Webster’s dictionary defines shyness as “the state of being timid, easily frightened, reserved, bashful, and shrinking from contact with others.” For the Christian, shyness can be overcome by relying on the Holy Spirit. The Bible explains this in 2 Timothy 1:7 (TLB): “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.” The Holy Spirit is given by God to those who place their faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as payment for their personal sin. The real key is learning to be filled with, and under the control of, the Holy Spirit. Meditating on Ephesians 5:17-21, Ephesians 4:30, and Colossians 3:16 will be helpful to those who are struggling with shyness.
Oddly enough, shyness can actually be a form of pride. Fear of what people will think about us and being overly concerned for the opinions of men (Ephesians 6:6-7; Proverbs 29:25) can be reflection of obsession with self. But the Bible says we are not be worried about the opinions of men, not to fear what men think about us or even what they say about us if we’re doing what we know is right. In fact, if we are striving to live godly lives, we can expect not to be liked (2 Timothy 3:12).
Timidity, shyness and bashfulness are basically fear, and fear is the opposite of faith. We overcome fear through faith from God (Hebrews 11:6) and love from God (1 John 4:18-19). Faith and love from God come from saturating the heart, mind, and life with the Scriptures (Colossians 3:16; Romans 10:17). For sanctifying ourselves (John 17:17) and overcoming fear, doubt and confusion, the power of the Word of God is unequaled (Psalm 19; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Besides becoming a Christian, learning to live under the control of the Holy Spirit, replacing fear and pride with faith and love from God, and saturating our minds with Scripture, we can add one more ingredient to overcoming shyness. The world calls it “self esteem” and “self-image,” but those are not biblical terms. The Bible explains it as living out the identity of who we are in Christ. Meditating through Ephesians 1, we see all that we are in Christ. Shyness is about us, but true Life is about Christ, who is our Life according to Colossians 3:4.
When fear or self-consciousness keeps us from reaching out to other people, that is a reflection of self-centeredness and pride. Starting a conversation and showing interest in others can be an expression of genuine love. When we’re filled with God’s power and motivated by love, we’ll be able to reach out to others in a way that makes them feel appreciated. Then the emphasis is on others instead of on ourselves, and we can begin to live in freedom, self-sacrifice and love for others.
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