Lesson from the Past: Stand up
This article features the reality of social anxiety as a factor that inhibits a Christian from sharing Jesus and his faith.
social anxiety, anxiety relief
One of Eminem’s popular rap lyrics really hit the spot. That rap song frankly posed the question:
“Will the real Christians please stand up?”
Day after day, people go into their usual routine without finding that “certain something” that will give them a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment in life. Everyday, many people go about doing the same thing. But no matter what they do or how they do it, dissatisfaction always meets them at the ends of the day. It seems that, day in and out, people’s roster of activities just swirl around into futility.
Alas, there’ hope – Jesus. “Just a glimpse of Him,” according to a popular song, “…is enough to chase away those clouds of fears and worries.” Entering His presence will bring incomparable and unthinkable changes to one’s life. With Him, life will have a direction. No more unnecessary swerving. No more aimless odyssey.
Living a life in Christ can be an adventure and a challenge. He, like a message needs a channel… or a vessel that can be used to share the truth. And this is where the problem comes in. His supposed channels are being bugged down with social anxiety – the overwhelming fear, apprehension, and worry about their social status and “being evaluated by peers.”
Christians, in all parts of the globe, who are supposed to make the Supreme Being known, experience the same mouth-muzzling phenomenon that prevents them from sharing their faith. Butterflies in the stomach, palms cold and clammy, body parts sweating and shaky – these and other physical manifestations can be observed in people who experience social anxiety.
According to anxiety experts, chronic and persistent social anxiety attacks in a person can cause distress that inhibits the person from performing normal social functions. In relation to this, as a Christian, you are to constantly socialize and make Jesus known to your acquaintance. Maybe it’s time to come out of the shell.
Also, instead of opening their mouth and speak forth the gospel, Christians nowadays find hard to share what is supposed to be inside of them. And who could blame them? After a series of faith-professing actions, all the people around you will automatically be on the look out for your every reaction and temperament. One lapse of judgment and it’s doomsday.
However, this is what is expected in us. Occasional slip-ups and snippets are permissible. Just look at the early disciples, they are no born saints. Time and time again, they commit blunders that they themselves find unforgivable. However, they don’t let their cares get ahead of them. “They leave the past behind, and let it worry for itself.” They are good in coping with anxiety. As part of their coping with anxiety regimen, the early saints learned not to compare themselves with each other. They understood that they are unique and had their own “parts” to play. In this life, no disciple of God or Christian in the contemporary setting could have a victorious walk in Him if they constantly compare themselves to others. They would just end up in defeat. The ultimate goal is not to outperform one another, but to be like the Master.
It is also obvious that each one of the disciples had their fair share of panic attacks. Peter denied Jesus thrice because of his “overwhelming fear” from Roman and Jewish authorities. Paul, which was still named Saul, had an overwhelming hatred of Christianity and was even responsible for putting to death some of Jesus’ disciples. And the list goes on. But did they give up? No. Instead of giving up, they trusted the ever-flowing grace of God. They understood that submitting to God’s grace is the best innovation in coping with anxiety. And we can read in the Scriptures that, after their repentance, they were empowered with the strength beyond their imagination.
So next time you think of succumbing to anxiety or any problem that could stop you from sharing your faith, remember that our patriarchal model never did. They kept on pursuing the goal…to leave behind a testimony and an example to follow… so the next generation of real Christians will not only stand up, but will “stand out.”