introverts in the church (and my house)

A few months ago, I got an email from Adam S. McHugh after I wrote a post about wanting to read Quiet by Susan Cain. He mentioned his book, Introverts in the Church, and offered to send me a copy. He did, I sent him a copy of my book, and we’ve been online email friends ever since. His book has been in my stack for a while now, and I’m slowly working my way through it.

The Anxious Christian by Rhett Smith & Introverts in the Church by Adam S. McHugh

I haven’t finished Introverts yet, but so far I’m both enjoying it and learning things:

  • I am an introvert with lots of extroverted tendencies.
  • Just because I don’t always think fast on my feet does not mean I lack intelligence.
  • Adam is way smarter than me.

Through reading his book (along with Rhett Smith’s The Anxious Christian), I’ve been thinking a lot about what parts of my personality are designed by God and what parts are things that could perhaps use a bit of healing. Adam says this:

“The challenge lies in distinguishing between the healthy components of our personalities, those that are natural and to be celebrated, and the coping mechanisms that are symptoms of our wounds.”

Today I’m writing over at his place, where I wrestle with the question: Am I allowing my daughter to write her own story or am I inadvertently projecting my personality onto her life? Big question, short post. Would love to hear your thoughts on the topic, and thanks to Adam for the opportunity to write at his place. Visit Adam’s blog to read When Your Kid Is An Introvert (ish).


  1. says

    Searching out what is there on purpose and what is there by circumstance is a difficult challenge indeed. I have faced that predicament frequently. I find it super helpful to ask God to search my heart and make clear the things that need his healing balm. I am motivated to read both of these books in your stack. I have a stack too. I love that I am not the only one! :) My Hubby tells me that I have a book starting problem. I always retort it’s not the starting that’s the problem it’s the finishing! HA! Praying for blessings on your guest blogging adventures!

  2. says

    Quiet by Susan Cain was more like a scientific study of introverts rather than stories. I didn’t like it too well, but I have to say she did her homework. It’s thorough. I’m half an introvert. I’m not comfortable in prayer meetings and prefer quiet time to God to giant prayer retreats because it’s so intimate. :o)

  3. says

    I am definitely interested in reading this book also. I believe I may have found it on your site awhile back, though I can’t remember. It’s been in my amazon wish list for at least a month or so, and after I read “Quiet” (waiting at the library as I type!), I’ll read that one.
    It’s very funny to me, this whole extrovert and introvert business. Like the other day at our house, my husband (extrovert) has been planning different camping trips, and I (introvert) interjected it might be nice to just have one with our own family…

    Him: “But I thought camping was supposed to be fun.”
    Me: “I thought it was supposed to be relaxing…”

    And on it goes! :)
    Sarah M

  4. says

    I made my way here from Introverts in the Church. I’m so glad I found you! I also read the first chapter of your book & LOVED it. I think I must finish it…

  5. says

    Heading over there now.
    Looks like some good reads! I’m definitely more of an introvert…which only developed as I got older.

  6. says

    I am really interested in reading that book. I know I am an introvert. Glad someone is writing about it. I know in ages past it was seen as a byproduct of pride ( which I could never see).

  7. says

    I found Adam’s book to be so healing for me. I now claim my introversion and am more aware of my strengths and weaknesses within that framework. This has helped me to review my boundaries, as well as identify areas of growth. Last but not least, Introverts in the Church empowered me to find another church, something I’d been contemplating for a year. Once I identified why I felt such disconnect with the old church, I felt free to move forward and now am in a church that has helped my soul breathe again.

  8. Corina says

    Hi Emily,
    First let me thank you for your book Grace for the Good Girl. It has transformed my life and my relationship with Christ. Thank you.
    Second, I am not an introvert but I would sure like to be one. I am an extrovert. My husband is an extrovert and a pastor. My daughter is the queen of extroverts. We are talkers, salespeople, organizers, etc., however my hubs and I both are quite antisocial! We re-charge with just the 2 of us. I have always admired “introverts”…geez when I type the word it makes me feel like there is a negative connotation but please believe me there is NO negativity! I desperately love the women who are contemplative, articulate, able to say something at just the right time and with such power. Oh to be like that! I feel such pressure at times to “say something”, “the right thing”, “the funny thing”…because I am married to “the pastor”. I WANT to hear what the quiet girl is thinking.
    So, embrace the introvert in you because the extroverts are trying to keep their mouth shut so they can hear your wisdom!
    Much love to you!

  9. says

    Thought I am not a mother, I always enjoy chewing on your perspective Emily. Thank you for giving me something to chew on while I walk to work!

    If you get a chance, I’d love your comment on my updated {yesterday} “about” page…I wonder what your response would be…

  10. says

    I don’t know how I ever found you or why I decided to follow your blog. But I sure am glad I did. I also have stacks of books lying around the house. Fiction, non-fiction, history, biography, self-help. My habit is to take one from two or more of the stacks and juggle reading them at the same time. I mentioned this once to my family doctor and he jokingly diagnosed ADD. Now I see I have to add these two and start a whole new stack. Thank you!

  11. says

    Oh, my goodness! Okay, introvert pastor’s wife here–so introvert I was off the scale on the MMPI. After living with an extrovert for years I registered +1 on the extrovert scale. Learned behavior. I can do extrovert and enjoy it, but then I have to hide to recharge or I will crash and burn and maybe take you with me!

    I raised one introvert and one extrovert…both have become highly successful in their fields. The introvert went into the Coast Guard and has a “soft” leadership. She quietly speaks wisdom in heated situations. She is a “safe” officer and those under her feel free to confide. She brings light in what could be a dark place. She learned to be true to herself in the midst of a lot of extrovert activity.

    The extrovert is in the tourism trade; she does sales…well! But one day the extrovert corrected me. “No Mom, I’m an introvert.” What? She pointed to how she recharges herself…books, music, nature, soaking baths, quiet. OMG! How did I miss that? Of course! As a first grader when she came home from school she went directly to her room and did not come out for 1/2 to 3/4 hour later. But she looks like such an extrovert! I have decided she is a highly social introvert. And why shouldn’t she be highly social…after she was born every Sunday consisted of playing “Pass the Baby!” She learned early on that strangers are friends you haven’t met yet.

    The things I have learned about living with this gift of high sensitivity are in The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive–two more books to add to your pile! I’m going to get the two you mentioned. Thank you.

  12. says

    What you said about your daughter struck me because I wrestled with that with my first daughter. I didn’t want her to be like me :-) But, here’s the truth: Your personality is part of her story. That is why God gave her to you.

  13. says

    Processing & just wondering are “the coping mechanisms that are symptoms(?) of our wounds” the things that are not to be “celebrated”? Whether we like it or not the hurts & losses we bear & learn to live with become a part of us, don’t they? In this broken world, aren’t we all a little broken and learning to cope with our brokeness? After sharing on FB my first adult loss of our stillborn son (April 24, 1976) who taught us so much about “rejoicing in our suffering” and “being thankful in all circumstances,” I realized all of my friends have sustained and survived loss. Those scars (if they have even healed over) of loss and hurt remain sometimes invisible and sometimes oozing or someplace in between. I have learned reliance on our ever-present God, His Word (He is the Word that dwelt among us) and the sweet comfort of godly friends.

  14. says

    I’m very interested in how personality impacts our faith and worship. Have led workshops on this. Going to check these books out for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  15. says

    The point of nurturing the God-given aspects of our personality and identifying those caused by wounds gives me a lot to think about. Thank you.

    Hopping over now to read your piece at Adam’s!

  16. says

    It can be hard living as an introvert in a very extroverted world…especially when you want so badly to make a big difference in people’s lives. I’m coming to realize that I can embrace my identity as an introvert- it’s who I am, how I relate to people, and I know there’s a reason behind that.

  17. says

    Thanks, Emily. This really speaks to me as I’m also an “introvert with a lot of extroverted tendencies.” I can relate and appreciate what you said.

  18. says

    Absolutely love the quote you shared from the book. I’ve been working my way through that very thing over the last few years, and funny…it began with the question, “Am I truly an introvert or am I responding like one of my hurt?” I know God made me to need my alone time to recharge, but I know He didn’t intend for that to get in the way of rich community and abundant life. Keep chatting about this, Emily! You’re onto something!


  19. says

    I’m reading Quiet by Susan Cain right now. Really finding it interesting. But, I love the quote from Adam McHugh’s book you highlighted about differentiating between what is natural and what is a coping mechanism. That is something I have definitely not figured out yet for myself. But working on it! Looks like I’ll have to pick up a copy of this book, too.

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