“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
“Then the LORD God said, “It is no good that the man should be alone”
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I’ve been asking myself that question for about a decade and still haven’t landed on a definite answer. The first time I ever took the Myers-Briggs test it was overwhelming and confusing and, frankly, I didn’t really buy it. How could a group of questions really identify who I am?
I’ve taken the test about three times since then and I think my results are slightly different every time. Either the test doesn’t work or I keep changing! Ok, maybe I’m being dramatic. The test actually reads me pretty well despite the subtle differences. But what has been consistent for my results is the fine line I walk between introversion and extroversion. The first time I took the test I was scored as an “expressive introvert.” In my most recent test I discovered that I am an extrovert with slight tendencies toward introversion. A little confusing. Maybe I’m just learning to be better with people the older I get. This is definitely a good thing -just ask my parents!
The whole Myers-Briggs thing has got me thinking a lot lately about personality types, differences, and how to best understand ourselves and each other. I believe that the better we can know ourselves and each other, the better we can communicate, relate, and accomplish things together. As I have studied, I’ve discovered that there is one tendency that we all share regardless of personality type. This is the tendency towards isolation.
As you can see from the verses at the top of the page, God is not a fan of isolation. We were created in the image of God and are meant to share in communal fellowship with others in every area of life. From the marriage relationship to friendships to work partnerships, humans are wired to do life together. But isn’t it interesting that we all tend to think otherwise? It seems that we all tend to resist connection with others. Have you ever gotten home from work and hoped your neighbor wasn’t outside so you wouldn’t have to talk to him? Have you ever gone to the longer checkout line in the grocery store because the cashier in the short line talks too much? Often we see interaction with people as inconvenient irritations rather than part of our God-ordained design.
Think about it. For the introvert, he thinks “I don’t need people. They are all exhausting! I just want it quiet. I’d rather keep to myself.” End result: isolation. For the extrovert, she thinks “I don’t want to bother everyone. They all think I talk too much anyway. I can handle my problems on my own. I’ll just keep quiet about what is really going on.” Result? Isolation. Maybe it’s our western proclivity towards independence. Maybe it’s our rebellion. Whatever it is, it’s trying to keep us from healthy relationships.
What are the ways in which you need people? Are you trying to hide who you really are? Hiding in life is like a bad game of hide-and-seek; if you are too good at it eventually people will stop looking for you. Take some time and think about how you can bring more “togetherness” into your life. In part 2, we’ll talk about how the church is one of the primary ways that God brings people together.