Congratulations on becoming part of the family of God!
It is great that you want to connect with God’s people. Indeed, it is a torn feeling to have social anxiety that stops you from building a fuller connection with God’s people. You are not alone as there are many who face this challenge as well!
Recognising the presence of anxiety and its accompanying sources are first steps in living a fuller life. Deep breathing can be carried out with our mind focused on verses from Scripture that we find encouraging. An example is 1 Peter 5:7, which tells us that we can give all our worries to God, because He cares for us. Other relaxation techniques that can help reduce anxiety include listening to soothing music, rhythmic movement, progressive muscle relaxation, and using essential oils (like lavender).
Tackling the anxiety as a whole may feel daunting. Take small steps by starting with interacting with your close friends and increasing the amount of time you spend with them. When these situations do not invoke as much anxiety in you, set small goals of saying “hi” to one to two people in church whom you are less familiar with and gradually increase the number of people you interact with. It is all right if you are not able to initially. Don’t give up, and try again! The attempt in itself is worth a celebration.
You are a very good friend and one who truly loves practically! It sounds like your friend is going through a lot, but it also sounds like she has placed quite a bit of expectation on herself to perform.
There are times when what we can do is limited, but our presence alone can make a difference. Simply being around and checking in to see how your friend is doing can be a great comfort. Praying consistently for her and letting her know that reflects your faith in God for her.
You can also share words of encouragement from the Bible by writing her a note every week that includes a Bible verse or a reflection from reading the Bible. Also, sharing about who God is to you and how you know you can trust Him might also be a good starting place for her to experience His peace.
I hope these suggestions help! Remember that God places us in communities and brings us into relationships to be a blessing to others. You can be a blessing to your friend, so don’t underestimate your role; we trust that God will use you mightily!