For When It's Hard
When was the last time you had a meltdown? You know, the all out tears-in-your-eyes/I'm coming unglued kind of meltdown. And why don't they ever happen when you are home alone with your dog?
Mine was last week. And for anyone who knows me - I melt down on the inside first. Before you see a flash of anger. Before the first tear starts to roll down my cheek, I've had a whole internal conversation in my head. The kind that lasts for hours - or at least it seems like hours.
I've been doing something hard lately. No, it's not mountain climbing. Or jumping out of an airplane. Or public speaking (love this one by the way).
Nope. It's co-directing our mid-week club program for K-2nd grade every Wednesday. To be honest the kids are cute. The leaders have been gracious. But it's just not my thing.
It's not my thing because I feel like Charlie Brown's teacher. Wah wah, wah wah, wah wah! I'm talking. I'm not sure anyone is listening. I have good intentions of helping our kids take home the lesson. I think they are taking home how to get to game time faster.
It's hard because I feel like I'm failing. It's hard because it feels like the other leaders are way better at this thing than I am. It's hard because I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb and crowd control is not my skill set.
So I had a meltdown with my partner in crime (the other co-director). And despite the fact that I'm the certified coach in the group, she coached me.
So, I'm wondering if you have a hard thing on your plate. Maybe not 30 + kiddos, but something else. Just one kiddo in your home that gives you a run for the money. Or maybe all of them do? (What do I know - I have a dog). Maybe it's that co-worker or boss. Maybe it's that serious conversation you need to have at work or with a close friend. Or choosing to eat and live healthy.
I don't know the hard thing your facing - but to quote Goethe, "Everything is hard before it gets easy." And whatever your facing, my partner in crime's advice can come in handy.
Do Hard Things
Life is full of hard things. From actually getting up when your alarm goes off to having that hard talk with your friend, God calls us to hard things. We, on the other hand, prefer to avoid hard things. You and I, we like us some comfort.
As I was talking to my partner in crime, she offered to do all the teaching for the rest of the year. So tempting. No more crowd control. No more worrying about if the kiddos were actually getting anything out of what I was saying. No more worrying about if I was actually saying anything of value. Nope. Easy street. Behind the scenes.
But then my friend ended with, "You know, we should do hard things. It helps us grow." I'm not sure she's ever read this blog, but she had me at "Do hard things." We're called to brave as we walk with God. We're called to be brave when we do ministry for Him. We're called to be brave when we'd rather be comfortable.
Reset Your Expectations
What are your expectations for your hard thing? For me, I expected every child in rapt attention of my amazing 15 minute talk - hanging on every word. Yea, you should come and observe - but that is just not going to happen.
What if we set new expectations that were more realistic? What if we stopped assuming what people thought and had real conversations? What if we adopted a new perspective as we approached our hard thing?
For me, my goal is to create an environment where kids feel loved, connected, and get to experience God. It's not my job to always crowd control them. It's not my job to teach them while they sit perfectly still in rapt attention. My expectation can change so I can experience success. Your's can too!
Stop the Comparisons
One of my big problems, I'm not as good as my partner in crime is at crowd control and connecting with the kids. When I compare, I fail.
The thing is...she's been doing this for years. It's not new to her. This is old hat. And she's a mom so she gets to practice her crowd control skills everyday. A little secret: there is no crowd control for the single gal. Just saying.
My meltdown started the moment I tried to measure up to my friend instead of being me and admitting that new things are hard. We need to focus less on the peeps around us and more on the road in front of us. How can you and I show up with the best version of ourselves instead of wanting to do it better than others?
As my friend was giving me this advice, I was a little resentful - I'm not gonna lie. I know this stuff. These are the things I tell my clients. But in the heat of the moment, I forget my coaching skills. I was busy melting down - don't you know...
Life is full of hard things. And given our natural instincts we run. We make excuses. We choose to avoid the hard thing, let our friends take over, or not give up what we need to (please see my previous post about breaking up with cheese). But the reality is that God chooses hard things to help us grow. To help us grow spiritually. To help us grow emotionally. And sometimes, to help us grow physically.
One foot faith trusts God with hard things. One foot faith walks with God through hard things - not avoiding them but doing that hard thing until it becomes easy. So, if you're keeping track, I'm still teaching those kiddos up front. I have no idea if they are taking anything away. But I'm learning in the process to trust God with hard things, reset my expectations, and be glad that all I have to bring is the real me.