In Relationship (with Others): Being Timid and Unassertive

It takes me a lot of courage to say I’m sorry, but it takes even more courage to openly admit that I’m hurt or disappointed by others (and then forgive them).

My standard procedure when I’m hurt (seriously) is smiling, say nothing, going away, and crying alone. I rarely reply when somebody gives an annoying comment. I just laugh when someone makes a bad joke that somehow hurt my feeling. I remember one afternoon when I was still in college and my boyfriend of 2.5 years broke up with me and explained that he had fallen in love with someone he just knew for 2 weeks. My reactions were: saying nothing, smiling and gave him a kiss in the cheek, said, “take care”, and got off the car. Well, what else could I do? I just don’t have the clue how to express my disappointment or disagreement in good healthy way.

Even my boss in the office told me to be more assertive – in which, I finally did it when I couldn’t stand being bullied for months by the contractor. I finally stood up in the meeting and scolded the PM. Haha, surely it was one of the most satisfying achievements of assertiveness I’ve ever had in my life. Even the PM’s staff later told me that no one had ever got the guts to talk like that to the PM. And since that day, the PM treated me with much more respect than before, and even formally requested my company to post me again in Abu Dhabi for the project (which I was veryyyyy glad that my boss didn’t agree with his request). Well-done, but it’s kind of once-in-the-life-time event.

There was time when I was much braver than now. When I was a little girl, anyone who disturbed me would get a nasty look, and if they’re out of luck – a punch. Hahaha. But it’s true. I could be very fierce in defending myself, but as I grew up, that character seemed to be disappeared. Gone. And here I am, totally changed to be a wimp! Well, people who’ve been somehow hurt by my blunt honesty in the past may disagree with this. But that’s what happened in the past 10 years. I’ve gone clueless and even clueless when it comes to the time I have to stand up for myself.

I mean, what kind of person who waited for 13 years until she got the courage to tell someone that what she keeps doing are hurting her? Well, that’s me. And my silence actually just hurt our relationship even more because the person didn’t have any clue that she’s actually hurt my feeling, and she would continue to do the same mistake. Only last weekend when I finally found the courage of settling down the matters with her – someone who always claims that I’m her best friend whom always understand her, be there for her in her worst time – while in fact I always hide my disappointment from her.

I always find that it’s much easier to ask for forgiveness than to confront others. Even now, when I absolutely feel disagree with a conduct of one of my church friend, I find myself feel very frustrated with his manner, and can see that some people will get hurt in his way, but I can’t say anything! Not any single thing. Oh dear God, please help me 

I found Piper’s sermon about this very issue based on Galatians 6:1-5.Verse 1 says: Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Piper highlighted that God does require us to help in bear another’s burdens (because we love her/him in Christ) and reminding them about their sin is one of the ways in bearing another’s burden. But then he also confronted in his sermon about our pride and self-reliance in confronting others – or not confronting others. He even said that being timid and not assertive is coming as result of our pride.

I feel like being slapped in my face. I’ve been battling with my timidity and incapability of being assertive for a very long time now. And now I learn that my timidity doesn’t mean I’m humble. It just means I’m full of pride of myself because I thought that I AM SOMETHING to feel that way, when actually I’m just nothing in front of Christ (For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself – verse3). My difficulty in standing firm doesn’t show that I’m meek – but it just shows that I’m arrogant. Ah, I remember just yesterday Rev. Tong said in his sermon – the word ‘weak’, starts from the alphabet – W. It looks like two arms raised up above – glorifying one’s self. But the word ‘meek’ starts with M – like two arms pointed below, which shows humility.

I need Christ’s love and reliance in Christ alone to learn about true meekness. I need Christ to purify my heart, and my love so I can love others in a right way, to be able to bear their burden, both in their need of help and their need to be reminded of their misbehavior.

Piper continued: “Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though it were not a gift?” Which implies that if you are trusting in the Spirit of God for the gift of guidance and power to love, you cannot boast or be arrogant about the maturity you have attained. It is all of God. Examine yourself, Paul says, to see if you are relying on the Spirit in meekness like a needy child, or whether you are puffed up with self-reliance. The spiritual person will help the erring brother or sister by pointing only to Christ where there is healing. The proud person will not help, because attention will be drawn to himself where there is no healing at all.”

Who am I oh God when I’m angry if someone has offended me? Who am I to say that they’ve been doing wrong things to me? Who am I oh God so I can feel the pain? Because it’s always me and my pride, the I in me – and not You, whom I always try to exalt. And if I’m given the love to feel concern about someone and his/her misconduct, who am I oh God to glorify myself and feel that I’m better from them, more righteous than them?

I guess after all, this is much worse than just being timid and not assertive. My main problem is my unbelief in God, the pride of myself, so I fail to put myself in the right position in my relationship with God and others.

Another struggle, another battle, and may God help me!

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