Is shyness a problem singles can overcome?

Shyness is one of the reasons many singles give for not going out, for not aggressively pursuing what they want in life.

But is it a reason--or an excuse? Is this type of meekness a valid psychological handicap--or a way to avoid fear, anxiety, and disappointment?

While it's true that some people are introverts and some are extroverts, this kind of withdrawl can be a problem shared by both. His friends often said that the late Johnny Carson was a truly withdrawn, introverted man, yet the side that he showed on The Tonight Show was that of a jolly, wisecracking extrovert. People saw Carson so often on TV that he insisted on keeping some aspects of his life to himself. Maybe it was more a need for privacy rather than true shyness.

Shyness = lack of self-confidence

My own shyness came from a lack of self-confidence. When I was in high school and even college, I constantly compared myself to smarter, more popular kids and felt that I came up short. So it was much easier for me to stay home and read, write, or watch TV.

But when I graduated from college, my first job was as a reporter on my hometown newspaper. My hiding days were over! It was the equivalent of being tossed off a dock and learning to swim in a big hurry.

Early in my years as a reporter, I learned one of life's most important secrets. Gradually I realized that other people were uncertain too, groping and struggling to figure out their own lives. I was forced to assert myself to get the story, and I often had to be aggressive to the point of being rude to cut through red tape and stonewalling.

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And you know what? I didn't die! Oh, there were times when I felt anxious or scared, but breaking out of my shyness definitely didn't kill me.

Is life passing you by?

The biggest problem singles face is that before you know it, life has passed you by. I wish I could get back many of the opportunities I lost because I had declared myself "shy."

Don't let your shyness turn into
an excuse for being afraid to try.

That's a danger we all face as singles. We look at a situation and think, "I'll be too nervous if I do that," or "I'll look stupid if I fail," or "It would just be too painful to even attempt that." Maybe you don't put it into words, but you lull yourself into believing that anything that's difficult or makes you feel uneasy wouldn't be worth the effort.

Let me tell you that those kinds of fears are not new. They're not limited to you or even the 21st century.

We see a perfect example of this excuse in the Old Testament, when Moses starts giving God reasons why he wouldn't be worthy to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to their promised land.

Moses tries to weasel out of God's destiny for him, asking "Who am I, that I should go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" (Ex. 3:11)

Like Moses, like you

Then God tells Moses the same thing he is telling you: "I will be with you."

Isn't that the ultimate antidote to this problem? Isn't that what sticks a pin in this balloon and makes it pop? But Moses was a worrying fanatic and even after God explained how he would work miracles through him, Moses still had the nerve to say, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." (Ex. 4:13)

But God had made his choice. Moses was his man, because he knew Moses better than Moses knew himself.

And so it is with you. You may believe that you're hopelessly shy. You may have convinced yourself there are some things you simply cannot do.

But consider this: Are you willing to risk missing out on the astounding things God will do through you and for you, if you step out in faith? The pattern in the Bible is unmistakably clear, from Joseph and Moses all the way to Paul. When God calls someone to do something, he equips that person with whatever they need to do it.

God will help you change

You may want to get married and being bashful is holding you back. I know what that's like. That's how I felt, too. But God is faithful. If you need to make changes to improve your opportunities, ask God to help you, then hold him to his promise that "I will be with you."

It won't be easy at first. You'll probably be afraid. You may have some failures and disappointments. Every small victory will be a stepping stone to the next and then the next. Every time you do something you thought you couldn't, you'll feel like dancing on clouds.

God doesn't want you to live a shrunken life. God wants you to live big, by believing and trusting in him. Resolve today,with God's help, to overcome your problem. If you're honest and you persevere, God will be with you every step of the way.

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