On Sunday I nearly decided to stop going to my big mainstream church because the actions of some of those around me were triggering me mightily, causing me to go into almost a panic attack. Sunday had it's roots in Tuesday of the week I spent at the retirement seminar.
When I got home late on Tuesday I had a Facebook private message waiting for me from one of the guys in church leadership I'm very friendly with. Young guy, Sam, mid 30s, married to a very shy, sensitive lady name Stacey.
I'd known Sam was having a rough time because he's shared with the entire church that he was having issues pertaining things that happened in his childhood. I don't know the details, nor do I care to. He asked for prayer, that was good enough for me.
His wife Stacey and I had been talking about meditation lately. I knew she was doing yoga and attracted to aspects of the more Eastern religions, but, hey, everyone has to walk their own spiritual journey. I listened to her, tried to encourage her to hang in there to find out what her path is.
So the Facebook message had to do with Sam asking for prayer for Stacey, then sharing a big big big load of stuff about Stacey, blaming her for many things including saying she was walking away from Christ to chase "insert church name here" and Buddhism and it was wrecking their marriage.
I didn't want to know all of that, I've only recently started to establish a tentative friendship with Stacey and didn't think the searching she was doing was necessarily a bad thing. It's hard for me to lower my interior guard to let people in close enough to be friends after what I went through at the hands of 'friends' at my old fundigelical church. Between that and my childhood I have problems establishing healthy emotional boundaries.
My reply to Sam was that Stacey was searching and needed to have the freedom to search, but I'd certainly pray for them.
I hit send and realized that Sam had sent this whiny request of his that didn't honor his wife to twenty one other women in the church, all of which I know and aren't much more than surface cordial with. I hadn't realized it was a group message.
After that boy did the disapproval towards me and the fawning all over Sam start by the other women on the list. The more it continued, the more irked I got. The things that Sam shared or complained about in that message, and there were quite a few, weren't really things you should be sharing with someone that isn't your best friend/counselor/pastor. The entire thing was inappropriate.
The more I thought about his message, the more I was sent into a shame/panic PTSD type funk. I posted again on the list saying that I thought it was inappropriate for him to wholesale share this amount of marriage dysfunction to a group, how badly hurt his shy sensitive prone to depression wife would be if she ever found out, and that the nature of prayer list gossip being what it was it was almost certain she'd find out.
After a few minutes the ladies started to go off on me for being negative, etc, etc, etc.. and I removed myself from the prayer message. I've seen this stuff go haywire and hurt innocent people too many times in my old church, I wasn't about to partake of it now.
I lost a great deal of respect for Sam plus many of those ladies and wasn't looking forward to church. Sure enough, when I got there Sunday and said, 'Hiya' to the ladies on the list I was semi-friendly to I was either snubbed, treated like I was invisible or chewed out. I nearly walked out on church forever because this is exactly the type of happening prayer list goat rodeo that had too much poisonous explosion potential.
Jim said, like he always does, 'Shake it off!'
I cannot tell you how many years I've hate, hate, HATED that phrase of his... but... on Monday it hit me that he's right. Shake it off. What can they do to you and why are you letting someone elses ideas impact you at all!
For me this was a huge breakthrough. It's helped me be able to talk to those this week I had to talk to about some not so pleasant subjects and I'm forcing myself to listen to this song, which is silly but profound at the same time.
The video is kind of silly and insensitive but the message is a good one to remember.. I don't have to allow everything said about me or to me to bruise me or effect me at all. Good to remember on a week when I have had to do things that I know will cause others to criticize me.
Those ladies at church? Heck with them, let them gossip and babble. I said my piece and they don't have to like it and I don't have to listen to them either.
Also, I wish to correct a false statement someone pointed out that was on Free Jinger board - All postings by Razing Ruth have been put into 'unpublished private' status, meaning there is nothing by her on No Longer Quivering at all. It's all down. She's been completely erased off NLQ a long time ago.