2 Timothy 1:7 New King James Version (NKJV) 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
A few summers ago, I volunteered for two weeks working with Revive Wales, where Christians work together with churches in the South Wales valleys to make Jesus known. I won’t go into further “general” details, because to be honest, you’ll find out a lot more about Revive Wales here: http://revivewales.co.uk/about/)
Over the year and during the summer, Revive teams work with different churches. The summer I volunteered, the Revive team went to serve in Abertillery, a hilly town in the South Wales valleys. The week consisted of prayer meetings, activities for children, evenings for youth, and outreaching into the community by doing various activities such as spending time in local pubs striking up conversations, and offering to help people in any way possible e.g. car washing; gardening; inviting children to the children’s activities and youth to the evening events… A week to be led by God, and see His hand at work!
There were always people praying in the Prayer Room, and sometimes they would receive text messages from those on the Street Team, who would ask for prayer; those in the Prayer Room would then pray for the Street Team’s situation live-time! Each evening we would come together, and each team (Youth, Children, Street, Prayer…) would share amazing testimonies from their day.
I don’t often dwell on my experience with Revive, but the encouragement I received during those two weeks is for life! The words of those I volunteered with stay with me and lift me up in trying situations, even years after my time with them; testimony itself to when a bunch of brothers and sisters in Christ come together with serving hearts, and also to God’s amazing grace and timing.
I’ve never been a particulary confident speaker; even now at the age of 23, you won’t find me saying more than one or two sentences during a work meeting. During primary school, I would ask my friend to take my book up to the teacher for marking. During high school, I would begin presentations and end (or sometimes begin) them by crying into my hands.
It was only in university that I started to really grow in confidence. I remember giving a French presentation, and feeling proud. Not just to have spoken my university-girl French and delivered a presentation to my classmates, but to have finished the presentation – and without a tear.
Whatever it was that held me back then, I am happy to say that it doesn’t hold me back now. Although of course, I am still me. Like I said, I’m not one to talk too much in a work meeting, or in a group setting. And the idea of speaking up in a room full of people, whether it’s family or church-family, doesn’t exactly float my boat. I just feel more confident speaking openly one-to-one, or in small groups, with those I know well.
Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to investigate my personal “timidity”- but I just want to share with any other timid/quieter/reserved characters out there: it’s totally okay to acquire such a quality!
During my week with Revive, I was so encouraged. Encouraged that God created all of us for a purpose, and that even we as “quiet people” can be such blessings and encouragements to others, however much we feel like it’s impossible.
I hope to encourage you with some kind words from some brothers and sisters in Christ. Words which they actually used during Revive to encourage me, and are for you too!:
- You’re gentle, yet strong
- God will make use of your gentleness and strength so much!
- God has made you with enough – everything at hand for you!
- Your place within the body of Christ is so special and important
- You are an encouragement to your fellow siblings in Christ!
- God did not give you a spirit of timidity (2 Timothy 1:7) ; but rather a quietness of spirit
- Your humility is an encouragement to other members of the body
- You are a beautiful child of God, inside and out!
Girls & guys…we may be quiet. We may be gentle. But know also, that we can be bold. Especially with God at our side, fighting our battles with us.
I like this oxymoron: Quietly Confident
Personally, I was so encouraged by being told that gentleness is such an attribute for a woman of God! I thank the Lord that we are all made different and that there is a time and a season for everything: whether quiet, loud, chatty, silent, confident, reserved – God loves us just the same, and values every one of us always, so much.
I thank the Lord for the specially set time for “encouraging” during the time I volunteered for Revive. I think that “encouraging” is a really positive step to take as part of a Christ-loving and neighbour-loving community.
Sometimes we may not even realise when we are being a blessing or an encouragement to another – but thank the Lord anyway that He uses us, shapes us, and that we may *shine* for Him.