I am an introvert. For a lot of years, I let this label define and limit me. I used it to avoid the pitfalls and risks of putting myself out there. I also used it as a crutch to mask a much bigger struggle in my life: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of being inadequate. The truth is, I was just plain fearful. Over the course of the last few years, starting with the pandemic in 2020, the Lord showed me that community is one of my greatest needs. It took being isolated–and yet still fearful–for me to see that stepping out into uncertainty, the very thing I often avoided, was, in fact, the Lord’s remedy for all that ailed me. So I began to say “yes” to volunteer opportunities, mentoring, and teaching a Bible study, each of which involved being with people, primarily women, of all ages and different life stages.

Taking these small steps of faith outside my comfort zone, letting others truly know me as I get to know them, has fulfilled one of the most deeply rooted desires in life: real community. It has allowed me to experience the nearness of the Lord walking with me each step and the wonder of watching Him use this to provide resounding joy, authentic relationships, and a deeper love for Him and others.

As the Lord nudges and encourages me towards each step, He also faithfully provides all that I need. What a joy to discover that when we intentionally pursue and cultivate genuine relationships with others–with Jesus at the core–we are free to be ourselves, trusting Him to guide and grow whatever seeds He plants!

Through these relationships, the Lord has lovingly drawn me out of a flesh-focused stance of fear into a Spirit-led position of victory, freedom, and real joy. He is revealing His great love for me through multi-generational relationships in such beautifully tender ways and is equipping me to share that same love with them through genuine friendship and shared experiences.

Let’s be willing to be known through vulnerability and be confident that the Lord has given us all we need to reveal Him and His love to the world–whether it’s in group settings or one person at a time. Be open to being who you are and where you are in life with others. Your story will be just what someone needs to hear. Be His kindness, His acceptance, His open arms to hurting and confused hearts. Know that you’ve been specifically placed for this purpose…His purpose.  Share God’s love and goodness in the ways He has uniquely qualified and positioned you to do.

In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.  Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.

Romans 12:6, 9, 10

What comes from these encounters is beautiful and unexpected. Get to know and love others right where they are. Share your joy, heartache, challenges, and victories. In doing so, we become conduits for a love that is beyond us, beyond our capability to give, and others will recognize it and be drawn to Jesus. Because we are dearly loved and led by a Good Shepherd, we can risk rejection and failure. We know each step will be worked for our good, for the good of those around us, and will showcase the glory and goodness of God, whether that means standing before a group of 30 women or having a meal one-on-one. So, we listen to His voice and respond to His nudge to reach out, smile, invite, hug, share, and engage.

I’m still an introvert. God didn’t need me to be less like the woman He made me be–He needed me to trust that exactly who I am is what He wants to use for this exact moment in time. And so now I know: I’m an introvert who loves sharing God’s Word, loves sharing who He is, and loves sharing how He’s transforming my own heart and life to be and look more like Jesus. 

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2