We love to create boxes to put people in. Young vs. Old. Country or City. Prep or hipster or jock. These all conjure images and characters. Some of them we know personally, or know about. Some we've learned about through media, either as a fan or critic.
Here's another one: Introvert or extravert? A set of boxes to classify people, to help us determine if we even like them. It's not determined by geographic location, or birth year, or even personal interests. It might even be the underlying cause for most of our other preferences.
We are born with a preference for one or the other. Simply put, extraverts are energized by being with other people. They are the "party" group. Any excuse for a party, a meeting, an outing will work. They go into withdrawal when it's been too long between visits.
Introverts, on the other hand, are energized by quiet and solitude. Not that they are anti-social, as is often suggested. Just that social interaction drains their energy. One statistic says it takes two hours of solitude for every hour of social interaction. And maybe more, if the interaction is with the in-laws or your spouse's office party!
No matter which way you lean, we all need a time to decompress. Get away from the routine. We need time to recharge spiritually. For the extraverts, that could happen in a large, corporate setting. Introverts may prefer a smaller, more intimate group, or a remote cabin, with only minimal connections to the world at large.
Jesus has given an example for his followers. He often retreated to a quiet place for prayer, even when people were searching frantically for Him. He understood that without that constant connection to his Father, there would be no power to continue helping people.
When he sent the twelve disciples out on a short-term mission assignment, they returned with glowing reports of healing and teaching large crowds, and even helping the demon-possessed. Jesus listened as they told of their victorious ministry, their mountain top experiences.
Then, "because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.'” (Mark 6:31)
They may have questioned this move on His part. Why didn't He strike while the momentum was still high. They had prepared the way for Him, and now was the time to follow up.
Jesus understood what they could not see. He knew what was needed. Come away from the people, the demands. It will be too much for you, in your own strength. Refresh, renew. Recharge.
Jesus still calls His own to come away with Him to a quiet place. A place where life is not constantly interrupted. It may mean finding a quiet location, a favorite retreat spot. Or creating that "closet" where there's only room for Him and one other. He invites us to eliminate distractions, so we can hear a "still, small voice."
For the first-century disciples, that meant a quiet place. For twenty-first century believers, getting "away" is often a matter of turning off the noise makers, silencing the phone, or unplugging the modem. The length of time isn't as important as the discipline.
Jesus is calling. Inviting you and me to share time with Him.
Can you hear? Will you go with Him to that quiet place?
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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