3 Ways Mary (the mother of Jesus) is an Inspirational Introvert
This is a week to celebrate women! In light of International Women’s Day on Thursday and Mother’s Day this Sunday, our ladies are taking the reigns of the Chapel blog to recognise and honour the women that have shaped and inspired their lives. Read along and be inspired by the amazing things God can do through ordinary people. Catch up on previous posts, if you missed them.
By Lauren Price Evans
Do you often find yourself exhausted by social situations, but recharged after being alone? Do you prefer to get lost in your own thoughts than talk to strangers? If so, you may be an introvert! As a fellow innie, I find it rather reassuring how many introverts are in the Bible, and one such inspirational character is Mary, the mother of Jesus.
1. She reflects on God’s promises and amazing things keep happening
One of the verses about Mary that most draws me to her is from Luke 2:19, ‘But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.’ This passage is in reference to hearing what the shepherds had been told by angels about her baby. A similar verse appears again in Luke 2:51, when Mary reflects on the events which occurred after finding teenage Jesus in the Temple. I really think that this phrase speaks to her introverted nature, that she quietly clung to the prophecies and incredible examples of God’s mightiness to remind her of how amazing her God is. When times got tough, she probably took a withdrawal from that amazing store of divine credit saved inside her.
It wasn’t just personal experiences that she remembered, either. Mary’s song in Luke 1:46 reveals that she was very familiar with the Word of God. It’s filled with Old Testament references that she can easily recall because she keeps them ever at the forefront of her thoughts. She declares, ‘my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour’, proving that He’s not just her hiding place in times of trouble, but He’s also the source of joy in her life.
I think Mary’s example is good news to introverts. It’s OK to retreat inside yourself, as long as God’s there too. She demonstrates that time and again God proves that He is faithful and worthy to be the King of our hearts.
2. She’s a faithful, behind the scenes player and now everybody knows who she is
She gets a lot of attention now, but at the time she was an unknown virgin working faithfully in the background. I suspect that many introverts find themselves in positions where their job is to make somebody else look good and make themselves invisible. Although this is the introvert’s natural inclination, it can be thankless work. Be encouraged, introverts! Mary was no stranger to these tasks herself.
I think of her time with Elizabeth during her cousin’s last trimester (Luke 1:56). Not only did Elizabeth have the double difficulty of being ‘advanced in years’ and heavily pregnant, but her husband was inconveniently mute for the time. It’s most likely that Mary was working away to help her relative prepare for the birth of her baby, all the while being pregnant herself. There’s also the wedding at Cana; when she sees that the hosts are in the very embarrassing position of being wineless, she directs the servants to the one she knows will be able to provide a solution and that turned out be an unforgettable wedding! And if you needed further proof of her grit, there’s the fact that she probably raised at least seven children (Mark 6:3) in a time before washing machines and minivans, which most certainly involved a good measure of selflessness.
Mary serves faithfully. Even though she knows that she’s playing a major role in God’s plan, she doesn’t lord it over others or resent the day-to-day drudgery. She stays true to her words to Gabriel, ‘I am a servant of the Lord’ (Luke 1:37). She draws on that wealth of promises treasured up in her heart. A faithful, behind-the-scenes woman, she doesn’t seek the spotlight, she knows that her job is to point towards Jesus and to magnify God.
So take heart if you are one of those invisible helpers quietly serving in the background to the glory of Jesus. Mary shows us that God sees your work, even if nobody else does, and that He has prepared an amazing place in His Kingdom for you.
3. She proves that submission means strength, not helplessness
Mary might be introspective, but that doesn’t mean she’s timid. She follows where God leads, no matter what gets thrown her way.
While I was pregnant, just a week before my due date, my husband and I were between homes. We’d left the place we’d been renting for years, but our new flat wasn’t yet habitable. I found myself clinging more desperately than ever to God’s Word and there drew comfort from the classic Christmas-time story of Jesus’ birth. Mary was completely uprooted, due any day and after travelling miles, there was no room in the inn. I figured that if God saw fit to have His Son born in such stressful circumstances, I could probably handle a comfortable stay with generous friends and a birth in a modern hospital! But it gave me a new appreciation for what a warrior Mary had to be, bravely facing the situation because she knows God’s in control.
I am also challenged by her response to the angel upon hearing that she was to give birth to the Saviour. She asks, “How?’ (Luke 1:34). Not in the sceptical way Zechariah responds in Luke 1:18, but in a submissive effort to better understand what’s required of her. I often find that my pride prompts me to ask the contentious ‘why?’ instead. ‘Why’ comes from wanting to know the reason, wanting to determine whether something is worth doing or could be done differently. Mary doesn’t challenge God’s thought process, her first response is to accept and try her best to fulfil the task required of her. She’s not a shy girl, blindly agreeing to some crazy scheme, she knows that the one asking this of her is the Lord Our Banner, the greatest commander-in-chief, and one who is ultimately good, so she takes up the mission boldly.
Further evidence of her strong character and fearlessness is seen at the cross. John 19:25-27 indicates that she was in the front row, witnessing her son brutally executed. She didn’t choose to hide at home or hang about Pilate futilely pleading for a change of sentence. She faced the situation, painful as it must have been, trusting that God would work it for good. That kind of strength takes real faith!
Whether you are a woman or a man, an introvert or an extrovert, Mary is proof that God has incredible adventures in store for those who submit to Him.
With her quiet reflection on God’s promises, her faithfulness and her submission, Mary was a model of godly womanhood, full of wisdom, joy and obedience. Mary’s effect on the people around her and on the very course of history makes her an inspiration to introverts everywhere.