Summer Vacation and Sharing the Gospel: Having fun and Overcoming Spiritual Shyness. 2 Timothy 1:3-12.

Shyness and Invitation

There is a song whose lyrics go something like this,

“Shyness is nice, and Shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life You’d like to… Coyness is nice, and Coyness can stop you from saying all the things in life you’d like to. So, if there’s something you’d like to try. If there’s something you’d like to try. Ask me, I won’t say no, how could I?”

Rather cute lyrics, to a lovely and funny and very interesting song.

…I love the people who are courageous enough to ask me…

But where are the people who are courageous enough to ask me?

Summer Vacation? It is that long awaited time and season of the year.

Spread all over the globe.

Spread all over God’s creation having their own special and unique kind of fun.

We are never shy about our having our fun. We want and need our family time.

Yep! We are never shy about having our fun. We earn our fun – are entitled to it!

“Shyness is nice, and Shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life You’d like to… Coyness is nice, and Coyness can stop you from saying all the things in life you’d like to. So, if there’s something you’d like to try. If there’s something you’d like to try. Ask me, I won’t say no, how could I?”

Rather cute lyrics, to a lovely and funny and interesting and intriguing song.

…I love the people who are courageous enough to ask me…

But where are the people who are courageous enough ……

To ask me about MY SOUL and the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

2 Timothy 1:3-12Amplified Bible

I thank God, whom I worship and serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayer’s night and day, and as I recall your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I remember your sincere and unqualified faith [the surrendering of your entire self to God in Christ with confident trust in His power, wisdom and goodness, a faith] which first lived in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am confident that it is in you as well. That is why I remind you to [a]fan into flame the gracious gift of God, [that inner fire—the special endowment] which is in you through the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible], for He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life—a life set apart—a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit—we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago], 10 but now [that extraordinary purpose and grace] has been fully disclosed and realized by us through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus who [through His incarnation and earthly ministry] abolished death [making it null and void] and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher [of this good news regarding salvation]. 12 This is why I suffer as I do. Still, I am not ashamed; for I know Him [and I am personally acquainted with Him] whom I have believed [with absolute trust and confidence in Him and in the truth of His deity], and I am persuaded [beyond any doubt] that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until [b]that day [when I stand before Him].

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Personal Shyness can be excruciating debilitating at times.

It has definitely affected and impacted my life negatively over the years. How many times has shyness stopped me accepting the invitation of life, too many?

Some folks might find this hard to believe, but I can be embarrassingly shy. It takes me time to feel comfortable enough to be myself in new environments.

There is a very definite and palpable shyness about me.

I’m better than I used to be.

Or at least I like to believe I am ….

Or maybe I am still playing myself for the king’s fool ….

Doing better or doing worse?

Some days it is almost impossible for me to tell myself there is a difference.

I’m sure folks who see me in my day-to-day stuff find this hard to believe, but it is true all the same. It takes me time to feel comfortable in my own being, in new company, with my neighbors and new situations. Thank God though that, by His Grace alone, these days it rarely leads me to turn down the invitation.

There have been times when I have hidden myself from view, literally hidden my face, afraid to pop my head above the parapet for fear of being shot down.

My mother and my kindergarten teacher knew this and saw how different and silent I was towards my fellow students on my first days at elementary school.

She took us all to school on our first days, but I reacted differently from my siblings who just so easily ran and freely joined the other children. I did not,

I walked through the doors of my new classroom, swallowed hard and sat down in the corner utterly overwhelmed and bewildered by it all. I did in time adjust and found a level of comfort in the crowd, but it took time. It has been the same throughout my life. I do eventually become a part of the whole, but it takes time.

I do not seriously believe I am alone in these feelings; in fact, I know I am not.

We all experience shyness in some form or another, especially when invited and take the first steps into something new, particularly if is something that might be wonderful, but will definitely make them feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.

By the way we are always uncomfortable, vulnerable, that is the nature of life.

Think about the first time and that last time you walked into a new community, a new neighborhood or a new school or new classroom you became a part of. It takes time to feel you belong and can be wholly yourself. I know it does for me.

For those about to go to college, away from home, for the first time, far away in another state or in another state – you are moving into the university’s dorms, about to move in with another human being who will be your roommate for the four years or even more – yes! shyness can be good – In the beginning of it all.

Shyness is a beautiful thing, so long as it does not stop or short circuit us from doing those things our hearts and our souls’ desire. It’s ok to feel the trembling excitement of shyness, but it can become unhealthy if it burdens, enslaves us.

The Irish Poet David Whyte writes that “Shyness is the sense of a great unknown, suddenly about to be known. It is the exquisite and vulnerable frontier between what we think is possible and what we think we deserve”.

This is an exciting feeling actually. Yes, there is fear there, but perhaps also an excited kind of anticipated joy too. It is not in and of itself a negative feeling.

To me these feelings are the essence of the spiritual journey, which is not a safety-first way of living and breathing by the way.

No, it compels us to deal with powerful feelings and discover new ways of being in the world. This can feel quite daunting at times but should not cause shame.

It is natural, healthy and necessary actually. To just brashly step into anything without any shyness can lead to problems not only for ourselves but others too.

These uncomfortable feelings are needed as we explore the great new mysteries life is offering us. This is the invitational nature of life and the Gospel of Jesus.

That said we are not alone in these feelings, no matter how alone we might feel, this is why it is so vital, so critical, to be a part of a community that journeys on through these adventures, inviting us onto the great unknown that is our lives.

2 Timothy 1:7-8 Amplified Bible

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible],

Timidity: https://www.blueletterbible.org/rsv/2ti/1/7/t_conc_1126007

Timidity: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1167/rsv/mgnt/0-1/

Spiritual shyness is that uncomfortable feeling or sense of anxiety that grips you and me when we have an opportunity to talk with someone about the Lord.

We have all been there, haven’t we?

The opportunity presents itself, even on vacation, but we choke under pressure.

We are on vacation to have fun, relax, decompress from all the stress of work.

We need to be with our family and our friends to quite simply: max out our fun!

Most everyone we encounter – campers etcetera, are there to do the very same!

We are the last ones who want or desire to interrupt our fun and someone else’s.

We do not want, nor do we desire to be a “killjoy” of someone else’s fun times.

We kind of tell God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit “its ok to take a break, find Shalom, take several Sabbath Days or weeks of rest from having to deal all of the time with all of our moaning, groaning, perpetual bent towards sinning.”

It is okay, God! Take Your Rest! Because that is exactly what we are going to do.

We take our rest! We seek or Shalom! and gave God permission to seek His Rest!

So, we then unexpectedly encounter that “stirring deep within our souls.”

Our hearts subtly, suddenly, become “strangely warmed” by a close encounter.

It is God who refused our “invitation” to go on His much-deserved vacation.

God is whispering into our pursuit of Shalom:

“HOW IS IT WITH YOUR SOUL?”

“HOW IS IT WITH “YOUR NEIGHBORS” SOUL?” sitting alone with their drink at the bar, with their feet propped up on the ottoman by the nice warm fire?

And we effectively – DO NOTHING to respond to the stirring within our souls.

Spiritual shyness afflicts all of us at times.

In these situations, we never quite get around to asking someone “the big question” about their soul or offering “the invitation” to come, seek Jesus.

Matthew 10:40-42Amplified Bible

The Reward of Service

40 “He who receives and welcomes you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives and welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous (honorable) man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives to one of these little ones [these who are humble in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water to drink because he is my disciple, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.”

Back in the early 1900s, Henry Ford purchased a large insurance policy for all his employees. A newspaper got wind of the story and publicized the details.

One of Ford’s close friends, who was an insurance salesman, read about it and became quite upset. He called Ford and asked why he hadn’t purchased a policy from his company. Henry Ford simply replied, “Because you never asked me.”

How many of our family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances could say to us, “I never believed in Jesus because you nor anyone else never dared asked me to?

“I never joined God’s family because you never invited me to.”

What is our vacationing God trying to communicate to us about our neighbor nursing their drink all alone at the bar or with both their feet up, by the fire?

Paul reminds us “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power.”

God is the One who can be on vacation and at the same time “tame” our fears about whatever it is we are fearful of or whatever it is we believe we are being shy about. With prayer and discipline, we can vacation as an effective witness.

“Shyness is nice, and Shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life You’d like to… Coyness is nice, and Coyness can stop you from saying all the things in life you’d like to. So, if there’s something you’d like to try. If there’s something you’d like to try. Ask me, I won’t say no, how could I?”

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Here we are again, Lord, 

At thy Invitation, we are here again ……

With much timidity and with much trembling ……

on our knees, trying, pleading, seeking thy Face,
Crying mercy.
Mercy for our souls,
Mercy for one another,
Mercy for our churches,
Mercy for our nation,
mercy for our world.

Here we are again, at thy invitation,
Standing in your presence
in awe of you your holiness,
your otherness,
your mystery,
and your incarnation

With much Timidity and with much Trembling,

seeking Your Holiness,

seeking to be more like You

and less and less like our true and embarrassingly timid selves,

Acts 1:8 Amplified Bible

But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.”

From my wholehearted timidity into and unto thy resurrection courage ……

Give “thy teeth” today unto, into my prayer and my affirmation of faith ……

A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside by thee.
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

https://translate.google.com/

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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