No Longer Shy

No Longer Shy

March 20, 2017

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

I was reserved as a child. When my parents started attending a church, I didn’t want to be separated from them, so I refused to go with the other elementary school kids. I enjoyed my comfort zone, just a few feet away from my parents. As an only child, I was accustomed to a predictable life, free from siblings. I was afraid of being in unfamiliar territory.

What if I couldn’t find anyone to sit next to me in kid’s church?

What if I had a question, but I didn’t know who to ask?

After many months of comfortably sitting next to my parents in the main service, my mother decided to give me a little pep talk.

“You are going to try the children’s program soon,” she said. “When you go into the room, look for the other kids who are by themselves. Show interest and ask questions about what they like. If you care for others, you won’t be lonely yourself.”

That conversation with my mom helped me reframe my young fears. At first it was hard to overcome my nervousness to talk to other children I didn’t know. But over time, I learned to say hi to any girls who were sitting alone. My fear of being separated from my parents turned into an interest in others (with a little prodding from my mom). I became more comfortable — and now almost 40 years later, I still follow my mom’s advice when I’m in a room filled with people I don’t know.

Look for the lonely.

For many of us, it’s easy to walk into a crowded room and either stick with the people we know or hide in a corner with a phone. Yet in today’s key verse, we’re instructed to consider others, even if it costs us something. When you’re shy, it’s difficult to make that first move toward a stranger. But as God’s children, we are called to reach out to others, which is an act of service to the Lord.

This idea of reaching out to others isn’t just for children’s church, work parties or networking events. It’s the way a Christian ought to behave: looking outwardly, looking for the lonely, looking for ways to bless others.

In this context of being affectionate to each other in brotherly love, the Apostle Paul writes we are to be diligent and fervent (Romans 12:11). Not lagging in diligence means not being lazy when serving the Lord. To be fervent in spirit means to glow with enthusiasm for God. Romans 12:13 says we are to contribute to the needs of the saints and to be given to hospitality. Our hearts, homes and pocketbooks should be open, generously and joyfully creating opportunities to reach out to those in need.

In our brief key verse, the phrase “one another” is mentioned twice, denoting just how important loving others is to God. We are to be devoted to one another and to honor one another. Verse 16 continues this theme; we are to live in harmony with one another.

Herein lies the cure for loneliness and shyness.

Be “one another” minded toward your brothers and sisters in Christ. Look for the lonely. When you look outwardly to serve others, putting the spotlight on your family, friends, neighbors, pastors or co-workers, you won’t be lonely very often. Shyness melts away when God’s people make a heart-to-heart connection.

Although I’m an only child, I do have many brothers and sisters … in Christ. You are not alone, my friend. You are part of God’s beautiful, loving family.

Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me first, which gives me the ability to love others. Help me notice those around me who need a special touch from You. Use me to befriend the friendless. May I overcome any inhibitions to become the caring person You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Hebrews 13:1, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” (NIV)

1 Peter 4:9, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Everyone has felt lonely before — maybe you’re feeling lonely now. So where do you go when there’s no one to turn to? Click here to get your copy of If You’re Lonely, Read This: A 25-Day Guide to Finding His Presence; yours FREE with a gift of any amount!

CONNECT:
Need more help connecting to others? Visit Arlene Pellicane’s blog today, for 10 conversational questions to improve your “one another” skills.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have you been feeling shy and/or lonely recently? Think of someone who needs your prayers today, and reach out to that person with a call, email, text, note or visit.

© 2017 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Eric Williams says:

    Funny I went from shy kid, besides being able to dance in public, to searching out others who may be shy and lonely. I am now an introvert.

  2. Arlene, you were moved with a gentle nudge. For me, it was more like a 2×4:

    We’d moved, and I went from a country school class of three third-graders to a full classroom of fourth-graders. I changed from chatty to quiet, from raucous play to hanging on the sidelines, from quick to speak to whispered answers. My parents worried about the waif who’d taken their daughter’s place.

    I remember the moment clearly. A classmate was making a presentation–her words flowed easily, and she was having a good time. I envied her: heart-breaking, evil envy. And instantly, that envy was cut off with a booming, “the only thing in the way of you talking like her–is YOU!”

    That was the first time I heard the voice of God. Some say I haven’t stopped talking since.

  3. I’m not sure I was shy as a child, I’m not sure what you would call it. I was told alot as a child that ” Everytime you open your mouth stupid comes out ‘ . I’m still at times very uncomfortable talking because I know I’m not as good with my words as most. And if I do talk to others i always think to myself ‘ oh Myrna shut up just shut up ‘. Funny how things said over 50 years ago still have a hold.

    • DeAnne Henderson says:

      I understand! I always hear my mother telling me that nobody wants to be bothered by me. So, it is very difficult for me to go up and bother some lonely person. Also, on a purely selfish note, why didn’t anyone ever minister to me all those times I was alone, left out and ignored?

      • Oh Myrna and DeeAnne, my heart breaks for the precious little girls you were, and how your spirits were abused! I’m going to pray that the Holy Spirit records a new song on your soul, you are worthy, you are valued, you are precious, you are mine. Your thoughts and words do have value, play the new song!

  4. Robbin Smith says:

    Last night I had the privilege of taking the Acteens from our church to our first block party. 5 young women loved on members of our community and connected with the lonely. In the weeks prior to this outreach we discussed their fears, sought scripture to direct our paths and prayed. Last night the light in their hearts was just as bright as the smiles on the faces of the children they interacted and played with while loving one another. I know they are equipped and capable of finding the ones who need to know and understand love one another.

  5. I love your mother’s advice:
    “Look for the lonely,”
    and, “If you care for others, you will not
    be lonely yourself.”

  6. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this word of encouragement! I have come out of my shell a good bit since childhood but still find it difficult to take the first step in conversing with others in unfamiliar territory.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Amazing devotion! Thank you very much!! You always bring very encouraging words!

  8. Tia Donahoo says:

    Thank you for this encouraging word. I am currently still quite shy and often times feel alone in rooms where there are many people. I am going to try to open myself up and reach out to others. I never thought of it the way you put it but we all should see it as an act of service to Christ to search out those that are lonely. Thank God for that Word!

  9. Colleen Pierce says:

    I met one of my dearest friends by following this same advice. Aren’t mom’s wise? I was in college, feeling homesick, called home, and at the end of the call, mom sent me out to find another lonely looking lady to do something with. I met Stephanie on the sidewalk a few minutes later. We became nearly inseparable the rest of our college days and stayed in touch even as we moved to other parts of the US. She passed away nearly 6years ago, but what joyful memories we made from our lonely encounter. Now I share the same advice with my 12year old who entered the big pond of youth group this year. When there isn’t a lonely person to encounter in my loneliness nowadays (I’m home alone most days with the 4 kids), I am comforted by the promises of God’s lovingkindness in Psalms, who meets me every day and doesn’t find any of my chatter to be annoying like sometimes people do. 😉

  10. Very beautifully written. Thank you for reminding me of my truth. That we all can and have felt lonely in crowds of people. That sometimes, if we are honest with ourselves by reaching out to other lonely people we truly are reaching within ourselves..we heal ourselves by healing others. And who knowx you might just befriend someone that will play a miracle role into your life God usually uses people for his very presence to be felt in the lives of all. Love is expressed in the warmth of a smile, a hug, little things that truly express the presence of god …so next time you see someone sitting alone try reaching out to them…that person might be the answer to your prayer … Or you might be the answer to theirs.

    Gbu

  11. The post is encouraging, it gives me a different perspective at entering social situations. But I don’t want shyness or being an introvert to get a bad rap, like it is a hindrance or obstacle. It is a personality trait, and God gave it to some of us for whatever His plans are. He doesn’t make mistakes, so who we are is good. And nothing is impossible to Him so we can be used no matter who we are. I just always felt like I couldn’t be effective because I’m an introvert, when that was never true.

  12. Often in social situations I feel like I am a little-or a lot obnoxious. I don’t want to be that person who is alone, so I insert myself into a group who is already engaged in conversation. Only later, when I look back over the events of the occasion, do I realize what I’ve done. Last evening during a choir meeting I determined to find someone sitting or standing alone. It was great to meet with and get to know a little more about some of my fellow worshipers.

  13. Shirley Stallworth says:

    This peace really touched me. Connecting to like energy

  14. I was always lonely and still am. I like people but can’t do crowds. I prefer a quiet setting or one in one conversations. Everyone considers me as being shy, and I don’t mind. I like peace, quiet moments, where I can hear my thoughts, but I feel bad when I enter a situation so awkwardly not knowing what to do or where to sit… a room full of people talking is my greatest fear

  15. Thanks for letting the Holy Spirit use you. God bless!

  16. Susan G. says:

    I loved this!
    Thanks!

  17. I was never a “shy” person growing up. Now that I am in my 40’s and have been a stay at home mom for the past 20 years, I find myself not only shy but unsure of talking in general. I am so insecure about opening my mouth and talking for fear I will say something that is so dumb or ridiculous cause I just don’t feel intune with anything anymore. I use to love being alone and having the quiet time. Now I fear I have too much and I am a mess cause of it.

  18. I’d like to thank you for this amazing testemony. God really talks with me through this because I’m immigrant in a country and I’m really feeling alone this period. It’s not easy. But I know that God is with me. Without him I’m really nothing. Thank you so much and I hope God bless you guys.

  19. Hi, B! I am glad to know that you know and have Jesus with you in this very different situation. With Him, we are never alone! I will pray God sends you friends who are believers in Jesus who will love you well and show His great love to you and others. There is someone who needs a friend just like you, B. God bless you! Deborah

  20. As a kid I was very talkative, very outspoken but for some reason later on in my school years I was very shy. I wouldn’t want to ask/answer questions and became lonely. I began to stutter in my young years and was always embarrassed when I would stammer and decided to just have small talk, not long conversations. As a college student this is always an issue for me because I would avoid presentations, front desk/cashier jobs and even group events.
    Not only is my stutter a reason but also I say somethings that may come out as stupid or dumb and I get the stares…this has caused me to be very insecure.

  21. Genevieve says:

    I could sense God speaking to me through this message. I’ve been described as painfully shy. Unfortunately its been a tremendous struggle for me and I’ll be 34 this year. God is asking me to make a move. I feel much like the little girl you described. However I understand the necessity of this change. I appreciate this message. Thank you for sharing.

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