Deep Truths
Articles from David Berg and the Family International - www.deeptruths.com

The 'I-Ness of Shyness! - And how to overcome it!

Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg
A shy boy hiding behind his mother

Once upon a time there was a little girl who spent her days sitting beside a pond watching a frog on a lily pad. Now the little girl knew that the frog was probably a prince. And the frog, who was indeed a prince, knew that the little girl could kiss his nose and break the magic spell that had been cast upon him by the wicked Witch. But the little girl on the bank of the pond was too shy to begin a conversation with a frog, and the frog could simply not bring himself to tell her how badly he wanted her to kiss his nose. So the little girl went on sitting there watching the frog, and that is the end of the story!

And the worst part of this story is that it happens every day! Think of all the beautiful romantic love affairs that never blossomed, the Romeos that never met their Juliets, because both of them were too SHY to make the FIRST move! Also, think of all the Carusos, Mozarts and Rembrandts that never were, because they were too shy to show their work to others, so they never developed their talents!

And saddest of all, think of all the millions of SOULS that we will NOT see in Heaven, because some Christian was too shy to tell them about Jesus! Aren't YOU very thankful that somebody was not too shy to speak to YOU about the Lord?

You say, "Well, I'm just naturally shy. It's just my personality, that's the way I am!"--Well, this may be true. While some people tend to naturally be very open, extroverted, and able to talk a blue streak, others tend to be more introverted, withdrawn, reticent and shy. But most people don't really WANT to be shy. Most people who are quiet and withdrawn would LIKE to be freer and would LIKE to be able to talk, communicate and share their hearts with others more, but need help to break out from behind the walls that have them bound!

In almost all cases, shyness is primarily a combination of FEAR and SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS. When we are shy it's often because we are WORRIED about people's opinions of us, we're AFRAID of what people might say or think about us!

Of course, there are times when we're shy for seemingly good reasons, because we don't want to hurt others. For instance, maybe we're afraid to mention to our loved one that he or she has bad breath, for fear of offending them.--But unless we TELL them, how are they ever going to KNOW? Of course, we should try to be tactful and considerate of a loved one's feelings. But if we KNOW we are right and speaking in love, then we shouldn't worry about what others think or say about us! The Bible says we're NOT to fear the opinions of men, that we are to serve and obey the LORD, "NOT with eye-service as menpleasers; but as the servants of CHRIST, doing the will of God from the heart!"--Ephesians 6:6.

It's been said that, "SHY" is just an "I" with a "SH" before it! SHYNESS is really "I-NESS"! The shy person is usually so busy thinking about HIMSELF that he says "sh" to any other subject and won't talk about it!--A lot of shyness is simply SELF-consciousness--to be overly conscious of one's self. Maybe we think we're too thin, ugly or whatever! That was the famous singer and comedienne Cass Daley's problem: She longed to be a singer, but she was very self-conscious of the fact that she had a large mouth and protruding buck teeth! When she first sang in public in a New Jersey nightclub, she tried to act "glamorous" and keep her upper lip down to cover her teeth. The result was that she made herself look ridiculous!

However, there was a man in the nightclub who heard Cass sing and thought that she had talent and wasn't too shy to tell her the truth. "See here," he said to her bluntly, "I've been watching your performance and I know what it is you're trying to hide. You're ashamed of your teeth!" Cass was embarrassed, but the man continued, "What of it? Is there any crime in having buck teeth? Don't try to hide them! FLAUNT them! Open your mouth and the audience will LOVE you when they see that you're not ashamed! Besides, those teeth you're trying to hide may make your fortune!"

Cass Daley took his advice and forgot about being so shy and self-conscious about her TEETH! From that time on, she thought only about her AUDIENCE! She opened her mouth wide and sang with such gusto and enjoyment that she became a top star in movies and radio!

So how can we overcome shyness and timidity? One way, like Cass Daley, is to FORGET about OURSELVES and think of OTHERS! Stop worrying about yourself! Quit struggling! It's like the story of an ex-socialite whose friend asked her one day, "How come you're always so peaceful and happy now, when before you were always upset and nervous and worried?" She smiled and re plied, "I've QUIT STRUGGLING!" She'd just quit worrying about trying to impress people and draw attention! She'd quit feverishly trying to be all the things she wasn't, and decided to just be herself! The secret of her new-found happiness was that she "quit struggling"! When we stop worrying about all the things that we think OTHERS would like us to be--and that we're not--and instead be content to be the way GOD made us to be, then we stop being so SHY and SELF-conscious and worried about the opinions of others!

Another reason for shyness is that people often think that what THEY have to say cannot possibly be as interesting to others as what everybody ELSE in the World is saying. If this is your problem, next time you're out, try listening to what others are saying to each other and match it against your own conversation! You'll probably find that the kind of subjects that most people are discussing are themes about which you yourself could speak accurately, intelligently and with the same degree of wit or humour as they do!--If you only WOULD!

Also, the reason why many people are too shy to start a conversation is simply that no one wants to be met by a cold stare and be rejected! This is a very serious concern of many people! But think about it: If you spend your life avoiding rejections, you will never meet or get close to anyone!--So make an effort to reach out to others! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

In fact, it's true that MOST of us suffer from an inferiority complex to SOME degree. At least in some area we feel "not as good as others"! But if we read the Bible we find out that everybody ELSE is bad too, and you're no worse than anybody else! God says, "There is NONE righteous"--nobody's good-"no not one!"--Romans 3:10,23. In fact, Jesus said that even the lofty, self-righteous, perfectionist religious leaders of His day were sinners, and that the whores and tax-collecters were going to get into Heaven before they!--Matthew 21:31. So don't be intimidated and cowed by those who act like they're loftier and superior to "little old you"!--And remember, no one can make you feel shy and inferior without YOUR consent!

The famous author and dramatist, George Bernard Shaw, is another outstanding example of someone who overcame shyness and timidity to become one of the wittiest, most outspoken public speakers of all time! When asked how he did it, he replied, "I did it the same way I learned to skate--by persistently making a fool of myself until I got used to it!" As a young man, Shaw was one of the most timid men in London. He often walked up and down a street for 20 minutes before he dared to knock on a door of a household with whom he was not well acquainted! "Few men," he confessed, "have suffered more from shyness and simple cowardice than I have, or have been more horribly ashamed of it!"

Finally he hit upon a way in which to conquer his shyness and fear! He became determined to make his weakest point his strongest asset. He joined a debating society! He attended every meeting in London in which there was to be a public discussion, and would force himself to arise and take part in the debate! With practice, his public speaking improved, until George Bernard Shaw became one of the most confident and brilliant speakers of the early 20th Century!

As CHRISTIANS, we have even SURER ways of overcoming shyness and timidity, because we have Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God's Word!

How can these help us? Well, as we've seen, shyness, timidity and bashfulness are basically FEAR mixed with PRIDE. Fear is the OPPOSITE of faith. So to overcome FEAR you must have more FAITH! How do you get more faith? Through reading the BIBLE and God's Words! "Faith COMES by hearing the Word of God!"--Romans 10:17. The more FAITH in God you have, the more LOVE OF GOD you'll have and the more love you will have for OTHERS! You become more concerned about other people than yourself, and this makes you less SELFconscious and more CHRIST-conscious!

Isaiah 26:3 says, "Thou shalt keep him in PERFECT PEACE whose mind is stayed on THEE." So keep your mind on JESUS! Immerse yourself in Jesus and He will help you forget yourself. Throw your whole heart into pleasing the LORD and sharing Him with others, and the Lord will help you lose that self-consciousness so that you will only be conscious of JESUS, and HIS MESSAGE, and HIS LOVE, and your LOVE FOR OTHERS!

Also, it must be said that there is a great difference between SHYNESS and MEEKNESS. Anyone who has read the story of Moses in the Bible, or has seen the movie, "The Ten Commandments", knows that Moses was anything but shy or bashful!--But the Bible says that he "was very MEEK (humble), more than all men."--Numbers 12:3. The Bible tells us that we are to have "the ornament of a meek (humble) and quiet spirit, which is of great price in the sight of God."--1Peter 3:4.

So when we say that you should not be shy, we are not implying that you should be loud and brash and smart-alecky and a showoff! We're simply saying that you should not be so SELF-conscious that it hinders you from speaking, witnessing and being honest and open with others! A man who is humble and meek is well aware of his own faults, weaknesses and shortcomings.--But he is even MORE aware of the LORD'S grace, strength and power, and therefore draws his strength and courage not from his OWN personality, but from a QUIET FAITH and TRUST in God! Meekness is not weakness, it is STRENGTH under control!

Finally, I'd like to give a little of my own testimony of how the Lord helped me to overcome shyness, because I, too, was very shy when I was young. I was one of those little children who runs and hides behind mother and holds on to her skirt when a stranger comes to the door! I remember, when I was 9 years old, my friends gave me a surprise birthday party. I walked in the front door, and all of a sudden all the lights blazed on and 50 kids jumped up and shouted, "SURPRISE! Happy Birthday!" I whirled around and shot out the door like a scared rabbit, and they never saw me for the rest of the day! That's what shyness can do to you! I missed a wonderful party and all my friends missed the guest of honour!--How sad!

For me, school was Hell! I was a shy little awkward "ugly duckling", and the big "tough" kids sensed it, and they picked on me! I was constantly the brunt of jokes made by the coarse, thoughtless and rude bullies. I liked people and I WANTED to be sociable, but I was afraid to be with them because I was so self-conscious--conscious of myself and worried about what they thought about me. And, oh, I was afraid of girls! I thought they were wonderful, beautiful, and I loved them, but I was afraid to even be near one!

I'm telling you all this for your encouragement, because I'm sure that few people are as shy as I was! I was shy almost to the point of it being a phobia or a psychosis or something!

I was extremely shy all the way up until I was around 19 years of age! All those years I was saved and was trying to tell others about Jesus, but it was VERY hard for me! Sometimes I had to give a speech before my youth group at church. I'd work for days on that speech and write everything down in advance, and then I'd get up and have stagefright and be almost speechless!

So I KNOW what it is like to be shy! But I'll never forget when I lost my shyness! It was a miraculous, almost overnight change, and if it can happen to ME, then it can also happen to YOU!

Although all my life I had been a bornagain Christian, I never actually received the full anointing or "baptism" of the HOLY SPIRIT until a dear little missionary lady came to our Church's youth club, where I-reluctantly--was the song leader. She explained to us about the Holy Sprit and that to receive it all we had to do was ASK for it! Luke 11:13 says, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the HOLY SPIRIT to those that ASK Him!"

It was kind of humbling for me to admit that there was something I still lacked as a Christian, but I went forward and earnestly prayed with her and asked the Lord to fill me with His Holy Spirit. Immediately after this experience, to my complete surprise, I found I had a new BOLDNESS and FEARLESSNESS and greater courage that I knew was entirely GOD-GIVEN! I'll never forget how at the next young people's meeting I was absolutely amazed at my own complete abandonment and freedom! Instead of burying my nose in the song book and trying not to look at the crowd, I just laid the book down and threw my heart into the songs, waved my hands, and was practically jumping and shouting for joy, I was so full of the Spirit!

It didn't matter to me whether other people thought I was good or bad anymore, as long as I knew that I was saying what GOD wanted me to say and doing what GOD wanted me to do! As long as I was in the Will of God, then the Spirit of God gave me courage, and almost overnight I became as bold as a lion!

Since that day, many, many years ago, I didn't care about MYSELF any more, it just didn't matter! I was no longer SELF-conscious, but CHRIST-conscious! I found a new POWER, and I began to witness and boldly speak the Word of God to others! So I'm very thankful to the Lord for my own personal deliverance from shyness and timidity by the power of God's Holy Spirit! If He can change ME--as shy and as very, very reticent as I was--then He can certainly change YOU!

You too can be filled with the Holy Spirit just like the disciples were on the the day of Pentecost when they stood up boldly and preached to the people, and Peter won 3,000 souls to the Lord!--Acts 2. This was same Peter who had been so timid and afraid when Jesus was under arrest, that he DENIED Him THREE times!--John 18:25-27. But as soon as he was filled with the Spirit of God, Peter suddenly became a very courageous and bold man who preached fearlessly to the MULTITUDES! Acts 1:8 says, "You shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My WITNESSES!"

And THIS is the main reason for the baptism of the Holy Spirit!--To help us overcome our natural feelings of shyness and to give us the POWER, the BOLDNESS and the COURAGE to WITNESS and share God's Love with others!

If the baptism of the Holy Spirit is anything, it is a baptism of LOVE!--And once you have that outgoing CONCERN and LOVE in your heart, you will just naturally want to reach out to others in Love and compassion, and will do so boldly! You may not be transformed into a flaming public orator like Saint Peter, but at least, by the power and transforming magic of the Spirit of God, you will be able to break out of the bonds of fear, pride and shyness, and freely reach out to others with the Love of the Lord! It's such a beautiful, liberating experience to forget yourself, forget the opinions of others, and to feel Jesus loving others through you! TRY it!

Has Jesus freed YOU from the pride and self-consciousness of shyness and timidity? If not, receive the Baptism of the Power of His Spirit NOW!--And you WILL be!--Simply PRAY and ASK Jesus to fill you with His Spirit and give you an overflowing love for others, and He WILL!--And you'll be freer and bolder than you ever were before! Praise the Lord! God bless you! RECEIVE HIS SPIRIT NOW!

(For more on how to overcome shyness, see "On Fire for God!")

Copyright © 1997 by The Family

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