Nothing else to be but You

Quietness has always been ‘me’. Always contemplative, I was never the person who owned the room and most of the time I hated being in new environments where  I would be forced to make friends, or where I was expected to be bubbly just for the sake of it. I’m not a showgirl by any means, but it was never something that really bothered me.

In year Eight I got into trouble with some of the girls at my school and fell into months of bullying, teasing and basically just a period of people taking advantage of my quietness. Because obviously, “quiet” means “pushover”; it also means “innocent”, “kind” and “peaceful”. It’s strange how often people make such bold statements about a person who hardly speaks and hasn’t had a chance to tell others who they are for themselves (how many times have I subsequently been accused of hiding my true self, when in fact I never told anyone that I was innocent and angelic–people chose to see me as such because I only talk when I have to). During that time I withdrew into myself a lot, and the one person I truly called a friend spent her time drilling into me, moaning every lunch time that I just kept quiet all the time. “Haven’t you got anything to say?” she would say, “why aren’t you talking?” It was months of variants of this dialogue that has today made me so paranoid whenever I’m with someone else and no one has spoken for a while. For some reason, regardless of whether we’re both silent, I’ll be singled out as the one that didn’t speak, making me a bore to be around.

I remember last year when I went to ARME camp. The friend who I went along with is very outgoing and makes friends very easily. I’ve always been comfortable being by myself; to think with myself and just observe others, but several times during our weekend together I felt as though I was dragging her back–and felt increasingly uncomfortable. To be honest, a lot of the time when I’m with a louder, more extrovert friend, I feel this way. I just assume that they feel they have to look after me…

So this year, I prayed for confidence and to be more outspoken. Basically, I asked God to turn me into someone else.

We quiet, shy people at church are always told that God will give us more boldness in the future; that we obviously don’t believe in the Word, or in God’s power, even, because we’re nervous to speak in front of others, or sing solos, or perform in any way–they tell us that they used to be like us before they let God lead in their lives—all of that nonsense. So they’re kind of saying that being quiet is sinful. It’s one thing to be scared to proclaim the gospel and to be ashamed of God, and it’s a completely different thing to just enjoy being quiet and meditative. Why would God want us all to be the same? One size cannot fit all.

It was only this week that I realised the only reason why I had prayed for boldness was because of other people’s problems. Other people favour loud extroverts, other people made assumptions about me; other people like to talk first and think later. The reason for my lack of confidence and low self-esteem was because I didn’t fit into a mould favoured by the mainstream, not because I had done something to bring myself down.

So, yesterday I prayed for self confidence. To be sure of my self. So that I would love myself, be happy with the person I’m becoming. I prayed that I wouldn’t let the negativity of others drive me to become someone else ever again. Sometimes we get too excited over the Elijah figures and the ferocious Peters, and brush over the thoughtfulness of our Moses’; people with the calmness of Daniel and our humble Esthers.  This is probably the reason why some preachers who say nothing of any weight and mar certain Biblical truths get the ‘Amens’ and appreciation they crave–because they shout and jump up and down. The ones who speak conversationally, presenting their message with calm rationality, are met with weariness.

I think it took me far too long to notice my qualities. I hope ignorance like that never drives me to pray in such a dangerous way again.

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3 thoughts on “Nothing else to be but You

  1. I had actually been contemplating John the disciple a few weeks ago, and this post reminded me of it! He was just as prominent as Peter, was with him in most situations throughout Acts, but he is only briefly mentioned while the spotlight is on Peter. John wrote 5 books of the Bible, and yet Peter is the one more remembered. I think it is actually really cool, because we get a glimpse of how God uses and honors different personalities. Peter and John were honored by people differently, but they both had the goal to to work for God’s name not their own. John humbles and encourages me that I don’t have to be like the Peters of this world to do his will.

    Sorry, I was just excited to share that with you! I really love this post and think it is extremely encouraging! 🙂

    • Ooohhh! Now that’s my study for the week planned! lol. It’s strange what a vital part John actually plays in the early church and you’re right–we don’t hear much of him, but we know God used him in his own way. I really love that, there’s a place for everyone’s personalities–whilst our characters need to take on the image of Christ, what makes us ‘us’, is down to the personalities we have. I’m happy you liked the post! Thanks for the kind words 😀

  2. Totally feel you on this one Abs. I remember being told that I was being stush when I was actually just shy around new people. I’m not so much like that anymore, but I used to always hide behind my louder friends until I learnt to speak when I want to and be quiet when I needed to, regardless of other people’s expectations. It’s interesting that Proverbs talks more than once about how sin and talking a lot often go together.

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