Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I am X-trovert

I recently moved to a new home in a new town where I am serving a new congregation.  While in the process of interviewing for the position of Senior Pastor of this congregation I received or downloaded many documents to help me familiarize myself with them. Among those papers was a list of attributes the congregation desired in their new pastor. 

As I looked over the list, nodding my head at most of the items it contained, I suddenly stopped at one word in particular - extrovert.  "Oops." I said to myself. "This could be interesting."

I am not an extrovert.  I am X-trovert.   

Most people who know me a little think I am an extrovert.  But my truly extroverted friends know that at any high energy event that lasts more a day, at some point I am going to wander off to re-charge in solitude.  On the other hand, my truly introverted friends have observed that although I can happily spend hours in silent contemplation I am also energized by social interaction, so I am not really one of them either. 

The Meyers Briggs Personality Type Indicator is perhaps the best known test of its kind.  An individual answers a long list of questions and is rewarded with an assessment of their personality type divided into four categories. One of those categories is I/E or Introvert/Extrovert. Most people fall pretty clearly into one or the other. Some few folks, however, don't.  I am one of those. 

My I/E score the last time I took it fell squarely in the middle between the two personality traits. Prior to that I usually scored barely 1 point into the Extrovert side. This means that I seem to be pretty well balanced between those two poles.  I am neither “I” nor “E”.  

I am X-trovert.  This is a good thing. 

 It means I keep my office door open. I’m happy to drop whatever I’m doing to talk to you when you wander through.  It means I will show up for your play, football game, Rotary luncheon, concert or whatever and I will enjoy myself thoroughly.   I will join groups, volunteer to do a prayer in the Community Thanksgiving Dinner and make sure everyone in town knows I am part of this particular congregation.

It also means that I exhibit some symptoms of shyness.  I have a hard time making a phone call to someone I haven’t met. I really, really can’t “just drop in anytime.”  Really.  I get that “deer in the headlights” look when I’m asked to do something unexpectedly.  I’ll do it, but I’ll freeze for a minute.  I often just sit back and listen quietly in a group of folks who all know each other well.   I treasure the quiet afternoon hours in the church office.  If you want to sit quietly, I can do that with you for as long as you like.

I am X-trovert.  I will fit right in.