Anxiety about taking holy communion

(13 Posts)
mintysmum Fri 23-Oct-15 22:22:59

Is this really silly? I started going to an evangelical church after doing the Christianity Explored course there. Usually I go with my friend who is part of the church and sit with her which helps me feel comfortable. I say usually though I've only been about 6 times.

I still feel 'odd' being there, in that I'm not totally relaxed in the environment. I don't feel odd about my new relationship with God and am quite at ease praying on my own. But being in a large congregation of people who mainly know each other and the routine of it all is strange.
I went last Sunday and my friend wasn't there, which was fine, as I've sat on my own a couple of times. It was communion and I decided I would go up. However as it all started I found myself crying, not shoulder shaking sobbing! But quietly had tears running down my face - that then made me feel anxious in case someone noticed, so I stayed put and didn't take communion. But I felt even more anxious sitting still and letting people walk past me awkwardly in the pew. My heart was racing and I felt so silly.
I walked home thinking this whole thing must really not be for me after all, if I can get so worked up about approaching the alter and taking communion. I didn't even tell my friend in case she thought I was weird!
Does anyone else find it nerve wracking or even cry?

DadDadDad Fri 23-Oct-15 23:03:44

I can't say I recognise that emotional response to a (first) communion, although I can appreciate where it might come from, if your life has changed so dramatically in quite a short space of time and I don't think there's anything wrong in what you feel.

Here's two thoughts (I'm an evangelical Christian, so I've got some idea of the context):

1. You've got this new found relationship with God, and the Christianity Explored has helped clarify that, but what about all your other relationships? what about your past life? are there things there that you need to revisit - eg using a Christian counsellor, or talking them through with your friend or a church minister?

2. Every church is flawed, because it's populated by sinners. Don't assume that this church is the only way of being a Bible-believing, God-centred community. Have you thought about trying a different church? If your church is not a cult, your friend should be totally comfortable with going to a different church that might suit you better - they might even come with you for support. (Obviously, you'll have to discern if that church is a believing church that properly teaches the Bible; not all are).

DadDadDad Fri 23-Oct-15 23:05:59

Sorry, in my reply, I think I misread your post as suggesting this was the first time you've taken communion, but that doesn't change the points I made.

Also, I admire your courage posting on a public forum like this, so I hope you get some helpful responses!

mintysmum Sat 24-Oct-15 11:28:48

Thanks dadadadad. I wouldn't like to try another church as this one is very friendly and welcoming and I like the way they teach reading of the bible and supporting people in lots of different ways to read and understand the bible.
It's just me feeling anxious about going up there but I can't work out why - in case I get it wrong, don't say the right thing, don't go to the right place. I don't know, that's why it feels so silly, the primary aged children go up and look relaxed!

Madnessmouse Sat 24-Oct-15 14:31:23

It might be that the more you keep doing it the easier it gets. I have felt awkward in new churches going up for communion and sharing the peace...it just gradually seemed to get easier over the weeks. Don't worry what other people are thinking, they probably aren't taking as much notice of you as you think. Also, I have cried at communion before, it's normal and totally understandable :-)

Tuo Sat 24-Oct-15 21:07:04

Hello minty. I have cried taking communion before, and at other times in church too. It is an emotional response that is perfectly normal (no different from crying at a beautiful poem or piece of music, or at a film, or at a wedding or graduation, say), though I know that doesn't help you to feel any less awkward if it happens to you. I don't think it necessarily means that something is 'wrong' at a deeper level, though - either with you or the church (it sounds a bit as if this is what DadDadDad is suggesting, though I may be misinterpreting).

I also think it's very normal to continue to feel awkward in a place even though you're happy with the reason for being there. Again, you might think about starting a new school or college - you're happy and excited to be there and keen to learn, but you know hardly anyone, and you're worried about whether you're doing everything right and whether people are looking at you or whatever. Tell yourself that that feeling is normal and do what feels right for you anyway - it's about you and God in the end, not about anyone else.

Good luck! I don't even want to say to you that I hope the next time is less emotional for you - I hope that communion continues to stir your emotions (I think that's what it's meant to do - if it becomes just a production line of bread-check-wine-check-done you're kind of missing the point) but I hope that it does so in a way that feels manageable and not uneasy-making.

timelytess Sat 24-Oct-15 21:08:35

I used to weep buckets at communion! Just go ahead. It's fine.

gingerdodger Sun 25-Oct-15 16:32:04

I find Holy Communion always emotional. It's a very spiritual act I find that makes me feel closer to God and the church community so I think your response is natural. I can also understand that it is quite nerve wracking when you're new (I always feel a bit arkward if I'm at an unfamiliar Church) so I would not take this as it isn't meant for you. Maybe try and take a lesson from the primary aged kids, they obviously feel relaxed and don't think too much about if they get it wrong so your Church is obviously welcoming and nobody is judging.

mintysmum Sun 25-Oct-15 20:11:45

Thank you for such helpful replies.

I was taken aback by how emotional my feeling was - I would have expected to feel nervous doing something like that for the first time - but I didn't expect to feel so emotional. But then I've had nearly a year of a gradual dawning realisation that God has been there for over 40 years, for my entire life, guiding me, loving me, forgiving me, without me realising. That's just incredible. That makes me feel sad, elated, guilty, grateful all at the same time so I suppose being in a place where I am free from the hubbub of my kids/the house and can concentrate on thoughts of God is likely to make me feel overwhelmed with emotion. I will go with it and trust that God will look after me despite my anxiety!

seasonoflists Mon 26-Oct-15 08:54:47

The emotional response you had sounds totally understandable and the Holy Spirit is obviously really at work in you. Next time maybe you'll feel able to go up regardless. Have you met anyone else from the church - someone you could talk this through with - or been directed to another regular small group following your Christianity explored course? That might really help in these heady, emotional days.

mintysmum Wed 28-Oct-15 08:29:00

Thanks Seasonoflists maybe that's what was happening. I don't have anyone else to talk to about it, just my friend though everyone else at that church is friendly, but I would be embarrassed to talk to a 'new' person about faith issues. I need to go with it and not worry about the anxiety!

FrancisdeSales Mon 02-Nov-15 01:17:41

Speaking as a Catholic we believe Holy Communion consecrated by a priest in the Catholic Church is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus and we are actually consuming him as he asked us to. This happens at every Catholic Mass and is the second part of the liturgy after the Liturgy of the Word (Holy Scriptures/Bible). It is the highest point of the Mass and a sacred act of unity with Jesus. It is considered quite normal and understandable to respond emotionally to this incredible event for Catholics - I have known many men and women overcome with emotion when receiving the Lord. The beliefs of your denomination or church may be different but Jesus is still drawing you into a unity with him, which for any true believer would understandably create an emotional response at times.

madhairday Mon 02-Nov-15 16:43:37

I love your post describing how you've come to know God, minty smile How very wonderful. flowers

I often cry a little (or a lot) taking communion, sometimes the emotion of it hits me - the reality of what Jesus has done, and joining together with his body to remember this - it is an emotional time, and important that we should take it seriously (I totally get the whole production line thing, esp when I'm administering it, it's easy to get into this mindset!) - and as you're new to it, some of these emotions may take you by surprise.

Does your church have small groups at all? It might be a good way of getting to know a few more folk in the church, and to begin to speak on more deeper levels about what you are going through. What is the vicar/pastor like - maybe they would be good to talk to?

Bless you as you embark on this exciting journey! flowers

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