And I’m not sure I can quit, either, but I will tell you that I’m not cut out for this.
Around 20 years ago, I was training another trainer. The training plan had been dictated by corporate headquarters. The way it worked was we were to “share” the class at the beginning, then my role was to dwindle so he could have more practice and experience. The class participants knew this was the way it was supposed to go. We reminded them of this several times. We assured them their experience would not suffer. I was told very specifically that as the “trainer of the trainer” I was to accomplish two things: 1) make sure each class member got what they came to the class to learn, and 2) help the trainer, who’d earned the right to be where he was, move on to the next level.
The reviews came back and we were chewed up, spit out, stomped on, and run over. I found out that this is also typical, too, because the class doesn’t want to be put in the hands of a novice, and they invariably feel like they could have received more if the senior trainer had run the whole class. The truth was, each class member got what they wanted, and the trainer moved on because he was really very good and deserved to do so. The results all around were excellent, save the reviews.
While it helped somewhat that my boss let me know “the reviews were just typical in this situation,” I still had a shredded heart. I had worked my fanny off for 15 weeks, the class had benefited, and at the end, I still just felt misunderstood and disliked by people we’d poured our hearts into helping.
And honestly, I have just gone through something of a similar nature, with the same outcome, that has left me feeling the same, even though “the reviews were just typical in this situation,” too. I knew ahead of time, even. I even expected it. He warned me, as I spent gobs of time, lots of resources, the end results were good, and He warned me that the reviews “would be typical” aka, not good.
But I still let mean words from Christian people slice through my armor of God, and because this went on so long, I ended up wrapping a piece of my identity up in the outcome.
I allowed the joy of walking in His will to be stolen by those who were supposed to be the carriers of His Message of Love.
And the entire experience has left me raw.
So much so, that I’m having a hard time doing the next thing.
I have gone from a gal who consistently said to her team, “No worries – if we aren’t ruffling a few feathers, we’re not doing what He’s asked us to do. We’re not leading,” …to a gal who deeply feels the next harshly delivered word like a twisting fork in a freshly peeled scab…
And it’s been hard to blog, to post on Facebook®, to write at all.
And for a while, I even didn’t realize that I was hurt by their criticisms, or that I had allowed myself to wonder if what the reviews said about me were true.
While I know now that there’s no way that this could have gone well and we maybe shouldn’t have agreed to do it in the first place, God didn’t say we weren’t supposed to do it, and it was within the scope of our ministry work.
And while these Christians had no issues with our theology, in the end, as hard as we worked, we weren’t accepted.
I wasn’t accepted.
And I felt small and incapable.
I spent about a month not knowing why I was having a hard time. I hadn’t stopped doing all the things I was doing before, spending time with Him, reading His Word, praying, listening… but I felt disconnected or something… and I couldn’t shake it. And worse yet, I lost my joy and can’t get it back.
So I sent out a plea to a married couple who lead a church that are friends of mine. Wisely, they asked me a ton of questions, and dished some serious Truth my way. And the husband pastor pointed out to me that I had been hurt by the words and the outcome. He said I needed to come to terms with that… and forgive them. Learn what I can learn, and forgive them.
And that I need to remember Whose I am and what He thinks of me. Remember so deeply and strongly that I am literally unable to be hurt by another’s words.
And I didn’t even know that I had forgotten. Or that I’d been hurt.
But he’s right.
So I’ve had my Very Long Good Cry.
And have chosen to pray blessings upon the people who said all these things. Right now, my heart still aches as I pray, “Help me forgive them, like Jesus forgives me, Father. Help me love like that. Help me BE Your Love such that I can’t be hurt by the words of those who hurt so much themselves that they say things in harsh and harmful ways… Help me discern Your ideas from the mean words, Oh, God. Help me know what to do next, Lord, and give me the motivation to do it, because I just can’t anymore… I can’t stand up and be kicked again… and were it not disobedience for me to abandon my calling, I might, but when I think of myself right now, I see a fetal curled ball, bruised and bleeding by the sword tongues of those who could have Loved, and threw daggers instead… help me forgive and Love them, the Way You do… help me uncurl and stand up, and endure the blows and in the midst of them, help me Love the Way You do… just like Jesus, who said, ‘Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do..’”
And somewhere along the line, I allowed the enemy to steal my joy.
Yep, he’s got it, running around, flaunting it for all to see. I’ll admit it. He’s done it. I hate that I let him. I didn’t even see it coming.
So if you think of me, please pray I can SEE. Pray I get over this hump. I have bought the lies of the enemy, and I know that, but everything I’ve done in the past to move on isn’t working. Pray I learn what I’m supposed to, even if that is that I need to be done – I’m wondering if my voice no longer needs to be added to those already out there. I see others doing what I’ve done, and think, “Why do I need to do this any longer? Let them.”
And pray for those who have listened to me, that they not fall into discouragement because of my failings. Sigh. That thought is the worst. And if that is you, please forgive me. I don’t know how to “rise above” at the moment, I cannot even see the higher road, and I’m so sorry. And perhaps it’s prideful on my part to even be concerned about any of this. I just don’t know. I can’t SEE right now, and my heart is heavy.
I don’t know how to be anything but what I am at the moment. I’m sorry it’s lame.
The only thing that made me write and post this is the recognition that some leaders, maybe not all, probably not all, some struggle. I know I am. Some of you need to know that, because you expect too much of us…I know I have been guilty of that in the past. And again, I’m really sorry.
And I dare you today to be kind to those who speak about Him and openly choose to live their faith in the open, for others to see, even when they are as imperfect as any human is going to be. Your words have the power of life and death to them, and few choose to step up to the plate to swing because it is hard and takes extreme maturity, the likes of which I obviously don’t possess. And yes, we need to be thick-skinned and lovingly deal with those who hurl insults our way out of their own pain. We need to deal with those things without having a pity party. Maybe that’s what I’m doing. Please don’t come to it.
I just wish the thick-skinned part didn’t have to come from developing callouses and scabs from harshly inflicted wounds.
Ah, well. His ways never have been our ways, have they?
Glad to be on the journey with you.
Love to you,