesto is the first place for inspiration. Download it freely by clicking on the link.
Then, the continual growth of this website will provide you with a library of resources for making disciples in your context. Join the tribe so that you don’t miss out on the continual drip of resources for this mission.
If you are a parent, you can get started on that journey by reading Parent Shift: How to Raise Spiritually Healthy Children. Need more incentive to take the first step? I’ll give away one free copy of Parent Shift to someone who shares this post (via the icons on the right).
Let’s make disciples together.
*Note: The deadline for all free book entries is Friday, March 15, 2013. The winner will be announced by Monday, March 18th.