Thursday, March 17, 2011

When Church Makes You Crazy, Part 2

Coping Strategy #2: Find a Lighthouse Friend. One of the tragedies of being the center of conflict in our church was that I was terrified of everyone - not because I thought everyone was out to get me, but because I had no idea who I could trust.

The church leaders who had interviewed my husband and called him to be their pastor turned so quickly when they disagreed with him that I feared everyone in the church would feel likewise if they knew me. I tried to be bland and agreeable but after a while I felt like I was disappearing. I needed the freedom to express my thoughts honestly.

I decided it would help to find one person with whom I could be honest. I was acquainted with a woman who seemed trustworthy, mature in her faith and sophisticated enough about church to handle my church politics saga. I asked her to be my lighthouse friend: to let me tell her all that was happening so that when I saw her on Sunday morning I would not feel alone.

Most Sunday mornings we did not speak beyond a pleasant greeting but seeing her and knowing she understood how hard it was for me to be at church was a light in the fog of my fear and anxiety.

Coping Strategy #3: Avoid the Building. APart form Sunday morning I completely avoided church. I didn't stop by to see my husband. I didn't drive by on my way to the grocery store. I changed my routes so I never saw the church building except on Sunday morning.

All my associations with the building were negative and it was draining for me to see it and arouse all those feelings.

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Thanks for using this space to share your encouraging words.