Can I be honest with you?
Sometimes I find it very hard to connect with other people. I’m naturally shy and reserved, would rather read a good book or spend hours on a computer alone, and often am tongue-tied when in a large group setting. This personality trait is, I’ve found, one of the hardest aspects of my personality to live with.
Growing up, it caused me all sorts of problems. I never felt like I fit in, it was virtually impossible to make friends, and just the thought of getting up in front of a classroom guaranteed me a failing grade in most of my classes. To be honest, I hated this part of me. I was consumed with fear and failure, which further aggravated the problems I faced. It was a never ending cycle.
When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I naively thought that this problem area would somehow ‘magically’ go away.
Instead, I found myself still battling this personality trait. I would watch others in the church who were outgoing, who could stand up in front of a crowd and fearlessly proclaim the gospel, and secretly berate myself for my failure to do the same. When I did force myself to ‘be bold’, the moment I opened my mouth I would begin to hyperventilate, then cry through my testimony, and in the end go home feeling very much a failure.
This began to affect my view of God, and our relationship began to suffer. I stopped praying, because after all, why would God want to hear from someone like me? In my heart, I began to pull away from ministry, and even though I made an outward show of faithfulness, the truth was that I wished I was anywhere but there. I stopped reading my Bible and began to isolate my heart, afraid that not only would my peers reject me, but God was sure to follow.
This went on for years until one day when God broke through.
It was a revival service, and it was one of the rare times I had answered the altar call, even though my answering had nothing to do with what the visiting preacher had preached. I just felt an overwhelming need to stand in God’s presence. I didn’t even know what to pray. I just remember feeling so alone, and full of shame, and grief, that I stood there softly crying. The preacher was talking, giving directions for prayer, when he suddenly stopped directly in front of me. I looked up at him and he said, “God sees you.”
Just three simple words that had so much meaning.
He went on to pray for me, he gave me a bit more direction, and every word was a gift from God Himself. I found myself shaken to the core, my shame and grief washed away, all because God saw me. Me! Me, with all my faults and hang-ups, with my inability to relate to other people, none of it mattered because God saw me.
I still struggle with this personality trait. There are times when I feel overwhelmed by a crowd, or my fear gets the better of me. But I’ve learned over the years that it’s okay. God created me, this is how He formed me, and He loves me just as I am. I don’t have to ‘perform’ to get His attention, and I don’t have to be someone else to please Him.
If you’re struggling with a personality trait, if there’s some area of your life that you feel overwhelmed by, let me leave you with one thing…
…God sees you.