LIFE

I’ve decided to “come clean”.

Seriously.

I just got back from our Bible study tonight. (This will be posted a day later but I am writing it in “real time” so I can capture my emotions as I feel them at the moment.)

The people in our Bible study group are some of the nicest people I know. We’ve only been meeting since September. I can say that I couldn’t like these people more than I do. We are all within ten years of each other in age so that’s good, too.

We had a taco dinner tonight and we all brought something that would compliment the menu. Everyone was laughing and telling funny stories. Everyone seemed to be having a really good time. And while I contributed now and then, mostly, I was terribly uncomfortable.

Now, before I go any further, let me share some things. I have taught Bible studies, been the main speaker at conferences, retreats. I’ve been a hospital chaplain. I’m a college graduate and completed two semesters of C.P.E. (Clinical Pastoral Education). I’ve entertained large groups in our home. I have no problem speaking up for myself. I am quite outgoing.

And yet I felt terribly self-conscious. So much so, I couldn’t wait to leave. On the way home, I told my husband I’m not sure I want to continue with the study. He was great and said if I was too uncomfortable, we didn’t have to keep going.

So here I am. Ashamed of myself for feeling so uncomfortable when there was absolutely no reason for me to. And I don’t know if I should try to stay in the group and get over it or just accept the fact that I’m terribly self-conscience and quit going.

Trust me I will be praying about this.

But I’m sharing this because I’ll bet I’m not alone. But it’s not a good place to be. The funny thing is I haven’t felt this way in the group up to this point. As long as we were having a Bible study and discussing things, etc, I was doing OK, not great but tolerable. But this social function was entirely different. Probably because it was social, and there was no structure.

Do you see where I am heading? As a child, there was no structure in my life. It was chaotic, violent, and trauma-filled. I was always afraid. I never knew what was going to happen, but I always knew it was going to be bad.

I was never wrong.

So there you have it. I’m feeling pretty bad about myself. I wish I were as at-ease in social situations as other people. I would love to be able to walk into a room and not feel so self-conscious.

But I do. And I can’t say this was how God created me because I don’t think it was. Somewhere along the way, life changed me. But it is who I am now.

The funny thing? I can write on this blog and feel totally confident. The words and concepts come so easy to me.

I have a hunch it has to do with control. I’m OK as long as I’m the one in charge.

inspirational/faith/encouragement

When we as children are brought up to feel life is spinning out of control around us; when we feel there is no one and nothing we can depend on, we become adults who have to have some control. Sometimes a lot of it. It’s how we feel secure.

You know how when your children were little and they were misbehaving, sometimes you had to hold them tightly to calm them down. Even if you had to discipline them, they felt secure because they felt cared for.

But when that is lacking we grow-up feeling as though life happens to us. So we “hug” ourselves by providing our own structure. It’s a way to give ourselves what we didn’t receive as a child. When we are in unstructured settings, we go right back to being that fearful child.

I know who I am in Christ. I know God loves me. I feel it. I feel His presence always. I am totally secure in that.

 

See? I do know myself and I do understand why I feel the way I do. The question becomes, “What do I do about it?’

Do I give in and say to myself, “I’m an adult now. If I don’t want to put myself through this, I don’t have to.”

Or, do I say to myself, “These are people you truly enjoy. You need to get on with it. You should at least give it a few more weeks.”

It’s a quandary. But even as I write this, I’m ashamed that in a world where people are starving, where there is no fresh water, where women are denied rights, where violence is common, where babies are aborted, I’m worrying about something that seems trivial by comparison.

And it had been such a good day.

God bless and I hope this post helped someone today and I hope you still like me.

The post, “I’ve decided to come clean” first appeared on faithsighanddiy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 replies »

  1. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I have felt that way for years. Never wanted to go to any social gathering. But recently I have changed my attitude. When I walk into a room, I look around for a single person. I figured they probably are also uncomfortable. By striking up a conversation, it is amazing how much more I enjoy the event.
    You certainly have so much to offer other people, like your wisdom, compassion and a creative mind. Perhaps, that is the very reason God has placed you in the group. To share all that you have worked through over the years.
    I am totally amazed at what you have accomplished in spite of your past. You are truly an inspiration, Rebecca. You are God’s daughter!

    Like

    • Kay,
      You brought tears to my eyes. I think you can guess what the next post is going to say and what decision I’ve made. I told God this morning that I’m sick of my whining. That He deserves so much better than what I have Him last night. While I don’t like to hear that anyone else feels this way, still it brings me some comfort knowing I am not alone. Thank you, Kay, for the practical idea about focusing on one person. And, yes, I have decided it isn’t about me anyway. We asked to be part of a group and this is the group we got so I have to believe it’s where God wants me. Thank you so much for responding. It means a lot. God bless and have a wonderful day.
      (PS. Did you find the recipe? I will send you the link via e-mail if you still need it.)

      Like

  2. Laura,
    Me, too! I hated having to attend my husband’s social events. I felt so insecure. I’m so glad to hear that you were also quite competent in other areas while at the same time feeling anxiety in social situations.

    I, too, wondered if perhaps others in the group might be having these same issues. And you’re right, we all have something. I hadn’t thought about the “unsafe” part though and I find that interesting and will think about that some more. I hope others will comment. It helps me feel like I’m not so weird. Thank you so much. I am going to read both of these comments again and give them both some serious thought. God bless and have a great day.

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  3. What an interesting thought. I have heard of this before and I do remember that despite the trauma I was feeling during those ages, I also remember a little girl who charmed everyone, who played and was happy at times. I will seriously consider what you said and I will let you know if I am able to do it. My memories of that period are overshadowed with such fear and insecurity, it will be hard. Thank you so much for taking the time to advise me and God bless you for reaching out to me.

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  4. I had a similar childhood and I suffer with social anxiety. Although I’ve been a publicity director, public speaker etc. In those situations, I was more within my comfort zone, for the most part, because it’s non-personal…I’m speaking at other, not with others. In social situations, I have anxiety.
    “Hug ourselves” is beautifully accurate not only in self comfort but wrapping around ourselves to form a barrier from others. My childhood stripped me of the innocents of feeling safe with others. I shield myself, not merely physically from others but from who I am. When my husband and I married, he being professional had many colleagues and friends. They’d have get togethers outside of work and my husband would nearly have to drag me to, in tears. He didn’t want to leave me at home and I didnt want to keep him from his social life. I knew, intellectually that it was exclusively my anxiety, what its root is etc but emotionally, it still felt unsafe. I’m certainly an introvert but, I don’t think I was before. It’s something I became for the sake of defense.
    It was hard on me but thankfully, he understood and would simply stay by my side throughout the event. It took a while of attending these before I began to get to know those people, feeling my shield slip away, allowing in small increments to let them see… me. I’m so grad that I gutted it out. These people embraced ME, faults, flaws, insecurities, my goods, greats, bads and became dear friends. Furthermore, over time and within friendship, I discovered that each of these many were just like me, each of us have been scathed in life, each have our own fears, all feel less than at times, unsure and sometimes, unsafe. But, I have grown through the risk of nearness to others, opened myself and my heart in small steps rejoining life, the world, humankind.

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  5. Dear Rebecca, though living onn for years. when we don’t have a solid structure we feel really lost as you said. I know I am not that old to give you an advice, but still I would love to – Rebecca you need to visit anyone of the memories you had when you nearly 7/8/9 years old. When you have that memory alert, you get back to that state of mind where you are free and ready to accept new changes in life. That is the point you need to “CREATE” something new, and make your mind accept that , it was your reality.
    First, find some real incident that happened – Accept it. And then re-frame the entire situation as you want it to be.. Filled with courage, happiness, love, strength and facing the uncomfortable.
    Trust me life will change in a manner you never thought it would..
    It’s all about perspectives.. and creating the best for us

    Like

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