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Going to Church OR Feeling Naked

A roadside sign warns drivers along Alabama Highway I-65 North in Deatsville that they need to to church the avoid the wrath of the Devil. The sign was erected by the late W.S. “Billy” Newell in the late 1980’s as a way to “wake up the people,” Newell told NPR in 2005. Newell briefly changed the sign to, “We Love Lucy,” when 2006 gubernatorial candidate Lucy Baxley. Newell died in 2009. (Photo by Carmen K. Sisson/Cloudybright)

Thanks to  Carmen K. Sisson for her awesome photograph! Click her name to check out her photography and free-lance journalism bio! 

“In his moments of insecurity he was haunted by the suggestion that life might be, after all, significant.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and the Damned)

“The important thing isn’t what other people think you are; it’s who you are.” – Shannon L. Alder

“You can even say that I hated myself at certain periods. I was too fat, or maybe too tall, or maybe just plain too ugly … you can say my definiteness stems from underlying feelings of insecurity and inferiority. I couldn’t conquer these feelings by acting indecisive. I found the only way to get the better of them was by adopting a forceful, concentrated drive.” Audrey Hepburn

I have not been active in my church community in several years.  This is for a myriad of reasons – all having to do with me and some very trying times in the life of my little family. In the interest of being a more centered, effective person, I know that going to church makes me feel connected to my God, my community, and my purpose.  So, why is it so hard to go?

1 – I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON! And, here in the South, Sunday School and Big Church are where the action (or discussion) is.

2 – I FEEL COMPLETELY EXPOSED. Which is scary (and avoidable by NOT going to church).

You see the conundrum.

So, today we went to church. I felt exposed and judged and I acknowledged with every step that this was my problem, my perception, not reality. I know this because I saw smiles, and welcoming greetings, and invitations to Bible studies. I left today feeling good, not stripped naked, which is my worst fear.

Next week, I will make it to Sunday School and I will brave the fear that I will regret something that I say while there. (Which, really is strange. I rarely misspeak while in my classroom of judgmental teenagers, and when I do I acknowledge it and move on, no big deal. But, in church, I truly feel as if I am being sized up with every word.) I will also be brave enough to be self-confident enough to remain focused on the benefits to ME – I will be a more centered and effective person by participating in worthwhile studies meant to help me be a better person and manager of my time in order to truly live life.

How often am I inhibited by my self-doubt? How much do I miss simply to avoid confrontation or uncomfortable social anxiety? How much of my life am I not living? Church is just one example and even if you are not a particularly religious person, can you relate to the social anxiety I am describing?


  1. BUY a couple of church worthy outfits that I feel comfortably hidden in (lack or wardrobe cannot be an excuse anymore).
  2. Choose a Sunday NIGHT Bible study, buy the book, and GO this Sunday.
  3. Prepare the clothes for all of the family BEFORE Sunday morning to avoid my lack of morning person-ness getting us all off to a bad start.
  4. Reach out to one or two if my church friends so I feel more comfortable when I go.

P.S.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a group who would reach out to people like me to let me know what was going on and invite me to join? Something more personal than the newsletter? Someone who could make me feel welcome whenever I chose to jump back in again??? Ah well – one step at a time. Maybe this is something I can do when I am not wearing so many hats at school and when I am feeling comfortable at church!!

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