Saturday, July 7, 2012

Church Life & Social Life

I'm combining the two categories into one post today.  I figure neither requires too much background and my goals are pretty straightforward.  So, neither would be a long enough post by itself.

Church Life

I guess I'll start by pointed out the obvious.  "Church Life" is a separate category from "Spiritual Life."  Although the two are obviously woven together and overlap in many ways, they aren't one in the same.  No matter how much time I spend at church or doing ministries, it isn't going to get me into Heaven or save me.  For that, you can see this post on my Spiritual Life.  But, I do believe that church is important.  It is a place to learn, to grow, to be encouraged, to be challenged, to serve the Lord, and to fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.

Where I Was and Where I am Now

I have attended the same church since I was 5 years-old.  Our church has been through many ups and downs over the years.  But, one thing has always stayed the same - we look to the Bible as our only authority.  God gave us His Word so that we may know Him.  So, I can always be sure to find good, solid, Bible preaching at my church.  For that I am SO thankful!

I've been involved in different ministries over the years.  Right now, I don't really have any ministries I am involved in constantly.  Instead, I get involved in special occasion ministries.  Things like VBS and the Harvest Festival.  This is what is best for my family right now.  But,it has taken some getting used to.  I actually clung to a few things much longer than I should have.  I was overwhelmed and not doing my best in the things I was involved in.  At this stage of my life when I am homeschooling and working, I need to focus on those tasks that God has given me and do my best at them.  When I am stretched too thin, something always has to give.

Where I Want to Be

Eventually, I want to become involved in more ministries at my church.  I honestly don't know when, or what, that will be, though.  I'm waiting on God to show me each step of the way.    In the meantime, I will continue with my seasonal ministries and enjoy the fellowship and preaching!

Social Life

Where I Was and Where I am Now

I am shy.  Most people who know me probably aren't aware of this fact, because I'm also a good actress.  They probably have no idea of my panicked internal dialogue while I am smiling and making small talk.  

Small talk is often a problem for me.  Unless I really know someone, I often have no clue what to say.  Good, in-depth conversation I can handle.  But, how often do you have that with an acquaintance?  With acquaintances you have small talk.  My mind races the entire time trying to think of what to say.  More often than not, I come up completely blank.

I can be sitting in a room full of people I know and be sitting by myself with no one to talk to.  I'm terrified to walk up to someone and just start a conversation!  Mostly because I have no clue what to say.  I am always thankful for a specific topic that can start a conversation.  Shared tasks are great for this!  But, to just go up and start talking to someone with no definite purpose?  Terrifying!

I'm always afraid people will think I am unfriendly.  I realize that I probably look that way.  Especially since most people would never guess that I am actually shy.  After all, I don't fit the stereotype.  I look people in the eye, I'm not quite, I smile a lot, I'm not afraid to speak in front of a crowd, and I am comfortable in leadership positions.  It is just small talk that I have a problem with!

My best friend and me
I do have friends, though.  Good friends.   I've always tended to have a few, very close friends I can share intimate details of my life with rather than a bunch of friends who I just hang out with.  I've already mentioned my best friend.  She and I see each other pretty often.  One of the ways we spend time together is on Saturday shopping trips.  I rarely by anything, but the two of us pack up my kids and spend the day shopping and talking.

My other closest friend is someone I met just about a year ago.  When we met, we had so much in common that our friendship just came naturally.  She is a homeschooler, too, with kids around the same age as mine.  So, we have a lot to talk about!

Where I Want to Be

When I imagine the person that I really want to be - the "perfect" version of me - she is really outgoing and friendly.  She encourages others and always has a kind word.  But, when I really think about it, I realize that this is not me.  But, I can take parts of this person and integrate them into my life.

I can work to be more encouraging to others.  I can purposely look for things to complement and praise.  I can work to listen more and panic less when talking to people.  Most of all, I can pray that God would help me in this area.  I can ask Him to help me to love others as He loves them. 

Overall, I need to have realistic expectation of myself.  But, that doesn't mean I have no expectations!  I need to set very solid, real goals and work, little-by-little, to grow in this area.

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