Introverts in Church by Adam McHugh

I finished reading this book two weeks ago. I liked the book. I could identify with everything that was told about introverts. I think that what is most valuable about the book is that it not only stated the reality of introverts in the church but it gave practical tools for introverts to thrive in the church but for leaders to help introverts thrive in the church. I think that it’s a book where introverts can see that there experience in church is normal and that they can find their place in any church. I think that this is a book that shows the value of introverts in churches and gives options for how to navigate being involved in the church without loosing who we are as introverts.

I think that if a church wants to use their human resource efficiently, the leaders especially should learn about the variety that exist in the church and how to fit them in effectively. This book is one of the resources that churches should use to help them accomplish a better use of their members.

Thoughts/feelings of inadequacy

Getting thoughts or feelings of inadequacy sucks.

In me it is a pattern of thinking that happens on my mind automatically when things in my surroundings point to my not being able to do something in life. My mind automatically makes the calculation that if I can’t do something after trying for a while that means that I am incompetent/inadequate for the task. I can’t help it.

There are times where I can’t do something right because I don’t have enough experience to do that task well or have never done it before. There are times where I end up with sub par performance because of external factors that are outside of my control. There are times where the inability to do a task is a direct result of not being taught to do a task when I was supposed to be taught to do it. There are times when my sub par performance is due to the fact that the task involves one of my weaknesses.

Regardless of the reason, my mind has been programmed to think that any negative performance shows how inadequate I am. Because I analyze everything, I automatically think that I am a failure at life …that I am incapable of being successful in life.

I have kept this to myself because if I talk about this with anyone that knows me they will try to invalidate the way that I feel and will tell me that I’m crazy for having those thoughts. I keep this thought process a secret because I need to keep the appearance that everything is okay. I keep it inside because at the time I am in the situation that is triggering the thought process and I know that talking about it will cause more problems.

I know that this automatic thought process isn’t healthy. It screws with the image that I have of myself when it is in its full manifestation. It might make other people think less of me and lessen the amount of opportunities that I get in life.

I know that the thoughts/feelings of inadequacy appears when things are not going well and not when things are going well. It is dependent on circumstance. I know that it has the potential to be paralyzing if I let it dominate my life.

I know that I have a battle withing my mind against the thoughts of inadequacy when things seem to go wrong. I know that I just need to keep going and do the best that I can. I know that I need to trust that God will show me the way to get out of whatever rut I am in because of these feelings.

 

 

How to get access to an INTJ’s core

Getting to an INTJ’s core is no easy task. Most people are not worthy of even getting access to an INTJ. In my case, it takes a special person to get access and see the holiest layer of my life: a person of my choosing. Not only does it take a special person to get inside, but also to survive and handle appropriately the type of information that is contained inside. Once a person is chosen as a potential candidate to get the access, there is a long and lengthy probation process to see if whoever I find fit actually deserves it. The process usually lasts 11 months- 1 year and in this time period anything that I think of goes.

There is really no standard rubric to core access probation. It really depends on the person on probation and the context of the interaction with the person. Good luck on figuring that one out.

If the person passes probation, they get to be a part of my inner circle. They get access to heavily guarded information.

Oh. Before I forget. There is no guarantee of lifetime access to an INTJ’s core. This access can be taken away with actions that are deemed unfit for the level of access that has been granted. In fact, not being able to handle the implications of getting access to heavily guarded information is one of the primary reasons for demotion.

INTJs layers of self.

I had a professor at my bachelor’s degree who taught me a “Philosophical Foundations of Education” course. The class was more philosophy than education, which was what I wanted. One class, he compares humans to onions. We have multiple layers to who we are that are shown based on context and people around us. This totally rings true for me. For me, I don’t show many layers of myself. I have a tendency to only show the superficial version of myself. So getting to see the core of who I am is… almost impossible.

I as an INTJ compare the world’s access to who I am to the layout of the Jewish temple. Like the Jewish temple, there are 3 main layers to myself: the atrium, the holy place, and the holiest place.

Most people, however, don’t ever get to go inside. The reason: most people either don’t know that I exist or know that I exist but don’t interact with me. It’s mainly not their fault. I say mainly because there are people that I just don’t allow to know more than the superficial first impression things about me. I deny them access to anything about me that I can control. They may know my name, the sound of my voice, but not much else.

Most people who interact with me only know me superficially. They may know my name, the sound of my voice, my ministry in music, maybe certain traits that can be picked up from watching my interactions with other people. These people would be like those that remain in the atrium of a temple. It may not be entirely their fault, because I as an INTJ am very careful of who I invest my time in.

There are people that have been around me for a really long time and/or have gotten to know me in the short years that I have been an adult in Christ. These people can state how my humor is and my favorite foods along with the other superficial information, but have never seen me at my most vulnerable self. These people have accessed the holy layer of myself. This is the space where I relax … no. I don’t relax. I don’t really relax because I don’t feel safe to relax. I don’t fully relax because I just don’t trust most of them with my most heavily guarded information. The type of information that reveals how different I am from what they see, what they perceive as truth about me. I also don’t like many people getting to see my core self. I may never let them in the holiest place.

It’s no secret that 99.999% of humanity will never know my innermost self. 99.999% of them don’t care. That’s fine by me. Those that care… should know that caring is a waste of time. I will not give you access just because you care.

Finally, there is the innermost core of who I am: the holiest layer of myself. People have gotten access to it. Yet they can’t stay for long… because they will die if they do. These people have seen aspects of myself that I have buried for years. They get access to the things that move me at my core. These people get access to the feelings that I keep hidden from the masses. These people get access to see the true nature of my goals and aspirations. These people see how much of myself I fake to the world.

INTJ and the fight and flight response.

As an INTJ I have a hard time handling situations that activate my fight or flight response. I can’t speak coherently and process my biological reaction at the same time. I rather stay in silence and deal with one thing at a time.

People think that this is a sign of victory. It isn’t. My opinion hasn’t changed. If a situation happens where I think that the other person is an idiot, my silence isn’t saying that you are not an idiot. All that it’s saying is that I can’t handle the body’s reaction to threats and say what I think without screwing one thing up.

Sometimes I stay silent as a sign of rebellion. Sometimes my silence is a reflection of the idea that the other person is an idiot and I am allowing them to remain idiots because they aren’t worth correcting. Sometimes my silence has to do with my not caring about the other person or the situation at hand. I won’t waste my time or energy on stupid people that don’t want to change.

When I get threatened as an INTJ, my physical reaction limits the amount of analytical thinking that I can do regarding the situation. I may sense patterns that prove my point and know that something is wrong, but I can’t articulate what is on my mind properly. That leads to mistakes… avoidable mistakes.

Once I am in a safe place, usually my home, I can process the event properly. I can validate being pissed. Or I can realize that I screwed up and that I have to change a particular behavior. I can be angry at a person properly and be able to articulate why. I can find who screwed up and who didn’t . I usually can understand that any situation has multiple sides and that the victim-perpetrator model isn’t applicable in most life situations. Usually everyone is at fault and innocent victims don’t really exist. Everyone is part of the problem.

When fight or flight gets activated, I know that speaking my mind fully leads to more problems than solutions. It’s inconvenient because I am usually right and that threatens them. It is more acceptable for them to show emotions than for me to show logic/emotions. It is acceptable for other people to shun me down because they can’t handle it when I show emotion. When I react to my fight or flight response by fighting. That is not fair.

I as an INTJ process being threatened internally, and it takes a while. It also takes a while to move on from it. No one has mercy. No one cares. Speaking up about this in my surroundings had the opposite effect.

The importance of a father’s blessing in hard choices.

Last week I was thinking about the hardest decision I had to make: whether to take my first job or study a master’s/doctorate degree. My biological father gave me the push that I needed to choose the job. His words when he said go work was: “you will get much more benefit from working than from studying”. I agreed, trusting my father’s judgement.

It’s been close to 6 months since I started working. I can say that he was right. He put his father’s blessing over this decision and he sort of prophesied over my time at work. As I started the job, I saw benefits that I didn’t anticipate. I was more productive. I felt that I was making a better use of my time. I started to feel sexy/confident at my second week at the job. I lost weight and went from being overweight to normal weight. I had a means to sustain myself. I went through a process of learning to handle a work environment. I was confronted with my weaknesses. I saw how awesome was this door that God opened for me. My perspective was widened. My goals in life became clearer.

When I realized this, I realized how important a father’s blessing is. My biological father has been a fundamental force in pushing me to try things that otherwise I wouldn’t try. This was the hardest choice that I have made in my life. God used my father to answer a hard question: what should I choose?

Every once in a while he asks if I think I made the right choice. My answer is now more than ever, yes.

 

What I as an INTJ do at work that’s unique.

  1. Notice patterns in the clothing that my co-workers wear.
  2. Use hashtags.
  3. Make really sarcastic jokes that takes mental energy to get.
  4. Have a harder time adapting to change, especially when the change goes against my nature.
  5. Awkwardly do goodbye’s (i.e. no hugs, kisses on the cheek… nothing).
  6. Keep quiet when everyone is talking.
  7. Analyze everything… everything.

What makes a person successful?

A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity. This is how a dictionary would define it. The normal responses have to do with academics, professional career, getting married, or having successful children.

What really made me ask myself this question was a word that I received from God in a youth group retreat I went to where one of the preachers stated that I should consider myself successful. I was a bachelor’s degree student at the time this word came out. I had thought that I shouldn’t consider myself successful because I was still forming my life.

I knew that as we humans go through the different stages in life, the definition of success changes. From having grades be a marker of success in academia to being promoted at a job to having children be successful in life, priorities and criteria for success changes with life progression. I asked myself: What if there are general criteria for success that can be applied regardless of the stage that one is at?

The answer I came up with was that success is the contentedness that one has with where there at and where they are going. Yet when I shared this with someone, they reacted to this with negativity. So I hid this response. As I come back to this question three stages later, I see that it’s an awesome response because it is broad enough to be applicable to anyone and adaptable enough to accommodate the evolution of human beings. It also isn’t based solely on accomplishments, which was the thing that I found uncomfortable of conventional definitions of success.

I am biased, though. So if there is something that anyone wants to add that will make this better, it is more than welcome.

Celebrating holidays alone.

This is apparently something to avoid. I avoided it myself for a long time. Not because I didn’t want to celebrate the holidays by myself, but because I wasn’t comfortable with everyone’s reaction to this decision. I knew that, even though it seemed illogical to everyone else, it was something that I felt I needed to do at some point. I felt that having that experience would make me more of an adult.

The most that happened was that the holiday, New Years, lost a bit of its significance. There was nothing exiting about it… except for the fireworks display that I saw from my living room. It isn’t a crime to enjoy a moment like this by yourself. For me, it meant having more independence.

For me, New Years lost a bit of significance because for me the new phase in my life happened in July when I started working. New Years didn’t feel like that much of an opportunity for a new beginning, other than this is mostly an illusion. Maybe the way to look at New Years is that the date, whatever it is for the different cultures in the world, is a sign to the human mind to consider change for the better. This isn’t a guarantee for change in an human and a date shouldn’t restrict our attempts at change.

Celebrating a holiday alone was something that I wanted to do. I did it. Would I do it again? I don’t know. I can’t see the future.