Open ended social events are intimidating to me. Who am I kidding, more structured large group social events are intimidating to me. 1-1, or in small groups I am great. At work, where I am good at what I do, I am great. And in a very interesting twist, I am perfectly comfortable being in front of large groups of people. The largest group I presented to was maybe 500 (I think). I am a performer, I love an audience. I thrive in front of one. But those large group social events where there is an expectation of, gasp, socializing, scare me and overwhelm me. I feel lost in the sea of people. I often feel more alone in these groups than I do when I AM alone.
And this has mostly been OK with me. I am, after all, an introvert. As we have discussed before, I get my energy being alone. I like hanging out with myself. I am interesting after all! But then one day I realized it wasn’t OK with me. I credit Facebook for bringing me that wonderful realization. And new friends and community in Rowlett. I saw people having fun at some of these community event things and I realized I wanted to be there. I also realized that the only reason I was not, in fact there, was me. One night, about two weeks ago, I broke down. I had had enough.
But how does one fight a lifelong habit of avoiding that which one fears, and that which is marginally (OK sometimes maximally) uncomfortable. Can one? I have heard it said that the pain of staying the same must be greater than the pain of changing for a person to desire to and do what is needed to change. Finally, after 42 years, the pain of avoiding community was greater than the fear of joining it.
I had, in an effort to do more of the community outreach I was finding I was good at and liked, I signed up to be one of the people from my church at a community “Taste and Trade” event some weeks before.I guess I was working on being a little more proactive even before that break I had two weeks ago. And then early this week, I was like, oh no, what did I do?
So, in an effort to avoid colossal panic I did the only thing that made sense. I prayed.
Beloved friends, God is so good. Oh how I wish you could see how good He is.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Because this is what happened.
I did the best I’ve ever done at an open ended social event like that. I didn’t feel alone or left out like I usually do in a sea of people. I felt safe. I felt included. I belonged. I initiated conversations with people, both at my church booth and when I was walking around. I looked people in the eye, made eye contact with them, and I smiled. And I felt no fear. I felt no intimidation. And I had THE BEST TIME. I am beyond excited.Unless this has happened to you, you have no idea how excited I am.
This. This was something I never in my life dreamed I could pull off. But I did.
Here’s the thing. If I can feel safe with people like that in a community, then it’s a community to be proud of, and a rare one at that. What is the difference? Friends, the difference is prayer. The difference is God. And He keeps telling me great things are to come. So amazing it will bowl me over.
I love you Rowlett. And when you love something, you want to share it with other people. Maybe you live near by, if so, come experience this community with me. If not, there is a Rowlett where you are. I pray you find it.
Tonight, I WAS bowled over.
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26