Re: Christianity - Going to church
As a teenager I was very involved in my youth group. I went on mission and camp trips and such. I had a couple of friends I felt comfortable with, but in general, it was difficult for me to feel connected to people. I have only recently realized my SA. I always just called myself shy or quiet. I couldn't tell you how many people (especially patronizing adults) loved the sarcastic comments, "you talk too much" or, Shannon, can you please be quieter." To which I would just smile shyly and wish I could fade away.
As I got older it became harder to assimilate. I tried a few 20's church groups, but the social activities made me very uncomfortable. I especially hated the bible study groups in which people were expected to pray out loud and discuss their viewpoints to the group.
I remained faithful in my relationship to the Lord, but going to church fell by the wayside because it caused me so much anxiety. I wasn't afraid of meeting people, so much as I was afraid of the expectations that would put on me. Next, I'd be pressured into joining a ministry, another study group, etc. that would require me to enter more social situations.
I went through college without many problems because there wasn't a need to be a part of a group. You can exist as a wallflower without anyone caring. Plus, my boyfriend and I took all the same classes. I went in, learned what I needed, talked to a few people, had a couple uncomfortable "front of the class" experiences, but then it was over. With church, there is an expectation to get involved and be a part of "the body", and not just for a few years.
Over the past 10 years I have attempted to start going to church regularly many times. It's has been sporadic, even though my relationship with God has remained strong. Every week I tell myself (and my husband), "next week we'll start back at church", hoping by then I will feel better about myself and work up the courage. Next week never seems to come. I know my submission to fear and pray often to overcome this ridiculousness.