“… we’re leaving the house of the Lord.”
I know. It’s horrible. And it’s the exact opposite of what Psalm 122 says. BUT. That is exactly what was in my head when we left church this morning.
It’s not like it was even the worst morning at church I’ve ever had. Not at all, in fact. Seeing as it would take my fingers and toes to be able to count the number of time I’ve been in tears at church as a mother… because of my kids … today was actually quite fine. I think what it is is that I’m becoming aware of situations that make me anxious and church is one of them.
For my Practicum class we have to go for counselling, so that we know the experience of being the counsellee. This week I went through some exercises in our workbook which help highlight personal issues. My answer for “situations where you feel most uncomfortable”? Mom’s group and church. Likely not the greatest answer given that I am a mom and my husband is in seminary to become a pastor. So I am going into counselling hoping to find some answers to why I am uncomfortable (and subsequently try to avoid) those situations.
What I figured out a bit today is that I think Luke may react to the same way to social situations as I do. Luke was angry when I got downstairs after church today. And, in my attempt to talk to him about it and discipline him, I’m pretty sure I ended up making a bigger scene than was warranted. For example, instead of just walking to a quiet corner with him, I walked to the corner with him and squeezed his shoulder. Then later I gesticulated wildly.Then I said angry words while gesticulating.
It felt like “a scene” to me. I’ve been a part of bigger and more dramatic scenes with my kids, but this was bigger than it should’ve been. But, honestly, it just came out. Perhaps more than that it was like I was deliberately making it bigger than it needed to be. Why? So the 100 university-aged church-goers could gawk at the angry mother?
You know. That may just be it.
In that moment it’s like I was swept up in something. I’m hoping to figure out what that something is in counselling. But I know that it made me feel both very self-conscious and completely indifferent — like I actually wanted to lose it. Like the scene I was making was being made because I was in public, even though I hated that it felt like people were judging me.
It’s a complicated thing. But I wondered today if maybe Luke gets like that, too. If he thinks, “I’ve already started misbehaving and everyone’s seen me do it, so I may as well let it all out now.” Or maybe, “I’ve drawn everyone’s attention, therefore I feel anxious, therefore I can’t/won’t/don’t control my behaviour.” I know he’s like me and gets overwhelmed in groups (or at least certain groups). So I’m curious to see if the counselling will shed some light on this.
Now, I’ve come a very long way in worrying about other people’s perceptions of me, but I still have a ways to go. I also know that tiredness and stress will trigger those things — both of which Luke and I were feeling this morning. So, maybe we can grow together in this. And by the end of it (or at least, please God!, by the end of seminary), I’ll be able to say Psalm 122 the right way. Or, even better, say: “I was glad when they said to me, let us go up to the house of the Lord with my kids.”