Good Advice

Jim Burns answers your questions
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I'm Too Shy

I wish I could be outgoing. I'm kind of introverted, and I get intimidated easily. When I'm around some people, I just don't say anything. When I do speak, I feel like it comes out jumbled up and dumb. Every time I am myself, I feel like people are looking at me strangely. I feel like people don't know the real me. I talk a lot at home, but in church I'm not as open. I just wish I could act the same with everyone. When I see outgoing people, I wish I could be outgoing, too.

You are in the process of growing toward maturity. Most people feel the way you do at some time. I'm outgoing and just yesterday, I was with a group of people who totally intimidated me. I felt like what I was saying was all "jumbled up," and I felt "dumb," too. It's so true we're more comfortable at home and in any environment where we feel at ease. There are certain places where an introvert feels more comfortable and certain places where an extrovert is more at ease.

Let me tell you why I like introverts. They are usually much better listeners than extroverts, and listening is the language of love. They are often more sensitive to others' needs. They may not talk as much as extroverts, but when they do, they often have something very important to say. They think before they speak; I speak and think at the same time and it sometimes doesn't make sense. Introverts can go to a social gathering or church youth group and have a very good and meaningful conversation with one person. In the same situation, we extroverts will far too often just have a shallow conversation with everyone.

I hope you'll learn to celebrate your personality. Extroverts may seem to have the handle on words and social settings, but I think a secure introvert who loves God and has a proper self-image is the strongest influence in the world. Instead of worrying too much about being an introvert, acknowledge God's creation of your life and even his part in creating your personality. Celebrate being you:

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Psalm 139:13,14).

Speaking Out About Religion

I believe in God and I love him very much, but I think that no one has the right to say whether God exists or doesn't. I don't think people should say their religion is the best. No one should push others to join their religion. No one religion is better than any others, and none of us has ever seen God. What do you think?

Discussions on religion and politics always cause arguments. Just this week, I saw a television news show with a Christian debating a non-Christian about religion and politics. Even though I agreed with the Christian about salvation through Jesus, the authority of the Bible, and his stand on morals and values, I was embarrassed by his mean-spirited behavior to the non-Christian. He was disrespectful and didn't listen to her beliefs.

On the other hand, I have no problem with Christians sharing their faith and talking about their beliefs and experiences with the Lord. Honest dialogue is not offensive, but obnoxious behavior is insulting and hateful. The important thing is the way we communicate our beliefs.

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