This story happened many years ago and I was far past the age that it should have bothered me but it did and that makes me think, maybe I am not the only adult who still sometimes dreads walking into a gathering feeling unsure of myself and feeling insecure.
Oh, that table is full of friendly looking ladies. All laughing and smiling and engaged in conversation around the table. What about me? Where do I sit? Will I fit in if I end up at a table with strangers?
Yes, I still have those thoughts even now and I can always trace it back to an event that triggered what I call adult insecurity.
Before I was a writer and was going through the phase of trying different things because every spiritual gifts test I took was wrong, I was trying my hand at helping the team that organized a Women’s Conference in our small church.
After running around to make sure the refreshments were served as planned before the first speaker began, I finally had a chance to slow down and take a breath. And find a seat.
The auditorium was full in the front and middle and a little sparse in the back. I chose the second from last row and was the only one in that row. There were a few ladies in front of me and a few behind but I had this row to myself. I looked forward to someone joining me soon.
The door opened behind me and in walked two women together. I knew them and hoped they would see all the empty seats in my row and sit with me.
They didn’t. They went to the ladies in the row in front of me.
The door opened again. Someone that I knew came in and sat in the back row behind me. And another lady came in and joined the group in front of me.
That is when I started feeling sorry for myself. That is when all the negative thoughts came rushing in. That is when I felt like a younger version of myself declaring no one likes me. The conference began and I was sitting in a row by myself. No one in my church chose to sit by me.
I couldn’t let the hurtful thoughts go. I couldn’t understand why I was left sitting alone. Yes, I overreacted, but I was experiencing a genuine pain and its name was insecurity.
I don’t remember paying much attention to the speaker who stood up front. My thoughts turned to a conscious decision I was making that if I ever notice someone sitting alone at a future event, I will sit with them. I want to be the welcoming person at a table that says come and sit here! It is not a difficult concept. Let’s take insecurity off the table by bringing everyone to the table. Let’s not leave anyone on the outside looking in! We are better together.
Ecclesiastes: 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.