Shadow Of Victory

Saturday, 15 August 2009

August 15th Worrying about Willow

I thought I would do a little time shifting and cast my mind back to the thoughts I had about going to Willow Creek...well I say "thoughts" when I really mean worries ..anxieties...fears...stress and other negatives too many to list.!Let me list some of them and add explanations as to why I felt that way and then by the time I get to the end of entry you will perhaps have nodded off to sleep..feel free to skip this entry...but then again maybe you will find one or two points that you can identify with.

1)...A basic anxiety I have carried is staying in strangers houses....we have for many years used hotels and guest houses when visiting relatives and rarely stay overnight in friends homes...if you have read my earlier blogs you will know I had negative experiences growing up in other peoples houses and bedrooms so perhaps this isn't too hard to understand.
2)...I have a hearing disability which makes it difficult for me to understand accents and knowing I was going to be staying with Americans meant I worried about understanding them. One of the ways I combat this is to waffle...withdraw ... take over the conversation or deflect it with humour.
3)...As a woman of mature years (!) I tend to visit the loo several times in night and I was anxious about disturbing the hosts...flushing the loo...or worse still bumping into one of them or the other guest whilst in my nightie and with my bed hair.(!)..wouldnt you know it but our bedroom was the furthest away from the bathroom and we had to walk past the other guests bedroom and the host couples walking on squeaky floorboards.!!
4)...Still on the topic of bathrooms..how would we know when the shower was free?? and what if my poo smelled a bit.!!...(come on ..don't tell me you never think of stuff like this??!!)
5)...The other people in the Bracknell group were REAL leaders...I mean big time leaders...church leaders....church planters..
full time...paid...and included a senior pastor with 43 years under his belt (!) guess who??...and that was just our wee group of 13....the other 6,987 thousand...who knows what they were into or up to...what on earth were we doing there.?..Before we went I felt a complete fraud...an "add-on".This is a central low key anxiety I have carried most of my life..always thinking I was of no great worth and certainly not to be included in anything important.(again you may have to have read earlier blog entries.to understand some of these anxieties.)
6)...On a similar note the group I was part of were all friends with one another...and some were even related and none of them ...did we socialise with...hang out with or exchange birthday cards with and only 4 of them were from the same church where we had some common ground...so again I was stressed that we would be encroaching on their time together...or would they "take pity " on us and spend a bit of time making small talk to ensure we didn't feel left out...crazy huh??
7)...I was anxious about break times and meal times and where would we sit...would we be left on our own...would everyone pile off to have high powered discussions about leadership or top secret strategy meetings from which we would be excluded?? From very early on in adult life I learned to be independent and to in some ways
"be in control"....If I made the plans then it ensured I wouldn't be excluded...but of course this was a different kind of grouping and one in which I didn't feel I had any control over. Add to this a long seated fear of abandonment and you may guess this was one of the most stressful thought I had pre Willow.
8)...With my hearing disability I rely on good seating ..good lighting..being near enough to see faces and read lips and in an auditorium that seated 7,000 you can imagine my anxiety level soaring.....what would the sound be like..the acoustic level..the screens...the cameras on the faces rather than panning out etc.I didn't want to say to the group I needed to be near front as then we may have been "forced " to sit on our own so I had made the decision on the Wednesday when we had the tour that I would go with the flow....it was more important for me to be included with the group than it was for me to face exclusion to ensure good hearing.
9)...Staying at the hosts home was also fraught with anxiety...how much would they expect us to help...how much time would they want to spend with us..who else was staying..did they want to know about us ..really...or did they want to just provide the bed and get on with their own life...I have worried about this kind of thing all the time in the past and it had manifested itself in being quite unsocial...we rarely have people over for a meal because deep down I think no-one really wants to spend time with us....and as a consequence we rarely get invited to others and thus it confirms the mad thinking.!!

Ha...gotta tell you I have just been interrupted by a lovely friend Ruthie....bearing gifts of Starbucks,...which is Gods sense of humour that the minute I write about me thinking ..wrongly..about folk not wanting to spend time with me...up pops an unexpected proof of the way in which the enemy lies to us .!!! Ruthie..you are Gods gift to me in more ways than one...not least the Starbucks.

I wonder if at this point you may all be thinking ...heavens this girl is woefully insecure.....or maybe I am just woefully honest.!!! I have said so many times in this blog that "writing is my best chance of happiness" and even as I write this I can sense the inner peace which God planted in my spirit whilst at Willow take a stronger hold of me and I am hopeful that
"He who began a good work in me will carry in on..."

So..watch out for more blogs about how God worked in me whilst away with specific relevance to some of this list ....please feel free to email me or make comments....I like to hear from you...if only to let me know I am not alone....

5 comments:

Geri said...

I think I would have had - and sometimes do have - every one of the fears/anxieties you listed. I consider you one brave lady to have faced all of that and just 'go with the flow'. Although I don't have a disability (apart from my blindness without my specs!), I have a son who I feel I always need to make excuses for, and I don't want others to feel uncomfortable, and I'm only just starting to have people round more often. I think you are brilliant, and a real inspiration in the way you seem to just throw up your arms and say, 'I can't do this on my own Lord - it's up to you!' - and then you actually do what He tell you to!! Keep up the good work and the rest of us will follow you with interest! 8-)

Sue said...

Irene, I can quite understand all those anxieties, I would have them too, maybe a few different ones and for different reasons, but you were still brave enough to go. Just thinking about all those people talking all at once makes my stress levels increase considerably!

I love spending time with you, I don't invite people round for meals because I don't cook but I'll come to you anytime with or without a meal!

Lisa said...

You are so not alone!! Well maybe in being honest enough to own up!! At every point you made i was mentally saying 'Yep, me too' 'Exactly' 'Boy this girl is so like me!' 'So maybe I'm not such a freak!!'
So, THANK YOU!!!
xxxx

Ruthie said...

You know, I'd been conversing with myself about whether to come around or not as I thought you'd be out or have people round. I'm glad I came to see you & it was lovely to have those few minutes together just relaxing & chatting. I love spending time with you! :0)

Caroline said...

Please be assured... your 'poo' smells as much as the next persons! Even the queen's... really! :)
I also know all those sort of anxieties Irene. I took the minutes for years at a management team meeting with 12 folks with differing (non-)English accents... you can imagine the rubbish I used to 'hear' hahaha. But it is very stressful to put yourself in a position where you can't properly follow what's being said. Don't you have any sort of mic. that a speaker can wear? That goes wirelessly directly to your aids? I can't manage without mine... there are lots of different ones, do yourself a favour and invest in one.
Still enjoying reading your stuff. It's kinda like reading stuff I wish I could say out loud myself. Go on.
x
Caroline