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.
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.
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