To varying degrees, we all have aspects of the introvert and the extrovert inside us. Popular understanding of the psychology involved has the two at opposite ends of a continuum—to be more of one, you have to be less of the other. However, Jung’s original conception had nothing to do with being quiet or loud, reserved or brash. Those are symptoms of a tendency, not diagnoses of such. To put it simply, those disposed to being introverted tend to focus their attention on inner activity, contemplation and their own resources, while those with an extroverted predilection will find themselves drawn to the external—to experience and the sensory.
In Christ, we find ourselves deliberately focused within. Deliberately, because our ambitions, our desires for ourselves in the Kingdom are all achievable through the spirit—and a huge amount of the teaching involved deals with this, using ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ as metaphors, spiritual imagery to plant seeds within us and encourage healthy, happy growth. And of course, this is important! We learn these things because, in so many ways, it runs counter to what the world teaches us to look inward, to contemplate. We are taught a different way of being.
But everything has a season, a time to keep silent and a time to speak. It is not enough just to focus inward. It is not enough just to speak truth into our own circumstances. It is not enough just to dwell within ourselves. We must also focus outwards, speak out the truth in our spirits, step out of ourselves with a proclamation. The silent truth that empowers us must empower us to shout.
One vital facet of this expression, of course, is in worship. It’s good for the spirit to rejoice openly! It’s good for us. Joy doesn’t doubt, has no caveats, no qualms. There’s nothing held back in worship, in thankfulness. We throw caution to the winds, and rightly so. The release of joy in worship, in the declaration of our love and commitment, is a powerful thing, especially in company. We affirm to each other and to God our faith in Him, and our thankfulness for the work of the Spirit in our lives. If you’ve got a song in your heart, then sing it!
The inner self must be expressed, because expression is a vital component of commitment. It’s why the institution of marriage is still of such importance, so much so that we use it as a metaphor for the relationship between the church and God—it’s a public statement of intent. Declaring ourselves with passion and faith before our peers provides us the significance of immediacy, of dynamism, of momentum. We become living mission statements, manifestos of faith and God’s grace.
There’s significance in standing up for what you believe in, weight and power in stepping up to be counted, and it moves far beyond the effect that it has upon you. The Father proclaims his love for us in a thousand different ways every day of our lives, and when we do likewise, we take part in the glorious—and glory flowers. It spreads, from person to person. We bear witness to one another, and in doing so, bear witness again, and those who witness this bear witness. When we hear proclamation, our faith rises, and we take hold of promise and purpose.
Hearing the words ‘extrovert’ and ‘introvert’, you probably instinctively veer to one over the other. But we have aspects of both within us. We’ve just spent more time cultivating one over the other, taught by experience, by victory and defeat in the world. God wants us to balance the scales within us, to allow us to contemplate and to proclaim with an equal passion in our spirits.
How do you find it most natural to be? Because we’re experiencing the supernatural in this. If you find it easy to speak out, be still! Remember to turn your attention within, or the glory flowering from you will begin to wither at the root. If you are more comfortable dwelling within the spirit, then step out! Proclaim what’s inside you with a happy heart. You won’t be alone at the altar when you speak your vows. God will be standing beside you, and you’ll have a whole congregation at your back cheering you on.
In all things, remember. You must be a whole person in Christ, the singer and the song. Find, embrace and accept what is comfortable—and then step beyond. Life in the Kingdom begins outside of your comfort zone.