I was a member of a group this week, as an exercise in obedience. I really didn't want to be there, I hadn't had much fun in the previous sessions, but I am required to attend one more as an obligation.
One of my problems when I am in this group is that I get so nervous that I talk entirely too much. This is a problem I have. I get very excited about a topic and what I have learned and gleaned and absorbed in my spiritual journey on that subject that I want to share all of it with whoever will listen. I guess I had this problem in the group I was in. I was asked that perhaps I should curtail my sharing with the group for the benefit of the group.
I had decided that I was not going to attend this group for a while, but there happened to be a really interesting topic this night, and I wanted to hear what was said. I decided that I just wouldn't say anything at all, just listen and get it through the night.
As the hour wore on I did venture one or two statements, and I had a few more in mind that I wanted to share, but I found myself editing in my head, and keeping myself from sharing very valid feelings and emotions, for fear that the others in the group would judge me as talking too much again.
As I was sitting there, in the last fifteen minutes in the hour, I found myself getting very depressed. I had to force myself to become someone I wasn't by editing my comments in order to feel as though I could be a member of this group. It wasn't like a mortification, which would make me stronger, it was a painful realization that this group would only accept me in this edited version of myself.
It was a painful realization. If this group, whose purpose is supposed to be spiritual growth, could only accept me as a member if I was constantly keeping myself from sharing any part of myself, then perhaps it is time that I leave this particular group. I would never discount someone for who they are, and that is the way I perceived what was happening to me.
I guess it is important to know what isn't working in ones spiritual life, and make adjustments when it is obvious that one should move on. I don't want to be in a faith-sharing group where I feel as though the other members only care about an edited version of my journey.
So, I go.