There’s this boy, and he’s eight.
And he knows exactly when to curl up on the couch and play quietly alone. He knows exactly when he needs to shut this world out for a bit.
That little boy is my son.
A sweet-spirited kid, but slow, slow to adjust. He is always the quietest one in the class. Never wants to raise his hand. Never wants any attention. Always the observer. A true introvert. Some may even say, painfully shy.
We love him for who he is, but it can be challenging.
I know introverts are everywhere. As I have gotten older, I am surprisingly more introverted than I realize.
But lately, I find myself worried about my boy. Granted, it is not the shyness that breaks my heart. It’s the fears, the limits he puts on himself, the growing insecurity. Will he ever come out of that shell?
Providentially, he came home with a little card that his teacher gave him the other day. It said, “I just want you to know that I love having you in my class! Always remember that God made you special.”
That was it. It was just an out of the blue note.
But those gentle words hit me hard.
And I thought of Moses.
Moses was a quieter soul, an introvert even. He had no confidence in his voice. None. When God told Moses to return to Egypt and demand the release of the Israelites from slavery, he protested that he was not eloquent, that he was in fact, slow of speech and tongue (Exodus 4:10).
But what was God’s response? Did He say , “You’re right, Moses. You are way too socially awkward for this. I need someone with more charisma.”
Not at all.
He spoke right into Moses’ insecure spirit…I have made you, I know you, and whether or not you feel able, I have chosen you (Exodus 3:14).
Inarguably, Moses ended up uniquely positioned for the task. As we know, with the help of his brother Aaron and ultimately God’s almighty hand, he led the great Exodus, forged through the parted sea, and helped to bring the Israelites to the Promise Land.
And never once in all of this did God ask Moses to be someone he was not — to take on a new personality, to be more like his brother. God merely asked him to be willing.
Not an easy task for sure – but it does bring me comfort.
On the world’s stage, it seems the ones who are the loudest, most confident, up front and center, are the most impactful.
But in God’s ministry, the kingdom gets turned upside down a bit. In fact, God appears to intentionally use the ones who are less assured of themselves, with less to boast about, to accomplish His great things. He uses the preacher as much as the chair stacker, the social butterfly as much as the one who musters courage to talk to one.
I would be lying if I said I am not worried about how my son will navigate this loud world. I do hope that one day he might just come out of his shell and surprise us all. But I suspect he will always have a quiet nature. As his mom, I must remind myself this is not something to “fix” but rather embrace. I want him to believe that he is fearfully and wonderfully made, as with everyone else, for a unique purpose.
But I do pray hard – that somehow he will also know when it is right to step out of his comfort zone. He will detect the fine line between what is his personality and what is actually fear. He will discern when remaining too quiet, reserved or immobilized is actually sin. And he will heed what is good and brave, no matter the inner protests. I want him to learn to trust boldly in a God that is bigger than him. And to find sweet freedom in that.
When I think about it, when it comes to our life’s calling, whether we are introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between, the thing that is most important is our willingness to be used by a faithful God, no matter how intimidating the sea… no matter how great the exodus.