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I was invited to a Toastmasters meeting last Tuesday night.

I went.

But not until after a bunch of trying to decide and coaxing from Lisa.

I was nervous about going. I didn’t want to get trapped into some arrangement I was unhappy with.

Lisa pointed out that my life is becoming more and more closed. I’m at home alone all day every day. My online world is deep and broad. Locally I’m a hermit. Am I growing agoraphobic?

So I got dressed in nice clothes and went to the meeting.

I realized a huge thing: I had allowed the things that I found triggering about church to creep into almost everything associated with church at all, including meetings, groups of people, and meeting in an official building. I’d gone from finding church triggering to just people in groups in a meeting triggering. Wow! I can’t let that happen.

So, it was nice meeting people. Nice people.

Something else happened that was revelatory too.

They have what they call “table talk”, where the leader calls on random people to speak on a surprise topic on the spot for under two minutes. I was chosen to speak on “What do you think about when I saw summer and high school?”

I felt incredibly nervous. My heart rate was up, I felt like I was visibly shaking, and my voice felt unstable and breathless. But apparently I did really well.

Man! I can’t let that happen either. I was a good speaker. And I enjoyed it. It’s been seven years since I preached, so it was definitely like coming out of my shell… my hermitage… my cave… again.

So, Lisa’s right. I need to get out more. I now see how it is possible to make my triggers worse and maybe even turn into phobias if I let them. And I don’t want that to happen.

Whatever happened to me will not necessarily happen to me again. There are nice people in the world. There are valid groups with healthy missions out there too. Plus, I learned a lot over the years about boundaries, trust, and healthy social interaction.

Well, I just wanted to share that.

Thanks for listening.