An Introvert’s Guide to Survival
by Judson Edwards
In a gung-ho, three-cheers-for-Jesus business model culture of evangelism, Judson Edwards dares to speak up for the nearly half of the population’s personalities that would test “introvert.” Edwards is doubly qualified to “speak up” for the often silent because he spent his life as a pastor of evangelical churches whose stated mission is to “go and tell.” How does a person in such a setting live out a deep love for God when his natural inclination is to stay and be?
Lovingly, yet transparently honest, Edwards makes the voice of the thousands of introverts heard by a convincingly and much-needed contribution to the one-sided conversation all too often dominated by the extroverts among us.
In a faith culture that defines “real Christians” as those who go out witnessing and “selling” the gospel to the “unsaved,” with a strong emphasis on “doing” and “closing the sale,” it is refreshing and important to consider that this approach doesn’t always square with Jesus’ invitation to be salt and light and yeast — all of which are silent power in a tasteless, dark, and spiritually inert world.
Even for extroverts, this book of silent concussion is a great reminder that we cannot fight the darkness with a sword, but can dispel it with a light.
With no malice Edwards tells why the “sell Jesus to the marketplace” approach didn’t work for him. First, he says, he couldn’t be the extrovert demanded by that approach. Second, he found that “selling Jesus” didn’t work because we now live in a world where people don’t want to be sold anything, where “everyone is hawking something.” In discussing this, Edwards says he “learned that evangelism is being something, not doing something.”
There are many quotable lines in this treasure, even for extroverts. Here are a couple:
We are all different, all needed, and all stuck with the way we’re glued together. But we can learn to admit our weaknesses and, at the same time, enjoy and use our strengths.
This book is just one more beautiful testimony to the wonder of the Body of Christ. It is also a rebuke to any temptation to standardize the amazing uniqueness that God put in each of us when He spoke into the void that we were, “Let it be!” and called out our very different selves.
And isn’t one of the most attractive things we can encounter a person who is at home in his/her own skin? Judson Edwards puts it best: “Be true to the difference to which you have been called.” Yes, because we really do need each other!*
— Gloria Gaither
* For a more in-depth study of the being an introvert in an extrovert’s world, read the New York Times bestseller: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain