Dealing with fear (5)
Relationships. Social anxiety is a very common fear, and it can have an impact on our relationships with others, whether that’s relationships with family, friends, work colleagues, or even just a random interaction with someone we don’t know. We can worry about what other people think about us, we worry about doing something stupid, or what others might say to us or about us. Our fears of being hurt or humiliated can lead us to avoid other people and distance ourselves. But God designed us to be part of a community, where we can draw on the love and support of others: ‘Let us not neglect our meeting together…but encourage one another’ (Hebrews 10:25 NLT). When the fear of other people’s opinions means we try to be something we’re not, we reject what God created us to be. If we find we’re having to pretend in order to fit in with a group of people or to maintain a friendship, it’s probably worth asking God if we’re surrounding ourselves with the right people. Proverbs 29:25 says: ‘Being afraid of people can get you into trouble, but if you trust the Lord, you will be safe’ (NCV). Our worth isn’t based on what other people think of us, it’s based on what God thinks of us – and He loves us unconditionally. We need to hold on to that fact whenever we feel social anxiety building. Let’s choose to rely on God’s opinion and God’s love before anyone else’s, and join in with the psalmist’s words: ‘The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ (Psalm 27:1 NKJV).
Whenever you’re about to head into a situation that could bring on social anxiety within you, say the words of Psalm 27:1 to yourself.
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