Today, I feel like this guy. Okay, so I'm not bald or nearly this round, and I'm not frowning, but I do feel like a giant cliche butterfly is flitting around in my stomach. What are you so nervous about, you might want to know. Can I pray for you?
Fine, I'll tell you, but you need to promise not to laugh.
Deep breath. Let it out. One more. There you go. Just say it.
I'm going to Girls Night Out this evening---my first major women's event at a new church.
So, you're probably saying to yourself. I fail to see the fear factor here. Girls Night Out sounds like fun, and I thought you were making friends at your new church.
Told you it was silly. I am actually excited about it, and I am going with a great friend who is taking me to pre-event get-together so I can meet even more friends. But this morning I went into the first-day-of-high-school panic mode. You probably know the drill:
What if no one talks to me except the friend who brought me?
What if I say something stupid?
I have nothing to wear!
Back in Reno, I rarely missed a social event at church. But I also knew everyone and what to expect once I arrived. I was often leading worship, performing in a skit or leading a mixer, or contributing in some other way. Back in Reno, I went to events like this with a purpose, a "place."
But as I let my sister paint my toenails and help me choose an outfit (As it turned out, I did have something to wear, and it's pretty cute too.), I reminded myself that this is part of the process of starting over in a new home, and why I signed up for Girls Night Out in the first place. As I learned when I accepted my cousin/friend's invitation to Bible study a couple months ago, making friends and getting to the place where I feel at ease means putting myself out there. It means attending events as a stranger at first. It means letting people get to know me and making an effort to get to know them. It means walking out the door even when the butterflies feel like a swarm of bats and focusing on how fun the evening is going to be and how glad I will be for going. Starting over means remembering that socializing won't always feel like the first day at a new school. I have plenty of memories from my life in Reno to prove it.
When have you felt like this? How easy or difficult is it for you to meet new people or feel confident in a new environment? What are you nervous about today?