I’ve written this post 4 times, and I kept deleting it, but this time, I am publishing it. This post makes me uncomfortable and I do not know why; it just makes me want to delete it, but I am not doing that again, but my sister was asking me about my experience, for she is going through a similar situation with shyness and being placed in new elements, and God has laid it on my heart these past few days.
When I was a freshman in high school, I was the shiest girl you would have ever met. If someone were to come up to me and tell me “Hello,” my voice would be shaky, I would hold my books in my hands over my chest as a way of managing the conversation, and I would never make eye contact with them. I would always sit alone at lunch due to being so bullied and non-trusting of the people around me, so I thought it would be better to be alone.
I was bullied extremely during middle and part of high school, but I grew to avoid it over time. One of the ways of ignoring them was to become invisible to them. I was forced into a shell, and once I was in that shell, I did not want to come out of that shell due to being afraid of being seen.
Due to being bullied so badly, I had really bad anxiety. I had anxiety attacks when I would wake up, for I did not want to go to school so I would try to fake sick to get out of going. I had anxiety attacks when I had to read in front of class, and I had anxiety during the times I had to speak in front of people.
However, by the grace of God, I am now the complete opposite than that girl, but it did take me going through some troubled waters to get here. People like my sister who is going through a similar situation asks me “How the heck did you break the cycle,” and it took a lot of soul searching, healing, and God’s love because the anxiety was so bad, that it was a miracle that He healed me from that.
I went to three Christian schools before switching to a public school, and the last one I went too was from sixth grade to sophomore year, and it was the worst.
Whenever I had to give a devotion in front of the entire school at chapel, I was shaking uncontrollably. You could see my legs shaking, my hands shaking, and it was bad. Whenever I looked at a teacher’s face, their facial expressions showed pity, for I would end up blanking, freezing, and stuttering, which caused me to have an anxiety attack in front of everyone.
When I finished my devotion one day in sophomore year, I ran towards the bathroom, locked myself in a stall, calmed my heartbeat, and sat there for 15-20 minutes. I was afraid of sitting with my class for I knew that they would mock me, make fun of me, and insult me, and I did not want to deal with it.
I was so terrified of speaking to people due to how hostile everyone was, that I didn’t confide or fellowship with people at church or at my school, and it also made me feel like God was somewhat far away when He was always there, so it did impact my walk with Christ in some ways.
When I went to the church I went to during high school, I never spoke to anyone, I only smiled, said “Hello,” and I sat with my parents. My mom tried to encourage me to go to youth group, but I was so afraid of going, that I never did due to being so shy and closed off.
At this point, I had no friends, I never spoke, and that is how I became the girl who sat by the window at lunch all to herself while never speaking to anyone. Teachers would come up to me and ask me if I was okay for I looked depressed, sad, and alone, but I would tell them that I was fine, but deep down, I wasn’t, but I did not want anyone to know what was really going on.
When I transferred to a public school, this was when I began to open up again. Before I went to a public school, my parents sheltered me, they did not believe in public education, and they wanted to protect me from the world, but due to financial reasons and me being bullied and shy, my parents decided to transfer me.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
My parents thought that I was too shy for a high school girl, so they wanted me to learn how to communicate with others, and they also wanted me to learn how to manage my life in society while not partaking in society. One day, I will be working, getting married, and having children, and my parents wanted me to learn how to live in society while still being a godly young lady that rejects what this society promotes.
In other words, my parents realized that I can’t stay sheltered forever, for I would have to one day face the world and choose to stay strong in Christ.
I thought that transferring was the “worst” thing in my life, but I soon realized that it was one of the best things my parents did. I instantly found some people who were very godly and sweet, and one invited me to her Bible study and I began to gain friends, which I wasn’t used too.
My walk with Christ began to grow, I began to become confident in Christ, so I began to let people in. I was no longer around people that were going to hurt me or force me into silence, so I began to finally be to be joyful and happy.
After six months of healing, praying, and growing in Christ, I wasn’t as shy anymore. God used those six month as a healing process for me. He placed people in my life, He placed events in my life, and He even began to speak to my heart and guided me more than ever before.
The more people God placed in my life and the more projects that involved me getting in front of people, the less terrified I became and the less anxiety I had. With time, I began to see that I didn’t care who was watching me, and I also did not wake up with anxiety anymore. At the previous Christian school, I was so worried about being judged, bullied, and mocked, that I did not use my gifts or abilities, and I placed myself in a box.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
However, when I was placed in a new element, God used that element to show me that I am doing things for His gory and not for man’s appeal. I was so worried about what people thought, about not being on their radar, and I was wanting to be invisible so no one one would see me, but while I was doing that, I was preventing God from using me.
When I realized that truth, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I began to pray over it, I asked for deliverance over my anxiety, I began to ask for boldness, confidence, and to not be overly shy, and He delivered me and placed a joyful spirit in my heart, and I thank Him everyday for it, because I cannot imagine being that scared and shy girl who sits alone in a lunchroom ever again.
I don’t know how to perfectly explain the miracle of how I went from being the shiest girl on the planet to being one of the most energetic ones, but I do know that it was because of God’s grace. It was never His plan for me to want to be scared of those around me, it was never His plan for me to live my life being invisible, and it was never His plan for me to be afraid to talk about Christ in front of people.
There are times where I do battle with some shyness or have an anxiety attack, but it is not like it used to be and I am still a work in progress.
Just know that you are not meant to please people, but you are meant to please God, so don’t put yourself into a box. Don’t be afraid to smile at everyone and do not be afraid to engage in conversation even if it’s with someone who is known to be sour, because they might be going through something.
Everyday, I make sure to tell people who walk past me that God loves them and to have a great day, and even if it’s someone who rolls their eyes at me or seems unpleasant, I smile at them and pray for them, because God loves them as well, and He can use me to show them the gospel.
“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:39
The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor, and I could not do that when I was being overly shy to the point where I wished to live life while being invisible, so I now have the goal to make everyone feel loved for Christ loved us first!
You never know who is put in your path, so don’t be afraid to greet someone while being joyful and outgoing. It will take prayer and endurance if you were shy like me, but He works unending miracles in our lives. Sometimes it won’t happen overnight, because mine took a long time, but one day, God will bring you out of that box that you were forced into and place you into happiness, joy, and give you a spirit of happiness.
The road I traveled to get to where I currently am was worth it, and it produced patience. Sometimes, you’ll have to go through a treacherous road to get to the end result, but when you look back, you see how far you have grown, and I am so thankful that God took me out of that time of my life where I was afraid to even make simple eye contact with people, because I don’t want to live in fear anymore, and you shouldn’t either.
You were made to stand out and to be a bondservant of Christ.
You were not meant to be placed in fear,
So stand out for virtue, honor, and diligence, and always be humble and kind, for you never know who you might encounter along the road you are currently traveling on, and while living a life of invisibility seems nice at times, in the end, it hurts our relationship with Him, because He calls us to be brave, so don’t be afraid to be brave and courageous, because with God, no one can stand against you!