“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2Tim 1:7)
The word ‘fear’ it means ‘to be afraid in general’. But in particular, it refers to ‘fear of men’. It means to be timid or to be shy. How do you recognize a shy person? I know it very well because before I gave my life to Christ I was a very shy woman. Shy people fear crowds’ they fear to meet and talk to strangers or to people who are different than them. They fear rejection from men. Shy people feel comfortable only with themselves. They are happy when they are alone. They feel free to talk only to people who are familiar with them. But not with strangers! I remember how in the past, when I meet a stranger, I will panic saying something like this in my heart…’I hope this man does not want to talk to me…How long will this man be here? I hope that time passes quickly before I go my way… If I have to talk, what I will say…I am sure that this man will laugh at me’. These questions will go round and round in my mind, making me restless and anxious. I will breathe fast and sweat more than normal. But once I arrive home and become alone, I relax and become happy. I will play my piano, I will read my book or watch TV…That was ‘my world’… From the outside I looked unfriendly but in my heart I wanted to change. I could have lived my life like this to the end ignorant of any hope to change.
Then I gave my life to Christ. Hallelujah!!! My life changed radically, from inside out. Then the Holy Spirit called me to ministry, to be a pastor. I live in Nigeria, so almost everybody is different than me. My shyness incapacitated me. Me a Pastor? Me a Preacher? Me? Impossible! It is like God telling a blind man to paint a rainbow, like telling a deaf man to compose a symphony or like a barren woman to be a mother of children. It was impossible in the natural. Was there any hope for me, to serve God, to obey His call? The truth is that after I made peace with God I became better. But the final victory for me came after I became filled with the Holy Spirit. My mind and my heart became new. I lost this stupid shyness and became strong and bold. ‘Old things passed away and everything became new’. I will surprise myself how I will meet total strangers on the streets and ask them spiritual questions. I did not care about them rejecting me. I was now ‘accepted in the Beloved’. I was confident of my identity in Christ. I lost the fear of men judging me, persecuting me or betraying me. The demon of shyness had lost its grip on my heart. In its place, the Holy Spirit filled me with power, love and sound mind. God’s Spirit took charge of my soul. I wanted everybody to become saved. I became talkative. I became free. My husband was worried at the beginning. I shared my testimony with anyone who wanted to listen. Some received me and my words. Some rejected me. I felt no pain… Only joy and gratitude that I can serve God! The river of life was flowing in my soul, faster and faster, until it got lost into the ocean of grace, the sufficient amazing eternal wonderful grace of God. And that is all that matters! Glory to God!