For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
–II Timothy 1:6-7, NIV
These days, most people react the same way when I tell them that I am naturally a shy and laid back person, especially in new settings. Most laugh, some tell me I’m fibbing. But, such is the truth. There was a time when I was, quite simply, timid. I don’t know why. I do, however, know how it ended.
In 1990 I graduated from high school and moved to Lubbock to enter the Adventures In Missions program. I loved it, and some of my timidity began to fade, but not enough. One day, one of the staff that was training us in evangelism talked to me about it. He pulled out his Bible and turned to the passage above. He said that he didn’t know whether I was just quiet, which he understood (he was a pretty quiet person himself), or if I was timid. He encouraged me to consider that if it was timidity that I struggled with, God would help me overcome that. Basically, he said quietness in spirit is from God, timidity was not.
I don’t know if I ever thanked him. I should have. In truth, I am a naturally quiet person. But just as true, I was being timid as well. That conversation was the catalyst of change that is still happening in my life. Every now and then, seemingly out of nowhere, I’ll still face it momentarily. His admonition still instills in me the courage the overcome it. And every time someone refuses to believe that I was ever timid and shy I give glory to God. Their disbelief is proof that, while I may still have a lot of hill to climb, God’s brought me a long way thus far.
So, for those of you out there that struggle with timidity, I share with you the same encouragement he gave me that day. A quiet spirit is a gift from God, but courage built on faith in God should drive away any timidity.