Yes, that was my excuse. I’ve always been shy, and not even maturity has “cured” that “problem”. I have to wonder how much my shyness has robbed me…
I remember back when I was in high school. I was so shy! If a girl even looked at me, I would feel my neck burning and I would turn and hurry away.
I did have one friend of the female persuasion. She was in my class, and because she lived in the same general direction from school that I did, we often walked to school and then back home together. Since Belgian students all went home for lunch in that day and age, my friend and I would walk together four times each day. We got to know each other pretty well, and I considered her a close friend. Kind of like a cousin, or perhaps the sister I never had. What made it even more interesting is that she even looked like my actual cousin!
We generally walked home through the park. Both of us liked the trees, we loved to hear the birds sing, and we enjoyed the gentle tinkling sound of the park’s fountains. It was also the fastest way home, but I think we would have gone that way even if it hadn’t been the most direct. I truly loved those walks home with my friend. It was nice to be with a girl without having to worry about whether or not she “liked” me in that special way…
One day, however, it all ended. We were in the park, beside one of the fountains, when she turned our friendship upside down by saying, “I have something I want to tell you today. I love you!”
My mouth dropped open and it was suddenly very warm. I couldn’t stop myself. I really couldn’t. I was truly that shy. I turned and ran away. After that day, I always took a different route home, and I went out of my way to avoid the one girl who I had truly considered my friend.
Looking back, I realize that my shyness cost me a friend. True, I didn’t want her to be my girlfriend; but I had really enjoyed her company. Nonetheless, because I was so shy and I truly didn’t know what to say, I would never again be able to even speak to the one who I had once considered one of my closest friends. What if I had stayed? What if I had simply explained to her that I liked her as a friend, but didn’t want a relationship with her? She might have understood, and then our friendship would have been preserved. Perhaps, once I became a Christian, I might even have been able to witness to her.
I think about how the apostles asked God for boldness. Peter and John had been imprisoned for preaching in the name of Jesus. Upon their release, the Bible says that they gathered with other believers, and this was their prayer: “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30 NIV). These men weren’t just shy. They were being persecuted for their faith! I’m pretty sure that in their shoes, my prayer might have been, “God, take me away! Help me hide!” But not Peter and John. Rather, they asked for boldness.
I may not be being persecuted, but I am still shy, and this shyness can still stand in the way of my witness. I know that many believers do not have this problem; yet I feel in my spirit that there are some of you reading this post who do. If you feel your ability to witness is inhibited by shyness and fear, I invite you to join me in the prayer of Peter and John: “Now, Lord, … enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
In His love,