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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)

TITLE: zyxwvut, I'm Backward
By Wilma Schlegel


Things are often not what they seem. Take my sister and me. She’s outgoing, everyone knows it. I always longed to be like her, but they said I was “backward”. I cringed at the word.

You hear something often enough and you start to believe it. I’m “backward”, I’m not - what would it be - “front-ward”?! Backward actually means “behind others in development or progress”. Was that what I was, I wondered? And if I was “behind” than I believed I was less important than others. I thought I didn’t have a voice. And so I was quiet, shy and remained “backward”. What a vicious and self-perpetuating cycle!

What could be the purpose in calling someone “backward”? When I was referred to that way, did it make me say, “Why yes, I am “backward”, but your comment gives me just enough umpf to turn right around and become (yes, “front-ward”)! No, to a person who had learned to be shy, it was demoralizing. We are called to build each other up, not to discourage.

But it’s not all bad. I wanted to be outgoing like my sister; or that’s what I thought I wanted. Isn’t it a blessing that we have such a loving Heavenly Father? He takes our weaknesses and gives us His strength. David cried out to the Lord and the Lord heard him. In Psalm 138:3 David wrote, “When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.”! (NIV) Wow, even David needed the Lord’s help to be bold and stouthearted (what a great word!). When I learned about David I learned that I could cry out to the Lord, too. And the Lord hears me. If I’d not had a weakness, I might not have known I need the Lord. Praise God for weaknesses.

I’m still not like my sister, I have to work at being outgoing, but I’ve learned that most people are a lot like me. They just want to be noticed, listened to and accepted. So, with prayer, a caring heart and some effort, even a former quiet person can be outgoing. Sometimes that effort takes its toll on me and I want to stop trying so hard. I see that waiting "parking space" ready for me to "back" into again - but that’s ok. Even Jesus took time to rest and to be alone with His Father. I know it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me and that I don’t have a voice.

Look at some other greats who might have been called “backward” if judged solely on their visible outgoing skills. How about Moses? He needed Aaron to speak for him, yet he managed to free a whole nation with the help of God. I’ve already mentioned David, but how about Solomon? He asked for guidance and wisdom because without it he didn’t believe he was equal to the job. And how about Jesus? "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth." Isaiah 53:7 (NIV). Jesus was mocked, told to save Himself, laughed at.

Being quiet does not mean being backward and does not nullify the ability to be outgoing.

Things are often not what they seem. Now, I don’t mind if I’m asked to speak to a group; I love to have a microphone in my hand. (A microphone does wonders for a less than powerful voice!)

And my sister? She has addressed groups also, but I don’t think she needs a microphone! - I hope someday soon she realizes that she needs God.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Belinda Borradaile05/13/11
An honest encounter with this individual. So true-one does not need to be outspoken/outgoing to minister and be a blessing to others. One does however need God to be a blessing to people:)
Jackie Smithwick05/14/11
Very open and honest. I can relate, and think many artistic people can. But most importantly you are right about everyone needing God.
Bonnie Bowden 05/15/11
I can really relate to your story. I have always been a little bit shy speaking around others; however, I believe it has made me better able to express myself on paper.

I too hope your sister accepts Christ in her life, without Him we are nothing.