A Note from Lifeway Girls: Here’s another post to equip you for this new school year! This one goes out to all of you moms and leaders who have introverted girls. However, no matter if your girls are quiet or outgoing, our desire is to see every girl live out her faith with intentionality and in complete surrender to the Lord this school year. Definitely make sure to check out the prayer guide at the end of today’s post.
As leaders in student ministry we have survived our school days and most of us have gladly put those days behind us. We may reminisce of our school days with humor or with horror. Some memories bring joy and other memories may be a little embarrassing. Some of us were the popular kids and others were wallflowers (me!), but we all had struggles. Let’s use our experiences to spur on and encourage our students. Reminding them that school is temporary, but those experiences will have a lasting impression.
I’ve had more than my fair share of awkward first days of school as a confessed introvert. Let’s face it, I’ve had entire first semesters of bona fide awkwardness. As the new school year approaches, you may notice your introverted students start to battle some internal anxiety. Below are some tips I’ve learned as an introvert that you can share with your students to help calm their nerves, encourage their anxious hearts, and equip them to confidently head back to school.
Learn to live among people with intentionality.
As introverts, we tend to be curt to others without even noticing. This can be offensive or make you seem aloof and uncaring. By initiating conversation, you show intentionality that you really care. If the person you are talking to knows you well, they will understand how hard it is for you to mingle, making your actions even more meaningful to them.
Handshakes, shoulder touches and hugs are always uncomfortable for the introvert. My favorite technique is to always have my hands full to avoid uncoordinated high-fives and those weird exchanges when one person expects a hug and the other expects a handshake. Carry your books in one hand and your lunch box in the other. Personally I always have a Starbucks in one hand and my phone in the other.
However, sometimes there isn’t an easy out. Maybe you should actually take the time to embrace the awkward situation. Change your perspective a little and realize not every conversation is about how comfortable you feel. All introverts want is to know and be known. Guess what? That is what EVERYONE is longing for. Maybe you can be the person that takes an awkward encounter and make it an encounter with Jesus for someone else.
Don’t feel guilty when you need to refuel by getting some alone time.
The start of the school year is the most chaotic and busy time for you. There are all kinds of activities. New sports seasons, homecoming and spirit nights all sound fun in theory and worthy of participation, but after one pep rally you’re exhausted. I know the feeling. In school, I tried to cope by being the overachiever and teacher’s pet. I felt compelled to sign up for every activity or event, but I never truly enjoyed myself. I never took the time to refuel.
We may feel like we’re pouring from an empty cup because we haven’t filled it up with the Living Water. Neglecting our spiritual lives causes emptiness throughout every aspect of our lives. Spend time reading your Bible, praying, and worshiping. Time spent with Jesus, the friend who sticks closer than a brother, is the best way to fill up your cup before heading out into the world. The world drains you, but Christ fulfills you.
Always pray first.
Remember as the new school year begins, encourage your student to go in with prayer. The Holy Spirit is the One who provides guidance and comfort in the moments we feel overwhelmed and out of place.
I have created a prayer guide that I believe would be helpful for you and your students (not just the introverted ones) as you face the new school year!
- Lord, help me to see others as You see them. Help me not to compare myself to anyone else. Remind me that my identity is found in You and You alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.
- Heavenly Father, help me notice those around me. Give me eyes to see others that may need encouragement. In Your Son’s name, amen.
- God, give me wisdom when I don’t know if I should participate in a conversation. Help me to gently guide others into beneficial conversations instead of gossip. In Jesus’ name, amen.
- Jesus, please give me the focus to learn in class and the ability to comprehend when I am being tested. Give me the motivation to do my work when no one is looking. Give me the courage to ask for help when I need it. In Your name, amen.
- Lord, help me to honor you in everything I do above all else . Thank You for giving me direct access to You through Jesus. In every moment you are there with me—guiding me in my decision making, comforting me, and giving me joy in all circumstances. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Abby Underwood As a self-described introvert, Abby Underwood has struggled with social anxieties her whole life. Realizing her value in Christ, she overcame the challenges of loneliness, she is now fueled by her passion to help girls find their identity in Christ. Abby works as a member of the social media team and student ministry at Life.Church Hendersonville. Connect with Abby: Instagram // Website
As a lifelong introvert, I was really blessed by this article because it reminded me that there are many others (like myself) who struggle with elements of life that come so naturally to others. High school, for me, was many years ago (Class of 1984) but some of those difficult memories remain…still. I was ALWAYS painfully shy and awkward, feeling like I wasn’t pretty enough, or smart enough, or good enough-common thoughts for girls of every generation. I have been called “snobby” on more than one occasion, but it was only because I lacked self-esteem and confidence to participate in conversation and activities. As a grandmother to three young granddaughters and Sunday School teacher to young children, I pray that I can make a difference in the lives of kids and help them to see the value and worth in themselves and others. I am still very quiet and shy, but my Disciple Training Class doesn’t mind at all. They accept me just as I am…Thank you for the opportunity to post a comment.