Luke: An Introvert Living in an Extroverted World
Our society has become a cult of extroversion. These days, possessing a loud, brash, in-your-face attitude equates to having a “vibrant” personality. Extroverts are esteemed by others as socially competent individuals who are worthy of emulation, while, at the other end of the spectrum, introverts are stigmatized and often associated with adjectives like “weird,” or “unfriendly.”
The Introvert in High School
Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not a group of awkward outsiders lacking in people skills – they are simply wired differently from their extroverted counterparts. While extroverts draw their energy from the world around them, preferring meeting lots of new people and experiencing different things, introverts are invigorated by looking within themselves, thriving on more solitary activities like reading or having a deep conversation with a close friend. It’s not that one way is necessarily better than the other – both are merely personality types with very different temperaments.
The life of an introverted teenager is difficult. Activities synonymous with boosting social status – having lots of different friends, going to parties, clubbing, etc – do not come naturally to the introvert. As a result, many are misunderstood and stereotyped (wrongly) by their peers as being stuck up, unfriendly, antisocial loners.
If you are an introvert currently in high school, you may have no doubt felt the pressure to act in ways that are not a direct reflection of your natural self. Perhaps you bought into the myth that extroversion is the more desirable trait and felt pressured into changing your personality in order to become more like others. And while this is a natural urge, you shouldn’t have to feel guilty for being who you are.
The Introvert in Scripture
Although not much is mentioned about his character in the Bible, Luke offers us a great example of an introvert that God used to accomplish special things.
The book of Acts indicates that Luke served primarily as a historian on Paul’s traveling party. His purpose was to quietly observe and record the activities of the rest of his companions – all of whom were aggressively involved in evangelizing and public ministry - in order to provide later generations with an accurate account of these affairs.
The challenges that Luke faced under these circumstances were substantial. Not only did he (an introvert) have to resist the urge to compare himself with the supremely charismatic spiritual leaders (extroverts) that he was documenting, he also faced a path of constant ambiguity, knowing that his work was many years away from being published and that it’s realization was far from guaranteed. While Paul and the rest of these leaders were immersed in a line of work where major results were readily evident, Luke had to grapple on a daily basis with the questions of whether he was accomplishing anything truly significant with his life.
Instead of abandoning his project for the glamor of being a preacher, Luke chose to remain faithful and to persevere. The fruit of his labor was the creation of one of the only historical accounts of the early church, as well as a gospel that God has used to change and influence the lives of others for over twenty centuries!
Keep the Faith
Ultimately, if you are an introvert, living in an extroverted world can take it’s toll on you. Society may tell you that louder is better, but you don’t always have to believe this. I would encourage you to stay faithful and remain true to yourself while looking to people like Luke as inspirational examples of how God can use anyone, regardless of personality type, in a way that will glorify his name.
Image courtesy of brtsergio