I never thought that I would be grateful for my weaknesses being pointed out to me, but lately I have been. I realized that I have so much learn, but one of my many experiences that I have had so far in my life has taught me to hope the impossible... that I can change. Now, I'm going to tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was a little girl growing up in a big world. As she slowly grew from a mostly carefree but extremely mischievous elementary aged girl into a preteen she grew shyer by the day and by the moment. No one knows exactly why. She grew quieter, more reserved, and introverted as she moved from junior high school to high school. Mostly it was because she believed that people would just not want to hear what she had to say as well as an embedded belief that she really wasn't worth the time anyway. Occasionally people around her acted interested in what she had to say and they would ask her questions. She would perk up, smile, and on rare occasions she would carry a conversation. On the days that she just couldn't muster up the courage and in her mind, audacity, to actually speak up she would give one word answers that she figured couldn't disappoint or anger the few who stopped to listen to her. The words were common enough that they couldn't be seen as unacceptable. Soon those who attempted to be her friend and to bring her out of her impenetrable shell would give up and move on. With so little to work with how could they be her friend? Few could.
She could see that she frustrated people. She could see that she needed to talk to have more friends, but then again who would want to be her friend if she did talk? They would get to know her and then leave because she wasn't worth it. Besides, most of the time she truly believed that they left because of her, not because she wouldn't talk. So she continued to not talk, people who tried continued to try and then fade away, and the cycle continued. Lots of things contributed to her desire to change and to learn but one of the major contributers was a boy.
She moved to another new school. Her fourth since leaving elementary school. It was the first day of school and she had been dreading it for weeks. She'd done this so many times that you would think it would be easier, but it seemed to just be getting harder and harder every time. Moving through the halls full of unfamiliar and intimidating faces the thought that had been running through her mind the last little while became more and more appealing. Why not just stop trying? I can get through school without friends, without talking to people. I'll become small, unnoticeable. Then I won't get hurt and no one will have to deal with me. She decided it was the best solution, so during lunch she found a place that was away from most of the people bustling around and pulled out a book. She continued this practice for two and a half days.
On the third day halfway through lunch, a boy walked up to her and stood in front of her. She could feel her face flush red and her heart started beating so hard in her chest that she could hardly think. If I just sit here and keep reading he'll walk away. She continued to act like she was reading (since she couldn't read her book because her hands were shaking so bad.) Instead of walking away like most people would he sat down next to her and slowly pulled her book down away from her face. She felt like crying because she was sure that he could see already what a flighty, worthless, wimp she was. Her face grew hotter and she could feel the tears pushing to get into her eyes. He studied her face for a moment with his hand holding her book down. She let her arms relax when she realized she was trying to pull her book back up. His blue eyes lit up as he smiled. He had blond wavy hair and he dressed like one of the popular boys in school. Oh my! I am not cool at all. He's going to find out.
"Hi, my name's Nic. What's yours?" She sat fighting with herself. Her head was buzzing and it took a while before she actually realized exactly what he had said. He seemed so nice and she wanted to say something, but she couldn't make her mouth open. Finally she managed to mumble her name. His smile broadened.
"Do you mind if I sit here?" She shook her head and continued to smile. He began by asking her if she had just moved here and soon they were carrying a real conversation. She couldn't believe it! She got home that night and couldn't stop thinking about him, but eventually she pushed the thoughts down because he would leave too. She didn't tell her mom about him because she didn't want to try to explain later why she didn't talk to him anymore. The next day at school she had fallen back into her old mood and had almost completely forgotten about the day before as she read her book. Her heart started to race again and she felt lightheaded as she saw his shoes standing in front of her with his feet in them from beneath her book. He came back! This time she let her book drop by herself and she looked up to smile at him. He smiled back and sat down next her.
"I saw yesterday that you didn't have a lunch so today I packed two sandwiches," he said pulling the sandwich out of his backpack. She felt her face flushed bright red as she fought with herself. Do I tell him or do I just take the sandwich and smile? Eventually she decided to tell him, and she was even more embarrassed because she had let him wait so long.
"I have celiac's disease. I really shouldn't eat bread," she said feeling her voice grow smaller and smaller. Now it was going to be so awkward and he would leave. Instead he smiled and asked her more about it. After a while he offered her other items from his lunch that had no bread in them. The next day he introduced her to a girl named Julia. Julia was absolutely beautiful and she had the greatest smile. Julia introduced her to a group of teenagers that would turn into the best friends that she thought she'd never have. Since then she slowly grew and changed. After having Nic be so nice to her she decided that she wanted to be more like all of her new friends. She wanted to be outgoing enough to make a difference in others lives. Slowly through a lot of unspoken work and fighting she changed. She learned to talk to people. She learned to not worry so much about what others thought. She learned to be herself. She learned to be happy. She learned to see the good in herself. She learned to love herself and by learning this she learned to be outgoing and she made her goal.
If you haven't guessed by now, the girl was me. I was the shyest person in the world. I was painfully shy, but I changed. The only reason I changed was because the Lord knew exactly who to put in my path to help me make it. My point is that if the Lord can make it possible for me to become outgoing and leave my shyness behind he can help anyone change anything about themselves if we ask. When I made the decision to change I asked Him to help me simply because it seemed so completely out of reach. But it happened! I know that we can change. He truly can make our weaknesses strengths. All we need is enough humility and willingness to let him work with our lives and mold them to fit our desires. So as we all head into life, there is hope!