For years I have lived under a wrong assumption. It has been very much of a relief to realize that I was wrong! That's a funny way to express it, I guess, but in this case it is wonderful!
I feel like I have been freed from bondage. Being a naturally shy, quiet person, it has been hard for me to just walk up to someone and begin to talk (much less witness). Years ago ( probably 25) I was greatly intimidated by people, especially people who were bold and walked in what I thought was what I SHOULD be like. They were my heroes. I wanted to be able to do what they did with such ease and passion. At the same time being horrified at the mere thought of doing it.
I had one friend - actually a friend of a friend - who was speaking and I felt like I should have her pray for me to have boldness. But, I was too afraid to ask her, and besides - what IF I did get that bold, what would I do? What would my husband think? It was just more than I could handle.
For years, I have lived under the guilt and condemnation that I was not bold, that I was a spiritual failure, that I had let God down by not being bold.
Just this week, I heard someone teaching on "being bold as a lion". I almost turned the channel because it brought so much pain and reminded me again of how much a failure I have been.
Well, what this person was saying showed me that my interpretation of bold was the wrong one. Bold is not being aggressive, or loud or forceful (not that my friend is any of these, but that's what I thought I had to be). Bold is simply walking in the knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done for me. It is being who I am. It CAN be aggressive or forceful, but it does not have to be.
Wow... I can do that! I have to tell you that when I realized that I can be me and still be bold, then I relaxed. I don't have to fit into a mold or standard set by me or anyone else. I just have to be what God created me to be. He created me to normally be quiet and soft spoken. That is how He wants me to be. I can be bold and I have been bold in a much different way than my friend. I am bold when I speak with conviction and assurance. I don't back down, but I am not aggressive. I may be forceful, but it is not loud.
God, in His creativity and wisdom, created much diversity. I now know that I need to celebrate my difference and be comfortable with them. I am not going to be held to the same standard of someone who was created to be bold in a different way. I do not have to be like them and they do not have to be like me. We can just relax and be thankful for the way God created us and the plan that He has ... because it is a plan to prosper us and to give us hope.