This semester for one of my classes (kind of a “seminary exit” class) we had to come up with 3 learning goals. My seminary has a list of “Be, Know, Do” statements that they wish for us graduates to be, know, and do so our learning goals had to tie in with these statements. For my “Be” goal, my hope is to become more confident in my own skin, especially social settings. I’m not exactly sure what the picture of “confident” I was hoping to achieve whether it was to be more outgoing or to not feel like throwing up before walking into a room full of new people.
You see I consider myself a pretty shy person (my husband would say I’m backwards). As I was preparing to write this I was wondering if that is why I seem to be drawn to blogging as well as finding support for my chronic illnesses and infertility online. But then I realize that I have the same confidence issues whether or not I’m in front of the computer screen. I worry that I’m not outgoing enough. Or that I’m not going to say (or type) the right thing. I’ve always seen my shyness as a flaw.
After I submitted my goals to my professor, he returned them with some notes. Next to my goal about overcoming my shyness and becoming more confident, he wrote, “Possibly this means instead to become more comfortable with the way that God created you.” Huh. Didn’t think about it that way.
So as a part of my goal, I’ve been reading the book Living Fully with Shyness & Social Anxiety (click here for more info). There is actually a small discussion in one of the chapters regarding the Judeo-Christian tradition and how it relates to shyness. It reads, “In the Judeo-Christian tradition, there is one God and we are made in His likeness. He is all-perfect and it is our job to seek perfection. We must seek good and stamp out evil. This tendency to think in dualities can be a trap for some. For instance, if shyness is seen as less than ideal, less than perfect, it becomes our job to stamp it out.” But is shyness really a flaw? Is it really less than ideal?
You know, I’ve thought about it and thought about it. And I’ve come to a conclusion. It is far from a flaw and I can be perfectly happy and healthy and confident in MYSELF even if I’m shy. That’s the beauty of God’s creation. I may not be a social butterfly and a super bubbly or outgoing person but that’s ok. I am free to be shy and quiet and I can find joy in celebrating the way God created me. Psalm 139:14 states, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Shyness included. Praise God that I am free to be me 🙂