Lying. Stealing. Anger. Lashing back. All of these are struggles that people go through. But the issue which seems to give me a hard time is fear. I'm not scared to go up and talk in front of a big group; neither am I worried about any and every little thing around the next corner. The fear I have is hard for me to explain, but I'll do my best.
It's common for many people to be timid when they are in a new place, with strangers and different surroundings. I love to go to new places, but only when I'm with someone who knows their way around. If you were to ask me to travel on a plane all by myself to a different state, I would flat out tell you no. Why, you ask? Honestly, I don't know. I mean, I always want to be more independent and do things on my own, but something in me holds me back.
This occurs even with small things. When I was 10 years old, I did a paper route which lasted for four years. My mom drove, and I delivered papers to different stores, restaurants, and train stations. The first time we did it, a lady came with us and showed us where everything went, so I got used to the routine. Then, when we would have a new store added to the route, my heart would start pounding because I'd never been there before and wasn't familiar with where the papers went - even with directions!
Last but certainly not least, I fear being around large (and even not so large) groups of people. When I go shopping by myself, I always try to avoid the isles with more than one person in them. If I'm at a church or school activity, as in someone else's church/school, I tend to be very quiet and not participate in much. There are times when it doesn't bother me just to stand by and watch... all the more opportunity to take pictures! Sometimes though, it would be nice if I could force myself to just get out there and be more involved.
It's such a terrible feeling, probably because I wasn't always like this. I went to a Christian school for 1st and 2nd grade, and I can't remember a single time where that nagging fear would pop up. Then we started homeschooling; as I got older, the fear grew.
Some of you reading this have known me for years and are probably wondering how any of this could be true. There reason - I do everything I can to hide it. By trying to be outgoing, make jokes that aren't really funny (I later realize), and talking a lot ... yep, you heard that right! Not all the time, but lately I feel I've been doing way too much of the talking and not enough listening. At the time I don't think much of it; when I have a moment to run that day through my head, I then realize how self-centered I was.
Don't get me wrong; talking is good. But not when it's a one-sided conversation, or it's always about yourself.
I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions you might have. I've been asking some friends for advice, as well as praying about it, but anything you might have I'm willing to hear!