“Mom, was God an introvert?”
Understanding her thought processes the way I do, I also knew that by God, she actually meant Jesus—God in human form, the One who became flesh and dwelt among us.
We paused to talk about this for a moment. On one hand, an argument could be made that Jesus most definitely was an extrovert. He seemed to enjoy interacting with large crowds. He did spend a great deal of time with his closest friends, but the fact that there were 12 of them pushes the extrovert dial even further north.
On the other hand, he frequently stole away to be alone, to pray, to allow His spirit to be refreshed by time with God the Father. Classic introvert behavior, if you ask me.
The Bible doesn’t say, so all we can do is speculate. I suspect that the way each of us answers my daughter’s question has something to do with how we’re wired ourselves—extroverts might relate to extroverted aspects of Jesus’ personality, while introverts may do the same.
Like many books of its type, Quiet Power includes a quiz to help readers determine where exactly they fall on the personality scale—a quiz that everyone in my house took (with varying degrees of enthusiasm).
As expected, Randy, Molly and I scored solidly on the introvert end of the spectrum. The biggest surprise was that Lilly—long viewed as the lone extrovert in the family—also ended up on the introvert side (though much closer to the middle).
At first, I couldn’t believe it. How could this child, who once begged me to take her to Wal-Mart so she could “see people,” be an introvert?
One little quiz does not throw out years of observation, of course. Many of the questions had to do with whether or not the test-taker likes to work in groups at school, which Lilly decidedly does not. Maybe most introverts prefer to work alone (I know I do), but in Lilly’s case, I think this preference flows from being an independent, high-achieving student, rather than an introvert or extrovert.
Even so, her results were eye-opening because they helped me to see that these labels are not set in stone for everyone—that they can vary from season to season depending on what is going on in someone’s life.
I’m guessing that Lilly, then a freshman at a very large high school, might revert back to some of her earlier extroverted tendencies as she gets older and gains confidence in her surroundings. Or maybe she’ll morph into something totally different—a hybrid, if you will, of both personality types.
Only God knows. He is, after all, the One who wrote her DNA.
Besides prompting this little epiphany about Lilly’s personality, reading parts of Quiet Power with Molly also made me wish there had been a book like this when I was a kid. I think it would have helped me to be comfortable with, well, so much that I wasn’t comfortable with.
Large groups. Fitting in (or not, as it often felt like). Feeling different, bookish, smart. Never knowing what to say.
It’s not that I didn’t have thoughts—I had plenty of those. I just didn’t know how to express them at times.
It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s that I started to understand and appreciate my quietness as an essential part of who I am. It was only then that I began to realize that people like me play an important role in the world, just like the ones who are louder and more excited about being the center of attention.
Was God an introvert? It’s a great question coming from an 11-year-old who usually keeps most of her thoughts about faith to herself.
It’s the kind of question I love because it triggers thoughts that travel in all kinds of interesting directions. For example, I’m starting to think that terms like introvert and extrovert, while very helpful in understanding some people, only paint part of the picture for others.
Just because someone is an introvert doesn’t mean she’s shy or shuns crowds or hates public speaking. Likewise, just because someone is an extrovert doesn’t mean he wants to be running with a large pack 24/7.
We’re all different, so it makes sense that these traits might manifest themselves differently in each of us. On top of that, we each have unique passions and gifts that can influence how we act in different settings—and possibly even override our more natural tendencies at times.
So what do you think? Was Jesus an introvert or an extrovert? And how does your personality type interact with the kind of work and ministry God has designed you to do?
♥ LoisJust because someone is an introvert doesn’t mean she’s shy or hates public speaking. Click To Tweet