I don’t get my feelings hurt easily. With the maiden name of Bull, you grow a pretty thick skin from the get-go. Yet there are times when I am too much. I am. I run fast, I learn fast, I speak loud, and I throw ideas at the wall like a textbook innovator. I rebuke any critical spirit and always want the best in others and myself to shine through. I’ve learned to increase my question to statement ratio and I work on not interrupting people. I’m a verbal processor, so I affirm with listening skills like, “Mmmm”, “Hmmmm”, “Yes”, and “I hear you.”
In complete self-awareness, what I intend is not always what is received. As the ‘child’ of the church staff team (think of a typical family and the dynamics involved) I get my feelings hurt when I’m too much and informed to cool my jets, slow it down, told that I could be off-putting, or when I get a “shhh!” as I jump into a conversation. Yeah. I’m totally aware that I can be too much.
It’s been my experience that the Senior Pastors are historically the ‘parents’ and carry the weight of authority and responsibility of the church-staff-family. They may invite us to have a say (staff meeting=family meeting), but they have the final say for what’s going to happen in the family. Worship leaders are the ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’. They add creativity, always sit at the adult table, and can tell the family stories through song, space, and well, they’re the other adults. Youth ministry people are considered the ‘teens’ and children’s ministry people are historically considered the ‘kids’ in the church-staff-family. Think about it. Each church-staff-family role comes with family-related responsibilities, expectations, tolerances, and nods to what is permitted as a multi-generational (no matter the age of any individual) in how the church-staff-family works.
This means children’s ministry people are typically accommodating (we’re informed what we’re doing to help and support everyone else in the church-staff-family), adaptive (we deal with what we’re told), require more set-up (ever packed up for a 3-year old for the beach or let a 10-year old pack themselves? Can’t ask a 1st grader to set up or take down tables and chairs for an event so the before and after is WAY more complicated with a greater amount of children’s ministry logistics.) We take direction, make the best of every situation (ever had the worship service end 30 minutes early/late?) and do whatever it takes thinking everything rides on our shoulders. We want everyone to be happy and enjoy the ride. Sound like kids? Yeah.
I’m always at the kid’s table and I’m good with that. It offers clarity for my boundaries and responsibilities.
So what to do when I get my feelings hurt?
- Fix a cup of tea and cry. Tears are God’s healing balm and physical release of the yuck. Even if the rebuke is prefaced with “It’s not personal…,” it is. Name it, then let it go. Thank you Lord, for tears.
- Go with what I know and not with how I feel. I’m a beloved child of God and He is my Heavenly Father. He hears me. He knows me. He is still working on what He hopes for me. He alone is trustworthy and can handle my feelings. He has a whole book filled with stories of His faithfulness to His children who are ‘too much’. Thank you Lord, for transforming my mind and my feelings will follow. Lord, help me to live into James 1:9, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
- Keep it between me and God remembering that if I lose my joy, I lose my impact. So, I do what brings me joy: Scroll through pics of the grands. Write a note of thanks to someone on my team. Help someone. Bake a cake and deliver to a neighbor. Take a long, hot shower. Watch season 1, episode 3 of The Chosen. Stay off Facebook. Practice a period of silence. Drink water. Take a walk. Lord, no matter how I feel, do not let me sin in this.
In the wise words of Scarlett O’Hara in the classic Gone With The Wind, “Tomorrow is another day.”
“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13