Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Introverts and "Passion"

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on the issue of motivation for community, and how we tend to mistake an extroverted personality, that feeds on the dopamine produced by large quantities of social interaction, for "love for people."  Some of us, with a lower threshold for dopamine and who relish our time to ourselves and the reflections of our inner world, end up feeling like we lack love or that our faith is anemic because we don't have the same overt "passion."  And in evangelical circles especially, "passion" (along with lots of words to describe that passion) often receives top billing.

Apparently, that post struck a nerve, since it quickly became one of my most read posts of all time. I received a few emails as well, and I asked one reader's permission to post her email. She (and I) would love to hear your thoughts on the issues she raises: 

I have been wondering about something that maybe you can give me your thoughts on (do you reply to emails like this?) or maybe blog about. I work in full-time collegiate ministry with an international organization. Sometimes when people (mostly extroverts, probably) start talking to me about passion and what they are passionate about, it strikes me in a way that makes me feel awful as if maybe I'm just not passionate about anything. They'll talk about "Jesus is my passion" or being "passionate about the Gospel," etc, etc. I feel like I hear this word and see their expressions and think that I cannot imitate them in how they feel. Then I take it as a huge red flag. But I wonder if I'm just not as excitable as a really expressive extrovert, and if that is okay. I'm in full time mission work, so maybe I am passionate, but my passion expresses itself differently. Thoughts on this idea of "being passionate" and how that is expressed? Just the phrase makes me feel tired.