I Went to a Church Event and This Happened…

All my rejection trauma came flooding in.

I’ve been going to this church periodically for a few months. When I do, I go to service and come straight home. I don’t know anyone at this church, but I am becoming familiar with the names and faces of some of the people who lead portions of the service regularly.

So, I go to this church event. I bring my mom and brother with me because I don’t know anyone, and I’ve been socially anxious my entire life. We’re there for two hours and some change and only one person intentionally spoke to us about who we were, if we’d been there before, if we lived in the area, and how it was nice to meet us. Another asked us our names (and told us his) then went on his way.

The pastor made a comment in passing about who was winning our Domino game. Literally in passing, like, as he was walking past the table we were at. We also spoke to the person who checked us in for our meal tickets and the one who told us where we could park.

So, yes, 5 people acknowledged our existence, but only one bothered to try and make us feel welcome (until someone she knew interrupted her talking to us and started her own conversation).

Now, I’ve been to new churches before.

Several years ago, my brother and I moved to Palm Coast for a few months. The first time we went to church, we were personally invited back to the evening youth service by the pastor who recognized us as visitors. That evening, the pastor proceeded to personally introduce us to a couple of the people our ages and they proceeded to introduce us to others in their group. We spent a lot of time with those lovely people while we lived there. And not for one minute did we feel anything but welcome and included.

My mom and brother had never come to this particular church with me, so none of us knew how the day would go, though we had some expectations. We basically just spent time with each other during the 2 hours we were there. And, honestly, I wanted to leave before they did. The weather was gorgeous, though, so we stood outside for a while watching a couple of the games they had going on.

I felt hurt by the lack of intention. There weren’t a lot of people at the event, and we were very obviously the “unknowns” in attendance, so it’s not like we blended in with a crowd and were easily overlooked.

Really loud feelings of rejection came flooding back and it made me want to run away. Then my mother made a comment about people not returning to churches because of that lack of intention and not making visitors feel welcome, and I felt a little bit of shame in bringing my family to “my” new church and none of us feeling any warmth or comfort there.

Now, I’m fighting between my tendency to meet my feelings of rejection with more rejection and refusing to return to this church. Thing is, I still like the service and it’s the only SDA church in the area that I’m aware of. To be clear, “in the area” is still a 30-minute drive from home.

I don’t want to stop going to this church because the folks at this event didn’t create a welcoming environment for the visitors. I know church people can be very cliquey. I just know that maybe I won’t find my people in this place. Or, maybe, my people just weren’t at this particular event and I need to give it more time.

Either way, I’ve worked very hard to even get myself to go back to church, and I’m not going to let this experience ruin it for me.


Today is my brother’s birthday! Happy Birthday Bruddah!!

Why I’m Afraid to Talk About Religion and How I’m Going to Do It Anyway

I’ve always felt like I should keep my religion a secret; like I should separate it from every public-facing aspect of my life.

Growing up, we were taught that in the last days the world would hate us because we kept the Sabbath and people who were tasked to enforce Sunday religious laws would come after us and kill us. We were taught we’d have to hide and not let anyone know who we were in order to stay alive.

That’s how I heard it, anyway.

We were also taught that we had to share the gospel and the love of God to people we encountered in life.

I used to keep a separate blog where I talked about my religion and my relationship with God (they are not one in the same), but one of the things I’m practicing with my leadership coach is reeling in all the pieces of me that I have spread out in various places and proceeding from a space of wholeness and authenticity.

And the truth is, my religion has played a tremendous part in who I am (positively, neutrally, and negatively).

I’m not going to start posting a bunch of religious content here—I’m not particularly “religious” in a public-facing way anyhow—but I am going to stop trying to purposely leave it out. This space is becoming about more than just what I’m reading, and there are character development things that happen in my life that involve religion, so I’m just not ignoring it anymore.

Anyway, that’s it.

December Writing Cave – Day 26

I’m stuck in a story.

The underlying theme is clear, my reason for writing it is clear, but the actual story eludes me, and I’m trying not to stop writing and turn on the TV, so I figured I’d come chat with you for a minute.

I was on “vacation” last week. Really, I spent the week watching Christmas movies during the day and Living Single at night and making time for long moments of silence and reflection. I did not work or write and only entered my office to make sure my Fittonia wasn’t pretending to be dead.

It was nice.

Also, Christmas hasn’t been feeling very good the last few years. I used to love Christmas to the deepest part of my bones. I’d start listening to Christmas music November 1st and not stop until the end of January, I’d constantly have a Christmas movie on, be immersed in decorating every inch of the house, wrapping gifts, and planning our annual Christmas party. It was truly the most wonderful time.

The past few years, though, I may have listened to ten hours of Christmas music, and most of that was as background noise while I was cooking or cleaning. And even then, a lot of that was during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I don’t think it’s because we stopped having the party—I actually prefer not having cook for, entertain, and clean up after fifty people.

I don’t know, it’s just been weird lately.

Speaking of New Year’s… For a while, I’ve battled the idea of celebrating multiple new years’ versus just one, but I’ve finally come to clarity on that front. I enjoy the personal focus that comes with my birthday, and I’ve been sort of using my birthday as a benchmark anyway, but then January 1st rolls around a few months later and I feel like I have to set an additional set of goals along with everyone else even though I’ve already set goals for my personal new year. So, upon further reflection, I’ve decided to skip the “new year, new me” madness that happens at the 1st of the year.

I’ve also decided I want to lean in more to my personal new year. And while I’ve always (since I was a kid) been one to extend my birthday celebration through the entire month of September—and once until October (covers face in shame)—I think I want to really dedicate Septembers to myself. No work; just play, reflection, planning, relaxation, and starting my new year well.

Last week’s reflection helped me solidify some Q2 goals—because I also want to try quarterly goal setting—as well as specifying rewards for reaching certain milestones along my writing and VA business journeys—because, like I’ve said before, I don’t celebrate myself well.

Now, a lot of those rewards involve allowing myself to buy coffee rather than making it at home, but they also include new outfits, celebratory dinners with friends, and a big ol’ party for at least one of the major milestones I’m trying to reach in a few years.

I’m trying to get better at making life good for myself.

For Q2, I’m focusing on getting at least 5 stories done for Book 2 as well as some sample journals. I’ll also be officially launching my VA services and looking to gain some really awesome additional clients. I have one client now who I’ve been beta testing my services with in exchange for coaching, and she’s really fun. Even though I’m a baby business owner at this point, I love being able to choose who I work with.

I’m also experiencing some conflict regarding one of my other projects that I have not yet come to clarity on. I was all in at the beginning, but now I’m not sure where I stand. The thing about tuning out all the other voices—friends, family, social media, TV, etc.—and sitting with myself in silence, is that it allows me to point out the things I’m doing because I want to do them and the things I’m doing because someone else thinks it’s a good idea.

At this point in my life, I’m trying to be very intentional about the decisions I make and the activities/environments/situations/relationships I engage in. I enjoy certain aspects of this project, but I’m wondering if it’s the project itself that I want to participate in or if I’m gaining something from the specific aspects I enjoy that I’m lacking in my everyday life.

Does that make sense?

It’s like, do you enjoy the job, or do you just crave the social interaction at lunchtime because you don’t have much of a community outside of work? The answer isn’t to stay in the job if you don’t like it, it’s to cultivate healthy community in your daily life. See what I’m saying?

I’m still stuck on this one. And I want to make sure my thoughts are clear before I go ripping up foundations.

As for this story I’m stuck at the beginning of, may grace and mercy follow me all the days of my life.

I’ll talk to you soon.