Our story is about a — you guessed — a turtle. Her name is Tiombe which means shy. Tiombe acted like her name. Tiombe acted so shy she didn’t want to come out of her shell. Every time a turtle came near she pulled herself into her shell. This caused and embarrassment to her mom. After the animal left, her mom explained she was safe and no one would hurt her. Tiombe hid completely in her shell. No face, head, legs, or tail were visible. Her voice sounded muffled through the shell.
“I don’t want to come out. Turtles or other animals may laugh at me or say something cruel. I feel safe inside my shell. I don’t know any other turtles.”
“You know me. I wouldn’t let any animal near you that would hurt you. Any animal that comes close is a friend of mine. Most are turtles like you. Please come out. It’s rude to hide when my friends come over to say hi.”
Tiombe pushed her tail out, one leg, then another, until she was standing on all fours.
“There, how is that?”
“Tiombe, I want to look at your beautiful eyes. I can’t if you don’t bring your head out. Come on, no one else is here. Later some of my friends are coming over for a snack of guppies that hatched. I’m sure you would like some and you can't eat with your head inside your shell.”
Tiombe liked guppies. They were small enough to eat easily. They kind of slid down her throat. Her tummy growled, so she said, “Okay. But if any one makes me feel uncomfortable, I’m going back in.”
“I'm glad you brought out your head. Now open your eyes.”
Slowly, she opened her eyes.
“You have lovely eyes. I like the way they sparkle. I told my friends about your eyes. They want to enjoy the color and brightness of your eyes. They should be here soon.”
Her mom’s friends arrived and Tiombe resisted the urge to pull herself back into her shell. She realized her mom had nice friends with pretty smiles. One friend brought her young turtle with her. Soon, Tiombe and Brandi, whom she had just met, started talking, laughing, and having a great time. Tiombe’s mom smiled as she watched them.
After their friends left, Mom said, “Tiombe I’m proud of you. You were talking to the others without hiding in your shell.”
“They weren’t so bad. I thought it would be awful but they were nice. I like Brandi. I think we'll be great friends.”
Friends are a blessing. If you would've stayed hidden you wouldn’t have met her or the others. You should be watchful and careful of strangers, but when I introduce you to someone you don’t know, it's not the time to hide. You need to trust me. Hiding is rude and it makes you look like you think you are better than them.”
“Thanks mom, for teaching me to come out of my shell. I had fun. Um, can I eat some more guppies?”
Laughing they went to the pond and ate a mouthful.
Do you know anyone who acts shy? Some people are afraid of others but most of the time the person is just thinking of themselves. They don’t want to talk to that person so they hide behind a parent’s leg, or go into another room. When you are introduced to someone be polite and say, “Hi.” Remember, if you are truly afraid of someone, the Lord is with you. It's important to tell your parents how you feel about the person you are afraid of.
The Lord will give you the courage to stand and face people instead of acting shy. Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Memorize: Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
Or Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Verses in NKJV unless otherwise stated.