Sunday, June 26, 2005

Breaking Free From Shyness

After my last post, Sherry asked me just how I was set free from shyness and so, 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 the way I was. I truly wanted to change, to move past the brick wall I always seemed to hit when it came to making heart changes.

Well, because my shyness was going to keep me from experiencing a whole new, bold walk with God, He had to deal with it quick. So He began showing me through many different people the selfishness of shyness, the restrictiveness. 

Basically He said it was  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. 

I'd had that. In spades.

And then came the scary thing--God told me (again, in a myriad of different ways) that I would have to walk out of my shyness. That I'd  have to take the first step alone out of obedience to His voice, and then He would meet me out in those nervous places of boldness. 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 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, to stand in front of the church and give encouraging words (all with my pastor's blessing, of course). 

God asked me do and say things no one else was doing or saying. Yikes.

He had me helping people at the supermarket to pick up things they had dropped, offering to help them find things and allowing them to step ahead of me in line, etc.

All of those were things,for 30 years, I'd convinced myself I could never do. 

For decades I'd let fear and pride lead me around by the neck 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 all things He asked.

Obedience was the key. 

The radical, whatever-You-say-and-right-when-You-say-it, kind. 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 getting ourselves into messes so we need to allow God some real time to get us out of them. God's in no hurry, so why are we?

It's important that I add that God simultaneously worked on other areas of my life, breaking down walls, all leading to one thing: to rely upon the Holy Spirit and not my own words, thoughts, brain, strength. 

But Him--always Him. And that made a huge difference in the area of shyness.


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