Weeks ago, I promised to tell you about last November’s Soli Deo Gloria retreat. Then I got “Grandma Brain” and sort of fell off the digital map. During the delay, though, some of what I learned had a chance to process and percolate…The theme of the retreat was “Be Restored.” Gifted speakers told us about tragic mistakes they had made, hurts they had experienced. And how God had shown himself to be their friend, healer and comforter. How he put the pieces together and brought these broken hearts back to a place of joy and usefulness.
Periodically we paused for discussion times around our tables. As my table-mates shared their own physical or emotional struggles, a familiar feeling gripped me: a sense of inadequacy. Why? Because my guilt was worse than others’, or my problems more difficult than theirs? Quite the opposite. I felt inadequate, unworthy… Because everything in my life right then was going pretty well.
My problems were Not Worth Sharing.
Yes, I should have been supremely thankful. But all I felt was this slight panic. My inner drill sergeant was barking at me to perform, to contribute – like everyone else who had spoken.
I mentally raced through my inventory of issues, weaknesses… nothing seemed important enough to mention. What to do? I wouldn’t have gone so far as to invent problems. But I did flirt with the temptation to embellish the ones I had.
Not only that, but this wasn’t my first panic reaction. In fact it was “déjà vu all over again,” since I went through almost exactly the same thing at the previous year’s retreat.
Despite the growth and freedom I’ve gained, my lifelong habit of Wanting To Give The Right Answer sneaks back in to hamper me at times. I was stunned to find that compulsion to “fit in” still lingering.
As near as I can figure, my worst “issue” was this chronic need to fulfill everyone’s expectations, especially in a group setting. To fit in, even at the expense of honesty.
Next time I’ll tell you how I fought back, right at that table, and what steps I have taken since then to keep myself free of this bad habit.
I’m linking up, of course, with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria girls.
Thanks for reading!