In my last post, I talked about how our enemy tells us lies about ourselves to distract us from God's work. There are many that I have believed, but there is one that has had a great impact on me in the area of friendships. Growing up, I was painfully shy. I have never been that great at communicating, but as a young child, I never had problems making friends or feeling like I wasn't good enough for their friendships. But as I got into my teenage years, whenever I would meet or hang out with new people, I would almost inevitably hear the words "You're too quiet". When people said this to me, what I heard was "You're too boring to hang out with", "You don't have anything to offer to a friendship with me", "You're not good enough". I can look back and see that as the years went by I became more withdrawn, and it became harder for me to make new friends, to open up my heart and be vulnerable with anyone. This is what I believed and still struggle with a lot today, although I now see them as lies from Satan that I need to combat with the Truth. As an adult, I have tended to isolate myself, to avoid reaching out to others, and to keep everyone at arm's length. Often, when I would meet new people, I would think, "they have plenty of friends, certainly they don't need me", and I would avoid pursuing a close friendship. I realize that I have probably missed out on some great friendships and even let some good friendships go because I have believed these lies. Because of my personality, I know I will always struggle to some degree with meeting new people and making new friends, but I am choosing now to walk in the truth that "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) and that I am made in God's image (Genesis 1:27).
I have known for years that what I was told in my past has greatly affected how I have viewed myself, but it has been more recently that I realized that I was actually being deceived by Satan. Another thought that occured to me this week is that shyness, although part of my innate personality, is a weakness. We all have them and that is one of mine. But we don't have to let our weaknesses keep us from doing what God wants us to do. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." If we didn't have weaknesses, it would be much harder to see God's power. In fact, if we didn't have weaknesses, we wouldn't need God.
God has also shown me that shyness and quietness are not the same. Quietness can actually be a strength. We have to be quiet and still to hear God. We have to be quiet so that we can listen to others and really hear what they are saying. James 1:19 says "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."