Friday, March 18, 2016

No More Shy Christians!

"Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world." ~1 John 4:4

Hello everyone and welcome! Today I will be talking about shyness in Christianity, how it can be dangerous while living for God, my personal experience with it and how God has delivered me, and how to be delivered from that bondage of fear.
Credit: Getty Images. I deeply apologize for the watermark
God calls us all to live boldly and proudly for Him by living out His will and His desires for our lives. Boldly, meaning we cannot let fear rule our lives. Think about this: if we are constantly bonded by fear, how will God be seen, felt, and experienced in this world? What if all Christians were like that? Stiff and frozen with fear every time they had to witness to others, evangelize, pray publicly, show (uncommon) kindness to strangers, or even talk to God? If that were the case, then this world would be in a far worse state than it is already because there would be no display of God's love or character. That is why God gives us gifts, a will, and a purpose for our lives, to bleed His beauty through this cold world and through other people.

I touch on fear so heavily because shyness is stemmed from fear. Shyness is a fear of social rejection. I know a lot about shyness because I used to be incredibly shy when I was growing up. I'm only a little shy now, but, thankfully, not nearly as shy as I used to be. Later on in this post, though, I will express how God helped me overcome my fears.

One may probably think, "so, if shyness is such a bad thing to have as a child of God, then why is it that He creates shy people?" Here is the answer: God does not create shy people, but it is the world that breeds shyness. God does create quiet people--like myself--but not shy people. Shyness is a fear that is learned from worldly experience. This fear comes from the enemy and he uses this fear to trap our mind, our willpower, and, ultimately, our actions. Satan doesn't want God's love to be shown in this world. That's why he can make the strongest children of God into the shyest ones just so they don't make an impact! But that does not case. It should not be the case. And if God has anything to do with it, it will not be the case.

I want to say this to you now: the only force stronger than fear is love (1 John 4:18--"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who 
fears is not made perfect in love"). Know that shyness is a learned fear and anything that is learned can be unlearned. And yes! Shyness can be unlearned.

So what are some Godly ways to combat shyness? Here are some ways that I believe will definitely help (personally, I have used these tips!): 

  • It is always best to begin with God and His word. Try looking for Bible verses that speak on fear and anxiety and courage. Here are some wonderful scriptures to start with:
    • Isaiah 41:10--"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
    • Philippians 4:6-7--"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be make known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
    • Philippians 4:13--"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
    • 2 Timothy 1:7--"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
    • Deuteronomy 31:6--"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
    • Proverbs 28:1--"The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion."
    • 1 Peter 3:13-14--"Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled."

If it helps at all--and this is something I do--write scripture on PostIt notes and put them on your wall or on your nightstand. That way the verses can be stored in your heart. If you feel comfortable, speak those verses over yourself out loud or speak them in your head daily. This serves as a positive affirmation and will, therefore,  help you to believe the power of God's word and will ultimately help you to live out His word. (Proverbs 23:7--"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.")

  • Pray and ask God to deliver you from your shyness and to give you a spirit of boldness.
    • Warning: the answer to this prayer may be the last thing you want, but exactly what you need. 
Expect God to put you in some uncomfortable places to grow you (check out my Instagram post on "getting uncomfortable" here). He may put you in situations where you will have to do something daunting such as public speaking, speaking to strangers, or any new life experience you may not be comfortable with. Now before you have a near anxiety attack and run for cover, remember that God is only wanting to strengthen and mold you into His image. Just trust Him and know that nothing but the best can come out of these experiences. A diamond cannot be made without pressure.

I've experience this personally over the past year when I asked God to give me a spirit of boldnes so I can be a better witness for Him. Over time--well, last year--He has placed certain people in my life and put me in situations where I had to be a light for Him. For example, I told the last roomate that I had (who stopped going to church for a while) about how God has moved in my life up to that point. I even invited her to come to our weekly bible studies that my group and I did on campus (all this actually happened on the day we first met!)! Before I moved out, she told me that I really had an influence on her and--not that I'm bragging, I promise--that I was her favorite roomate (and she was definitely mine).

Another experience when I had to float outside of my comfort bubble was my first time leading bible study that same year. (I tell my in-depth story about this in one of my previous posts, "Face-to-Face: Use Your Voice.") Long story short, I anxiously overcome my public speaking challenges and speak and teach for God's glory! God was putting me in situations where I had to be bold for Him. Intimidating? Very! Impossible? No. But rewarding? Incredibly! There is nothing like making God proud.

  • The last tip is to take initiative! Now, I know this sounds absolutely terrifying to shy people (hey, it frightens me just writing it!), but it is worth the trouble. Sometimes  we have to be the ones to step forward in faith, to make that first move. This will be the toughest step, so brace yourself! Make that phone call, start that conversation, apply for that job, register for that class, speak up during that class discussion! Make sure to start off with the smaller challenges that way you will be able to take on the bigger challenges. We have to want to be bold for Christ because desire minimizes fear. God wants us to take a leap of faith.
I recently had a similar experience with taking initiative. Just a few weeks ago, I hade to make several phone calls (one of the most nervewrecking things to do as an introvert). I was on a job hunt. I love work and productivity and helping others, so having a job was something I really wanted. After weeks of not hearing back from any of the companies that I applied to, my sister advised me to call in and check on my application statuses. I internally groaned at at the thought of it of it but I remebered how badly I wanted--and needed--a job. So...I made the decision to call those places that I applied to.

As much as I dreaded doing so, I couldn't be happier now because I got scheduled for an interview (yikes!) and will be working at David's Bridal next week! Praise God!

So there you have it! The three tips that I suggested above will be great helpers in tackling shyness and the enemy for putting that fear in you.

One final thing I want to add before I finish: does God love shy people? Yes! But what He doesn't love is how we let our shyness hinder us from doing what is right in His sight. We let the enemy win by letting our fear take over. Ask God to expose you of what makes you shy. What scares you the most? He will help you to comfront that fear and conquer it.

Think about this: what if Jesus was shy? What if He let shyness overtake Him? It's a hounting thing to think about isn't it? Thanfully, though, Jesus was not that way. He was driven by the intense love He feels for His Father and the intense love He feels for us. He was not phased by fear. Neither shoudl we be phased by fear. It is human to experience fear, but it is nothing but Satan trying to keep us back from being who God called us to be. He des this because he is intimidated by the God in us. We are God's children! We must show the enemy why we intimidate him.

I pray that you, my lovely readers, will take these words and lock them in your hearts and be the best witness, teacher, artist, singer, and the best child of God that you are destined to be! We all have something beautiful, rare, unique, and extraordinary to offer to the world. No one can do it better than you can. So take off that obscure veil of shy and see your life for what God created it to be.

Love you all,