Find the Courage to Connect
“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.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (TLB)
When you’re full of fear and anxiety, you don’t get close to other people. Instead, you back off. You fear being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, hurt, or used, and these fears cause you to disconnect from the people around you.
This fear is as old as humanity. When Adam and Eve sinned, God came looking for them. Then Adam said, “I was afraid . . . and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10 ESV). People have been hiding ever since.
You may not physically hide, but you hide your true self. You don’t let people know what you’re really like. You don’t let them see inside you. Why? Because you believe that if you show people your true self and they don’t like it, you’ll be up a creek without a paddle. Instead, you pretend to be someone you’re not.
This fear leads to three things that will damage your relationships:
Fear makes you defensive. You’re afraid to reveal yourself, but people inevitably spot some of your weaknesses. And when they point out those weaknesses, you defend yourself and retaliate.
Fear keeps you distant. You’re afraid to be open and honest—to let people get close to you. Instead, you withdraw and pull back so you can hide your emotions. You become defensive and distant.
Fear makes you demanding. The more insecure you are, the more you try to control and dominate. For you, it might look like always having to get in the last word in a conversation. Being demanding is always a symptom of fear and insecurity.
Clearly, fear only damages your relationships. But where do you get the courage to take the first step to connect with someone and move toward deeper intimacy?
You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. Paul says 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).
How do you know you’re filled with God’s Spirit? You’re filled with God’s Spirit when you’ve become more courageous in your relationships. Rather than fearing people, you’re free to love them and enjoy being with them.
The Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8 TLB) and that “perfect love drives out all fear” (1 John 4:18 GNT). The more of God you have in your life, the less fear you’re going to have in your life.
The starting point in connecting with anyone is to pause, pray, and say, “God, give me the courage to take the first step.” Are you ready to pray that for one of your relationships today?
Talk It Over
How is fear affecting your relationships?
When have you experienced God’s Spirit giving you courage in your relationships?
In what relationship do you need to ask for God’s help to take the first step toward intimacy?
God wants to connect with you
No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, God wants you to experience intimacy with him. He knows everything you’ve ever done wrong, every failure you’ve experienced, and he still loves you and cares for you.
He doesn’t expect you to earn your way into his good graces; you are saved by God’s gift of grace when you place your faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. If you are ready to accept God’s grace through Jesus, then pray this simple prayer:
"Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe that he died for my sins and that you raised him to life. I want to trust him as my Savior and follow him as Lord from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
If you just prayed to accept Jesus, please email me at Rick@PastorRick.com and let me know. I’d like to send you some free materials to help you start your journey with Jesus.
This devotional © 2022 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.