"For 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." 2 Timothy 1:7 (LB)
The first principle for connecting with people is this: Be courageous and take the initiative!
Don't wait on somebody else to connect with you. You must take the initiative to connect with them. This often takes courage. Why? Because when we're full of fear and anxiety, we don't get close to each other. In fact, we back off from each other. We're afraid of being rejected, manipulated, hurt, or used.
This fear is as old as mankind. When Adam and Eve sinned and God came looking for Adam, Adam said, "I was afraid ... and I hid" (Genesis 3:10 ESV). We hide our true selves. We don't let people know what we're really like. Why? Because we think, "If I tell you who I am and you don't like me, I'm have no alternative." So we wear masks and we pretend.
Fear does three terrible things to relationships:
- Our fears make us defensive. We're afraid to reveal ourselves. When people point out weaknesses we retaliate and defend ourselves.
- Our fears keep us distant. We don't let people get close to us. We want to withdraw and hide our emotions. We don't want to be open and honest.
- Our fears make us demanding. The more insecure we are the more we try to control or dominate things. We try to have the last word in a relationship. It's always a symptom of fear and insecurity.
Where do you get the courage for taking the first step in connecting with someone? You get it from God's Spirit in your life: "For the Holy Spirit, God's gift, does not want you to be afraid of people but to be wise and strong [courageous] and to love them and enjoy being with them" (2 Timothy 1:7 LB).
How do you know when you're filled with God's Spirit? You're more courageous in your relationships. You love people. You enjoy being with them. You're not afraid of them because God's Spirit is in your life. The Bible says "God is love" (1 John 4:16 NLT) and "Love casts out all fear" (1 John 4:18 NASB). The more of God you have in your life the less fear you'll have.
So the starting point in connecting with anybody is to pause and pray and say, "God, give me the courage to take the first step."