I sometimes have a hard time both praying expectantly and thanking God for answering my prayers. I expect that God will answer my prayers, so I’m no longer surprised when He does, then I sometimes forget to thank Him. It’s something I’m going to be working on. I’ve somewhat recently seen an answer to a prayer that I prayed a long time ago and that God has been working on answering since then. I had mostly forgotten that I prayed about this and I didn’t see results quickly, so it took my a while to realize what was going on. Let me explain.
I have always been very shy. I have a very difficult time talking to people without feeling awkward. I’ve never had trouble making friends, but social situations are just difficult for me. When I was younger, I had an especially hard time with it. I had to have my parents order food in restaurants for me (I was still a kid, but it shouldn’t have been an issue for as long as it was). My voice is very soft and I tend to stumble over words. I rarely spoke up in class unless called on. When I got a little older, it got to be frustrating for me to deal with social situations. I got shy when talking to someone and then embarrassed that I was embarrassed. I went through a time that I asked God over and over again to make me a little more outgoing and less awkward with people. Partly because it was so uncomfortable for me, but I also realized how hard it would be to tell someone about Jesus or show them His love if I am too caught up in my own emotions about just having a conversation or if I just avoided talking to people altogether. (I admit that conversations about God do not come up with non-believers nearly as often as I would like them to now that my prayer has been answered, but I feel a little more prepared for if they do.)
So after praying this for a while, I kind of weaned that prayer out and forgot about it, but asked for help being more sociable every once in a while. When I was in High School, my family went to a restaurant owned by our family friends. They asked me to work for them out of the blue. They wanted me to be a waitress. I thought to myself, “I would be a terrible waitress because I am terrible with people!” After some more encouragement from the owner and my family and after my volleyball season ended, I accepted the job and started waitressing. It took a while, but I was able to do it. I was constantly asked to speak up by customers and my face often turned red during work, but I got better and better at talking to people. I worked at that restaurant for a few years, then took another waitressing job for a summer.
When I was home from college one summer (making friends in college helped too) I got a random phone call after posting my resume on a job search site. They offered me a job as an event specialist at BJ’s Wholesale. Event specialist is a fancy name for the lady that hands out food samples. This job was honestly terrible. I had to stand for my entire shift (5 hours, but 10 hours sometimes) in an almost empty store, in an embarrassing uniform with a silly little hat, and had to try to get people to try and buy my products. If marketing doesn’t get you to talk to people, I don’t know what will. Coworkers had carts somewhat near mine, so I also talked one-on-one with them. This job was so boring that it made talking to people enjoyable.
In college, I studied psychology with working with children in mind, without even really thinking about what job I was going to get afterward. I started the job I’m at now the Monday after I graduated. This job is literally all about talking to parents. I’m still not great at talking to people and I’m not outgoing by any means, but if you had asked me if I would be doing this job when I was in high school, I would have said “no way, there’s no way I could talk to people all day.” But look at me now! God brought me to a point that I can talk to strangers without panicking and I can have a normal conversation with them. And I will hopefully be bringing glory to Him through my conversations and by helping families at this job!
Not only do I need to remember that God answers my prayers and that I need to be thankful for that every time, but I also need to remember that God does not always just give you what you want. This specific journey has lasted for probably 6 years in my short 23 year life. God challenged me time and time again to get me where I am now! An outgoing personality is not something that God was just going to give to me all of a sudden, but He has taught me how to talk to people through experiences that He has given me. God is so good and teaches us a whole lot of lessons. He really does answer prayers (so be careful of what you ask for, because you might have to work for it!!).
Thank you, God, for answering my prayer about becoming more outgoing and able to talk to people. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for giving me opportunities to learn how to be sociable, even though it was hard at times, and please use this new skill for your glory.