You wouldn’t know it to look at me, or if you saw me speak to a group, or hang out with friends. Deep down, I’m pretty shy.
Since becoming mom, the shy girl’s grown stronger. She convinces me not to say hello to other moms at the park. She finds ways to busy me in the kitchen when friends come over. She makes excuses at church about how she needs to get the kids from Sunday school for lunch (as if the 5 minutes of connecting with other adults might actually starve them to death).
Over the past few months of change in our family, I’ve started resenting the shyness. But the real kicker was last week when I started repainting my home. With each new hue covering life’s scuffs and scrapes, I felt stronger. Excited even. Why?
Because the shyness was only a facade.
Underneath lurked something else. Something broken and life-draining: insecurity.
Gnawing insecurity born from the sense of helplessness that marks life with a child (or two, in my case) with special needs. Embarrassment about what it’s made my home look like – carrying the marks of their struggles.
I’ve let insecurity close me in. Tell me it’s okay to back away and make excuses. Keep my house a nice safe shade of white. And I’m tired of it.
So I’ve decided to break up with my shy girl. To rip her hands off my heart and reach out to people again. (And paint my house outlandishly deep and wonderful colors, while I’m at it.)
You can break up with your shy girl – with insecurity – too. Here are a few ideas to help:
Soak in the truth.
The truth that sets free, and is alive, and that heals and grows and strengths you: scripture. “All scripture is God-breathed…” and is “living and active” in our hearts and lives.* ALL scripture. Every. Single. Word. It’s truth changes us, opens us to life and relationships. Check this out:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” ~ Jeremiah 31:3
The original meaning in “drawn you” indicates not only drawing us TO God, but drawing us OUT of everything else. Including our shyness and insecurity. As we marinate in truth like this, we can’t help but feel bolder, stronger, and more like the beautiful women God sees in us every moment!
Banish your inner mean girl.
By this, I mean catch her in those lies she’s telling you. The “you can’t do this,” “your house is too messy to invite her over,” “it’s been too long to just pick up the phone and call her” kind of lies. Or even worse, the ones that attack who you are physically, mentally and emotionally. When you feel dumpy and lonely and boring and incapable, stand in front of the mirror and tell that yuck to jump out the window. “No thanks, mean girl. YOU’RE the loser. Take a hike!” Because you are amazing. And you are worth more than that.
On Saturday I walked in to a meeting for church. My shy girl was already concocting an excuse to run back to the car for some “forgotten” item. The usual introductions exchanged, I asked: “Where are you from?”
“Portland,” she said.
“You like it here in San Diego?” (the car was calling my name at this point. Shyness and insecurity are persistent little buggers).
“I do, but I miss the Pacific Northwest…” she continued.
Instantly, my shy girl vanished, and insecurity slithered away after her. “Ever been to Bainbridge Island?” I asked.
“Yes! It’s beautiful….” And another woman chimes in, “I’m from there, actually!”
“No way! Really? I was just reading about there!” And the rest was history. I made two new friends because I’d read a book set in a region they’d come from. You may feel (like I did until this year) there’s no time for reading. But there IS time. There’s always time for what we value. And valuing reading can add breadth and confidence to life like little else.
To a life of unabashed joy and confidence,
*2 Timothy 3:16 and Hebrews 4:12