Being vulnerable on a blog post can be tough. I’m not sure how everyone will receive my thoughts. My tagline for the blog is “Random thoughts from a transparent pastor.” This is me being transparent. This isn’t a post that you can just skim. It’s a post that every word matters to the story I’m trying to tell.
I don’t get to talk to everyone who reads my blog on a daily basis. If I have talked to you this week, and you asked, “How are you doing?” I would most likely have responded with, “This has been a tough week, but I’m doing okay.” Or I might have even responded by saying, “I’m sad, but tomorrow is a new day.”
What’s going on?
I’ve had trouble sleeping. I don’t have a problem falling to sleep, but for a week I’ve been waking up exhausted, but not able to fall back asleep. I also have this tingling in my fingers that comes and goes throughout the night.
I’m not a doctor, but according to the Internet I either have the early symptoms of the Bubonic plague or my body is having a negative reaction to stress. I haven’t seen any Bubons on my body, so I’m pretty sure my body is stressed. The Internet is a scary place to self diagnose. I’m kidding about the Bubonic plague, but you get the point.
More specifically I’m sad. I believe the sadness has fatigued my body and it’s reacting funky.
I’m not depressed. I’ve been that before and this isn’t that. This is a sadness that comes and goes. It’s a sadness that I believe will pass in time. It’s a sadness that I hope will move closer to going away as I write about it.
What am I sad about?
I think the great poet Gwen Stefani sums it quite well.
“I heard that you were talking poo (pastoral edit for this post)
And you didn’t think that I would hear it
People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up.” – Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani
Now, I’m not sad because people are talking negatively about me. I get negative comments on the regular. Between my blog, reviews for my book, and being a pastor I pretty much expect to let someone down daily.
I love the quote by Dan Allender,
“A good leader will, in time, disappoint everyone.”
I don’t even consider myself a good leader yet. I’m still learning. I’m in progress. But I do know that leading equals disappointment for someone. I hate that fact, but I’ve embraced it.
I believe that even if I was perfect someone would crucify me. I’m not sad because someone is upset with me. I ain’t no hollaback girl. I don’t even know what a hollaback girl is, but I don’t want to be one. I try to forgive. I try to not hold grudges. I try to show grace because just like I’m not perfect I know others aren’t either.
I’ve known for weeks some of the things people have said about me behind my back and I’m choosing to believe the best. I’m choosing to believe that they don’t know how their words have impacted.
What’s made me sad are my thoughts that have come with this specific round of negativity.
It has made me feel, as a pastor, I cannot let people in. It’s made me feel that friendships are so fragile I am better off keeping people at a distance.
I’ve said often that I am a dirty rotten sinner. I’m not perfect. I’m not Jesus. I will let you down. I will misspeak. I will forget. I will be insensitive. I do get angry. I like to argue my point. I’m sensitive at times and stone cold at others. I’m human.
This situation has made me sad because I’ve worked hard at teaching on how to handle conflict.
Here are some things I’ve taught on in the last couple of months…
- A frustration is never content until it’s expressed. They key is to communicate your frustration early in the process. “The longer you wait to communicate your frustration the madder you will be, and when things are eventually confronted you may over communicate.” – Andy Stanley
- Tolerance is granting people the right to be wrong. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:3
- I will talk to the person and not about the person.“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” Matthew 18:15
- When you talk about someone else you are communicating I care more about being right then I do about this relationship.
- “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Romans 12:17-18
- When you are more concerned with being right then solving a problem you are wrong.
- “Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:17-18
I taught on those things not because there was conflict. At the time that I taught them I didn’t know of any conflict. I taught on those things because conflict is inevitable. Every church I have ever been a part of had one thing in common…conflict. I taught on those things because I was hopeful that when conflict did happen we would handle it better.
My sadness comes because I feel hopeless. If we, as Christians, are not going to handle conflict Biblically then for the rest of my life people will leave as soon as I let them down.
It seems my only options are to become so afraid of leading that I never make a move or I become jaded to people. I hate both of those options.
I’m sad because whenever someone asks to go to lunch with me the thought in my mind is “I wonder how I’ve upset them.” I literally sit waiting for the proverbial bomb to drop.
Forgiveness isn’t just for sin. For Christians it’s how we protect ourselves from becoming bitter. I’m sad because until people bring their frustrations to me I can’t ask for forgiveness.
I’m sad because when we disagree we should be able to still be friends.
So what’s my goal for writing all of this.
For one, it’s to feel better. I’m tired of bringing my sadness home to Monica. It’s time to buck up and I need to get this out. Writing helps me process and feel better.
For two, I hope that everyone who reads this will do the hard work of talking to the person and not about the person.
For three, it’s my attempt to not become jaded. I want to trust people. I want to know that friendships aren’t going to end every time I make a mistake. I want to believe when I make a decision others don’t agree with we can still be friends. I want to believe that together we can follow the teachings of Scripture. I want to believe the the world is a safe place for me to be myself. I want to believe that my friends will love me enough to show me my blind spots, and be patient with me as I grow.
As I sit here typing I’m scared to hit publish. Maybe it’s best to keep this stuff private. But this is who I am. I wear my feelings on my sleeves. I process out loud. To not share feels disingenuous to me.
So I share and I hope it won’t stir up more of anything. I share and I hope it will open up lines of communication. I share and I hope, somehow God shines bright even through my mess.
Thanks for reading.