What is your personality type? Are you introverted or extroverted? Do you ever wonder if God prefers a certain personality type or feel that you must conform to something you’re not just to effectively spread the gospel?
This introvert vs extrovert article will explore the meaning of introverted and extroverted, discuss if being introverted is a sin, the advantages of both personality types and will walk down many other enlightening avenues of exploration of personality types from a biblical standpoint including whether Jesus was introverted or extroverted.
What is an introvert? – Definition
An introverted person is inwardly-focused. They are naturally stimulated by their inner thoughts, feelings, and ideas. They seek solitude to recharge their energy after socializing and interacting with the outer physical world for long periods of time. They:
- Enjoy and prefer time alone.
- Would rather think before they speak and act.
- Enjoy small groups of people and/or one-on-one conversations rather than dealing with crowds.
- Seek intimate relationships rather than shallow acquaintances (they believe in quality over quantity).
- Prefer to listen rather than speak.
- Become easily drained by the outside world, people, and socializing.
- Prefer to work at one task at a time.
- Enjoy working behind the scenes.
Introverts seek their pleasure in activities such as reading, listening to music or playing, spending time with family and very close friends, performing their hobbies alone, or writing. They enjoy deep discussions about relevant, penetrating topics about culture, life, God, society, and humanity at large…the topic list is infinite!
What is an extrovert – Definition
An extrovert is outwardly-focused. They are fueled by the outside world and by meeting and socializing with other people. They become drained if they spend too much time alone; they need human interaction. Extroverts:
- Enjoy and prefers interaction with the outside world and with people.
- Speak and act before thinking.
- Enjoy spending most of their time with other people and prefer crowds.
- Likely have many acquaintances rather than intimate friendships.
- Prefer speaking over listening.
- Engage in small talk rather than deep discussions.
- Are skilled at multitasking.
- Enjoy being in the spotlight.
Extroverts are often very comfortable in leadership roles and are very confident in front of crowds. They enjoy social situations such as networking events, parties, working in groups (whereas introverts enjoy working independently), and meet-and-greet events.
Now that you know the meaning of an introvert and an extrovert, which one are you?
Is being introverted a sin?
No, because God designed you that way for various beautiful reasons and we will see why later. Being introverted may seem like a sin because introverts prefer alone time and God commands us to go out and spread the gospel (the Great Commission) and perhaps because introverts have a strong tendency to have a quiet nature and dislike talking with people they don’t know.
The preference for introversion and extroversion varies across cultures. For instance, in western cultures extroversion is preferred over introversion and in Asian cultures and some European cultures, introversion is preferred over extroversion. In our Western culture, extroversion has been deemed as the “desired” personality type. We see extroverts being promoted in the media as the life of the party; we admire their social status as the “popular chick” in class, the one whom everyone flocks to; and we see them at commissions-based jobs knocking out the most sales simply because they love talking to new people and don’t meet strangers.
But what about the introvert? The introvert is often acquainted with strange, sometimes even judgmental glances because we prefer to spend time alone and stay inside enjoying a poignant book rather than going out to a party. Because of the cultural bias that so envelopes the extrovert, introverts often feel pressured to conform to the standards which make up the “idealized” personality type.
Although being introverted is not a sin in itself, what may be sinful is when introverts water down who God designed them to be just to fit the mold of what the world wants. In other words, it may be a sin when introverts try to change their personality type simply because they feel that being an extrovert is better and they try to conform to the world’s standards. Hear this: extroversion is not better than introversion and introversion is not better than extroversion. Both types have equal strengths and weaknesses. We should be who God designed us to be whether we are introverted, extroverted, or a little of both (ambivert).
So being born with a certain personality type is not a sin. It becomes sin when we doubt ourselves because we feel inadequate or incapable with how God designed us and also when we try to mimic other personalities because of what the world wants. God didn’t make any mistakes when He blessed you with an introverted personality. He was intentional. God knows this world can use diverse personas because it keeps the world balanced. How off would it seem if all personalities were created equal? Let’s look at why this world needs introverted Christians.
Benefits of being an introvert
Introverts can use their alone time to connect with God. Your spirit gets the most fulfillment when you spend time with God alone. It is personal. It is just you and God. It is in times like these when the anointing flows and the Holy Spirit reveals His secrets to you and shows you visions, direction, and wisdom. Even extroverts benefit from alone time with God. Even if they feel more comfortable in a crowded church, there is something about that alone time with God that will edify you personally. God talks to you and tailors the conversation just for you and sometimes He has to separate you and bring you to an isolated place so you can hear Him clearly.
Introverts make exceptional quiet leaders. What is a quiet leader? One who prays, meditates, and plans things out before they speak or act. One who graciously allows their flock to speak and hear their viewpoints because they value the deep thoughts of others. One who exudes a calming but empowering energy when they speak (there is nothing wrong with being soft-spoken). Although extroverts naturally make exceptional leaders, there are souls who are more convinced, refreshed, and moved by a leader of a different mold.
Reflective, planners, and deep thinkers. Introverts are entertained by their rich inner lives and insights. They love it when they discover novel ideals, ideas, make connections with the spiritual and the physical, and break into a higher level of truth and wisdom (in this case, God’s truth and wisdom). They then find creative outlets to usher in an influx of groundbreaking insight. Therefore, introverts can also provide various perspectives to an idea or a situation.
Let others speak (James 1:19). Introverts are keenly aware of the importance of letting others speak and express whatever is on their spirits, minds, or hearts. They will be the ones asking you deeply intense and dissecting questions that inspire you to really think and reveal who you are. Letting others speak is one of the main gateways of healing to come through if they are dealing with something difficult.
Value intimacy and depth. Introverts dislike shallow conversations and topics. They may have a knack for being a deep abyss in the midst of shallow waters and can morph a simple conversation about taking selfies into something about how taking selfies somehow captures a person’s aura. Introverts enjoy digging deep. This is paramount in ministry because believers must know what is going on with other believers in order for God’s healing to take place.
Benefits of being an extrovert
Sociable. Extroverts are possibly among the greatest evangelists, witnesses, and missionaries. They just love communicating with people! Because they easily bounce from person to person and can talk for long stretches of time (just as introverts can be alone for long stretches of time), they can effortlessly spread the Word of God and share the Good News to friends, family, and strangers. They tend to witness and evangelize the old-fashioned way (in person) whereas introverts may need moral support when performing this same task. Introverts on the other hand are probably beyond grateful to live in a technological age where they can write eloquently and publicly blog about Jesus and share His promises on social media. Either way, the gospel is being spread and God is being glorified.
Love to lead others. Extroverts are natural leaders who have uncanny ways of drawing a crowd. They enjoy being the center of attention so they can put the focus on Jesus and tell others about Him. Based on how passionate they are about the gospel and serving God with their lives, they can convince many souls to salvation through their spiritual gifts (whatever they may be). They have an eloquent way of speaking and impacting their crowd. Therefore, they can easily connect with others and gain influence.
Quick to interact with people and the outside world. Extroverts are outwardly focused and are always seeking out the spiritual needs of people and the world around them. The extroverted child of God’s attentiveness to the outside world leads them to find godly solutions to any problem.
They are shy/antisocial. Not necessarily true. Introversion is a preference for solitude because the introvert’s energy is regained when they spend time alone after socializing and dealing with the outside world that has drained them. Shyness on the other hand is a fear of social rejection. Even extroverts can be shy! Although many introverts may be shy, not all of them are. Some introverts actually enjoy being social; it just depends on the environment and if they are with people they know.
They don’t like people. Not true. Sometimes introverts need people around. Even they get under-stimulated when they get too much alone time. They thirst for deep conversations and connections and will feed off the energy of others.
They don’t know how to enjoy life. Introverts may not enjoy parties to the heightened degree that extroverts do, but that does not mean that introverts don’t know how to have fun. They get a buzz out of doing things such as reading, writing, tinkering with ideas and theories, and so on. To them, having a Netflix marathon with a few close friends is just as exciting as going to a concert. Introverts are not “missing out” on life, they know what they want and love and will not find the same fulfillment in extroverted activities. They enjoy life the way they want to, not how they are expected to.
They have the “wrong” personality type. There is no such thing as a “wrong” personality type when God is the Creator of all things living. The only way someone can have the wrong personality is when they obey what the world says and try to play dress-up with clothes that don’t even fit…they become unrecognizable and others can’t see the image of God. So, introverts should not play dress-up and put on an extrovert’s clothing. Stay clothed in what God gave you and radiate that.
Being alone means they are sad or stressed. Although there are introverts who must isolate themselves in times of stress and difficulties, they aren’t always in a bad mood when they are alone. More than likely, we are drained from the outside world and need to be alone to decompress. It’s good for our health. It preserves our sanity. Most of the time, we need to get alone with God. We need to recharge. So, extroverts should not be offended by an introvert’s sudden absence…we are simply fulfilling a mental and emotional need. We will be back soon. And when we do come back, we will be better than before.
They are poor leaders and speakers. As you’ve read earlier, introverts are capable of being amazing, persuading leaders. We let other people speak, we employ a quiet confidence (not every leader has to be loud), we meditate and plan before we speak and act, and are aware of our delivery and presence. There are so many leaders in history who were introverted: Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Susan Cain, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Introverts in the church
Introverts are a vital vessel in the church just as much as extroverts are. But there are many fears gripping introverts when it comes to being active in the Body of Christ, especially if some are shy introverts:
- Public speaking—introverts are uncomfortable being in the spotlight and would rather be behind the scenes
- Evangelizing and witnessing—many introverts may not have the quick desire to walk up to strangers and tell them about the Lord. This requires an amount of speaking that introverts are not comfortable with. They much prefer to listen.
- Judgment or rejection from others—when working for God, serving Him with our lives, and spreading His goodness to others, introverts (especially shy ones) may fear social rejection from non-believers or are afraid of getting a strong negative reaction…that is, if they’re not spiritually mature to where they can joyfully handle the rejection.
These fears can be diminished by spending daily time with God, reading and meditating His word, getting to know God through prayer and worship, and by staying obedient and in tune with the Holy Spirit and His will. This will help the fearful introvert develop an exponentially strong Christlike love for others. Remember that perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Was Jesus an introvert or an extrovert?
Tracing Jesus’ life in the Bible and looking at how He dealt with people we can see that He:
- Was people-centered (Matthew 9:35-36)—He was driven by the powerful love He had for humankind, so much that He bled and died for us just to live forever with His people.
- Was a natural leader—Jesus was out on a search for disciples, although He already knew who they were by name before He even began searching. He called His disciples one by one and firmly asked them, “Follow Me.” Whenever He spoke, He would draw a large crowd who was astonished at the end of His teachings. He led other people by example and although there were many that bashed and blasphemed Jesus, there were also others who obeyed His word and followed Him.
- Embraced solitude mainly to talk with God alone (Matthew 14:23)—many times Jesus would break away from the masses, get alone on a mountain and pray. This is the same example we should follow when we need to be spiritually fed and refreshed. Perhaps Jesus knew that with other people around, it will take away from His time with God. After all, the disciples kept falling asleep while Jesus was praying and that bothered Him (Matthew 26:36-46).
- Had a calming, peaceful energy—look at how Jesus calmed the storm, spoke His parables, healed the sick, the blind, and the lame…and He did it all with the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe that the Holy Spirit can work quietly as well but when it moves, one cannot miss it!
- Was sociable—in order for Jesus to descend down from Heaven and do all the miracles and teachings He did for mankind, he must have been sociable. Look at His first miracle when He turned water into wine…He was at a wedding reception. Look at the scene from the Last Supper…He was with all twelve disciples. Look at the many people who followed Him around town and the masses He taught. It takes a lot of connecting with people to have the impact that Jesus had.
So, was Jesus an introvert or extrovert? I believe it is safe to say that He is BOTH; the perfect balance of the two. We serve a God who can relate to any personality type because not only did He create those types, He understands them and can see the usefulness of both introvert and extrovert.
Bible Verses for Introverts
- Romans 12:1-2— “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
- James 1:19— “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
- Acts 19:36— “Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12— “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”
- 1 Peter 3:3-4— “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
- Proverbs 17:1— “Better a dry crust eaten in peace
than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.”
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