Don't be fooled by things that sound great without checking them against God's Word. This is an interesting quote and it sounds so true. A typical paraphrase of this thought would be, "If I stop living for others I'll feel better. I need to start living for me."
This is where the incomplete advice comes in. Should we live to please others? No, of course, we should not. But if we're not living to please others what should we be living for?
If we live for ourselves we will find ourselves running around the corner only to find the road has led us right back to where we started - social anxiety.
I am a former slave to social anxiety and I can tell you I was far more concerned about myself than others. Yes, I cared what they thought of me. But ultimately I cared because I wanted them to think certain things - in other words, I wanted the world to love me. I wanted the world and others around me to serve my needs for affirmation. On the surface, my thoughts may have been about pleasing others but in reality, it is just another way of being concerned about pleasing me.
I was living for myself and it left me empty and afraid.
Here's a Biblical perspective on how social anxiety can really be overcome.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear..." 1 John 4:18
Perfect love casts out fear. What is "perfect love"?
The Bible tells us that God IS love. Since He is the love itself than His love by nature would be the perfect love we are talking about. So what does His perfect love look like?
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
His perfect love is a love that gives. In other words, perfect love thinks more about others than it does of itself.
Knowing God's love in a personal way and truly understanding this principle has freed me from the death grip of social anxiety.
Where I used to walk into a room thinking about how others could serve my need for social affirmation. Now I walk into a room thinking of how I can love or serve the other people who are already in the room.
I have no fear of missing out on their affirmations because I'm not there to get them. I'm there to give affirmation, build others up, and to share the love God has already poured into my empty spaces. He has filled my heart and mind and now it overflows to those around me.
If you struggle with social anxiety I invite you, even challenge you, to take a new approach. Give your life to Jesus, accept His perfect love, and start living to give love rather than to receive it from others.
Not only do the people of Austin, TX, need this love but it will change your life and set you free in the process of giving it away.