For many of us, church can feel like an extension of high school.
Do you ever feel like everyone around you is:
Can you relate? It's hard not to compare ourselves to the people around us. As much as we hate to admit it, we often long to be something more. How do we get past that feeling?
Admit your feelings to yourself. Don't dwell on it, but be real! Pay attention to the straggling thoughts that slip in when another woman walks by. Ignoring our thoughts is not the same as taking them captive and dealing with them.
Sit down and make two lists:
- Your Strengths
- Your Weaknesses
Are there more weaknesses than strengths? If the answer is yes, then you need to go back to the list and keep working. I promise you that your strengths outnumber your weaknesses. If you need to, ask a close friend to help you identify more good points. I bet she'll be glad to help.
Study the list of strengths. Repeat each one out loud in a sentence that includes your name, in the third person. Heather is a good listener. Heather is great at organizing her home. Heather is a good cook. Keep your list and read it again. Do that often.
Look at the list of weaknesses. Determine if any of them are harmful to you or your family. This would include a substance abuse habit or abusing your credit cards. If there is anything like this is on your list, please seek counsel immediately. Don't wait.
Next- determine if any of these items are affecting your relationship with God. Often, weaknesses bring shame and that can keep us from feeling free to talk with our Heavenly father. If you realize this has been the case, IMMEDIATELY talk to Him about it. Just be honest and share your heart. He already knows!
Assuming that your other weaknesses are simply personality traits-- I talk too much. I don't like to exercise. --CROSS THEM OFF and forget about them. None of us are perfect! We've got faults, we do our best, being perfect is not an option. Go easy on yourself!
Consider the women you've most felt intimidated by. Make a list if you need to. Challenge yourself to personally greet each of these women over the coming weeks. It doesn't need to be any big deal, simply approach them before or after service and say hello. You will be surprised to learn that these women are usually approachable, friendly, and soon you will wonder why you ever felt apprehensive. Once you get your confidence up, you'll want to get involved and spend more time with them.
The biggest obstacle to feeling accepted is learning to accept yourself.