I’ve packed and repacked my same black suitcase about five times. Usually, packing is a snap for me (I go on about fifty trips a year, so if I don’t want to dedicate a large portion of my free time to packing. a girl learns to keep it simple.)
I would like to take an outfit for each day, and a backup after I see what everyone else is wearing, just to make sure I fit in.
I have (so far) resisted an “emergency” trip to Macy’s hoping to find the right outfit to make sure I fit in.
But as you may suspect, this goes a little deeper than wardrobe issues.
Tomorrow I board a plane to go to “The Hip Conference”. Really cool, deep, spiritual girls are getting together to teach each other – and learn from each other – how to talk about Jesus better. And normally, I would be really excited. Except I’m “The New Girl”.
I’ve never been to this conference, and I’ve let my brain run amok.
In my mind:
- These women all know each other and are best friends waiting for their once a year reunion
- It will be like a scene from “Mean Girls” and no one will sit with me at lunch
- They will mock me behind my back for my pathetic attempts to fit in
Obviously, I’ve watched too many commercials for Gossip Girl.
And this doesn’t just happen for conferences. No – I feel it all the time.
- At a new Bible Study
- Visiting a new church
- Going to a new hair dresser
- When my kids went to a new school
- Hanging out with my husband’s co-workers
People assume since I’m an extrovert that I LOVE diving into situations like this. No. Not at all. All the weirdness and fear pop up and I feel like the kid sister my older sister was forced to take to the movies with all of her cool friends.
I don’t write this to have you encourage me (I know, I know, they will love me once they get to know me. but thanks!) but to say if a super-extrovert like me feels this, I’m guessing that about 90% of you have some of the same feelings. So I wanted to share my plan of attack. I mean my godly plan for managing my anxiety.
Step 1 – Pray for the Event: When I take my eyes off myself and think about what the event is trying to accomplish – and then praying to that end – it gives me the perspective I need. I’m just one person, hoping to be useful, and to follow what God is telling me to do. I’m now praying for the event organizers (cause you know they might just be losing their minds right about now…) praying for the safety of those who are traveling, and praying I can get what God wants me to get out of the experience.
Step 2 – Realize I’m Not the Only New Girl: There are going to be loads of people there who are newbies. We will be the ones who look like racoons staring at an oncoming Mack Truck. I will find these people and make them my friends.
Step 3 – “My Name Is… Here to Serve” No, I’m not officially on the committee, but every single one of these conferences, God has put someone in my path that needed to be loved, encouraged, or just needed some well-timed milk chocolate. If I focus on the needs of others, God always gets around to what I need out of the conference. I’ve never left feeling “I wish I hadn’t helped that person so much. I missed ______” Nope, God’s told me to “feed His sheep”. That’s my job. He takes care of the schedule nitty-gritty.
Step 4 – Bring Things to Give Away No, not advertising for my new book. Things people want. Like that well-timed chocolate.
So tell me your coping mechanism for being the new girl. Spiritual. Practical. I want to hear it – and I want you to share it with all the other new girls.
(BTW – the word on the street is all these ladies are lovely and I’m going to have a great time. I’ll report back…)
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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