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January 13, 2021 1:00 am
Are you, or someone you love, an introvert? Join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson on FamilyLife Today as they talk with Holley Gerth, author of the book "The Powerful Purpose of Introverts," about the misconceptions and surprising truth of what it really means to be an introvert.
Show Notes and Resources
Find more from Holley Gerth and take the "What % Introvert are YOU?" quiz. https://holleygerth.com/
Find out more from Chap Bettis's book The Disciple-Making Parent. http://thedisciplemakingparent.com
Download FamilyLife's new app! https://www.familylife.com/app/
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Check out all that's available on the FamilyLife Podcast Network. https://www.familylife.com/familylife-podcast-network/
You may have found yourself thinking at some point in your life the way Polly Gerth used to think that even though she was by nature an introvert.
She had to force herself to become an extrovert. If she really love Jesus I thought that the more people in my life equaled the more I let Jesus and the more I love people, so I literally force myself to the brink of burnout. I was at a conference I had done it many year full of traveling. I think with my 20th trip and I did a keynote and in Sunday morning worship.
I cannot stop crying and I felt like I'd said it's time to go home and I knew that man get on the plane go home and take a nap, but I also knew it meant go home to who I created you to. I made introvert on purpose and you do not have to be someone you're not filled my purpose for your life. This is family life today. Our hosts are Damon and Wilson on Bob looking you can find us email@example.com are you an introvert and and what exactly does that mean why would God make some people. Introverts will explore that topic today with August Hollinger stay with us and welcome to family like to thanks for joining us this work commits a national radio program with an introvert and keep excited we are gonna be talking about introversion and what it is and how it affects marriages and parenting in relationships and we got Holly Gerth joining us today. Holly welcome.
Thank you for having me a thank you for being here because this is you write.
You are an interim I am an introvert and you know this is in them while you know this is going out to hundreds of thousands. I am comfortable is only a couple of us and that great. I love that God is good and focus on all Holly is an author. She is a wife and a mom. She's a counselor. She is a Masters of science degree in mental health.
She lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband Mark and they have a 27-year-old daughter and she's written a book about introversion. The powerful purpose of introverts why the world needs you to be you. You are an introvert and when did you realize you are an introvert, actually first heard the word introvert in college at a crew meeting. I remember exactly where I was resilient right hand after he stayed and I was sitting crosslegged on this old gray carpet and they had a guest speaker talking about personality types and I said the word introvert and it was this huge moment for me is I realize not only is there a name for the way I engage with the world a whole lot of other people engage with the world this way to you because actually half the population is made up of introverts. Why was that such a pivotal moment that you remember so clearly how we do live in a more extrovert centric society.
That's not been true throughout history.
It's not even true everywhere in the world. But today that's a little more dominant and so even though it's about 50-50 introverts can feel like maybe I need to be a little bit different than who I am and so it's really been a journey to say no God made me an introvert on purpose for purpose and I believe that introverts and experts are actually a complementary pairing, think on intentionally put in the world that we really live in a what you can't extract drinks and yeah I mean it always has been that way because I'm an extrovert sound like what you talking about the way it is. But it has always been that way some places. For example, Finland is a very introverted country, a lot of more Asian cultures are little more introverted. North America tends to lean more extroverted. If you are to say is this culture, and introvert or extrovert. We would say America is probably an extrovert silliest time in history. Okay, I need to define the term here because it is introversion the same as shyness. No it's not. It's actually has nothing to do with shyness and because shyness is fear-based and extrovert can be shy but introversion is actually a particular brain and nervous system wiring and so it's all about how we process our external environment how that impacts us and so that's actually where it comes from so there's a lot of myths about what it actually means so you're saying this is biological as opposed to its it's not how we were raised or what are our social environment is that shapes the snow and actually has very little to do with how much we like people are how good we are with yes exactly, and so sound famous introverts that you might not think of Oprah Terry Seinfeld doing again 00). So backup is an introvert and she is a national TV housing converses easily with people. She's warm. She gives cars away to people right yeah so so what is an introvert, what defines them.
Yes on introvert is someone who has a preference for more minimally stimulating environment or someone is at their best when they can fully focus on one person one project something their passion about so you a quick rundown of the brain science behind that so introverts and extroverts differ in three primary ways. At first the neurotransmitter, which is a brain chemical that makes us feel best so extroverts feel best through one called dopamine that works, like caffeine Aransas that prepares us for action. It's released in our systems when we have a lot coming at us from the outside so loud room full of people like the dopamine going on there so it can have a level dopamine Artie feels good to us. It's like we had her morning cup of coffee if we have a lot more coming out.
It feels like having an entire pot of coffee.
So maybe exciting at first but eventually exhausting. We feel better through a different neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which I think works more like herbal tea. It's release when we do things like turn inward focus fully on one person in a project or passion about those kind of activities instead. So that's one difference and we had two divisions of our nervous system that work in similar ways.
One runs a stop once more about relaxing as you can guess which goes with it and then we even use different primary brain pathways for processing so and extroverts primary pathway is shorter, faster, more focus on the present.
So that's why gal are usually good at small talk, because you can focus on the present do that quick back-and-forth that introverts can envy sometimes and introverts use a longer, more complex brain pathway that takes into account the past, present and future, so we are often able to add context and depth and insight. It also means that we probably need a little bit longer to process so if you see an introvert pause that is what's going on there. Using that God-given longer pathway to process which is been said and then there can be ready to add something to the conversation, and so that is kind of a quick overview of three main differences. I mean, that's like deep unless and until you think in married couples. Most of us have no idea the implications of what you just said to me, this should be premarital yes requirement to understand just what you taught between a spouse because what happens you can get married. All the sudden you're thinking what is wrong with you that if your spouse isn't processing out loud or if they're pulling away. When you want to be going to do something that your friends you're thinking there something wrong with you.
And I'm right yeah and you're saying it has nothing to do with no right or wrong, it has nothing to do with that. Or you can be trying to really love someone well and being like why isn't this working kids.
One other difference that comes from the brain and nervous system stuff that we just talked through is extroverts and introverts experience happiness differently. So because of that dopamine to extroverts.
Happiness feels like enthusiasm and excitement. Just as 1/2 and tear gas to introverts. Happiness feels like calm and contentment. You can imagine in a marriage where well-meaning extrovert is trying to get there introvert to be happy that introverts actually already happy but they don't look like it externally maybe in the same way, or vice versa.
You know where we just sort of even assumes I say one exercise. Couples can do is say what are your happiness synonyms.
So when I say happy. Tell me some other words that feel like that to you and it's interesting because a lot of times extroverts will say those words excitement and introverts will say something like, I'm thinking as it is you're describing Bob's avoiding centers. Here's how I process which is I'm thinking a year plus ago I had an invitation to go to Hawaii to speak. I'm thinking yes this is to never pray about it right.
Yes, October were coming. They said would like to invite you and your wife to come and will put you up for a couple of extra days so I went home I said guess what I got an invitation for we got. We can go to Hawaii and Marianne was like plane ride is so long she be so well.
I know enough about her to know happiness for her is home. Happiness is quiet a book calm order so travel is disruptive. It's unusual, it's not unknown is not exploratory.
It's like yeah I'm out of my comfort zone so I'm hearing you words, the that relate to happiness home for Marianne column for Marianne. For me it's adventure and new things and excitement of exploration. So were in trouble. I think at our bed and then we bring out the best in each other and so your wife probably need some time to go have an adventure and sometimes you have lots of adventures and you need some time to catch your breath and so I think there's clear communication that that intentional pairing works well that God is put in place so but if you don't have those conversations, it can be years of misunderstanding without even meaning to you, and I think I represent. I hope I represent.
Some couples are listening and saying that were laughing about it. It is sort, you know fun to learn but there can be real tension in a marriage. I know I've been angry at in and she's extrovert, but she's not as extroverted as me and so will come home and we been very busy and better a lot of people.
And let's say we think on it or just interrupt the circumstance we were gone two weeks haven't been home constantly with people very extroverted kind.
I was exhausted.
We got home the first night were home and thinking a candy to get the laundry done. I need to get the house back in order.
I need to go get some groceries and here's what they said when first here but he's like he was bombed said we went to Scott that I honestly think it I want to be with people that I haven't seen in two weeks. Our friends and when she's like can we just not see anybody for a couple days and again she's really extroverted, but I was so upset I was like Boomer watch TV sit here by myself. Ever because I disappointed him so talk to couples that experience echoes. I mean, that's attention, I come right were people people we are in ministry were supposed to care for people supposed to go through that were not supposed to pull away. Let's go you knowledge yet literally I can get on that. Not literally but you hang on my belt and her legs are open here and here we go, then she's hating it and I met at our thinking more like Jesus. Radio would you say to a couple stuff like a counseling circulated what I think it's helpful to recognize, none of us are 100% introvert or extrovert were all on a continuum and so obviously you would probably be a little closer to the introvert sides of even having that conversation that I think also understanding the difference between isolation and solitude is important so isolation is living disconnected from God. Others in our true selves. When God said it's not good for man to be alone. That's the kind of language he was using, but it actually has nothing to do with physical space.
Some of my most isolated moments have been in a crowd of people where I didn't feel truly known and so we can think I'm not allowed to withdraw and that's especially hard for introverts who literally are nervous systems work like nuts with small holes and when they get full we have to have time to process and then were ready to take more in, but it also means were really observant and perceptive and empathetic and things like that