Years ago, John and I found ourselves trying out churches after a leadership change at a small country church we’d been attending for years. With a preschooler, a toddler, and a baby on the way I often spent more time out of service than in it. One church we were visiting was large, and they had a crying room to take my toddler. I was a young mom and very insecure in my role, and even now my stomach tenses up as I remember walking into that cry room and having all the other moms turn my direction, studying me and my 18-month-old as we entered.
Looking back now, I’m sure they were just curious about us. But I wanted to turn and leave immediately. As I settled onto a sofa and found some toys for my daughter to play with, the women continued with the conversation they’d been having before I entered. I don’t remember being acknowledged or talked to for the rest of the time. One might have told me goodbye as the service ended. I honestly don’t remember, but I do remember the feeling of “I don’t belong.” Whew, I’m so glad I outgrew that feeling … NOT! Even though that toddler is now 25-years-old, I still get that feeling at times. In fact, I had it just last week.
I’d taken my kids to a Vacation Bible School at a local church (not the one we attend), and I felt like an imposter walking the halls. Everyone was nice enough, but I felt alone as small groups of families clustered together to talk.
As if I wasn’t already feeling awkward enough just being the new person, my own negative thoughts add fuel to the fire. One little spark of unworthiness flames up and grows. I’m thankful, that as the years have passed, these awkward times have become few and far between. Yet they still point to worries in my heart … and truths I need to remember.