I have three children. My middle child, a son, struggled with some shyness as a child. His sweet smile, gorgeous brown eyes, and gold curls endeared him to any who saw him. He was beautiful to look at. But his little 4 year old self was uncomfortable -strike that, was miserable -meeting strangers. Being the modern, hip and oh-so educated, prepared parent I was I took on the task seriously. Determined, I was going to make him into a friendly, outgoing, social guy. After all, I had seen what an adult with chronic shyness syndrome struggled with and did not want that behavior hampering my son forever. I forced him through a variety of methods to cajole, encourage and enforce him meeting and greeting friends and strangers everywhere we went. I would not allow him to make any excuses and I refused to make any for him as I had heard others do: “He’s just shy.” “Sorry, we’re working on our manners.” “He just doesn’t feel good today.” My tactic was teaching him that he wasn’t being “shy” he was acting unfriendly. One is a personality style. The other, behavior that can be addressed and changed.
Did it work? YES! You can ask anyone who knows him now and they would have no idea Jake had even an ounce of shyness. As he got older, he attacked this as a personal challenge and forced himself to push through discomfort or inhibitions to speak to and be friendly to everyone. He now genuinely owns a straightforward confident friendliness. Even strangers become his friend easily.
Any overcoming was not because his mom straightened him out when he was a kid. His secret, the strategy is developing his relationship with Jesus. He truly believes “God did not give (him) a spirit of fear.” (2 Timothy 1:7) And because he believes that – what he does routinely is to speak to others not about himself, but about His Savior. His desire is to give Jesus credit, to be boldly grateful for what God has done, and to share this faith with others. Being silent or quiet, and definitely not embarrassed, is not an option.
“Jesus asks us to take our faith in “God out there” and find peace in knowing the “God right here.” ~ Shellie Rushing Tomlinson
Jake loves Jesus. Believes Jesus. Talks Jesus. His faith isn’t a Sunday morning ritual or reserved for the Christmas season. No, he isn’t a saint and he isn’t perfect. But he passionately loves the One who is. As his Mom and a very inadequate Christian, I am moved to do better just seeing how real God is to my son. Like Jake, I want to do the work to act boldly so that others will come to know Him.
During this Season, we have many chances to talk about the reason for the hope within us. Is there a better time than this? We who have been given much, must keep CHRIST in Christmas.
May we make the most of every opportunity to be a blessing to someone. In Jesus name.
To express your gratitude. To Jesus.
To befriend a stranger. Because of Jesus.
To share Jesus. Because of all He has done.
Make this Christmas merrier. For those alone, hurting, lost.
Will we boldly and joyfully say to friends AND strangers: HE is the reason this season is merry and bright.
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