Do you know in real life? If you do, you probably know me as someone who is always talking and usually joking. You may know me as someone who is friends with everyone. You may even know me as someone who speaks up on things that matter and continues to push them until I get my way.
But I didn’t start out that way…
I was not always so talkative. Growing up, I actually wavered somewhere between shy and quiet. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true! While my family and close friends knew me to be the motormouth I really am, I did not really let that show in public. I did not cut jokes. I did not speak my mind. I did not raise my voice. In middle school, I started to come out of my shell, though. The point I remember best happened in 7th grade. I had come down with strep throat during the Blizzard of ’93. I distinctly remember coming back to school and being a little wild and crazy. I blamed it on the antibiotics (and the Tylenol with codeine), but that was when I started to become me.
I was never really a fighter, and to be honest, I’m still not. But, when I was younger, I avoided confrontation like the plague. I would much rather have a friend than an enemy any day, but there were definitely people who I did not get along with. They were people from my school, from church, from my neighborhood… Most of the time, if I had problems with someone, I just vented about it later. (This is probably why I have only been in 4 physical altercations over the course of my life.) In college, I learned how to deal with conflict head-on. No, I did not become a fighter, but I became a person who was able to deal with confrontation. I learned to be truthful about the negative feelings I was experiencing, even if revealing that information was upsetting.
Now that I’m an adult (and getting older by the minute!), it has become very important to me that my voice and my opinion are heard. When my voice is squelched, when I feel powerless in a situation, I will become confrontational. This is on a regular basis. In a time of turmoil and/or stress and anytime my biology becomes me, there’s a metamorphosis that occurs and mild-mannered, easy-going Me turns into a super hero (or maybe even a villain). Able to be set off with one lonely text message, flying into storms of rage against the machine, leaping into personal conflicts left and right… All of a sudden, I’m wrapped up in conflict left and right and I wonder how what I said and did led to that point.
My biology emboldens me, but it’s only temporary. There is a lasting boldness, an assuredness that doesn’t go away. This holy confidence comes from God. I want to be bold for the Lord, using my spiritual gifts as He sees fit. I want to be able to speak up anytime it’s important, not just when I get riled up and agitated.
1 Corinthians 16:13
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”
Help me through these trying times. Help me to stand for what is right, even if I’m the only one who seems to be standing. God help me to persevere; embolden my tongue, but only to say what you want me to say. Shut my mouth if I’m speaking out of my own selfish desires and wants. I’m your servant, Lord. Lead me, direct me, guide my feet. Thank you Lord for always listening to my prayers. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Richard Smallwood (He Won't Leave You)
I woke up this morning with this song on my heart. Thank you Lord!