I was at a conference yesterday. It was called Faith Over Fear. The title made me think about my own fears. About how every time I speak in public, I fight my fear. Each time I choose my faith over my fear. I spoke about this briefly yesterday to a room full of strangers but today I am going to speak about something I have dealt with for most of my life. Social anxiety.
Social anxiety is defined as an emotion that is associated with discomfort and fear. When a person is in social interactions, which involves being judged or evaluated by others. That is it in a nutshell. I have always felt alone even in a crowd of people. Never felt like I fitted in with everyone else. But I desperately wanted to be involved in the things going on around me but my nerves wouldn't let me. Always thinking if I did this, what was the next person going to think, say or do. Then by the time I made a decision the opportunity would have passed me by.
Most people that know me don't even know that I struggled with this. Mostly because the times that I was around them, I had already battled it out. I have had to have long deep conversations with myself for days before something as simple as going over someone's house. And I would absolutely not ever do anything spur of the moment.
So if you have ever invited me somewhere and I did not go. Or if you ever seen me in a crowd and I was sitting quietly by myself. I either lost the battle in my mind or I was still actively engaged in it. Looking back I also realized that I have lost friendships due to my anxiety as well. I would constantly think that I had nothing to talk to my friends about which would keep me from calling or visiting. Which would keep me isolated and make the whole situation worse. It was a crazy vicious cycle and it was all in my head.
TD Jakes referred to anxiety as the sneak attack of the enemy. And that is so true. No one looking at me would know but the enemy had taken over my mind. I had let him in and my thoughts had become his playground.
But let me tell you how good God is. There were many things I asked God to take away from me. Things that I wanted to fix and change about my life. But I never asked Him about my anxiety. But when He cleaned me up and filled me with His Holy Spirit, my issues with anxiety were gone. God took it away because it did not belong there in the first place.
The enemy still tries to come at me with that nonsense. But now I recognize it for what it is. And I stop it in the name of Jesus. I still get nervous when I speak but my faith is stronger than my fears. So if you have issues with anxiety or know anyone who does, encourage them to read this. Or share my thought with them. Let them know that God can help them with it. Anxiety ain't nothing but a trick of the enemy. Remember that the devil is a liar. And tell them to put their faith over their fears in Jesus name, Amen.
Philippians 4:6 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
1 Peter 5:6-8 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Matthew 11:28-30 28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Psalm 55:22 22Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Proverbs 12:25 25Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.
John 14:27 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.