When we’re full of fear and anxiety, we can’t get close to others. We’re afraid of being rejected, manipulated, vulnerable, hurt, or used. All of these fears cause us to disconnect.
This struggle is as old as Adam and Eve. After they sinned, God came looking for them, and Adam told God, “I was afraid, and I hid.” People have been hiding ever since then. We’re afraid, so we don’t let people know what we’re really like. If they see behind our mask, they’ll see the truth, and if they don’t like it, we’ll feel hurt and rejected. So we pretend to be someone or something that we’re not.
Fear does three terrible things to relationships. First, it makes us defensive. We’re afraid to reveal ourselves. When people point out our weaknesses, we retaliate or defend ourselves.
Second, our fears keep us distant. We won’t let people get close to us. We want to withdraw and hide our emotions. We don’t want to be transparent and honest.
Third, our fears make us demanding. The more insecure we are, the more we attempt to control everything. So we try to have the last word in a relationship. We try to dominate. These are always symptoms of fear and insecurity.
Where do you get the courage to be transparent and honest, so you’ll experience deeper relationships with others? You get it from God’s Spirit in your life. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “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).
When you’re filled with God’s Spirit, you’ll be more courageous in your relationships. You’ll have a deeper love for others, which also means you won’t be afraid to be yourself around them. 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’ll have in your relationships.
Start deepening your relationships by doing this: Pause, pray, and say, “God, give me the courage to take the first step.”
Identify one relationship where you need to ask for God’s help to take the first step toward intimacy. Commit to doing what God tells you to do.
What are specific ways you can know God better so that you have less fear?
Why is vulnerability so important in deepening a relationship?