… so a good friend sharpens a friend (Proverbs 27:17).
Would you believe I am painfully shy? If you know me in person I know this seems extremely doubtful, but it’s true.
Throughout most of my childhood I could barely stand interacting with cashiers much less approach anyone to become friends. When I was 16 I went to my first real away from home camp. There the owner of the camp brought all new campers to the highest point on the island and told us that we had the rare opportunity to reinvent ourselves that week. No one there knew who we were yet. There was no history, no labels, we could attempt to be the people we admired and no one would know the difference.
That week I worked extremely hard to be warm and friendly and outgoing.
It helped a lot, and it was something I kept up when I got back to “real life”. I got my first job, and eventually got into college, and the roller coaster of growing up kept throwing me into situations where people were always present so I could continue to practice this skill of being outgoing.
Then I finished grad school for the second time and was unemployed for a year. The shyness started creeping back in. I got my teaching job in Louisiana and met some of the best people which brought me out of my shell, until we moved.
It’s been two years of working at home and living in cities far away from family and friends and that shyness is definitely looming. I know I need friends. Physical, close by, in person people I can talk to and call up for help and confide in. I need this! It’s just SO hard to shake off the apprehension of going out into new situations to meet these potential new friends. When you were the kid who couldn’t look cashiers in the eye while paying for your candy bar, venturing out to a mommy and me gym and striking up conversations feels like an impossible task. Trying out new churches when your husband works nights and won’t be with you suddenly makes the term “shrinking violet” make so much more sense. I swear I can feel my body collapsing in on itself as I try to make myself smaller and smaller so I can sneak away.
Fighting this battle at 16 seemed hard, but at 37 it feels impossible!
This is where I have to take a deep breath and remember I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He tells me pretty clearly that I need friends. God isn’t going to give me a command without standing by me and giving me the strength to follow it out.
Deep breath, another sip of coffee. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.