Let's Talk about stepping outside of our comfort zone as a shy Christian Introvert while navigating social Interactions. I've talked about Overcoming Social Anxiety over here in this blog so feel free to hop over there afterwards if that's something you've struggled with too...
Today, lets talk about talking to anyone, anytime and how to overcome this freak out moment we feel the moments we walk into a new space and feel overwhelmed, whether it's running into a neighbor, sitting next to a stranger and trying to not make eye contact, or attending events knowing you will be meeting people since it's....an....event! LOL (The blog mentioned above will deep dive into that for ya!)
I think most Introvert women don't find it extremely hard to talk to people, because we already choose to talk to a few people at a time anyway, AND those few people are usually, OUR people. It's when we get outside of our comfortzones and have to manage the anxiety that comes with unprepared conversations!!
This used to trigger me so much I would never go to social events alone, always hiding behind my extrovert friend....and forever, not making eye contact in order to avoid being called on in a group setting, or engaging in the small talk of meeting someone. Cuz you think it makes you invisible...haha, not so! They will just yell your name louder or walk straight up to your face and start talking! It's best to look up, just saying!
I don't know what's scarier, a big group setting or a small group. In big group, you can more easily camouflage in whereas the smaller groups, they can look you in the eye and start talking to you! EEK!!! It's not that we don't LOVE the people, its the trigger of sheer panic in the unknown of what's about to happen!
What will they ask me...What will I say when they ask whatever...Will I look stupid....Will I fumble my words...Will I forget my words...Will I have a piece of salad in my teeth from the dinner... Will they ignore me, make fun of me, see my insecurities....Will they reject me and exclude me from that point on from anything qualifying me as their friend or partner, or whatever the circumstance.
Just the thought of going to a new place alone would raise the panic into the Numb-Zone or Robot-Zone. If you've had panic and anxiety, you likely know the feeling of auto-pilot, avoidance, out of body experiencing of the moment, grasping for breath and control....controlling of your thoughts zinging all around in your head, your heart rate running on a treadmill and not stepping off any time soon, all the while smiling and listening to the actual conversation happening, not the one you are thinking COULD happen, or may be happening between the words layered on the ACTUAL one....oh boy what a spastic space!
Instead of completely avoiding, numbing, or anxiety amnesia and have no clue what happened, I would love to help you find some PEACE & JOY and STOP panicking when you talk to someone. It's gonna take being intentional with your energy and focus...and practice for your heart and brain to learn where it is safe. So, lets talk about the 3 things you can do to talk to others rooted in LOVE and not FEAR! By combining practical tips with the wisdom of scriptures, any shy girl can find courage! I SURE HAVE and let me tell you....it will change every part of your life, most importantly your relationships and even more precious, your relationship with Your Heavenly Father! Ohhh, it's gooooood. I am so excited for you!!
Tip 1: Prayerful Preparation
One of key things for overcoming anxiety is preparation. Before entering any social setting, PRAY and step into Grace the won't let you go! Take a minute and consider that GOD has not only pinned this day for you, but He is also with you. He also has not only equipped you for this encounter, but He is WITH you in it too!!! When we remember the Foundation we stand on, the presence He promises, when we turn our eyes on His purposes (I talked about this in the above blog), we can step into the unknown knowing we re not alone nd there is nothing we cannot handle with Him beside us.
Don't mistake nerves for fear. It's okay to be a little nervous, it IS the unknown. It helps me lean more onto God for His help with words, energy, focus, purpose, comfort, wisdom, discernment. As I prepare, I am entering into worship of praise. Praise and Worship move the focus off of me and fretting about all I am not, and instead, focus on all GOD IS!
So, deep breath and lean into Philippians 4:6-8, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Think on these things..." the are GOOD!
Tip 2: Listening with Love
Instead of dwelling on the fear of saying the wrong thing, or wondering what they are thinking, shift your focus to genuine listening. Proverbs 2:2-5 encourages us to "turn your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding." By actively listening, you not only connect with others on a deeper level but also alleviate the pressure of constant talking.
Most people enjoy talking about themselves and I found this to be a great way to deflect from myself having to talk, and risk being judged. Sadly, while this helped me be a great listener, I became a good stuffer, hiding my own thoughts and feelings to feel safe and unseen. Learning to listen with a filter of Love means genuine exchange, giving and receiving between each one, including YOU!
Tip 3: Anticipation not Anxious
Scripture emphasizes the importance of fixing our eyes on Jesus during challenging times. Hebrews 12:2 encourages us to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the perfecter of faith." When we recognize that our racing heart and lump in our throat can come from sheer panic as well as extreme joy, as I sit in worship, sit in Love, I can reframe my brain to seek anticipation of something amazing about to connect between us. I consider what if I am being sent by God to be His hands and feet, His heart hug to this person. What a humbling thought to consider, being a vessel of hope and love to someone else in Jesus Name.
As Christ followers, this is our purpose! We bridge gaps of Heaven and Earth with Love. If we surrender our hearts nd minds to God, He can more feely move through us. It is a wondrous freedom!! Fear submits to faith and faith leads us into Love where we find joy and peace, courage and confidence. Its exciting to believe you are sent.
Does that mean awareness doesn't happen? Does that mean every conversation will be flowing and memorable, profound and life altering for you or them? No. Let go of the pressure of any outcome!
This should be BONUS TIP #4! JUST SHOW UP, willing, available, courageous and prepared to see something new because you know, He's renewing our minds and always doing a new thing! His mercies are new every single morning. He can do immeasurably more than we can ever think or imagine!
Be patient and practice!!! Focus on Love, not loss...fear what blessing you'll miss rather than what you'll mess up! His heart is for you and is near! Grace upon Grace!!! Jesus is your Guide, Way, Words, Strength, Support, Courage, Peace and very breath. Give Him your breath.
He's got you!!! Keep your eyes open for the women and Mentors He will place in your path to sharpen your iron. They will lift you through their example and affirmations, prayers. Learn from them. Humble yourself, admit where you are feeling weak and let them step into courage with you!! It's a powerful and beautiful learning and rising up to the Glory and Grace of God!!
He's Got You...They've Got You...and I've got you too! I will be hosting workshops and challenges in my Sister Group (ButGodSisterSquad.com) to help you practice these things but in your every day life, pray and practice! There are no do overs in life. LIVE IT!!!!!! A 7 Day Love Others Challenge is happening in there already!
So much anticipation & love for you!
Your Fellow Shy Introvert,
Hey - If you haven't seen my list of tons of ways you share love with others, grab it here! LoveForAll.MicheleDickerson.com
If today's encouragement hugged your HEART today, let me know in the comments or meet me over
in my Facebook Sisterhood Community! Feel free to share this blog with a friend who needs a heart hug too!
This is how YOU get to hug my HEART back!
Heart Hugs and Blessings,