I hear it again and again.
I think my quietness often makes me come off as unapproachable, unkind, or even a little stuck-up. This is something about myself I have often resented because who wants to be seen as those things when in reality they aren’t any of them?
I’m sure I’m not the only one that is unbelievably introverted and painstakingly shy: quite the deadly combo if you ask me. Here’s the thing. I love people. I love getting to know them and find out what makes them who they are. But, unless that person is driving that conversation, I just don’t know how to do that. What questions do I ask? How do I show that I can relate without making it about me? How does this whole “making friends” thing even work?
I’m sure more than one of you have had a conversation with me where I just looked at you awkwardly because I didn’t know what to say or ask or do. Maybe you have actually had a great conversation with me, who knows. But if so, I guarantee you that it took every fiber of my being to not make it awkward.
It’s just who I am. I can do my best to get better, but really there is no changing it. But you know what? I’ve learned that that is okay. I don’t have to be the best conversationalist. I can be awkward. I can be quiet and shy. I can be all of the things that make me who I am.
Why? Because while those are things that I might not always like about myself, they bring out qualities in me that I am proud to have.
I might not talk much, but I am an excellent listener. I try to show you I relate or that I care because I DO. I empathize and care deeply about the people in my life. I might not know how to show it in a not awkward or “normal” way, but hopefully you can feel it.
1 Peter 4:10 tells us that “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.” Being able to make small talk with others? Not one of my gifts. Making new friends? Not one of my gifts. But that is okay because God gave those gifts to someone else just like he gave me the gift of being a great listener and feeling empathy for others.
1 Corinthians 12:14 says, “For the body does not consist of one member, but many.” It takes all of us bringing our gifts together. I can’t do it on my own and neither can you. But when we bring our gifts together and have God on our side, I know there is nothing we cannot do.
Instead of thinking about the things you cannot do or the things you aren’t good at, think about the things that you excel at. Maybe the things you aren’t good at even make it that way, just like me being naturally quiet leads to me being a great listener. Whatever it is, choose to see how God uses us all as pieces of His puzzle. It can’t be put together without each of us. So forget about what you can’t do, focus on what you can, and choose to see the light that comes from everyone working together and supporting each other.