‘Was God an Introvert?’

“Mom, was God an introvert?”

Yeah, the inquiry caught me off guard too, though I suppose it shouldn’t have. The questioner was, after all, reading a book called Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts.

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?

♥ Lois

Just because someone is an introvert doesn’t mean she’s shy or hates public speaking. Click To Tweet

P.S. I’m linking up this week with Purposeful Faith, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, #HeartEncourgementThursday and Grace & Truth.



26 Responses to ‘Was God an Introvert?’

  1. Aimee Imbeau says:

    I am such an introvert, it isn’t even funny…but I love public speaking and sharing God’s truth! I think my daughter, Sarah, and your Lilly sound alike. Sarah is like a hybrid, too.
    I chose your post as my feature for Grace and Truth this week. Thanks for linking up!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      How fun, Aimee! Thank you for sharing the post. 🙂 I’ve heard the term “omnivert” used to describe people like Lilly and Sarah … it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

  2. Crystal says:

    Lois, when I first started reading this post, it took me back to a favorite book I used to read my children. It was called, Does God Know How to Tie Shoes. I absolutely love questions like this and the fascinating one your daughter asked because it truly does take us in all kinds of interesting directions. And I think it helps us connect with Him outside of the box our human minds so often place Him within. Thanks for taking my mind in a new direction!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I love the title of that book, Crystal. It would be fun to survey parents about all the wild and thought-provoking things kids ask and say about God, wouldn’t it? 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

  3. Hello, Friend! Thank you so much for this post, and book title! For the longest time I just thought I was weird. Then our adult son moved back home for a season. He’s in music ministry, am shines brightest when directing large productions. He amazed me one night at supper when he told me I am as introverted as he is. After I got over the shock, and several more conversations, my world and how I interact with it began to click into place. Thanks for affirming our introverted place in space!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Wow, Alice … I love how understanding that one thing about yourself caused so much of your world to click into place. What a great feeling that must have been! Thanks so much for sharing your experience here. (It’s also fascinating to me that someone like your son, who shines the brightest when directing large productions, is an introvert. He must need a lot of down time after one of those productions is over!)

  4. Lisa notes says:

    Hmm…good questions, Lois. I think of Jesus as having all personalities rolled into one. 🙂 Or at least the best part of each one. I’m definitely an introvert (married to an extravert) so I see the different strengths and weaknesses of both types. Life is indeed a journey of learning to accept the personality God gave us!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Lisa, I’m guessing being married to an extrovert presents some interesting opportunities for compromise and understanding, huh? 🙂 In our premarital counseling, Randy and I both had exactly the same letters on the Briggs-Meyers test, but I was much closer to the middle and he was further out on the ends. You’re definitely right about life being a journey when it comes to all of this!

  5. He created both, so I say both! 🙂

  6. That book sounds like a fascinating read! I flirt with that Extrovert/Introvert line, and yes, it often depends on the situation in which I find myself. On how tired/rested I am. On a host of other factors. In general, I love being around people, but I need my alone time too.

    I love the question your daughter asked. It got me thinking!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m glad Molly’s question triggered some thoughts for you, Jeanne. I can relate to loving people but also needing my alone time … and yes, the more tired I am, the more alone time I need! I hope you and yours are adjusting to the new school year. 🙂

  7. Lesley says:

    I love your daughter’s question and the discussion it sparked, and I read Quiet Power last year and also wish there had been something like that when I was younger!
    I’m definitely an introvert but, as you say, that’s only part of the story. Now that I’m more confident than I was I’m considerably louder and less shy and I also quite enjoy public speaking. I agree, I think our personalities can look different at different stages of life and in different situations.

  8. Hi Lois,
    What an intriguing question from your daughter! It sounds as if it sparked great conversation for your family, too. Maybe Jesus was a perfect mix of both? For all of us who struggle with parts of our personalities we don’t particularly appreciate, I’d love to see what a perfect personality would look like! And I definitely agree with you about tests sometimes putting people in boxes (especially when we take them with our work colleagues)! 🙂 Your daughter’s wise words inspired a very wise post! xo

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Aw … thanks, Valerie. I wonder what the perfect personality would look like too. I used to work with a whole crowd of extroverts and it was such a relief when I finally realized that I could just sit still and listen during staff meetings and not try to keep up with their energy! Hugs, friend!

  9. Such a thoughtful post, Lois. I test in the 80th percentile for introvert, yet those who see me in my comfort zone (church) don’t think I’m introverted at all. I read the book Quiet a few years ago, and I wish I had had a resource like that in high school when I struggled as the lone introvert in a family of extroverts. God created and shaped us each so carefully, and now I’m embracing my introversion rather than fighting against it.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      The lone introvert in a family of extroverts? Oh, Sarah … that must have been exhausting for you! 🙂 I’m glad you’ve embraced your introversion instead of fighting it … life is so much nicer when you do that, isn’t it?

  10. What a great question! I think your points are all accurate and that it would be hard to say “yes” or “no” to Jesus being either. So I’ll go with both? : )

    Those tests can be fun- I tend to fall under the nebulous “extroverted introvert” category. Most people call me quiet, but I’m not shy. When I do want to be with people, I can be outgoing. Like you said, those tests reflect parts and aspects, but there’s so much more to God’s unique make of each of us! And our preferences can change with seasons.

    So glad there are books like this for younger audiences though- I hear you on being uncomfortable with introversion for too long!

    Thanks for sharing such a fun question and helpful thoughts : )

    • Lois Flowers says:

      You’re welcome, Bethany! I think it’s fun to ponder these things too. 🙂 I would say that the way you describe yourself (extroverted introvert) is exactly what I am too. Not really an omnivert, which I’m told is a combination of both, but not total introvert either! Hope all is well in your world … we need to catch up by email sometime soon! 🙂

  11. I’ve tested as both an introvert and extrovert (I must be right on the borderline) on the MBTI at different times in life, but I think the needle is swinging toward introvert in this phase of life. You’re so wise to begin talking about this sort of thing with your girls while they are young.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks, Michele! It is interesting how these things change during different seasons of life, isn’t it? I’d say I’m a lot more extroverted than I used to be, but I also have more energy than I did in my 30s, so maybe that has something to do with it!

  12. I’m an introvert through and through. I’ve read, in a couple of different places, that Jesus is the only one who balanced every personality type. He had all the strengths and none of the weaknesses of both an introvert and an extrovert would be my guess.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      That’s a good way of putting it, Debbie. All of the strengths and none of the weaknesses of each type. I hope you are doing well, my friend. Will be keeping you in my prayers in the coming weeks …

  13. What an interesting question your daughter asked and it has me thinking. I think Jesus must’ve been the perfect balance between the two. Thank you for your post today. Visiting from Cheerleaders!
    Patti

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