Don't Let Fear Keep You from Deepening Friendships
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 TLB).
When we’re full of fear and anxiety, we don’t get close to each other. We back off from each other. We’re afraid of being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, hurt, or used. All of these fears cause us to disconnect in life.
This fear is as old as humanity. When Adam and Eve sinned, and God came looking for them, Adam said, “I was afraid, and I hid.” People have been doing that ever since then. We’re afraid, so we hide. We hide our true selves.
We don’t let people know what we’re really like. We don’t let them see inside of us. Why? Because if we let people know what we’re like and they don’t like it, we’re up a creek without a paddle. Tough luck. Why am I afraid to tell you who I am? Because if I tell you who I am, and you don’t like me, I'm in for it. I have no alternative. So we wear masks, and we pretend.
Fear does three terrible things to relationships:
- It makes us defensive. We’re afraid to reveal ourselves. We defend ourselves. When people point out our weaknesses, we retaliate and defend ourselves.
- Our fears keep us distant. We don’t let people get close to us. We want to withdraw, pull back. We want to hide our emotions. We don’t want to be open and honest. We become defensive and distant.
- Our fears make us demanding. The more insecure we are, the more we try to control. So we try to have the last word in a relationship. We try to dominate. It’s always a symptom of fear and insecurity.
Where do you get the courage to take the first step in connecting with someone and going into a deeper intimacy? Where do you get that courage?
You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them” (TLB).
You know you’re filled with God’s Spirit when you’re more courageous in your relationships. You love people. You enjoy being with them. You’re not afraid of them because God’s Spirit is in your life. The Bible says “God is love,” and “Love casts out all fear.” The more of God you have in your life, the less fear you’re going to have in your life.
So the starting point in connecting with anybody is to pause, pray, and say, “God, give me the courage to take the first step.” You need to do that now with a person you want to connect with.
Talk It Over
In what relationship do you need to ask for God’s help in taking the first step to intimacy?
How do you get to know God better so that you are filled with less fear and more of him?
Why do you think vulnerability is so important in deepening a relationship?
Purchase Resource: Awesome Relationships Study Kit
This devotional © 2019 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.