The crisp air shook me wide awake that velvet black night my friend and I walked into Sally Clarkson’s house for her Christmas tea. I didn’t know anyone except Sally (a little) and the friend who brought me. Most of the women in attendance were homeschooling moms and members of her monthly Bible study. I was neither, but I didn’t let that stop me enjoying some delicious food in a warm, relaxed setting.
As the evening progressed and my friend mingled with others, I nibbled desserts and looked for a place to sit for Sally’s devotional. Since there was no room in the living room, I sat next to people I didn’t know on her spiral staircase overlooking the living room. I made small talk with a few but didn’t really click with anyone new. When Sally began her lesson, I curled up comfortably with her words and felt genuine encouragement reach all the corners of my soul. Later that night as my friend and I drove away, I felt satisfied and content. The evening could have been ripe with awkwardness, but I had an enjoyable time.
Let me tell you something, however: This isn’t always how I feel after leaving a group of women. Sometimes I leave feeling more like I’ve been to a funeral than a party, part of my confidence dying right along with my good time.
And I’m tired of it.
I’ve spent nearly 20 years as a military wife, and I can’t begin to count all the social situations I’ve bloomed and withered during. I’ve been in rooms full of familiar women and never-met-before women. Extroverts and introverts. Older mentors and younger mentees. Easy going people and military brass. Sometimes my conversations flow easily and I get along beautifully with folks. Sometimes I don’t gel with them at all, so I scoot toward the peripheral and suddenly become captivated by the pictures on the wall or the contents of my purse. Other times I feel downright awkward and keep checking to see if I have toilet paper hanging out of my skirt. Or maybe a little broccoli in my teeth.
This is nothing unusual; we all experience uncomfortable social settings from time to time. But here is where I get into trouble: When I don’t click with others or feel “at home” in a room, I sometimes turn inward and convince myself I must be a problem of the loser variety. Not only is this a straight up lie, it’s a poor choice guaranteed to steal my good time and confidence.
Has anybody been there but me?
When we give into all those inward thoughts, we might believe it’s best to hole up in our homes or hotel rooms or hearts. But doing this guarantees we’re traveling to an isolated, dangerous part of town that keeps us looking inward rather than outward.
God desires for us to walk in the knowledge that we are dearly loved and already treasured. And heaven knows I want to rally behind all His glorious desires for me rather than raise a roadblock. So, whether you’re about to attend a conference, a PTO meeting, or your friend’s wedding, don’t get lost in no man’s land. Instead, remember these things for a healthier perspective:
1. Pray Yourself Up Before You Leave and While You’re There. Before the wheels of my van leave the driveway or the wheels of the plane leave the runway, I’m already asking God to protect my heart from the Enemy’s suggestions while fortifying it with His truth.I repeat Colossians 2:17 to myself “…the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Your reality is in Him, and He says you are completely worthy, talented, loved, and wanted today. If anything else snakes its way into your thoughts, take it to Jesus. That is the only way to see yourself not overly or underly, but in reality.
2. We’re all small. We all need Jesus to bridge the gap between ourselves and God. Everyone does, including that conference speaker, the PTO president, and the business CEO.
3. Your attendance has purpose. It isn’t random but a divinely scheduled appointment. God places us in strategic places at strategic times, and He is using your presence there for your good.
The next time you’re in a room full of women, refuse to arm wrestle the enemy over your identity. Don’t hand him your confidence. Walk with purpose and your head held high because no matter how completely comfortable or uncomfortable you feel, you are complete in Christ.
With or without the toilet paper or broccoli.
This is pretty much how I feel every day of my life. I fret and worry myself to death before going into any social situation (if I actually find the courage to make myself go), and by the time I get there, I can’t enjoy myself because I’m so tense! I’m convinced nobody there will notice me, let alone WANT to get to know me. And, truth be told, I’m scared of what they would find if I DID let them in… I know it’s Satan, his whispers becoming shouts, and I usually believe him. I don’t know how to step out and be confident. After being burned so many times, how can we trust and open our hearts?
I’m glad you said these words today. You are meeting me where I am in this struggle and God will use you to bring me to healing.
Katie darling, I hear ya. Totally.
I don’t have magic answers, but I do think that what can be gained is worth trying again. And again. And believing you’re worth it because Christ says you are, regardless of how you feel. When I’m all wobbly and unsure on the inside, my confidence comes from that.
Praying Katie…much love.
Jacque Watkins says
LOVE this, Kristen. And you! Tucking this away in my heart and giving thanks for your words! xo
Wow! This could not have been written at a better time. As a fellow military spouse, this is also how I feel in most situations, even at church or my ladies small group. I was just thinking this yesterday, how awkward I feel and maybe I should re-evaluate what I’m doing. I know the Lord has me in situations to stretch me and to help others, I just need to get over the words in my head. I struggle to find something in common with other women, and eventually either sit back and be quiet or stumble in small talk. This is an area I need to pray about and take a situation at a time.
“This is an area I need to pray about and take a situation at a time.” Yes. Lifting up one situation at a time, and just walking through it with the confidence of Christ, whether we feel confident or not. I love the way you phrase that. Perfect.
This has really been weighing on me these days. I struggle with remembering that my self worth is not tied up in what others think of me or whether they include me. Thank you for your reminder.
I have been there, yes! I am the proverbial introverted wallflower. Never sure what to say and will what I say in the crowd really matter. Time to get courageous and push away from the wall.
Grabbing your hand and pushing away from that wall together, Lisa. Much love!
This is me whenever I’m in a social situation with large groups of church ladies. I need to remember these good tips!
May we both remember them, Brenda. Thank you!
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I love this…and yes, I’ve been there. People assume, because I tend to be an extrovert, that all social situations are easy. They are not. The enemy seeks to rob, steal and destroy us all, but we can slam the door on his lies. I will definitely add Colossians 2:17 to my “emergency kit” of scriptures. You always hit the nail on the head!
This is me, Kristen….so me. Thank you for these wise words.
I love you, Mary. xo
Thank you for reminding me of what I should know. Isn’t it crazy how we seem to forget when the LOUD voice of the enemy speaks of our lack of worth!
As a pastor’s wife, I struggle with relationships, with my personal expectations of myself, my lack of self-confidence. I am learning that ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me’, and am praying I can remember what you have written! What would I do without my online blogger sisters???????
God bless you!
Thank you, Kristen. There’s is such comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one who feels that awkwardness is certain “arenas” and even more comfort in knowing that God’s “got this” and in Him I can have confidence. 🙂
It is interesting how our identity in different situations seems to waver. Getting prayed up is so important. After reading the book, “Captivating” my prayer, no matter how I am feeling is always “Lord make me beautiful, let me radiate your beauty because I am feeling…..” “They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.” Psalm 34:5 Having an identity being rooted and grounded in His love constantly is a challenge especially when my insecurity, pride or defenses are trying to uprooted me. Thank you for this post, one that every woman’s heart can relate to.
Melissa Ann says
Thank you. For this. For your kindness at Allume for you were one of 2-3 reasons I didn’t bolt right out of that building before dinner even began.