Bashful— I feel that way more often than I want to.
Recently, I was engaged in a conversation with someone I had not seen for several months and found myself being consumed by unwelcomed feelings of bashfulness. Shy, awkward and questioning my choice of words as we spoke.
Private hesitations-- inner thoughts I think no-one else can hear. Did my friend know I was squirming and unsure of myself in that moment?
All of his kind questions focused on how things were going at the church. There is no reason for me to be shuffle-tongued. On a performance scale we are in a boom year at the church with an abundance of vision-charged activity. So why am I suddenly feeling awkward to tell stories? Why is the fearless innovator shyly sputtering for words?
Thoughts ran through my mind as we spoke. “Don’t talk too much about yourself. Ask him about his life. Don’t brag. I don’t want him to think that I am larger than life. Why am I feeling uncomfortable?”
Childhood’s gravity still tugs at my ability to attach to others in community. As a pastor’s kid moving from town-to-town, I attended school in 13 different buildings by the time I graduated from College. I have lived in 15 different towns and cities. To date, I have lived at 27 different addresses. I learned early in life to replace people with more people, but I did not often learn to belong. The last kid picked for the team usually has little lasting regard for teams.
There is a tension in us between individualism and collectivism. God will redeem both.
We cannot follow Jesus without first letting go of social obligation and self-concept. As we walk with God, we are given a new vision of who we are and how to relate to others. Jesus talked about this self-denial as the first step to discipleship.
I can be at peace with my bashfulness when I believe that God gives special honor to the weak and He has placed me in meaningful connection as a member of Christ’s body.
Take a quantum leap with me for a moment. In order to know ourselves, every social construct and self-awareness must be reborn in the Kingdom of God. What is your understanding of who you are? What is your connection to others?