An Introverts Search For Courage In An Extroverted World

For as long as I can remember fear has been the driving force of my existence. I wasn’t comfortable leaving mom’s side. And even at her side, fear stayed close by.

Various quotes crossed my path this past year aimed at abolishing fear. But I’ve never known fear to stop for a smart phrase.

The feeling of fear is dreadfully real. It’s not a figment of our imagination. Spine tightening, pulse pounding, mind muddling fear.

One young memory that sticks happened on a merry-go-round. Horses gliding up and sliding down. Too afraid to say I didn’t want to ride, the music was blaring, and mom waved goodbye. Turning in a circle, I lost sight of her. It was the end of me in my little, swirling mind. Lost and alone, left behind. Trying not to cry as I spun, there she was looking away, like the world wasn’t spinning out of control.

I’m afraid, were words I couldn’t admit into my fifties. Why? I’ve asked myself a thousand times. Never had trouble lying, yelling, cursing, complaining, but somehow this tiny phrase was too hard to say.


Learning my own pride kept me bottled up inside was a sobering surprise. I thought prideful people were easily picked out: bossy, entitled, bragged about themselves. Then I understood pride is not only found on display. Sometimes we pat our pride only in our mind.

Pride plagues us all in one shape or form, and if we’re feeling lost or afraid, neglected or rejected—pride is a ready shield of protection.

Sealing my heart with promises like, “No one will ever break my unbreakable heart.” “I’m fine without you.” “I don’t need anyone.” “No one’s ever gonna hurt me.” 

And we lock ourself up and throw away the key.

Ever notice how it’s not necessarily problematic to admit to pride? We embrace pride in lots of ways. We take pride in our heritage, our kids, our achievements. We naively take talent and knowledge, equate it to human wisdom and strength, and start doling out praise. We’re often told to be proud of ourselves. I’m not questioning encouragement, reassurance, and support but challenging something infinitely injurious—like undivided self-reliance. 

Pride discourages God dependence—a.k.a zero progress. ‘Cause who we are and what we do won’t mean a hill’a beans without the heart-humbling, love-converting say-so of the Holy Spirit.


Something I should have known but only recently discovered…turns out, there’s a sinister conspirator that follows closely behind pride. A counterpart that can easily go unchecked. I see now how pride doesn’t work alone. Pride has a hitman…shame.

 “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

Pride builds us up—but shame hides us away.

When other kids were excited to ride, I was ashamed to say I was happier to stand and watch. The volume, the motion, the confusion of it all scattered my introvert brain. “I wasn’t afraid to ride the merry-go-round—I was ashamed to say I didn’t want to. In my noggin there’s a whole dirty world of difference.


Christine Caine insightfully explains in her book, Unashamed, how feelings of shame can masquerade as fear. – “I was often surprised in the midst of my newfound joy to find myself plagued by shame—even though I didn’t call it that back then. I just knew it as feelings of insecurity and fear, of not being or doing enough.”

I don’t doubt I’ve said this to my own kids, “You don’t have to be afraid.”—assuming any refusal to do something was brought on by fear. But here’s the part that tears me apart—feeling forced to join in something that looks and sounds daunting, upsetting, overwhelming can ultimately saddle kids with shame they couldn’t possibly put words too.

Give your little introvert pencil and paper, paints and brushes, hammer and nails, needle and thread, boots and hills, shovel and seeds, horse and herd, ship and sea, pots and pans and see if they can’t find courage in a tipping world.

4 thoughts on “An Introverts Search For Courage In An Extroverted World

Add yours

  1. I know an elderly introvert who has to constantly turn to the higher power, God. He needs constant

    council as he continues his search for meaning in the extroverted world you speak of.


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