Naked Before God in Community: “But I’m an Introvert!”

When it comes to being naked before God in community, you might think that the whole idea is just not possible, for even though you understand that the “naked” part is a metaphor, you are an introvert, and anything “in community” is hard to fathom. I am INTP-A on the Briggs test. That’s right gang, I am one of those introverted characters who hates parties, social events and… community in general; I would much prefer to be alone and unnoticed. The funny thing is, quite a few people that I know, have no idea that I am an introvert, particularly if they only know me from seeing me in front of a room full of people, for being in front of a room (public speaking in other words) has never been even the slightest problem for me; maybe that’s because of the “A” part which stands for assertive.

At any rate, in my mind, being introverted is sort of a given, and it hadn’t even occurred to me to mention it.

Most of the time, spiritual gifts and personality traits are more or less in harmony, so that extroverts are more likely to have leading gifts like leadership, exhortation or teaching. They might also have gifts such as hospitality, while introverts more commonly have serving gifts like helps or service or mercy. Yet for some of us, God has seen fit to give leading gifts to introverts like me. As a result, we are called to serve in the place where our service is uncomfortable; that is my story. I can truly tell you that God is strong where I am weak, and thus, He is glorified by my weakness in certain areas. While this is encouraging, it is still uncomfortable.

I really don’t know why God gave me a personality that doesn’t want to be noticed and called me to leadership where you must be noticed… but that is the reality of my situation. Yet I can tell you that even though I dread those situations, when the time comes, He more than compensates for what I lack and people seldom suspect there’s a problem. The long and short of it is this: When God calls you to serve, go where He leads you secure in the knowledge that He will sustain you. Where God has given you spiritual gifts, use them, even if it’s scary, for God will be glorified in your discomfort.

The whole theory of naked before God in community however, is not really dependent upon our personality types, for it is instead dependent upon the quality of our relationships with Him. Please note that I haven’t called this “naked before the community”, I’ve called “naked before God in community”. In community with other believers, God is present in the midst of His people, and our nakedness is before God. It follows that our spiritual nakedness will spill over into our relationship with the humans who are also present. The key is for us to perceive His presence in the midst of the people, and as believers in the promises of Scripture, this perception is not as difficult as one might assume at first, once we have a little practice looking for Him.

Does this sound abstract or theoretical to you? Please believe me when I tell you that it isn’t; it is entirely practical. If you’ve never read it, or even if you have, please read a very short little book called The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence; you can find it online for free. It is a classic of spiritual discipline that is on required reading lists in Seminaries of every denomination, and it is so simple and easy to understand that a child can master it in an hour or two. Brother Lawrence will tell you how to be naked before God in community.

I know that for the introvert, this whole subject can seem quite daunting, but in truth, we introverts have a decided advantage over the extroverts, for we do not crave attention, and are unlikely to perform in front of others, thus we must rely upon God in social settings… or just hide in the darkest corner of the room until we can escape. We also have more time available to be alone with God, and this gives us an enhanced opportunity for a deeper personal relationship with Him. If we recognize that our apparent disadvantage is actually an advantage, with a little effort and a degree of faith, we can let God do amazing “naked” things in and through us.

Once again, please don’t hesitate to tell me what you think!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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22 Responses to Naked Before God in Community: “But I’m an Introvert!”

  1. Skylar Smith says:

    LOVED THIS! I am also an introvert, and I can relate to this on so many different levels. You got it spot on.

  2. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs inventory dozens of times. I too am an introvert.

    Love this: “The whole theory of naked before God in community however, is not really dependent upon our personality types, for it is instead dependent upon the quality of our relationships with Him.”

    Be blessed.

  3. photojaq says:

    When God calls you to serve, go where He leads you secure in the knowledge that He will sustain you. Where God has given you spiritual gifts, use them, even if it’s scary, for God will be glorified in your discomfort.
    Good advice, but what if it looks like in two different directions He is calling you. Then what?

  4. John Eli says:

    I dig this. I am probably the most social introvert that you will ever meet. I see the value of community. However, I usually need time alone after a social activity to unwind and energize a bit.

  5. Beth Ann says:

    “Where God has given you spiritual gifts, use them, even if it’s scary, for God will be glorified in your discomfort.”

    Thank you for this word of encouragement. It is something I’ve been struggling with recently and this helped.

  6. A company I worked for had everyone take the test to determine the best way to handle them and how to fit their strengths to their roles, I tested INTJ (“I” was a 66% score). Unfortunately, mangers tend to be “E”‘s and believe everyone should be an E, so rather than learn how to handle an “I” mine took it upon himself to turn his I’s into E’s. Doesn’t work.

    I had always thought that, in a former time and a different location, I could easily fit in to the Desert Monk role. Of course my desert would have been deep in a forest, probably up the side of a mountain. While I enjoy attending church services I enjoy a Sunday in the forest in prayer and meditation much more. I’m not convinced that community worship is for everyone, and making it a requirement of belonging to a denomination is much like that manager who wanted everyone to be an E.

    • Don Merritt says:

      You might be right- I’ve never really thought about it, never having been involved with a denomination. It does beg a question though, why “belong” to a denomination if you don’t want community?

      • Even the Desert Fathers “belonged” to the Orthodox Church and attended Paschal services annually. St. Mary of Egypt lived as a desert hermit, but was frequently visited by St. Zosimas to receive communion and penance, some would receive supplemental sustenance as it was not always possible to live on what one found in the desert.

        • Don Merritt says:

          I see. Would that still be the case?

          • I am not aware of any hermits, desert or otherwise, these days. While the church does not forbid it, I can’t recall anything about modern hermits. The last I remember where those so driven because of the USSR, and they did receive assistance from nearby churches. I knew a pilgrim (still know him, but he is too old for that lifestyle now) who traveled the world and relied upon the kindness of Christians for his needs, but that is the closest I’ve come in many years.

  7. Tina says:

    Introvert here too. I used to hate attention. I was quite painfully shy, but I’ve come out of my shell quite a bit as I learned to see people the way God does. I’m still not very assertive though; I don’t prefer large crowds, but I do enjoy people, and community. I’m just not a great conversationalist. Yet, I can write up a storm. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  8. Steve B says:

    Hi Don
    Wasn’t able to comment on this until now. My dad died and had to deal with things around that.
    Take this light heartedly. INTP-A uhmmm? I reckon your I is only a little (I) and your (P) is 50/50 with a (J). Heck I had my kids family as well as my brother and I was worn out after 2 hours, that is how much of an (I), I am. Having said that I reckon Moses was a big Introvert but God had a big reason for that. People tend to follow leaders rather than the God behind the leaders. In Moses case nobody wanted to follow or listen to Moses so that left God. However we saw the problem when Moses went up the mountain for 40 days the people went to Aaron (who is the extrovert) and got him to make the golden calf.
    Now this naked before God in community thingy. I really can’t follow you on this as it makes no sense and reading that book didn’t inform me at all so let us turn to Jesus.

    According to your reasoning being naked before God is not hiding anything from Him which I agree with. No making excuses, no fig leaves or masks. Ok I agree with that. When Jesus was with community don’t you think He acted differently depending on the crowd He was with? He shared more with His disciples than with His followers and even less with haters. Even with His disciples He would disappear to pray. Remember that bit in John where Jesus said people must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood? They all left except His disciples. In the Garden Jesus only took Peter, John and James, He left them under a tree while He moved away and sweated blood. Jesus DID NOT share His agony even with them.

    Yes we need to be open and honest to God whether we are alone or in community but that is meaningless since we will only be sharing with only those we trust.

    My 2 bits.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Hey Steve,
      I am so very sorry to hear about your Dad; I know how tough your situation is, having been there myself. As for the other part, believe it or not, you’ve almost got it; if you adjust your angle of attack slightly, I’m pretty sure you’ll see the whole picture: Look at it from the point of view of the people, not of Moses. Look at it as a disciple, not as Jesus, then you’ll have it… or not. Plenty of folks have told me I’m balmy on this one 😊
      My 2 cents.

      • Steve B says:

        Doesn’t help. The people who followed Moses out of Egypt grumbled a lot, the disciples grumbled a bit but for totally different reasons. The disciples grumbled because they expected Jesus to be an instant Messiah but they still followed Him because as they said, “You have the words of life.”
        The Israelites grumbled because Moses was not inspiring them (since he was an Introvert) and for some strange reason the power of God failed to impress them. Wierd. Still has nothing about being naked before God in community as far as I can see.

        I think this community thing is a bit overrated myself. Seems to be the in thing with Christian teaching. Even Rick Joyner at Morningstar is involved with this ‘community’ thing. God treats us all on a personal level and judges us on our personal actions. Part of that is how we treat other people that is we must ‘love’ people as ourselves. The danger with this community stuff is group think. Another way of looking at it is mob rule. You can have small, medium or large mobs and all those involved think alike. Whether it is bikie gangs or your local church, group think reigns and sadly these mobs or tribes are divisive with other mobs (tribes). Just look at Trump Derangement Syndrome. This is as bad as it gets.

        I realize that community means something to the Extrovert but very little to the Introvert. How to drive an extrovert mad? Put him on a desert island. How to drive an introvert mad? Must organize parties and attend them. LOL.

        Our main purpose as Christians is to have a relationship with God through Jesus. Get to know Him, worship Him and obey Him. This applies to ALL Christians. Our next purpose is to convey to others the love of God through Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us so that everybody has a chance to have everlasting life. This purpose is different for each individual. Since I seem to have zero charisma nobody listens to me and the message I give. Que sera sera, I don’t stress over it any more.

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