Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel at peace? Are you always wondering how to endure awkward conversations with strangers? Is your self-confidence so low that you dread social events, avoid leaving your house, and use your smartphone as a way to avoid face-to-face contact? I can’t fix these issues for you, but I can share some scripture that has helped me in moments of social anxiety. As someone who used books to avoid conversation for the first 13 years of life, I have a decent idea of what it means to not have confidence. Here are some verses that bring me peace and correct my perspective:
“I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”
The number one key to confidence is to remember that Christ is always with you. You’re never alone, you’re never unseen, and you’re never forgotten. God sees everything you do, say, or think, and He loves you through every moment. For me, the biggest reason for my social anxiety was a fear of loneliness. I was used to being the last one picked for group projects, the youngest kid at church, or the only kid who didn’t want to play sports. I was afraid that if I stepped the slightest bit out of line, the few friends I did have would leave me for someone or something better. If I had realized that Jesus, the coolest friend ever, was never going to leave me, maybe I would have had more confidence to make mistakes and let myself stumble through conversations.
“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.”
Ah, sweet relief. We don’t have to guide ourselves through life! God, the one who sees and knows everything, is guiding us every day whether we see it or not. He has a purpose, a destination, in mind for us that He is constantly nudging us toward. Not only that, but he is teaching us to profit. God doesn’t want us to just survive, He wants us to thrive. God created us for relationship, and He wants us to thrive socially. Does that mean you’ll become the most popular girl in school or the smartest guy in class when you accept Jesus? No. But it does mean that He wants you to find community that pushes you closer to Him. Even God the Father is in constant relationship with the Spirit and Jesus. What makes you think you don’t need relationship?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Thankfully, struggling with anxiety isn’t as hush hush as it used to be. People are more comfortable than ever talking about what makes them uncomfortable. God didn’t create us to just deal with our anxiety though, He created us to break free from it. Anxiety can be crippling at its strongest and awkward at the least. God wants us to walk in confidence that He’s got this. When you get married, you learn quickly that communication is essential to the success of any relationship. If you don’t communicate your needs and expectations, your spouse can’t please you. Although God knows all of our thoughts before we even think them, He still wants us to go to Him with our burdens, joys, and dreams. He wouldn’t tell us in the above verse to let our requests be made known if He didn’t mean it. When I feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable, an earnest prayer for peace always provides relief. God wants our minds to be at peace, not chaos.
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
I love this verse because it encapsulates so much wisdom in just a few lines. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” is such a good reminder for those who struggle with anxiety or worry. We could all use a reminder to be thankful. When I count our blessings, the things I’m worrying about usually start to seem pretty silly. Yes, I have student loans to take care of, but Tim and I have jobs that let us put food on the table and parents that let us use their Netflix subscriptions. A grateful soul is a content soul, and a content soul is a confident soul. The last half of this verse is especially helpful for finding confidence, though: “above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” One of the hardest parts of being a pastor’s wife is having to make conversation with every stranger or friend that comes up to me, oftentimes when I’m in a frenzy trying keep Sunday morning or Wednesday night running smoothly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pray “dear Lord Jesus, give me your love for everyone I encounter today, because I can’t look at one more person without it.” When we clothe ourselves in God’s love, which was a cause for Him to die for, then we can look at everyone with kindness in our eyes and a smile on our face, regardless of the day’s circumstances or the moment’s responsibilities. When you are kind to others and unlock Christ’s love in your heart, people will be drawn to you. When people are drawn to you, you’ll have a much harder time being anxious in social situations.
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?”
1 Corinthians 12:14-19
Lastly, I want to remind each of you that you are essential to the Kingdom of Heaven. God has a purpose that He created you specifically for. He gave you certain strengths, weaknesses, and experiences because they are going to be used to bring Him glory and spread the hope of the Gospel across the earth. If you compare yourself to others, you’re discounting the individual that God created you to be. Have confidence that God didn’t make a mistake with you. You have valuable things to say, and play a crucial role in more lives than you know. True confidence comes from trusting God in everything. Take heart in this, and you’ll be unstoppable.