Were you ever shy as a child? Maybe you still are? Maybe the thought of having to start a conversation gives you the feeling (as our story at Tots put it) “like butterflies are fluttering around inside”…maybe walking into a room full of people leaves you wishing the ground would open up? For some people those feelings aren’t even overcomable (is that even a word?!) and they simply don’t start the conversation or don’t enter the room. Then there are those people, the loud crazy ones who seem to command attention and conversation, but what if sometimes those people are acting that way to hide feelings of insecurity and shyness! What if for others being on stage or ‘up front’ is fine, it’s fun; yet in a one-to-one they’re so unsure and uncomfortable…sometimes it’s hard to know who’s shy and who’s not!
We all deal with our feelings differently. We all devise methods of coping so that we can function in the world. Some people repress, some deny, some people react, some people transfer feelings onto others, the psychology complex! There are opinions about what’s healthy and what’s not when it comes to ‘coping mechanisms’ but what if some traits, some of the ways we act and some of the feelings we hold are just who we are? What if not every “feeling” or reaction needs to be worked on, to be improved or honed or challenged?
There’s a guy in the older section of the bible called Moses who, on first impressions is quite a confident, opinionated chap! He gets quite angry about injustice to the point of physically challenging and then killing someone! (Not exactly an avoider of confrontation!) He runs away, shocked by his own behaviour! In his solitary reflection he discovers a bush that’s burning and he hears the voice of God…asking him to confront the King! His response:
Moses replied, “I have never been a good speaker. I wasn’t one before you spoke to me, and I’m not one now. I am slow at speaking, and I can never think of what to say”.
Moses just doesn’t believe he is capable of what he’s been asked to do. As the story unfolds, Aaron(Moses brother) does the talking because Moses just refuses to do it!
What I love is that Moses is allowed to be Moses, shy, afraid and unsure. God encourages and suggests but doesn’t force Moses to be who he’s not and as it turns out his brother is up for that particular challenge!
We’re often left thinking we’re not good enough, that we need to be better or different or less or more or like someone else. Some feelings and reactions do need to be challenged if they’re damaging to others and there are times when it’s good to reflect on why we feel the way we do. When it comes to some feelings though (like feeling shy) what if we just let those feelings simply be? What if we love and accept ourselves as we are? Maybe as we embrace who we are we’ll find courage and confidence we weren’t aware we had and some of those feelings or reactions we thought were ours won’t have quite the same hold over us. Maybe accepting and loving all that makes us who we are is the only starting point for being fully alive.