img_1641.jpgI have always been told I am unapproachable or intimidating. Well alright…not always. It actually started my sophmore year of college. I am working on it….some. I changed drastically physically between my senior year of high school and the end of my freshman year of college. My body finally started filling out. I went from a size 46 chest to a size 59 in that span. I started getting into to weight lifting and my upper body just exploded. I remember coming home on breaks and guys that picked on me in high school would flat out apologize for it with no prompting at all. It was weird. It was right around that time that people started telling me that I was really intimidating. Honestly I am really not that intimidating…once you get to know me. I am a large guy and I have the “biker” or football lineman look about me.  I love it and some people are scared by it.

My smile. I hardly ever smile. It’s not becuase I’m not happy becuase believe me 99.9% of the time I am happier than most people. So why doesn’t a happy person smile? For me it’s easy. Dental trauma. Seriously. Here’s the story…

When I was in the 3rd grade I got my two front teeth broken out by a baseball that my dad threw. It was a freak accident and should never have happened. I had to go to the ER becuase it cut into my nerves on my front teeth. That night the put some plastic stuff on my teeth and I also had to have 10 stitches in my lower lip. My dad felt horrible. In fact my dad wouldn’t play catch with me for a month or so. Eventually we started playing catch again…man he felt so bad though.

From the there I had had 22 sets of front teeth. I don’t like to smile mostly becuase of that whole experience. It really traumatized me for the most part. Which sounds silly but it’s the truth. So I rarely smile. I do smile I just don’t feel like I have to all of the time.

Also I am a quiet guy by nature.  I have always been shy until you get to know me.  Once a person gets to know me I open up and am comfortable around them.  I have had people try to guess why I am like that wondering if it’s becuase of my family life when I was younger or if it’s just becuase I am just not a friendly guy.  Honestly I have ALWAYS been shy.  I remember my mom and dad telling people that we first meet that, “He’ just a shy kid.  Once he gets comfortable around you he gets more talkative.”  I can remember this even as early as 4.  God has made me as an extreme introvert.  That’s my personality type.  My advice is try to get to know me…it might just shock you at how approachable I really am.  All of my friends will tell you the same thing.  I am a very passionate but reserved guy most of the time.

So recently is has come up again that I’m intimidating and unapproachable. By a few different people. I don’t try to be or mean to be. I do think it has something to do with people not trying to get to know my heart for God and ministry. I also recognize it has something to do with the way I come across…even non-verbally. I am passionate about our student ministry and sometimes that comes across as being “defensive” about it. So I am trying something new to be more approachable….

Softer colors.  That’s right….it IS a pink shirt.