Thursday, November 29, 2007
Breaking Free From Shyness
Yesterday I mentioned 'shyness' so I thought I'd rerun this post from the past below (things are a little hectic around here today...):
After my last post, Sherry asked me just how I was set free from shyness. It's been a few years, but I'll tell you as best I can. If anyone has not yet read my post, The Curse of Shyness, it would help you understand this better if you'd read it now.
Back in the 1990's I told God --- and meant it -- that I wanted Him to do WHATEVER He wanted to do with me, no matter how much dying to self or embarrassment or humiliation it required. I wanted to have more of Him in my daily life. I wanted to become more like Jesus.
I'd said that many times before, but this time I'd grown sick of the way things were--the way I was--and I truly wanted to change. To move past the brick wall I always seemed to hit when it came to making changes in my heart.
Well, because my shyness was going to keep me from experiencing a whole new, bold walk with God, He had to deal with it right up front. So He began showing me in many ways and through many different people the selfishness of shyness.... the restrictiveness of it. Basically He showed me how it was just plain cheating me out of the fullness of the life He had planned for me.
Once I saw that, I repented of it--for holding onto shyness out of fear and pride like a shield. I'd heard years before that "shyness is pride in disguise" and I'd been offended when I heard it. (Proud? Who, ME?!) But now I saw it was true--so much of my shyness was fear of looking foolish or sounding ignorant. And I could go on and on....
So first came repentance. And then came the scarey thing--God told me (again, in a myriad of different ways) that I would have to walk out of my shyness. That He would walk with me, but always I would have to take the first step alone out of obedience to His voice, and then He would meet me out in those scarey places of boldness where I'd never been before. In other words, I would have to 'do it scared.'
He told me I'd obeyed the voice of Fear long enough--now it was time to push past that and obey His voice, instead.
So over and over for months and then years, God asked me to do some pretty wild things, especially at our church. He asked me to become an adult Sunday School teacher.... He asked me to stand in front of the church and give encouraging or prophetic words (all with my pastor's blessing, of course)... He asked me do and say things no one else was doing or saying.
He also asked me to do things for people at the supermarket... Such as, help them pick up things they had dropped... Offer to help them find what they were looking for... offer to let them go ahead of me in line, etc.
All of those things above were things, which for 30 years, I'd convinced myself I could never, ever do. For 30 years I'd let fear and pride lead me around by the neck all the while telling myself I was helpless to fight it. And yes, without God, I was. But with Him--and with His timing-- I could do those things after all.
Obedience was the key. Not the pick-and-choose kind of obedience, though. Rather, the radical, whatever-You-say-and-right-when-You-say-it kind. Over and over and over my obedience to God's Spirit walked me out of fear. Without that obedience, I would still be a scared rabbit today. But I'm not.
And yes, it took months, even years. We spend years and years getting ourselves into messes and we really need to allow God some real time to get us out of them. We all want 'drive-thru break-throughs,' but to God, a thousand years is as one day. He is not in a hurry, so it's important that we don't bail-out in the middle if things don't appear to be changing right when we think they should.
It's important that I add that God was simultaneously working on other areas of my life, breaking down walls one by one, leading to one thing: to rely upon the Holy Spirit and not my own words, my own thoughts, my own brain, my own strength. But Him--always Him. And that made a huge difference in the area of shyness.
It's one thing to have God inside us. It's a whole other thing to let Him out!