I’ve been enjoying fabulous fall colours in my garden. Almost every sunny afternoon when I attempt to get an early start preparing supper for my family, I end up outside instead taking photographs of God’s glorious artistry. This autumn beauty, pictured above, is visible from my kitchen window. She beckons me to bring my camera outside and partake of fall’s splendor. And let me tell you, I’d rather lie on my back under a Japanese Maple tree than hang out in a room full of strangers and acquaintances.
Years ago, one of my family members told me that when I was a toddler she noticed that whenever we entered a room full of people, my entire body would stiffen up. According to her observations, I’ve been apprehensive of crowds right from day one.
Over fifty-something years later this still rings true for me. I’m slowly learning how to overcome social anxiety. At the end of this post I’ll place a link to a rather revealing podcast I shared on HopeStreamRadio about a recent Women’s retreat I retreated from. In it you’ll find out how God comforted and encouraged me. He’s such a good Father.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
He delivered me from all my fears.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:4 & 18 NIV
When Fear Comes
When fear of rejection
Weighs down my weary soul
I long for God’s unfailing Love
To shine and make me whole
When fear of others
Takes over my thoughts
I need to focus back on God
To provide what I have not.
Have you been blessed with an easy-going crowd-friendly personality, or have you been blessed with an introspective and analytical mind? Perhaps you’re a mixture of both. I’m nosy-to-know?
Loved and Accepted As-Is Blessings ~ Wendy
Here’s the link to the blog post on HopeStreamRadio that also links to the specific podcast I mentioned: Retreat From a Women’s Retreat (I love the pictures they posted on it, especially the one with the person hiding under the pillows–it’s so me.) And here’s my Walking with Hope page on HopeStreamRadio where you can find a list of all my podcasts in case you’ve already listened to the latest one. A new one shows up on it each Tuesday. If you have a moment, let me know what you think. Did I encourage you? I hope so. <3
49 thoughts on “The Day I Retreated from a Women’s Retreat/Podcast”
I shrink in a crowd. Always have. Being a teacher helped a bit, but I still hate social gatherings. Sigh!
I hear you, Bill. 🙂 Just thinking about being in a crowd makes me want to hide away in my house.
I could’ve written most of this Wendy. I deal with social anxiety myself and would much rather be out in nature than surrounded by people. I was also this way as a child….I didn’t want to be held by strangers and I would recoil if they came up to me. Thank God for photography which has given me an anchor in my life. And you will rarely see me take a people photo. Gee…I wonder why? 😉
Laura, I sure can relate to rarely taking people pictures… it’s got to be a really special shot to capture my heart (Next week I actually have a person in my post.). But I did take a ton of pics of my children. They prefer me not to now. <3
Wow, you sound so much like me!! I much prefer to be out in nature with my camera. Bless you.
And where you live, dear Isabella, taking pictures must be pure heaven. I’m enjoying (as always) what you post of lovely Wales. <3
Thank you, Wendy. Forgot to mention earlier that I love your beautiful photos too. Blessings ♥
Thank you, dear friend. <3
Really? It’s nice when we see things in others that remind us of ourselves. even though we’re never really alone, sometimes it seems like it. Happy Clicking isabella!
Thank you, Laura.
Oh my goodness….and GORGEOUS fall pictures!!!!!!!!!!
I take spells. I do tend to be more solitary than some a lot of the time.
Dear Theresa, you’re doubly blessed to be a beautiful mix of the two. <3
You are a blessing! <3
I just used the link “Retreat
From a Women’s Retreat”, and read there. It was really good!
Thank you for letting me know, sweet friend. 🙂 I like how they arrange the posts and pictures.
“I’d rather lie on my back under a Japanese Maple tree than hang out in a room full of strangers and acquaintances.” Oh, I so identify with this, Wendy. I’m with you, girl! He speaks to me in nature, too. 🙂
Susan, sometimes I wish I was literally invisible so I could watch and listen to everyone talking to each other. My goal is be able to observe and enjoy while being comfortable in my own skin. One day. 🙂
I hear you, Wendy. Me too. <3
No, I don’t like being somewhere on my own and walking in to a room full of strangers who all seem to know each other is excruciating. And yes, I have quietly left before one now. But I’ll try again in the Spring! 🙂
Yes, trying again is always an option. 🙂 I’m thinking of wading in again with a shorter event.
Wonderful! We have so much in common. I used to get anxiety attacks when in a crowd. Still can only take people a few at a time…
Maureen, my heart goes out to you. My dentist accidentally provoked an anxiety attack in me while I was in the dentist chair. He doesn’t use that particular freezing in my mouth anymore. I’d hate to have been in a crowd when that happened. As it was, it felt like I was dying on the spot. 🙂 Not fun.
thanks Wendy – I went through a bad patch where I couldn’t even go to a supermarket.
I watched someone go through that. It was a joyous occasion when the person was eventually able to overcome it. Thankfully the success stories of others help those still in the battle. A story shared can save a life. <3
I had great support when I needed it…
That’s the secret—for sure. <3
Thanks for sharing this. I’m in the middle ground on the introvert/extrovert scale. It might be hard for me to break into a group of strangers that is already engaged in conversation, but I am much less averse to meeting new people than I once was. I learned some of this at Teacher’s Conferences. Maybe it’s my curiosity. I would pick out the sessions I most wanted to attend. If my friends were interested in different sessions, I’d go off on my own. Often I’d sit beside someone who appeared to be alone. If that person wanted to talk that was okay. If not, I always had a book with me. I’ve had some interesting conversations with complete strangers by being open or by making the first comment. I suspect/hope I’ve eased other people’s anxiety, by opening up to them.
Dear Sharon, I like the thoughtful wisdom you model in focusing on how you can reach out to someone else who is alone. It’s also a way to bring two introverts into the safety of a one on one conversation. Practice has obviously helped you perfect your navigation of conferences. I’m making mental notes for my next venture into a crowd. 🙂
By reaching out to others, I become more comfortable myself and then I enjoy having conversations with people whether I know them or not. I am not exactly forward, but I am more outgoing that I used to be. Eleanor Roosevelt said, ” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Sometimes my nosy-to-know factor kicks in and motivates me to reach out and ask questions. I’ve learned that most people don’t try to belittle others. Those that do are the ones who are broken. I like the Roosevelt quote. 🙂
Thanks, Wendy. A good read. Sharon
Thank you, Wendy! You have a way of always making us feel loved and useful in His sight! No matter what!
Thank you, dear Debbie. <3 God delights in us (Zephaniah 3:17).
Loved the podcast! I related to many of your comments about being an introvert…you’re not alone! Psalm 34:4 is one of my favorites:) I also like Hebrews 13:6 “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'” Keep up the great work, Wendy!
Thank you, dear Patty, for reminding me of Hebrews 13:6 I love that one and had forgotten about it. 🙂 Blessings.
Gorgeous pictures! 🙂 I love autumn
Thank you, dear Rebecca. 🙂
It’s so comforting to read the reinforcement that it’s good to stop pretending. I’ve been a counselor for 30 and have led groups with purpose but social mingling is still not comfortable unless I know the people well. I can do a one day conference, but I just backed out of being a leader at a four day event where I would feel overwhelmed. I have to have my quiet time. At 60 years old, I’ve decided it’s time to stop fighting and honor how God made me.
JoAnna, I wish I had realized this sooner instead of beating myself up over it for so long. Parents can play a big roll in helping their introvert children not feel broken. Today I listened to a podcast on HopeStreamRadio about this: http://hopestreamradio.com/the-misunderstood-introverted-child/
Thanks for the link to the article. I’ll read it shortly. I have to be honest, I might not have backed out all the way. It seems that the leader of my group is being supportive about the concerns I expressed, so I’m praying about it. Trying to stop calling myself wishy-washy and recognizing I’m setting boundaries to take care of myself. Thanks for letting me process.
JoAnna, I like the sound of “supportive” and “setting boundaries”, it reminds me of the flexibility of a healthy backbone. I think you’ll do well walking in this balance.
Social anxiety can be tough to overcome.. I find I have to mentally prepare myself.. I love the photos and the POEM!! Fear is so powerful.. let’s use it to motivate not contain us <3
Wise words, Christy: “… let’s use (fear) to motivate not contain us.” <3 I'm motivated to grow stronger than my fear by focusing on what needs have my name on them, and then I want to fill them according to the will and grace of God.
I’m like you.
Dear Cynthia, this encourages me. 🙂 You were so eloquent and gracious in your radio interview on CBC radio. xo
Wow nice blog post 🙂
Thank you. 🙂 Blessings on your weekend.