Thursday, September 20, 2007

Making Room For the Things I Need

Timid (tim’id), adm., -er, -est. 1.lacking in self-assurance, courage, or bravery; easily alarmed; timorous; shy. 2.characterized by or indicating fear; a timid approach to a problem.—Syn. 1. fearful, fainthearted.

If God didn’t give me timidity, what is that switch that goes off inside that makes me cower, withdraw, hide? I see it in people’s eyes, how we avoid the topic in our conversations calling it other things, hiding it with busy work. We make it look pretty, calling it meekness. We use it as a false covering. I’ve prayed asking God to take problems out of my life, to fix my troubles when my motive was to hide in my Elijah-cave.

Timidity is a horrible monster that masks itself like a mouse. But once it takes up residence in me, it grows, demanding more and more space. The louder it gets, the more silent I grow. I tell myself that silence is golden to appease timidity. It tells me, like a little god, “Don’t hang out with people. They’ll only hurt you, or they won’t like you, or they’ll criticize you, or they’ll use you. Let me be your guide; I’m all you need.” If people are exactly what I do need, then what voice is telling me otherwise?

I need the difficult person in my life to tell me the truth about myself just like she needs me to reciprocate. When I listen, humility crowds out timidity. I need the unlovely and the prickly so that they can teach me patience. I need for others to need me so that I can get outside of myself because when I’m not full of myself but another, then my emotions mature. If I didn’t have conflict, I wouldn’t know the sweet oil of learning to apologize or forgive. If I don’t help someone who is having trouble seeing the forest for the trees, I’ll never learn how to gently, diplomatically confront. If I embrace troubles, turning them over, opening them up, and finding inside my own frail humanity, then I’ll learn how to solve.

People need us, our solutions, confrontation, embrace, gentle encouragement, laughter, wisdom, and touch. And we need to hear from God. Timidity needs to be crowded out until there is only room inside of us for God’s voice.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7