Coping with Social Anxiety

For years, I had suffered with social anxiety. I was afraid that others simply would not like being around me. When in small groups, I would panic. Scary thoughts would would run through my head and I'd break out in a cold sweat. My gosh, what if she notices my blotchy skin? What if I say the wrong thing and look like a dork? Thoughts of me stuttering all over my words haunted me. Oh Lord, why did I have to be the insecure one in the bunch? 

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Throughout my teen and early adult years, I panicked whenever I had to go out in public. The spirit of fear had latched itself onto and held on tightly. I desperately wanted to be like everyone else, but there was always a blockage. Everything I did always resulted in me being uncomfortable because I was never able to be myself. My insecurities ate away at me like, and I became a recluse. Later on I discover the verse, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7, KJV. Nothing about me was sound! I was a total wreck!!!! 

God begin to deal with me concerning fear. He revealed to me that He was never involved in any of the anxiety and panic attacks that I had gone through. It was the enemy of my soul, Satan. The main goal of Satan was to stop me from reaching others for the Kingdom of God. I knew God had a calling on my life, but my insecurities prevented me from pursuing ministry. For years, I would shrink back when asked to speak or teach on a subject that I felt I was an expert in. I knew the answers, but was afraid that others would not accept me. All my talents were going to waste. I knew there was something I had to do.  As a result of this revelation, I came up with three simple ways to overcome fear. 

1. Pray. When faced with fear, immediately start praying. Pray for peace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will start to soothe you and calm your anxious heart. Whenever I would get upset or full of fear, my heart would beat so fast that I thought I was having a heart attack. I would break out into a cold sweat and immediately seek cover. The Lord did not give any of us a spirit of fear. So immediately, start praying. Ask the Lord to give you serenity. 

2. Analyze.  Ask the Lord to show you the situation from His perspective. What exactly is going on? Are you in any immediate danger? Is there any help readily available to you? Calm down and take a deep breath. Monitor your surrounding. Pace yourself and realize that the Lord is right there by your side. He said that He would never leave nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5); therefore, you need to trust that He is there. Analyze the situation. Are you overreacting? Did you drink too much coffee or have too many sweets? Did you get enough rest last night? Many times, our habits can cause us to become jittery. 

3. Retreat Remove yourself from the situation if it seems to overwhelming for you. I know that I have had to remove myself from social gatherings in several occasions because I could not deal with the fear of not being accepted by others. At the time, I had not been taught how to deal with fear. I was simply going through the motions. If you do not feel the need to remove yourself, give yourself a quick motivational pep talk. Tell yourself that you are an amazing person. There's nothing wrong with boosting your own self-esteem. Now when I am faced with fear of being around others, I tell myself, "Hey, how can they not like me? I have the favor of God all over me!" 

Practice speaking positively to yourself daily. Write Scripture, affirmations, pep talks and more on sticky notes and place them around the house, in your purse, locker and/desk. When faced with fear, pull out a note and say it to yourself over and over again. Repetition is key to getting these thoughts and Scripture in your head. Once you realize how special you are to the Father, you will be less fearful and more wonderful than ever. 

*Anxiety can be caused by a medical issue, also. Please check with licensed professional.