Will I be an introvert in Heaven if I’m an introvert now, even if I wish I were extroverted?
Yes and no. It is likely that there will be a wide spectrum of personalities in Heaven—including personal tendencies toward extroversion or introversion. However, there is reason to rejoice in that, regardless of temperament, our social interaction and relationships will be perfected and free of comparisons, pride, and fear. Randy touches on the idea of identity in Heaven in these articles:
- Once in heaven, will people know and recognize those they knew on earth?
- Do People Now in Heaven Remember What Happened on Earth?
And below are excerpts and highlights from chapter 28 in Randy’s book Heaven:
Just as our genetic code and fingerprints are unique now, we should expect the same of our new bodies. Individual identity is an essential aspect of personhood. God is the creator of individual identities and personalities. He makes no two snowflakes, much less two people, alike. Not even “identical twins” are identical. Individuality preceded sin and the Curse. Individuality was God’s plan from the beginning.
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In his book The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis expressed his awe at the diversity with which God created us: “If He had no use for all these differences, I do not see why He should have created more souls than one. . . . Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions. For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you—you, the individual reader, John Stubbs or Janet Smith. . . . Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.”[i]
What makes you you? It’s not only your body but also your memory, personality traits, gifts, passions, preferences, and interests. In the final resurrection, I believe all of these facets will be restored and amplified, untarnished by sin and the Curse.
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A man wrote me expressing his fear of losing his identity in Heaven: “Will being like Jesus mean the obliteration of self?” He was afraid that we’d all be alike, that he and his treasured friends would lose their distinguishing traits and eccentricities that make them special. But he needn’t worry. We can all be like Jesus in character yet remain very different from each other in personality.
Distinctiveness is God’s creation, not Satan’s. What makes us unique will survive. In fact, much of our uniqueness may be uncovered for the first time.
At the very end of Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis writes, “Until you have given up yourself to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints. . . . Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”[vi]
[i] C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Macmillan, 1962), 147.
[vi] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1972), 190.
Being an introvert myself, I can understand much of your internal struggle and desire to live in the “freedom” so often and easily expressed by our extroverted counterparts. It was Dostoevsky (himself a Christian) who wrote “to be acutely conscious is a disease, a real, honest-to-goodness disease.”
The gift of introversion and introspection, as with so many other gifts, comes with innate risks. Just as more reactive people are more likely to fall into external temptations (hedonistic tendencies), introspective people tend to be more tempted internally (isolative/fatalistic tendencies). We all fight battles with our strengths and weaknesses. Our decisions in this life impact eternity; we are currently developing our eternal selves. The Bible refers to Heaven not as a place where we as humanity are locked into a single “perfected” personality, but as a place where we are continually growing in our knowledge of God, his creation, and ourselves (in a hospitable environment). It is my understanding that in Heaven we will not be increasing into sameness of personality but increasing in a compatible diversity of personalities, all fulfilled by the fullness of God.
If, on Earth or in Heaven, you have a deep desire to grow (with prudence) your capacities for spontaneity and extroversion, I believe God would work with you through that. In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis describes man as being made up of two parts: his raw material and his decisions. You were born with specific and valuable raw material that God has specific purposes for, but he also allows us to grow develop through our decisions.
When we are free of the curse our capacities will be expanded, both our capacity to socialize in a satisfying and fulfilling way with other people, and our capacity to think clearly and deeply on a subject. God has created a universe that has equal beauties expressed both through relationships, our senses, and our mind. Which is more beautiful: climbing a mountain and seeing a glorious view, solving and understanding an intricate and beautiful problem or system, or enjoying deep fellowship with others who bear the image of God? Heaven is as wide as it is deep. There will be infinite intellectual, sensory, and relational experiences. There will be mountains to explore, games more strategic than chess, and true community. No single personality type is more suited for Heaven; it is equally and purposefully suited and created for all.
Your innate capacities and inclinations, as you know, were given by God. I encourage you to continue to pray about how you can serve him in your strengths, and grow in your weaknesses. I also encourage you to explore, with God, who he has created you to be. We only are our true selves when we are in a true, dynamic, and personal relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For more information on the subject of Heaven, see Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven.
Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, where she works as an administrative assistant. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.