Hi! My name is SH and I’m a roaring extrovert. If we’ve met you probably already knew this. People often assume that being an extrovert means that you’re just social. There is some truth to this, but the true definition of being an extrovert is someone who processes and draws energy externally. This is me in every sense. When I pray I have to do it out loud even if I am praying alone. When I’m processing situations and ideas I have to talk through or write them out. I ask a lot of questions. SM has told me many times that I ask really deep questions.
I’m also a talker. If you sit next to me on a bus, train, plane; in a movie theater or at a park we’ll end up talking. I want to know you. I want to understand your life. Where did you come from? What fears do you have and why? How many pets do you own? I feed off of people. I’m really proud of being an extrovert. It’s helped me build wonderful relationships. I have found that for some reason people open up to me. They talk to me about any and everything. In many ways I have been entrusted with the wonderful ability to speak into people’s lives and to share stories. But there is also added responsibility to this.
As an extrovert I am often surprised and sometimes not so surprised that some of the people closest to me are introverts, including SM. As much as I love being an extrovert I secretly envy introverts. They’re so deep and mysterious. They’re often very selective with the words they choose. Having spent a lot of time with introverts God has really taught me the importance of processing internally, by allowing myself to hear from the Holy Spirit before responding.
As Christians we have amazing power. When I started walking with God I underestimated the power He gives us. This was until my pastor’s wife, MJ, spoke directly into my life on two occasions when there was absolutely no way she or anyone could have known my thoughts. She heard from the Holy Spirit. To further that, there have been countless times that I have had something on my heart and without me uttering a word LJ has spoken directly to it in the exact moment. He heard from the Holy Spirit and responded in obedience. Both MJ and LJ happen to be introverts. My envy is stirring.
Envy aside, I’ve learned that we can all possess this amazing power if we heed the Apostle Paul’s advice:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…
(James 1:19 NIV)
When we listen we are not just providing an ear to those around us. We are hearing what God has to say. Then we can respond or not respond how the Holy Spirit directs us. Sometimes God prompts us to offer an encouraging word. Sometimes we’re called to pray. We’ll never know if we don’t listen and that requires resisting the urge to respond instantaneously.
I’m not suggesting that God wants me to become an introvert. He made me an extrovert for a reason. But one of my goals last year was to become a better listener. I want to be able to speak God’s words of Life into the people He entrusts into my care. With that, I’m guarding my mouth and opening my ears to the Holy Spirit.
Have you struggled with hearing from the Holy Spirit? How are you overcoming this?
Written by SH. @ StyleAtelier
**SM and I are praying for those who have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. If there is anyway we can pray for you specifically, do not hesitate to send us a note.