Social Anxiety ... Anytime but Especially this Time of Year!

Social Anxiety ... Anytime but Especially this Time of Year!

Around this time of year, I revisit a conversation I heard on Christian radio many years ago. It reminds me to lay aside myself and focus on others in any and every social situation. But not just this time of year … actually every and any day I’m with other people. I ask the Holy Spirit to remind me when I’m in the thick of it and not feeling like reaching out. It has made all the difference in the world.

May you be helped also in your situation, whether introvert or extrovert … because we are all, in our flesh, basically self-absorbed, aren’t we? Not at all like our Indwelling Lord Who will live through us as us if we let Him.

So here is help in the “letting”…

So here we are...at a time when it seems that all social occasions(all right, slight exaggeration) are squeezed into, at best, a four week space...your spouse's office Christmas party, the kids' school programs and parties, neighborhood open houses, family in-law, and what may be worse, "out-law" gatherings, and what did I miss? But you get the picture.

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Social Anxiety? This is the time of Year!

Social Anxiety? This is the time of Year!

So here we are...at a time when it seems that all social occasions(all right, slight exaggeration) are squeezed into, at best, a four week space...your spouse's office Christmas party, the kids' school programs and parties, neighborhood open houses, family in-law, and what may be worse, "out-law" gatherings, and what did I miss? But you get the picture.

And all of this on top of our own preparations of cleaning, decorating, cooking, shopping, wrapping...

And did I mention the heart preparation of Advent, peace on earth, joy in the Lord, scripture, song, prayer?

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Prayer when I can't sleep...Laying aside my hindrances at the feet of my Savior

night
night

Up in the middle of the night.  All is quiet...except my mind!  All the dark traps of the day, the hindrances to living my life, obstacles to "running my lap in the race of faith," prey upon me...uglinesses like:

She hates me! Her friends hate me too!

I'm overwhelmed.  I can't do it! I'm going to fail!

I'm so depressed.  I think I may go over the edge!

I might as well be invisible...no one understands!

Why is she jealous of me...I'm not trying to compete, just live my life!

Then the prayer, that I've known since childhood, rises up from within:

lit candle
lit candle

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.Where there is hatred, let me sow love;Where there is injury, pardon;Where there is doubt, faith;Where there is despair, hope;Where there is darkness, light;Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seekTo be consoled as to console,To be understood as to understand,To be loved as to love;For it is in giving that we receive;It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. [prayer of St Francis of Assisi]

Yes, Lord!

I am renewed afresh to let You be You in and through me in this world!  Amen.

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. (author unknown*)

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV

[*Several people are associated with this proverbial saying, notably John F. Kennedy. It was first spoken in public by Peter Benenson, the English lawyer and founder of Amnesty International, at a Human Rights Day ceremony on 10th December 1961. The candle circled by barbed wire has since become the society's emblem.]

Lord, I AM an instrument of Your peace...{a remake}

Lord,  Because I am your child and YOU indwell me, I AM an instrument of YOUR peace. Where there is hatred, YOU sow love in and through me; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to let YOU console others in and through me, To be understood as to let YOU understand others in and through me, To be loved as to let YOU love others in and through me;

For it is in giving that I receive from YOU; It is in pardoning that I am pardoned by YOU; It is in dying to my self-absorption that YOUR eternal, zoe life is borne in and through me.

[a remake of the prayer of St Francis of Assisi]

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The God who spoke light into existence, saying, “Let light shine from the darkness,” is the very One who sets our hearts ablaze to shed light on the knowledge of God’s glory revealed in the face of Jesus, the Anointed One. But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. We are cracked and chipped from our afflictions on all sides, but we are not crushed by them. We are bewildered at times, but we do not give in to despair We are persecuted, but we have not been abandoned. We have been knocked down, but we are not destroyed. We always carry around in our bodies the reality of the brutal death and suffering of Jesus. As a result, His resurrection life rises and reveals its wondrous power in our bodies as well. For while we live, we are constantly handed over to death on account of Jesus so that His life may be revealed even in our mortal bodies of flesh. So death is constantly at work in us, but life is working in you. 2 Corinthians 4:6-12 VOICE

Prayer when you can't sleep...

night

night

Up in the middle of the night.  All is quiet...except my mind!  All the dark traps of the day prey upon me...uglinesses like:

She hates me! Her friends hate me too!

I'm overwhelmed.  I can't do it! I'm going to fail!

I'm so depressed.  I think I may go over the edge!

I might as well be invisible...no one understands!

Why is she jealous of me...I'm not trying to compete, just live my life!

Then the prayer, that I've known since childhood, rises up from within:

lit candle

lit candle

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.Where there is hatred, let me sow love;Where there is injury, pardon;Where there is doubt, faith;Where there is despair, hope;Where there is darkness, light;Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seekTo be consoled as to console,To be understood as to understand,To be loved as to love;For it is in giving that we receive;It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. [prayer of St Francis of Assisi]

Yes, Lord!

I am renewed afresh to let You be You in and through me in this world!  Amen.

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. (author unknown*)

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV

[*Several people are associated with this proverbial saying, notably John F. Kennedy. It was first spoken in public by Peter Benenson, the English lawyer and founder of Amnesty International, at a Human Rights Day ceremony on 10th December 1961. The candle circled by barbed wire has since become the society's emblem.]