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Thread: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

  1. #1
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    Help Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    If I really think about it, all my life I have felt less a Christian because I am not a social person. I never have been, but the older I get the less I want to do with others in person.

    When I was a little girl (back in the 1960s) my mother taught Sunday School. After our lesson and our snack we were often taken outside to play simple games. I always begged off having to join in the games. I was so much happier just watching the other children play. Analyzing this as an adult I think that maybe part of the reason was because it was safer. If I didn't play I wouldn't get hurt. I wouldn't lose or cause my team to lose. I wouldn't make any mistakes. I wouldn't be ostracized or laughed at. I wouldn't have to interact and could just enjoy spectating from afar.

    In my adult life I've been involved in church, taught Children's Sunday School, and been in groups etc... largely because this was what was expected. But it was never something I looked forward to or enjoyed. Oddly enough, if you met me you would never guess that I have these feelings. I am warm, talkative, and people feel comfortable around me. I've been told by others that they wish they were as capable of expressing themselves etc... I can do it - I just don't like it. What those people who compliment me on my ability to talk to others don't know is that it is all a result of nerves. If I am forced into closeness with someone and feel that conversation is expected I will converse out of nervousness. Silence in close proximity with one person is uncomfortable so I speak up, not because I have any genuine interest in communicating, but simply because the silence is so uncomfortable that I have to break it. When its all over I breath a sigh of relief and feel like I've climbed up and over Everest.

    When I taught I'd feel good after I'd done it but equal to that was the relief that it was over and there were six whole days before I'd be subjected to the experience again. And I would then feel guilty that I didn't seem to love people or enjoy ministering. I would feel terrible because all I could think of was getting home, back to where I was comfortable. Lol, I could never be a salesman. I hate competition and will not do anything competitive. Shamefully I always look to take the easiest route when it comes to social situations.

    I love to pray. I love to read and study. If it was just God and me I had to concern myself with I'd be fine. But Christianity calls for sharing your faith, evangelizing, fellowship, not forsaking gathering together (probably my biggest sin unless online chatrooms count) I love you guys but I don't want to delve into a personal relationship face to face. I am tickled pink to have snail mail pen pals and delve in deep in that medium. I'm a great friend that way. I can join in online and feel fantastic about that. But I don't like face to face or phones. I never pick up the phone unless its work, my husband, my best friend (only in person friend), or one of my children. I will confess to looking at the caller ID and seeing its my sister-in-law and not picking up just because I don't want to be involved in a long, drawn out, conversation about a million things that aren't important to me. Boy that sounds selfish doesn't it? I guess it is... But I'm trying to be honest about who I am and what I feel. I am praying that God change me and help me to love people and be comfortable with them in realtime situations if that is what I have to be.

    My Mom was such a saint (she went to be with the Lord January 7, 2003) and she reached out to people, everyone. She had a heart for other people and she believed so strongly. With my own personality I have always struggled to see how I could ever measure up to her. She used to tell me that I'd change one day. She told me she used to be like I am and over time as she got older she really enjoyed being with other people. Ummm, I'm 50 now and its not getting any better. In fact its getting worse.

    I know I have a problem with low self esteem and maybe that's a separate issue, but it doesn't help.

    I pray for others. I seek to live as the Lord wants me to. I serve my family, but otherwise keep mostly to myself unless its online or snail mail penpalling.

    How can I be myself and the sort of Christian everyone expects me to be?

  2. #2
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    It seems that your low self esteem is driving your behaviour. I can relate to you what you say to some extent, as life events have lowered my self esteem. It sounds like your holding back, as a means of self preservation. It seems that your doing the same things you did as a child.
    I was so much happier just watching the other children play. Analyzing this as an adult I think that maybe part of the reason was because it was safer. If I didn't play I wouldn't get hurt. I wouldn't lose or cause my team to lose. I wouldn't make any mistakes. I wouldn't be ostracized or laughed at. I wouldn't have to interact and could just enjoy spectating from afar.
    Do you still feel these things above? If so then, the root of these feelings must be dealt with. On top of that you need to do a study on who you are in Christ. That should boost your self esteem

    Also who said you need to be the Christian everyone expects you to be? Your aim is to be the Christian God made you to be, and that's all that should matter.

    I really do understand what your going through,but the Lord can help you to lay it all down,so you can move forward a stronger person. Trust Jesus, even when you feel you can't trust others, He will build you up.

    blessings to you
    My soul does GLORIFY the LORD, my spirit REJOICES in GOD MY SAVIOUR
    ------
    "To be entirely safe from the devils snares the man of God must be completely obedient to the Word of the Lord. The driver on the highway is safe, not when he reads the signs but when he obeys them." A.W.Tozer

    The Lifehouse Skit

  3. #3
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    I see you just joined and welcome to the forum

    Like you, I have always been a loner and find it very difficult to participate in group activities. Not having come from a believing family, I was never forced to join any kind of groups and have not been able to do so. I've often wondered if God takes this into account, knowing us intimately He must be aware of our personalities.

    The only time I was comfortable in the company of groups of people was when I first believed and was so filled with the Spirit that I was oblivious to anything threatening. That only lasted a few months though and since then I have returned to being wary and only spontaneous in relationships one on one.

    This has bothered me also because we are told to assemble. I have enjoyed this forum because I know I am talking to some mature believers here and have learned much from them. However, if everyone on my friends list wrote to say they were gathering in my city for a visit, I would want to go meet them in person, but would feel trepidation I'm sure.

    I don't know if that will ever change. Only God can change it. If I made myself do something because I'm supposed to, I would feel like a phony it has to come from the heart as far as I'm concerned and it's God that changes the heart.

  4. #4
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    Thank you both, Indueseason and Silvermist. I was a little worried that I might get responses accusing me of not trusting God enough, or not letting the Holy Spirit take control.

    I once had a rather negative experience with a group of charismatics coming to pray over me when I was severely ill. We didn't know it then but I had a rare hereditary blood disease. It was a small group of believers. We called and the elders were kind enough to come and annoint me with oil and pray for me. They expected that if I had the proper amount of faith I would have leapt up out of that bed and danced around. True enough, that can happen whenever its God's will but it wasn't for me and I continued to be violently ill and was taken to hospital. Oh how it went round the church afterward, a very hot tidbit of gossip, that I didn't have enough faith to be healed. I knew in my heart that wasn't true because I certainly prayed right along with them and definitely knew the Lord could take the illness away if it was His will, but it wasn't to be. These people who make observations and then cast judgement about the spiritual faith of others have no idea how much damage they do. That just crushed me and and broke my heart.

    I've had other experiences similar but different to that one and perhaps thats another of the reasons I am looking to preserve myself.

    There was another time in my first marriage when I was 8 months pregnant and a couple from a similar church who were supposed to be our friends came along and, with my husband at their side, they blamed me for every problem he'd ever had. I broke down and cried my eyes out. They had no idea that through the years it was me that always picked up the pieces when he'd been mistreated at work. It was me who told him he was a worthwhile person time after time and supported him with tender care when even his father was criticizing him. This couple stayed at our house til 3am calling me a rebellious wife and my husband who knew what they were saying was false did nothing to defend me. That left a serious scar.

    I married again and this next husband after verbally abusing me and our two girls for 8 long years, left me to be in a homosexual relationship and is still in the same homosexual relationship now, 14 years later. He and I had taught Sunday School together. He had me and our two toddler girls up every morning at 5am for morning bible study and was a hard disciplinarian. I never knew till the end why he stopped showing me affection two years into our marriage. It was devastating.


    Thank God I finally married someone who is worthy of my love and appreciates me. Oddly enough, he believes in God and prays but does not feel we can know for sure what God is all about... so he isn't a Christian, but he is a gem of a man and I love him madly. We have been married for 11 years and praise God, we are as good or better than we were at the start.

    When I look back over my history is it any wonder I don't want to mingle? If I was already shy and self-protecting in my early childhood years, the sorts of experiences I've had with self professing Christian men since then hasn't made my people skills stronger. But through all of it --- and I'm getting emotional just typing it -- I have found God the Father, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit 100% faithful to love me and take care of me and my girls. He was there and because the men in my life were flawed, God Himself kept me strong and helped me persevere.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to make my response that long. Thank you both for your kind and loving responses. I was expecting to be told off but instead have been offered compassion and understanding. Thank you both, so much.
    Last edited by mrsarnold; Jul 12th 2012 at 04:47 PM. Reason: grammer corrections

  5. #5
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    Good morning, sister, and welcome to the board!!

    You gotten some good words already. And I am sorry for the events you have suffered. Why do people do such mean and hateful things and claim to do it in the Name of Jesus? I will never understand that as long as I live.

    You'll find comfort here. And I think this is a wonderful topic for us to talk about as I, too, am a little too comfortable with solitude.

    P.S......I just saw on the introduction thread that your name is Kim and that you are 50. MY name is Kim and I am 50 (51 in September)! HA! But I don't have any children or grandchildren, though.
    ".....it's your nickel"

  6. #6
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by jayne View Post
    P.S......I just saw on the introduction thread that your name is Kim and that you are 50. MY name is Kim and I am 50 (51 in September)! HA! But I don't have any children or grandchildren, though.
    And I just saw that you are listed as living in Louisiana! I was born in Houston, Texas but grew up in Baton Rouge and my family are still in Denham Springs and Baton Rouge! What a small world! And thank you for your kind words. I had NO IDEA there were other women who were reserved like me! You've all been such a comfort to me and I'm convinced it is the Lord's doing. Praise God!

  7. #7

    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrsarnold View Post
    And I just saw that you are listed as living in Louisiana! I was born in Houston, Texas but grew up in Baton Rouge and my family are still in Denham Springs and Baton Rouge! What a small world! And thank you for your kind words. I had NO IDEA there were other women who were reserved like me! You've all been such a comfort to me and I'm convinced it is the Lord's doing. Praise God!
    Hi there Kim, there's a lot of us out there I know God wants us to get on and fellowship but I also think that he sets some people aside for the jobs that the social folk don't have so much time for, you have recognised your strength in prayer and maybe that's what he is calling you to do.
    Maybe your being happy watching other children play was not so much fear of being hurt but a contentment to sit and watch others enjoying themselves?
    You know the body part analogy, we all have different functions, we can't all be hands or ears etc.
    I don't know, perhaps what I have said doesn't apply but what I do know without any doubt is that you are special and unique in our Lords eyes.
    Blessings and sister.
    Marie

  8. #8
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    Quote Originally Posted by claybevan View Post
    Hi there Kim, there's a lot of us out there I know God wants us to get on and fellowship but I also think that he sets some people aside for the jobs that the social folk don't have so much time for, you have recognised your strength in prayer and maybe that's what he is calling you to do.
    Maybe your being happy watching other children play was not so much fear of being hurt but a contentment to sit and watch others enjoying themselves?
    You know the body part analogy, we all have different functions, we can't all be hands or ears etc.
    I don't know, perhaps what I have said doesn't apply but what I do know without any doubt is that you are special and unique in our Lords eyes.
    Blessings and sister.
    Thank you, Marie. I think what you've said applies very well and yes I've heard of the body part analogy but being reminded of it is so good. I think that one of the greatest gifts of fellowship is probably the different insights you get from other believers. I loved what you had to say and you know, you may just have a very good point there. I do enjoy praying for others and following up and seeing how God answers. I know that is a gift God has given me and boy do I intend to keep using it. Thank you for your comment, Marie. God bless you!

  9. #9
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    Hi mrsarnold,
    Welcome to the board.

    I don't think what you're feeling is very unusual. My husband is forced to be socialble in his job and he is, but given a choice he would stay to himself.

    There are a lot of reasons why people are this way, but we all have different personalities, different strengths and weaknesses.

    Not everyone who serves the Lord is out there in the spotlight or shouting from the rooftops.
    God uses all of us in different ways and He knows better than anyone what we are suited to do according to our personalities etc..

    -Know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that although you may have some self-esteem issues ( I think we all do to some degree) there isn't anything "wrong" with being a more private type of person. It's not as if you've locked yourself in your home and stopped all communication with the outside world.

    I wouldn't worry about it. Just be the person God has made you to be and He will use you accordingly.

    God bless!

    Jeanne

    "He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it". ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

    "If we ever forget that we are ONE NATION UNDER GOD, then we will be a nation gone under" ~ Ronald Reagan

  10. #10

    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    If I really think about it, all my life I have felt less a Christian because I am not a social person.
    I know what you are feeling! When I was a child I was teased horribly which caused tons of social fears and anxieties. I suspect that that might be one of the reasons why I am a total perfectionist and absolute ball of stress. It is horrible. I am a little over a month shy of my 30th birthday and I practically have panic attacks over the thought of having to interact with people. I have started trying to work on things because my emotional stress and anxieties are starting to cause physical wear on my body (joints and muscles constantly stiff and achy from being kept constantly tense) and have me so paralized that I am sometimes afraid to even leave my home for fear that I will be seen by a neighbor or someone in a passing car, I rarely go anywhere, work from home, and have lately started considering giving up my dream of becoming a dog groomer (something that I have wanted since I was 12) because I might fail, etc. I finally realized that I am going to end up dying very young if I don't start getting things under control!

    I do think that focusing on being the person who God wants us to be and not on who we think we are expected to be by other Christians is helpful. Also, yesterday I had to go out and so I prayed the night before and asked God to help me to not be anxious, but to be confident and to reflect the character of Christ...and it worked! I was able to interact with the people I needed to interact with and had no fear or anything. I had no anxiety about it whatsoever. So, that is something that I am going to do from now on. If you don't pray over your day (especially when you know something is going to trigger your anxieties) you might want to give it a try. Also, I would say, if you are relieved to be done with your ministry after it is over then that might not be the place for you to be. Try some other areas of ministery until you find something that you enjoy. Maybe providing the hospitality cookies and cakes for after Sunday School or church is an area more suited to you. Maybe writing letters of encouragement and prayer to the shut-ins or members of the church serving in the military over-seas? I would look at the areas where you are naturally talented and find the ministeries that work with that.

  11. #11
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    Thank you Jeanne and Proverbs31Woman. Not that I want others to be miserable, but just seeing that I'm not the only one who struggles with this seems to take a great weight off my mind. Thank you both for your comments and recommendations. I'm soaking them all up and my mind is starting to open to new ways I could indeed minister to others even with my peculiar personality.

    I start a new job on Monday and though I'm excited I'm also a little fearful of having to be with others. I'm worried about picking up on the training quickly enough. If you've only worked in the US let me tell you over here in the UK you can tend to be thrown in the deep end really quickly. I'm also worried about being on my feet all day and all the heavy lifting and exercise the position is going to require. I'm not in as good a shape as I was two or three years ago. Lol, and then I'm just a teeny bit worried that there will be some natives there whose brogue may be so thick I won't be able to understand what they are saying to me. So... I am already praying about it. I have starting saying a prayer the minute I am conscious in the morning telling the Lord that I'd like Him to take control of the day ahead. Whatever comes at me, whether good or bad I pray He will get me through it as smoothly as possible.

    I'm so happy for you Proverbs31Woman and your success in getting through interacting with people. I... I just had no idea that there were so many women who had similar feelings to me. I've so often admired women who were bolder than me. I absolutely worshipped my Mom, though I know at times in my life I didn't show it. She was so amazing and participated in children's ministries throughout her life of 64 years. She was something else and I sure do miss her.

    Thank you every one for your encouragement. God bless each of you today!

  12. #12

    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    perhaps you are just introverted, in which case, God needs introverts and extroverts in His Kingdom.
    i can relate, i too am very ''guarded'' when it comes to forming meaningful relationships with people that are within my immediate family.
    "Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you..."
    Acts 26:16

    "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up..."
    daniel 3

    http://jason-beth-babynickel.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    You know mrsarnold, I think lots of us have discovered our 'comfort zone' and know that is where we like to be. The difficult part is when we must
    leave that 'comfort zone'. And we do all have to leave it once in a while.

    There's a lady at our church who does nothing much more than stay home and send cards to those who missed church for one reason or another. I know that before my husband passed away with cancer, this lady was SO faithful to send cards. Every week we got a card from that little lady! She'd write on them something like, "I understand that your husband is sick and that you are there, caring for him, but we still miss you two at church. It does not seem right when you can't be here." That meant so much to me and to my husband too.

    Even if she knows someone is out of town on vacation, she still sends those cards telling them they were missed while they were on vacation.

    I used to do the church bulletins. Mainly because I worked and didn't have time to attend Ladies meetings and things like that. But I could get the bulletins layed out on my computer at home and just had to go early enough to run off the copies at church and give them to someone so they could hand them out to the people as they arrived. My husband helped fold them as they were being copied on the bulletin paper.

    So if you just think about it, there's ways that each one of us can do something and we don't have to be in the spot light to do it! I kinda like being in the background. But then, I'm from Tennessee and by staying home and writing, no one has to hear how Southern/hillbilly I sound!
    My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16

    "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)

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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

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  15. #15
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    Re: Antisocial but Christian... What do I do?

    Helo Mrs. Arnold, your thread caught my attention. I think there are ALOT more people than you would ever realize that feel the same way you do. I do enjoy people but moreso on a one-to-one personal basis, not so much in a crowd where all the talk is kinda superficial. My husband is like Jeanne's. He has to because of work but he's really not a social person at all. And that has kept me from doing things b/c I know he just wouldn't be comfortable, and that would make me uncomfortable.

    But one thing I thought of, and you didn't mention this so i don't know if it applies, but one thing that has happened to me throughout my life is that I've been hurt, disappointed, abandoned, etc. by people who were so called "good Christians". So it has made me a little leary to reach out, unless it's someone I'm around every day, like at work.

    But the main thing is I wanted to tell you don't feel odd. That is just who you are and I think you should be comfortable with that. And there are always areas we can improve on and so forth, but basically don't try and be someone else.

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