November 4, 2013 | 6 Comments

On Saturday morning, I woke up early – a bundle of nerves.  Why was I so nervous?  Because my friend Sarah was speaking at an event and I was going to hear her and to support her.

“Wait.  Did you say that wrong?  Did you mean that you were going to speak?”

No.  I said it right.  My friend was the one who would be speaking in front of hundreds of strangers.  I was simply sitting in the audience. Alone.

It was an all day event.  There would be breaks.  There would be a lunch.  There would be time to visit and be social.  And I wouldn’t know a soul.

I’ve struggled with this all my life.  I warn people when I first meet them – “If I’m quiet, if I’m awkward, if I seem rude or anti-social, please understand that I’m just very VERY shy”.

But shy doesn’t really describe what I am.  Shy is quiet.  Shy is unassuming.  Shy is not necessarily petrified.  And shy goes away as you get to know people.  This does not.  It may get a little easier, I may learn to fake it better with you, but it never really goes away.  Sometimes it’s there with my very closest friends. Sometimes it’s there with my own family.  Sometimes it’s even there with my husband.  I think the only people on earth that I’ve never been anxious with were my children and my Nanny and Grandpa.

Even when I’m going to be around people I know, I am nervous.  I rehearse conversations in mirrors. (Yes, I really do talk to myself in mirrors when I’m nervous) And if I run into you unexpectedly and haven’t thought about that interaction in advance, I’m as likely as not to stand silent and awkward, not knowing what to say.  And then I see the uncomfortable look cross your face – “why is she acting so weird?”

Shy Meme

I know there are medications for people like me, but I prefer not to take them.  My lifestyle doesn’t require that kind of intervention.  Most days I stay quietly at home with my husband and my children.  There is no need.  And on the other days – well, I’ve just always felt this was something I needed to learn to deal with.

{disclaimer:  I am not in any way stating or implying that those who choose to use medication or counseling for social anxiety are wrong.  Just because it isn’t the path I’ve chosen does not mean it isn’t right for you.  In fact, it is quite likely that you are braver than I am – in your ability to face your anxiety and take steps to help yourself.}

From the time I woke up Saturday morning, my stomach was in knots.  I’d been in this place before.  As I stood in the bathroom fixing my hair, I spoke to myself in the mirror, rehearsing what I would say if anyone spoke to me.  Then I noticed that I’d stopped talking and was humming – humming “The Voice of Truth”.

The Voice of Truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
To the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. ‘Boy, you’ll never win!’
“You’ll never win”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says “Do not be afraid!”

This is where I was when I realized I was humming.  “Do not be afraid!”  And I started thinking about that.  If only I had the ability to take control of my fear.  I don’t WANT to be afraid!  I don’t enjoy being afraid.  How do I change something that is in my very nature – that is all I’ve ever known. This is me – right?  I’m just……..WEIRD.

And the voice of truth says “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes to stand before a giant
With just a Sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again “boy, you’ll never win!
“You’ll never win”

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don’t seem so high
From on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

I realized as I hummed, I have always thought about this the wrong way.  I have always thought of it as a flaw in my personality – a flaw that I had chosen not to change and had no right to ask Him to change for me – like my crooked teeth or a zit on my chin.  Something about the way God created me.  But that was not the voice of truth.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  

2 Timothy 1:7

Voice of Truth

I had prayed before on occasions when I knew I’d have to speak in front of a few people, for Him to give me the words to say.  But never for Him to take control of my fear and my nerves.  But on this day I did.  I prayed through the rest of the morning as I got ready, and as I drove. It felt like a silly and a frivolous prayer.  I was embarrassed to even be praying it. But when I arrived, I was at peace.  When people spoke to me I didn’t panic. When I was moved by a speaker who happened to center her message on things she’d learned from her chickens, I went up to her, introduced myself, asked her if she would write a guest blog post for us, or at least allow me to use her wonderful material.  I would have never had the courage to do that on my own.

No, I’m not saying I’ll never stand awkward and silent and see that look cross your face again.  I’m not saying that anxiety won’t return.  In fact, I had an anxious moment later that same afternoon.  But I will stop blaming myself.  I will not label myself as “weird”.  I will choose to listen and believe The Voice of Truth.

I was inspired by so many things at the event on Saturday, and I’ll be sharing them with you in a handful of posts over the next few weeks.

6 Responses to “Social Anxiety and The Voice of Truth #ThisIsMe”

  1. Anna Marie P

    I love this! Jesus and Becky: 1 … Satan: 0 (not THIS time, Satan!) Excellent words of encouragement to anyone!

  2. Brandi

    Absolutely love this!! I deal with social anxiety also, it’s awful! Like with this meetup we are supposed to have, I am already thinking of ways to graciously back out……and I know and love all of you! Gah! Praying helps so much. Love you Becky!
    Brandi recently posted…$400 Giveaway!My Profile

  3. Becky

    I’m so glad that you girls “get me” – that you aren’t offended when I’m quiet – or even when I’m nervously spilling my guts!

  4. Shana

    …..and some of us cover up our social anxiety in other ways. Great post! Voice of Truth always wins out when we listen.

  5. Leah Armold

    Becky – I’m so glad you stood up to that spirit of fear and joined us on Saturday! I was so blessed to meet you and I can’t wait to read your next posts!!! Keep fighting to hear The Voice of Truth! God Bless!
    -The Chicken Lady from Divine Affair 😉


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