I while back I wrote a post about a conversation with my friend Lisa. Through our local seminary she was enrolled in a study program in the area of Spiritual Formation. And she was putting the finishing touches on a dissertation exploring spiritual formation practices designed for extroverts.
American culture as a whole and American churches in particular tend to cater to and reward extroversion and ignore or punish introversion. Except, that is, in the key areas of personal growth and spiritual formation. This is where introverts shine. They write books and lead sessions on how, if you want to become a mature Christian, you have to go off by yourself alone with a journal and be silent and listen to God.
Sounds like a good idea, but is that the way it has to be? Are there ways to tweak the traditional spiritual disciplines in a way that they are not such a struggle, and actually work, for those who are extroverts?
For more about Lisa's research, what motivated it, and what she discovered, read her summary Spiritual Formation and Extroverts.
By the way, I am an extrovert, but the way I prefer to "talk" is on paper (or, more accurately, computer screen) and in public. I don't want a private journal, I want to communicate. In a soul-searching season around the time I turned 30 I wrote a 40-page autobiography. Very personal stuff, but fairly well organized and processed and in search of a plot. I didn't lock it up with instructions that it was to be burned after my death, as I have a hunch a true introvert might do. Instead I chose some highly trustworthy friends and asked them to read it and tell me what they thought it meant.