Spiritual Mean Girls

Pray for me my fellow sisters-in-Christ moms.

I would love to be in a prayer group, but ever since an awful experience with a college group I have been very reluctant to have anyone “pray over me.” Tonight was no exception.

I have posted before that I am enjoying the Alpha Group.  And the small group I am in is very sensitive to the fact that not everyone feels free enough to share deep personal prayers within a group, and I am more than grateful for that. Tonight was a mini retreat for all those who did not make the one-day retreat.  The talk was OK, and I did get a lot out of it but was becoming quite anxious as the time for small group prayer was coming.  I have come to hate them.  The saving grace of tonight’s was before we were invited to break up into those prayer groups we were given the option of going off on our own, or being in a group.  But there was still the specter that going off on your own was “wrong.”

I told the retreat prayer group person that I was going to go to the Adoration Chapel to have one-on-one prayer with God. She was reluctant that I was doing that but let me go.  Let me go, hmmph.

I had hoped I would be going into an empty Chapel; it was an unreal exception.  I tried to pray.  The space, while beautiful, felt very spiritually dry, void. Perhaps it was that I was going in with exceptions that were not going to be met, I could not pray there.

Going back to the worship space where the mini-retreat was being held felt awkward. I wondered around trying to find a place to pray, but landed back in the Tabernacle chapel where the retreat talks were being held. I found a small corner.  It felt surprising comfortable and I settled into a deep prayer. At least until I was startled out of  my spiritual revery by the very woman who knew, I didn’t want to be “prayed over”.

It broke my prayer rhythm. Making me slightly angry that this woman, whom I had told that I wanted to pray alone, felt she had to ask if: “I wanted to be prayed over now?”  No!  I don’t, they make me more than uncomfortable. There is a lot of emotional-spiritual baggage with prayer groups I have yet to work out.

Now, I know this woman was looking out for my spiritual well fare and wanted me to know she “was there for me.” I know, but I don’t like sharing.  I have become very careful sharing and with whom I share.  I have had very sensitive things I have asked for prayer come back to me in the form of gossip.  Knowing that others were gossiping about my prayer struggle, or spiritual struggle, or emotional struggle made/makes me feel very small.  I, truly, felt/feel dead inside.  I couldn’t look my prayer group “friends” in the eye.  They acted so superior to me as if they had their spiritual, emotional, personal poop together and I didn’t.

There have been prayer groups that I belonged to that “prayed over me” that I receive some Chrism.  The prayer leader, someone I can only describe as a spiritual mean girl, just KNEW God wanted me to have the gift of tongues.  One that I did not ask for and would never want.  We were in a circle, me and the rest of the mean girl leader’s besties; all waiting for me to burst out in tongues.  When I didn’t get it, I felt empty, I felt left out.  Expressing those thoughts and concerns to the leader she acted insulted and said it was because I don’t believe in the Holy Spirit. And if I were a better Catholic I would have gotten it.

I was so desperate to become part of that group I would have done anything.  I was the spiritually unpopular girl wanting more than anything to be part of the spiritually cool group.

I cried all the way back to my dorm room.

The next meeting the leader asked, again if I was ready to receive the gift she KNEW God was waiting to give me, and I said yes.  I was prayed over, and I started to babble some nonsense to the extreme joy of the leader and her circle of spiritual cronies.

I felt like a liar.

Tonight when I got home, I went to my prayer altar and prayed over the events of the evening.  I feel called to speak with the leader of tonight’s prayer group, so she knows of my experiences and my reluctance.  My prayer is that there will be some grace that comes from this; grace that I can finally feel as if I have some relief from those past experiences.  I also pray for the grace to make sure that I don’t make this leader feel as if I have just handed her a heaping bag of flaming spiritual poop of my past unresolved hurts.

So, my fellow sisters-in-Christ pray for me.

Is a spiritual director working helping moms find God in the everyday. She has been a spiritual director since 1998: worked as a Director of Religious Education for Holy Cross Parish(2000-2005), was Director of Project Rachel, a healing ministry for Post Abortive women(1999-2000). Patty worked a social worker for Catholic Social Services (1988 - 1995) Then studied for spiritual direction at the Dominican Center of Religious Studies, DeWitt Michigan

She is married 20 years and has four children

She has a BS/BA in social work from Aquinas College, CSD Certified Spiritual Director

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