Recently, a friend and I had a conversation about whether it’s better to be an introvert or an extrovert. Both of us are quite strong in our respective categories (I’m an extrovert in case you haven’t met me in person) and we had a good debate about which personality type makes for a better Christian.
Obviously, we both knew, even at the start, that neither is better in God’s eyes, so you can put your flamethrowers away. However, after some discussions, I did come away with some interesting ideas for this blog. Here are three of them.
1. Introversion or extroversion isn’t about how loud/outgoing you are.
It’s a common misconception that extroverts are the loud people, and introverts are the quiet ones. Rather, our personality type is determined based on what we find energizing or recharging.
Extroverts gain energy by being around people. Thus it makes sense that they’d more commonly be sociable or the life of the party, but that’s often from practice based on doing what they find refreshing. I know plenty of extroverts who aren’t loud, but they’re extroverts because they gain energy when around large groups of people.
Introverts, however, recharge when they’re by themselves or with very few close friends. That said, being introverts doesn’t mean they can’t deliver a powerful sermon, lead a friend to Christ, or throw a massive party — they’ll just need a bit of time afterward to crash.
2. Shyness is bad.
Christians shouldn’t be shy. Shyness stems from fear, either of people, their opinions, or their rejection. Christians, rooted in our identity in Jesus, have no cause to fear these things.
It’s likely extroverts have probably put themselves in more situations in which to learn to overcome or control their shyness than their introverted brethren. However, the fear of man affects both introverts and extroverts and needs to be dealt with as something which prevents us from doing all that God has called us to do.
No matter our personality type, we need to engage with people, serving them and pointing them toward Jesus for the glory of His great name. If fear of what people think is holding us back, that’s an issue.
3. Quiet time is good.
I read an article last year about the world’s increasing shift toward being extrovert-centric. Technology is slowly bringing (or forcing) us all together, while offices are built to be more open-plan and collaboration-focused. In school, those who enjoy more social and vocal pastimes are usually seen as more popular, while those who prefer to stay at home are called “loners.” The world loves being social, and subtly or not, it derides those who aren’t.
Into this culture the idea of a quiet time of reflection and meditation on the Word of God might seem ludicrous or at the very least, anti-social. However, it’s exactly that which the world and especially the young adult generation need more of.
We all need to spend alone time with God if we want to grow in our relationship with Him. We can’t just do it in community groups and Bible studies; we also need individual time of getting to know Him personally. After all, group dates are great, but we all know that in order to really get to know someone, you need to spend time one-on-one.
This is one area where I think we as extroverts can learn from our more solitary kin. Instead of dashing from party to prayer meeting or event to event, take some time to spend with God, even if it means missing a fellowship gathering or two. In fact, why not actually set it aside as a sacred time, rather than looking for spare moments in your week to fit in a quick prayer?
In the end, both my friend and I are glad that we are the way we are. Sure, each of our personalities have led to specific issues, but they’ve also brought about many strengths, far more than we can discuss in a blog. The same is true for almost any two “opposing” personality traits, and you know what? That’s the way our Father intended. So be glad that God made you the way you are, and make the most of it.
What about you? Are you an introvert or extrovert, and what do you love the most about being who you are?