“Think… of the last time you were with people. In whatever situation you pictured, half or more of the people around you were likely introverts—even if it didn’t seem like it. Now imagine with me a world in which 100 percent of people, introverts and extroverts, dare to be who they are. What if we all understood how we’re wired, intentionally used our strengths to serve the greater good, and thrived for a lifetime? Imagine what it would be like for you to live more like that every day.” (Holley Gerth)
Hey, my friend. How did those words resonate with you?
I know there has been a lot said about introverts. Yet rather than treating it like a fad that is here one day and gone the next, I believe there is a lot of value into learning more about how God has designed each one of us.
There is not one better than the other. We’re just different. Male and female. Analytical and creative. Structured and flexible. Introvert and extravert. God created each of us in His image, and we give glimpses of that in different ways.
I just happen to be an introvert. A very strong introvert. And I know there’s a good chance you find yourself on the introvert side, too. The book I’m recommending today helps us understand how we are wired so that we can make good choices when it comes to loving those around us and serving God.
How does that sound? Do you want to lean more fully into how God has designed you? Do you want to understand what it might look like to build relationships with others in an authentic way?
My book recommendation for this month is The Powerful Purpose of Introverts, by Holley Gerth. Let me run through some of the main concepts she covers and then share with you why this book has been so helpful for me, and why I think it would be helpful for you, too.
Main Concepts in Holley’s Book
So Holley’s book is broken up into 12 chapters, each one diving into a specific aspect of what being an introvert might look like.
I say “might” look like because not all introverts are created the same, right? Listen to what Holley writes: “Last week I stood in front of a huge display at a paint store. I needed green and found options from lime to emerald. The human eye identifies up to ten million shades of color. Just because two people say, ‘I’m an introvert’ doesn’t mean they’re the same. Introversion has endless expressions, including yours.”
The book starts out explaining what an introvert actually is, how it is often confused with being shy, and then lists some questions to help you identify where you fall on the introvert/extravert continuum.
The second chapter is especially helpful because Holley walks us through several personality frameworks: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Four Tendencies, the Enneagram, and the Five Love Languages. And through each of us, we get a glimpse into our preferences, our processes, our patterns, and our personal relationships.
For those who don’t know, the introversion/extraversion scale comes from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, also known as the MBTI, and is just one of four different continuums. You find your place on each continuum and that gives you your personality type, consisting of four letters. For example, I am an INFJ. So not only am I an introvert, but I’m a creative introvert who values relationships and likes to be organized and scheduled. Change just one of those other letters and the way I experience the world changes, too.
The rest of the chapters zero in struggles that many introverts face and how we can use those to our strength, instead. For example, not isolating ourselves from others, but intentionally finding time for solitude. Or maybe being prone to anxiety or depression, and learning from that a strong resilience when life gets hard.
Why It has Helped Me
I’ve studied personality a lot throughout my years at school. I especially gravitated toward the MBTI because it seemed to provide the most information about how we might be wired and how that actually impacts our daily living. Side note: I actually liked the MBTI so much that I always found a way to incorporate it into my public speaking and communication classes when I taught at the college level.
Holley’s book has been a little different for me because she shares a lot of the research behind how introverts are wired physically and neurologically. She talks about the nervous system and brain pathways and neurotransmitters—all in a very approachable way. And all this physically describes the differences between introverts and extraverts. Which helps me understand my extraverted friends better, too.
But I think what speaks to me the most are the stories and examples she shares, both from her own life and the lives of others. I can relate to so many of them and can see how my own introvertedness might play out.
Here’s an example: How would you say you feel when you are happy? What synonyms might you use for “happiness”?
For extraverts, “happy” often means enthusiasm and excitement. It might even mean surprised or energized. But for introverts, “happy” often feels more like contented, calm, peaceful. Isn’t it strange how we can view something like happiness so differently? Again, one is not better than another. They are just different.
Other Resources from Holley
When I grabbed The Powerful Purpose of Introverts when it was first released, I also got access to Holley’s online mini-course, 7 Ways to Thrive as an Introvert, which is still available. In that, she talks a bit more about how to relate to God as an introvert, managing your energy well, and making a difference in the world around you. I’ll link to that in the show notes below.
But I’m also excited to announce that if you’re interested in reading The Powerful Purpose of Introverts, Holley just released a guided journal that goes along with this topic called Introvert by Design. I just got mine in the mail and I’m eager to start slowly working my way through it.
So there you have it: my book recommendation for May. If you are a reader, I’d love to hear what book you might recommend. What has spoken deeply to you? What has inspired you in your relationship with God or when it comes to caring for others who are hurting? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, my name is spelled K-A-R-I.
Okay, my friend, that is all for today. Until next time, let’s encourage one another…
- Holley Gerth’s Resource Page for Introverts (includes both books and her mini-course)
- Episode 81: Encouraging and Caring Others as an Introvert
- Episode 106: Leading As An Introvert
Learn more and register for Journal Gently, an 8-week program designed to help you use writing as a way to process hurt, grief, and trauma with God.