I think I am a fairly confident person generally. Not overly so, but I have a good sense of my abilities and I see that they are significant. There are few things I think I am unable to do – though many that I do not care enough to do (e.g. run a marathon).
Left by myself I remain fairly stable in my abilities…but when others come into my life they oftentimes expand not so much my belief in my abilities as the energy with which I seek to accomplish tasks. I knew I was capable of this, having someone walk alongside me makes me work towards this goal more diligently.
In these sense, others have a positive effect on me…and this positive effect lasts over long spans of time – it is a steady flowing stream of energy and encouragement.
But when someone doubts me – not just a decision I made but my ability – I experience a significant and sharp negative effect. While the positive energy flows consistently and in small to moderate amounts into my life, the negative side of things is like a downpour of defeat.
In the long run, the positive energy is probably much greater than the negative energy I experience at specific points, but it doesn’t feel that way. The positive energy is something one can almost forget is coming, the negative is a hurricane that demands your attention and plummets the world into darkness.
I say all this not to discourage folks from questioning me. Questioning usually isn’t the problem…and sometimes I know even questioning my very essence is necessary…I’m just saying it is extremely painful for me.
Which makes me wonder…Do you experience life this way? Have I ever caused you to feel this negative drain? Did I know I caused it?
I don’t want people to make different decisions – I just want people to be aware of the implications of their decisions…and that includes me. I want to be aware of the implications of my decisions.
I wonder if others know how deeply I am affected by them – and if they did if they would say and do the same things. Not that they would hide what is truly going on within them – but if there would be more process before/during it all and less decisive speech, more asking of questions and less proclamation of inability.
All that said, one cannot change others – only oneself. I attempt to become more aware of what I say to others and how I say it. To ask more questions and provide less answers (though not being afraid to answer). I can become obsessive-compulsive with this (not saying what I think), so I have to balance it – to find the moderation somewhere in-between making declarative statements and only trying to understand what others are saying/doing.
I think I am decent at this…but I need to work on the way I allow others words and decisions to affect me. Monday and Tuesday have been pretty miserable days with for me. I’m thankful on Monday night I had Nomads and the joy they brought to me (wait, aren’t I supposed to be the one ministering to them?). This morning I woke up and didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere. I was supposed to attend a Converge LEAD Team meeting and I thought about calling in and saying I couldn’t do it.
I wasn’t sure if I went if I’d be able to hold it together. Spending half a day with other pastors talking about our lives and ministries – I was afraid I would break down and make a fool of myself or monopolize the meeting with my struggles…but I made myself go, and it also was a real blessing and encouragement to me.
Somehow I strive to learn moderation (common theme) in this also. I either become stoic and allow nothing to touch me (not good) or I allow people in and am deeply hurt when they doubt me (not good). Somewhere is the balance – the ability to let people in and yet the ability to be stoic if I have processed what they have said and decided that it is not true or accurate for me.
It is important for me to find this place of balance not only b/c I can be immobilized (as I have been) by others (even when I don’t believe what they are saying is accurate) but also b/c I want people not to fear being honest with me (hopefully, in a loving, patient, and open manner) b/c they fear what it will do to me.
I’d rather than people hurt me by being too open with me, too frank with me, by not spending enough time processing – than that they cut themselves off from telling me the truth. I respect those who are willing to speak what they believe – even if I disagree, even if it will devastate me.