What have you noticed about your personality through the years? Are you the same today as you were in high school or college? Throughout the years, I have been able to go from introvert to extrovert. It was a slow transition but it has happened.
One of my first recollections of being shy was in tenth grade. My twin sister, Francoise, and I were running together for student council offices. We were new to the school and didn't know anyone. This detail did not keep us from running for office. At lunchtime, Francoise and I would go campaigning. She and I would approach a group of girls together with me partially behind her.
It was scary going around the school yard asking people to vote for me. Because my twin was more outgoing than me, I would let her do the campaigning. It's hard to win a campaign when I couldn't even promote myself. As you might guess, I lost the campaign. She did too. What we learned from the experience is to have the courage to try new things. In John 14:27 NIV Jesus says, " Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
Since high school, I have taught myself to be more friendly to strangers. These days I am a business woman with Francoise as my business partner. The funny thing is now she is the introvert and I am the extrovert. With my personality these days I do marketing and PR work. She prefers to stay behind the scenes.
Before I go into new situations, I ask Jesus to go with me. I ask Him to put the words in my mouth and the meditation in my heart. When I focus on Jesus and others' needs, I am less self conscious. My focus becomes others' centered and less me centered. With the power of Jesus with me, I become more outgoing.
I am reminded of the butterfly and the cocoon. When the butterfly has grown and is ready to leave the cocoon, the butterfly arrives with brightly colored wings. I too have left the cocoon behind. I am wearing a mantle of many intense colors and am flying to new things.
Julie W. Andre', BS, MEd, MSW, is a retired educator with 25 years educational experience in the Jefferson Parish Public School System in Louisiana. Since educational retirement , I have had my own Mary Kay business, and an image consulting business. As an image consultant, I wrote a fashion booklet about line, design, and color. I was the fashion writer for a prominent local magazine which had sponsored a makeover contest.
In the last two years I have completed two writing classes with the Institute of Children's Literature. I have also been published in Northshore Parents Magazine with my pet diary article.
Since June of 2009, I have been the co-owner of a local stay-at-home pet care service. In the summer of 2011, I wrote and published a children's picture book called JJ's ABC's of Pet Care. It has been adopted by the St. Tammany Humane Society to be used for educating the children of St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana. This book is appropriate for pre-k through 3rd grade. It is also being added to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters educational component on its website. NAPPS members will have access to downloading the file from the NAPPS website for use in their own communities across the USA.