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Social Anxiety: Offering Help and Hope to the Fainthearted


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What do we fear most? Judgement or rejection of others is near the top of the list for many of us. God created us to be social and interdependent, so we are naturally attuned to how others view us. However, this ability can run amok. While we all know what it’s like to be self-conscious around someone we admire or respect, for others this fear is crippling. From the outside looking in, the answer is simple: stop caring so much what others think and start caring more about what God thinks. However, when someone faces severe social anxiety, these words don’t penetrate the panic or even reflect an understanding of the experience. The person you were trying to help might even feel judged by you, too. So how can we offer help that is neither condemning or dismissive? What words reflect deep compassion and patience? This breakout will outline the multifaceted manifestations of social anxiety disorder as well as faithful biblical formulations for practical help.