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Home » Stories to Inspire » What Made Him Choose to be a Church Minister?

What Made Him Choose to be a Church Minister?

The intense fear of churches that I had felt since 6 years of age remained relatively subdued until my sons grew up and now, another 20 years on I am asking what on earth made that ‘man’, become a church minister?

how I overcame my fear of the church

After going through the process of having to face my children’s weddings and then the christening of their children, the peak of this fear of the church was at the last christening. It had me completely emotionally exhausted and distraught.  

While I knew everything would be safe, the grip of the fear that I was aware of the past couple of decades was as strong as ever and had on me forced me to deliberately run late (I am never late).

How was I going to attend my grandson’s christening and be the proper representation, as a grandmother should? The pressure was overwhelming!

I whaled and sobbed continuously the whole morning and, while driving to the church. 

All the while, a battle of positive support and the negativity of fear was going around in my head, and internally my body was trembling.

fear of the church

One side of my mind was thinking – Quickly, run away! Get out now! Get out while you can! 

From the other side, I was battling with the escape words – It’s only a building. Nothing can harm you. You will be okay.

I arrived while everyone was inside. I wandered the perimeter of the church, hiding near doors and bushes as if in fear of being ambushed but also using all of my strength to pluck up the nerve to enter all the while, hoping a family member would see that I really did turn up.

There was a glimmer of hope when a family friend saw me.

Although I was expected to sit in the front pew with everyone else, I found a single available chair just one step inside this modern-style building and, more importantly, near an open glass sliding door. 

As I sat with my arms crossed and my body tense, I hoped that my grandson would be Christened first.

Yes!

I left immediately.

This is the same fear that I have when attending football games. 

It was the same reaction whether it was my sons playing as a little boy or a young man or the grandsons’ game.

No matter the age of the players, I always felt irritable, and nervous and couldn’t wait to get away from there.

The good thing for me in regard to this sport is that I had a choice to go or not once their father and I separated, as life as a working single mother was always too busy and I believe the boys understood this.

For the next 20-odd years, life went by without sensing the pressure of attending a football game. 

That fear was buried deep down and will never need to appear again—until the grandsons began playing.

After attending 1 or 2 games in the early years, I felt that I had done my part and ticked it off my list but as time went by, the pressure of why I didn’t want to watch them play came around again to bite me?

It’s not that I didn’t want to; I just can’t go there. I can’t! I can’t!

Unbeknownst to me, it was from the same origin as my fear of the church but it created a different issue that needs to be dealt with separately.

For a further ten years, I fought those fears and as more and more of my past revealed itself, I learnt to come to terms with them and understand the process of what was required to accept it and believe that I am worthy.

First step? Learn to love the person that I am.

The universe has my back

Thank you to the universe; miraculously, only a few weeks prior to flying out to Europe, I was attending a photography course in the city, where the final subject was St Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane. Without any thought at all of my past, I calmly walked around it and inside this magnificent cathedral to take photos. 

In fact, prior to entering the cathedral, I recall asking myself, ‘Why didn’t I go into this church 12 months ago when I was there on a quiet Sunday morning taking photos?’  

It wasn’t until the next day that the penny dropped! OMG!

I was inside that church without feeling any fear at all and there was nothing but peace and tranquillity in my head! It was so serene.

For the first time ever, there was calmness and silence in my head.

So this is what ‘normal’ is like?  It was magical.

How wonderful!  I was elated! No, I was ecstatic!

All of this began because of a church minister when I was a six-year-old girl.

While my subconscious had blocked it out, I would slowly begin to have repeated flashbacks as I grew older that were always triggered by a religious-related word (church, prayer, amen, etc.) or because I sighted a specific car (Karmann Ghia – 1960’s model). 

The flashbacks would always be the same and appear in the same sequence, ending with me feeling deeply embarrassed and ashamed but I never understood why.

Another day, the family, along with other young families and friends, gathered to watch a naval base football game.

Being a trusting young girl and seeing that my parents were trusting of this minister friend, I headed off to get a drink with him.

Instead of returning straight back the way we came, he led me in a different direction, where I felt lost and confused as he cornered me again. 

This time, I became defiant and remained in plain view away from him, who was hiding between the parked cars. I hoped someone would walk past.

I could clearly hear men grunting and their bodies thumping together as they played, so even though they weren’t far from me, I was frozen with fear until he surrendered and took me back to my mother and younger siblings.

FREEDOM had never felt soo good!

On another occasion, in plain sight, while at a party, he took advantage of my trusting personality and my parents’ trust in him when he coaxed me close enough and once he sensed I had relaxed, he fondled me under my skirt.

Immediately, I tried to walk away but he blocked me from going anywhere with his arm firmly around my waist, and every time I tried to leave, he would tense his hold to prevent me from going anywhere.

I began to cry and cry and the longer he held me back, the louder I cried.

My parents were nowhere around.

People would come to me to try to appease me. 

I clearly recall someone bringing a huge moth to see if I would stop the whaling but he continued to prevent me from leaving and so I continued to scream and sob out loud.

Where were my parents?

Where was my father?

Why won’t he let me go?

Then, out of the crowd of people, my father appeared and swooped me up and away from danger. I recall looking back at him through sobbing tears, feeling destroyed, and trying to comprehend why he would do that?

Even to this day, I can clearly feel that same elation and freedom that came over me immediately when I knew I was safe again.

From that day onwards, I have always spoken with a loud voice and I believe it’s a subconscious reaction to ensure someone will always know where I am.

The amazing thing is, emotional scarring, such as traumatic experiences, can be released from deep within without relying on alcohol or medication numbing it.

Contact me to ask how I did it.

Here’s another interesting story, click here.

Copyright © 2024 Donna Arnold. All rights reserved.

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