Often I find myself expecting my friends to understand me without ever having explained myself. It can be painful to explain things about yourself that you are embarrassed or ashamed of, but it can really help you.
I spent a lovely day yesterday on Edgecote Moore, at Chipping Warden near Banbury. After last year's success the MSS and the English Tournament Society and Black Bear events presented the second Edgecote tournament and battle of Edgecote Moore. I confess I don't have any photo's from this year - these are all from 2009. As a re - enactor, you're always torn between taking photos and appearing in - authentic to a public who are paying to see you.
I chose to go for just the Saturday this year. I've had some issues with anxiety lately and couldn't quite face all the organisational and time issues involved in going for all three days.
I left on the 0607 train from New Malden and arrived on the field at 0945. It was a good decision. All the fun of the day, without the stress. It has taken a while, but I've realised that issues connected with time are what cause me most anxiety. One of my friends pointed out several years ago that I am very 'time aware'; I often know what time it is without looking at the clock and I clock watch a good deal. And when I begin to struggle with life, I'm very reliant on routine.
And going away for the weekend for Edgecote, which I LOVE, filled me with dread. Organising food I can eat, going to bed on time, getting up on time, sharing a tent (albeit a very large one!) with four other people....
So I panicked for a bit. First I tried making up excuses, about not being able to leave in time from work on the Friday. They said they would be able to leave later. Then, sat in Starbucks after work, I rang them and explained I couldn't face being with so many people, swallowed my pride and asked if they minded if I came for just the Saturday. They asked about what this might mean for going away in the future etc. I tried to explain that my anxiety levels wax and wane, and some times I can do more than I can at other time. But was really hard, trying desperately not to cry in Starbucks on a Monday after an awful day at work.
Do you know what? It was worth it. I had an amazing day, and my friends know a little more about me. If I friends don't know what we find hard, how can they help us overcome things? God gives us friends to encourage us and uses them to help us change to be more like Jesus.
This might look like failure; I wanted to go for the whole weekend, and I only went for the day. But originally I was going to back out altogether; by God's Grace, I was able to go. By His grace I was humbled and admitted to my struggle. Only when we admit what we struggle with, can we seek His help with it.
I have one friend who is very gregarious. She is always really encouraging when I manage to go along and engage with people at events, because she knows I find spending time with people, particularly large groups, really challenging.
And she challenges me to go to some things rather than letting me off the hook all together. Sometimes we need that too!
I won't ask you to state on hear what you are embarrassed by or are ashamed of, but do have a think about. Pray about it. Our Heaven;y Father is waiting to hear from us.