Imagine being in a room full of people. Everybody is staring at you. You are standing by yourself and what you say, or do not say, determines the outcome of your night. You take a deep breath and then….
I know what it is like to be afraid of something that is not there. I know what it is like to be afraid of something that you cannot see. I know what it is like to be afraid of the ramifications of possibly making a mistake. I know what it is like to cry out for your mother as a child during an Easter Speech in front of your church because you do not know why all of these people are so interested in what you have to say. I know what it is like to take the long way around because you do not want have to immerse yourself in a crowd of criticisms, or congratulations for that matter. I know what it is like to not want to deal with it. I know what it is like to trip over your words when speaking because your tongue does not seem to know how to work in the most basic of social interactions. I know what it is like to be shy. I know all too well what it is like to be shy.
Shyness has been a persistent struggle that I have not been able to shake completely. I am fighting, but despite all of my victories I still focus on possible failure. People come looking for a word of encouragement and all you really want to do is turn around and walk the opposite way, no run the opposite way; but you know that there is a strength in you that would not let you do that. There is something in you that says; “Open your mouth, you can beat this, you have beat it before, the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Then you say to that voice; “You are right, you have always been right!” Then you proceed. You work through it. You talk through it. You push through it. Then something happens, the fear disappears.
Victory for you! …but short lived because inevitably something else comes your way that causes you to fear again. However, I do know that this fear can be broken. I have not broken it completely, but I have made progress and I look back on my past and all I have is sympathy and empathy for that young man because I know what it is like. God knows I know what it is like, but I know that, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I used that power to move forward. I became a leader on my college campus. I moved far away from home and asked the world for its best shot. I took a position in my organization as a facilitator. I know right, he is afraid of speaking, but his primary job function is speaking. I am laughing at that, too. However, it was a part of my plan. I knew in order to beat my fear I had to face it head on and so I did.
My Beat Shyness Plan (MBSP):
Attach to a Secure Base
- My Faith; I had something to hold to.
- My mother; I had someone to run to.
Make Myself Uncomfortable
- Growth is always preceded by discomfort, so I placed myself in situations that caused growth.
- I knew it would not happen overnight, but I knew it would happen.
- I had to keep moving forward, even in the face of fear and failure, I kept pushing forward.
That is it and it is working. I am still not all the way there, but at least I am not crying in front of my audience anymore. I guess that is not exactly true either. Oh well.