So, I began to write about this in a journal, but decided to share it with the world instead (I am so laughing and shaking my head right now.) I help others realize their ability to overcome their fears and how to “feel the fear and do it anyway” yet, here I sit confronted with one of my own. I figure it will be a step in the right direction if I confess it here first, as I have been able to make some sense of it now, because of the help of an incredible friend.
Welcome into the depths of my heart once again…
Here I am an advocate and a speaker yet, I cannot pray out loud in front of others.
I totally freeze up.
Let me say that again:
“I cannot, do not pray out loud in front of others ~ it terrifies me!”
My daughter is the only one I’ve ever been able to pray in front of and I understand why now ~ she’s never hurt me with it. Please don’t misunderstand though, because I actually pray many times through out the day and mostly for others, but I always do it privately.
Prayer is very personal and not something I just rattle off out of habit. When I pray, I am always sure to give thanks and praise of course, but it is a time when I become most vulnerable, revealing weaknesses and the things I and others might need help with. In such a pure and honest place with God, I feel completely exposed (I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve as it is…) And as I look at the past, I realize I have almost always been hurt by the people I prayed in front of and they really took advantage of the weaknesses I exposed. They often used my own prayers against me and in more ways than one (including cult activity.) That is what abusive, controlling and manipulating people do ~ they expose and prey on the weaknesses of others (whether consciously or subconsciously.) After enough of this from spouses and spiritual leaders as well, I guess a part of me decided it was just better not to pray out loud anymore and I became very fearful and uncomfortable with it.
As a side note: a lot of this will make much more sense as I continue writing and sharing my stories (book) with you.
I am also content to realize that this fear isn’t related to confessing Jesus Christ as my Savior, because I have no problems nor any shame in being a Christian, regardless of what it has cost me in the past (just like SO many others.) In fact, I have to remind myself not to boast of it out of pride, I suppose. And I can join in agreement with others who pray out loud easily enough, but that is the extent of my “public” participation. It makes me sad not to contribute more though and it has always been a great desire that I may conquer this fear. I hope that becomes easier to do as I continue learning how to trust again and now that I’m able to recognize where it comes from and why.
Can anyone else relate?
How about you ~
have you ever struggled with this or something similar?