True Lessons Learned
by Deb Matthews

[Deb's picture]

Welcome! Here's another true Christian story from my collection of things that have really happened to me (including stories about miracles, angels, Civil Air Patrol and God's love and blessings). This is from the seventies, about how the Lord helped me overcome shyness.

God's Cure for Shyness
Copyright © 2000 by Debra K. Matthews. All rights reserved

Sometimes God answers prayer in ways we least expect. Back in the seventies, I was so shy, it was an effort to really get out and speak to anyone. In Civil Air Patrol, it was different. Wearing the uniform gave me a certain 'belonging' and authority to do my job, but when it came to meeting people outside of C.A.P. (pronounced see-ay-pee), I just froze up.

Oddly enough, people at my church thought I was a great conversationalist, but really I was just a good listener. I could sit for hours with them and just listen to all the things going on in their lives. The funny thing was, I had lived neat adventures myself, but I couldn't just chime in and tell anyone about them. It was even hard to be at someone's house and pitch in to help with whatever they were doing. I was too uncertain about what to do and how; maybe afraid of doing it wrong, or saying something dumb, or just getting in the way.

I was going to Bible College weekday mornings, and working afternoons and evenings. Knowing I would be out in the ministry one day, I started feeling bad about not being able to get out and 'meet' people and really join in on the conversations and be a part of their activities.

On my way to school one morning, I prayed something like this, "Lord, please help me not to be so shy. Help me get out and talk to people." He began answering that prayer that very day.

I pulled into a space in the school parking lot, shut off the engine and gathered up my books. As I got out of the car and started to lock the door, I did my usual mental checklist. Books. Keys in hand -- I looked down at the case in my hand, flipped the keys down into it and snapped the cover over them. Lights off. Windows all up. Door lock pushed down. Satisfied everything was ok, I closed the door firmly and headed to the opening chapel services.

In chapel that morning, they went through the usual announcements, including a list of cars that had left their lights on in the parking lot. I listened carefully to the license numbers being read out. Mine wasn't one of them. Then everyone headed their separate ways for the business of the day.

After my last class at noon, I headed back out to my car. When I pulled my key case out of my purse, unsnapped it and started to flip the door key up, I suddenly realized the key and it's little clip-on hook weren't there!

It had to have been there first thing in the morning, or I wouldn't have been able to unlock the car at home. How could it be gone now?

I peered into the driver's side window then and saw it laying on the front seat. Then I remembered, it had been getting real loose from all the times I'd unclipped it and clipped it back in again when my mom had borrowed my car. Somehow, that morning it had decided of its own accord to just 'fall off' right on the front seat.

[Deb's car]Well, I knew that if I had a coat hanger I could get it opened myself, so I headed back to the school and asked the front desk receptionist if she had anything I could use. She didn't and told me a couple directions to go where I might be able to find something. I must have asked a dozen people before I finally found someone who could come help me. And each time, I had to explain what had happened. The guy and his wife who finally came out and helped me get the door opened had a good laugh with me. And we got into quite a conversation about the unusual emblem I had on my door from my Civil Air Patrol work.

I had to laugh on the way home. I had asked the Lord to help me get out and talk to people, and he had answered in an unusual way -- by me having to go around and try to find someone to help with the locked door.

A few days later, he answered again. This time, I sat in chapel and heard the usual announcements, including the lights-left-on business, and I know mine wasn't one of those read off. But when I got to my car right after noon, guess what! Somehow, as careful as I was with my little mental checklist, I had left my lights on and ended up with a dead battery.

Again, I had to search around for someone to help. The first few people who came out to the parking lot while I was there were just like me -- none of us carried jumper cables. One guy said he did have a highway emergency kit, but confessed that he wasn't sure how to hook the cables up right and was afraid if he tried to he might short something out.

I headed back into the school again and searched around for someone, talking to lots of young people before I finally found someone who could help.

Heading to work that afternoon, I prayed again, something like this: "Ok, Lord, lesson learned. I get the message. You don't need to work it through the car anymore. I think I'll just go ahead and take a step of faith and do my best to be outgoing on my own, without the embarrassment of car problems."

I think the Lord and I both had a good laugh over that lesson!


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Added May 7, 2000