It’s been a year and almost a half since I’ve been to a church service. And now I don’t know if I can go back to ‘my’ church. I mean I know the leaders will welcome me with hugs and my spot as a deacon would be waiting for me if I asked and there would be work for me to do. It would be like we never stopped going in that sense.
But it’s not them. (At least not all of them – there is the issue that led us to stop going that has not been addressed at all, but if it’s just me going and not my kids, then…. it’s complicated.)
And it’s not just my old church. It’s any church.
And it’s not a spiritual issue. At least not in the sense of “I can’t go to church because it’s not well with my soul” or “I think God is mad at me”. At least…. I don’t think so.
It’s people. My issues with people.
I’m 50 years old and for some reason, I can’t function around people without being completely awkward. Most folks don’t seem to care, or maybe even not notice, but I’m extremely self-conscious about it. I hobble some, walk with a cane, my speech is sometimes garbled, my hearing isn’t so great, I’m probably about 80 pounds overweight, my body odor – probably because of my weight – isn’t pleasant….. these are all things that come to my brain every time I go out in public. Going to a community function like a church, it’s almost paralyzing.
What’s wrong with me?
The truth is… nothing. Nothing is wrong. These are all human things. Many of you, maybe most of you, maybe all of you, can relate to this in one way or another. Many of us are introverts. A lot of have taken that personality test and have come up as “INTP” or “INFJ” or some other “I” and confirmed what we know about ourselves. But even if you are an extrovert, there may be some part of you that feels these things.
But when it becomes a crippling emotion, something might be wrong. And I’m afraid that might be true in my case. I’ve intentionally or accidentally shut myself off from most people. And I don’t know how to go back.
So I foster my community online. For better or worse, it is what it is.