Be Social? …

“Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate and infuse in order to preserve. So it is through personal contact and association that humanity are reached by the saving power of the gospel. They are not saved in masses, but as individuals. Personal influence is a power. We must come close to those whom we desire to benefit.” – Thoughts From The Mount Of Blessing

Being “social all the time” is not really my cup of tea. I was born an introvert, is still an introvert and will be an introvert for the rest of my life. But what I am not, is being antisocial. When I say antisocial, I mean individuals who consistently avoid the company of others. And this is distinctly different from having social anxiety.

I used to ask myself if I am antisocial. I am not alone with this kind of thinking. Many people mistakenly associate introversion with being antisocial. They think ( and I used to think the same ) that introversion and being antisocial are synonymous – but let me tell you, this is not true. According to my research ( yes, I do read self-help books because self-help is the best kind of help ) introverts like myself are okey with initiating contacts with people which is true for, again myself. We have no problem arranging occasional meeting – say lunch date or business meeting or just a small gathering. Introverts are able to enjoy the company of others. We just need more control over our schedules in regards to who we meet, how many people we are meeting and when we are meeting. Most important, introverts need plenty of alone time after socializing in order for them to recharge.

The antisocial individual, however, doesn’t like calling or even texting simply because they avoid initiating contact with anyone. And that is that.

A large number of introverts have great social skills. I know simply because I do – I am socially adept. We gravitate toward conversations about abstract ideas and sometimes (well, most of the time) quick to philosophize. We just need time to warm up to others because we are not fond of small talks. Introverts prefer passionate conversations that nurture deep relationships. The antisocial, however, gives off more of a recluse vibe. They may even come across as unfriendly, abrasive or completely grounded personality.

Introverts still feel a sense of autonomy even when they are surrounded by people – say in a crowded room or street or even in a coffee shop. We find the balance of privacy and participation totally enticing. For us introverts, it is not the presence of people that is draining but rather the social interactions. Antisocials, on the other hand, may have difficulty thriving in urban settings mingling with humanity. They need their space – both emotional and physical. Antisocial individuals may prefer living in the country or rural areas.

How about or what about companionship? Introverts may be selective about who they let into their life. And they won’t need as much “social time” as extroverts. They may also spend plenty of time alone. But for the introvert, a desire for a significant other or close friend is a key to living a fulfilled and happy life. Occasional companionship is mandatory for introverts like me. An antisocial person would beg to disagree. The antisocial individual does not see companionship as a necessity. They prefer to be left alone, only interacting with others when it’s absolutely necessary.

And so where am I going with these ramblings? Well, I may not want to be “social all the time” but for Jesus I can and I am able and willing to “be social” at the right and God-given time. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and He was not exclusive.

“ The example of Christ in linking Himself with the interests of humanity should be followed by all who preach His word, and by all who have received the gospel of His grace. We are not to renounce social communion. We should not seclude ourselves from others. In order to reach all classes, we must meet them where they are. They will seldom seek us of their own accord. Not alone from the pulpit are the hearts of men touched by divine truth. There is another field of labor, humbler, it may be, but fully as promising. It is found in the home of the lowly, and in the mansion of the great; at the hospitable board, and in gatherings for the innocent social enjoyment.” – The Desire of Ages p. 152

Jesus Christ exercised His helping power in behalf of all who needed help. Instead of secluding Himself in a hermit’s cell in order to show His heavenly character, Jesus laboured earnestly for humanity. At all times and in all places He manifested a loving interest in men, women and children. He shed about Him the light of eternal piety.

And by the way, Jesus also separated himself from people – to recharge and commune with His Heavenly Father. See, Jesus was and is still the greatest example of an introvert. He thought us the value of “solitude”. In Luke 4:1,2 and 14-15, after Jesus was baptized He spent 40 days praying in the wilderness. He was tempted by satan but He overcame. Then He began his public ministry. In the Book of Mark 6:30-32, “ Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had thought. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

After Jesus learned that His cousin John the Baptist had been beheaded, He went away by Himself to grieve. ( Matthew 14:1-13 ) And in Luke 6:12-13, Jesus spent the whole night alone praying. Then the next day He went on choosing His 12 disciples. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray alone ( Luke 22:39-44 ) hours before He was arrested. This was a time of distress for Jesus and He needed an alone time – again, to talk to His Father. Many times in Jesus’ ministry He spent time alone – in prayer. “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” – Luke 5:16

Be Social. Because why not? Being social is good for our mind, body and soul. But let there be a mixture of solitude. Solitude time or alone time can benefit us immensely if we use this to sort through with the Heavenly Father whatever is on our mind and in our hearts.

Socializing and Solituding – we definitely can do both. And being an introvert is more than ok.

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