An Introvert Can Have Great Impact in God’s Kingdom: Thoughts from Nanci’s Friends at Her Memorial

In early 2020, right at the beginning of COVID and the stay-at-home orders, Nanci wrote these reflections in her journal:

I am a closet introvert. Only a very few of my closest friends and family know this. Most everyone who has ever spent time with me would assume that I am an extrovert because I am very easy to have a conversation with; I appear to be interested in your life; I am friendly; I am funny; I talk a lot; I am loud; I laugh a lot; I smile a lot and make eye contact; I have traveled widely and have a huge collection of friends and acquaintances.

However, I am an introvert because personally interacting with people— even those I know and love—tires me. The less I know and appreciate someone, the more they exhaust me. Being in a crowd of people with whom I have no expectations of personal contact is great, like at Disneyland. Being in a crowd with whom I am expected to have personal contact registers somewhere between uncomfortable and terrifying (i.e., conferences where Randy is the main speaker). I recoil when the phone rings. I avoid making phone calls. My favorite days are when I stay at home with minimal personal contact. If I see someone I know in the grocery store, I avoid them unless they say hi to me (excluding close friends and family).

My favorite activity is a day at the beach in Maui either alone, or with close friends or family with minimal conversation. An activity I avoid at all costs is a reception line where I am expected to interact with many people I barely know. I have a fear of things unfamiliar.

Why have I, an introvert, functioned as an extrovert most of my life? Being private (antisocial in appearance) is not popular—only nerds are private. It does not appear to be kind or loving to prefer only the companionship of a few, close people. Being interested in people, more than deep concepts, is more widely accepted in society.

Biblically speaking, we are all called to reach out to people; to show and express love openly and often. I truly want to please God, so I have maintained contact and interaction with others at a level which could be much higher but has been higher than my comfort level. As part of the body of Christ, I have the responsibility and privilege to function alongside others to bring glory to God.

So, I am grateful for the “boundaries” God has placed in my life. It has been quite a public life, but not unbearably so. God has matured me in having a public and “fishbowl” life. I would be a very selfish and judgmental soul if left to my own preferences. I need people, and by God’s grace, I believe some of them have needed me in their lives as well.

Will the New Earth be filled with only extroverts? I believe that we introverts will maintain a great deal of our nature in eternity. After all, I have no desire to maintain a distance from God!

Nanci’s life illustrates how an ordinary, behind the scenes, hating-to-be-upfront follower of Jesus can have an eternal impact by making deliberate, careful choices to study God, daily contemplate His faithfulness, and love and invest in others, even when it wasn’t easy or comfortable for her. You don’t have to be big into speaking and sharing on social media to have a profound and eternal influence. You also don’t have to care about nothing but spiritual things. You can care about what’s ordinary, and you can see God in it—in animals, for example—and you don’t have to be disinterested in sports, movies and humor and much more, as these videos from Nanci’s friends (shown at her memorial service) demonstrate. They mention her impact on our church’s women’s Bible study; her discipleship and mentoring, both official and unofficial; her work in prolife and women’s ministry; and her contagious happiness and laughter.

Diane Meyer:

Kathy Norquist:

Diane Jones and Shelly Ekstrom:

Peri Layton:

Rakel Thurman:

Jenny Ivester:

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries