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When I was in ninth grade, as the year was winding down, it was time for everyone to get their yearbooks signed.
Like everyone else, I knew that my measure of worth had something to do with the quantity and quality of signatures that I could get in my yearbook.
Back then, it included everyone, from your best friend to kids you hardly knew to your favorite teacher.
I guess it was the closest thing we had to Facebook in 1995.
I don’t really remember how many people I got to sign my yearbook, I’m sure it wasn’t an overwhelming number, I never really liked junior high all that much.
What I do remember is one signature, strangely enough, from my math teacher.
I always seemed to have great math teachers, ones who were smart, funny and cared for the students, so I asked this popular teacher to sign my yearbook.
Let me paraphrase what he wrote, since it’s hard to remember exactly after all these years:
I think you said three words to me all year. Best of luck.
Mr. Math Teacher’s Name Went Here
Three words? Three Words?
Well, mister popular math teacher, there’s something you ought to have known.
That was three more words than I spoke to most people that year.
It wasn’t because I hated people, I didn’t even dislike that many people, only the bullies were given that dishonor.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say, I’ve always had a lot of opinions.
I was just shy.
I’ve gotten better over the years, but it has been a huge obstacle for me to overcome, even in the comfort of a home church where I have great friends with whom we have obeyed the edict of 1st John 4: 21 “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (NKJV).
We live in a society that highly values extroverts. Those with quick with and fast speech. That was always tough for me to deal with growing up, but thankfully God doesn’t worry about it and he has helped me to see that he can still use me to talk to people, despite my own lack of skill.
God reminds me all the time that He called men like Moses, Jeremiah and Timothy, men of great value who feared that they might not have the golden tongue to convince people with the message that God had given them, because He is strong when we are weak.
Has God ever asked you to do something despite your weakness in that area? How did you respond?