… despite how much you really wish that they wouldn’t.
This morning as Mr. Bean and I were driving to church, I started thinking about an unfortunate situation with our small group and how I didn’t like how our pastors handled it. I was feel quite angry and resentful – two emotions that I am not very good at effectively dealing with. I tried to push it aside and think about other things – my unfortunate way of dealing with unwanted emotion – but I still sat there stewing and grumbling for most of the service. Why I didn’t tell Mr. Bean about what I was thinking about before the service started alludes me.
So, there I was sitting and partially listening to what was happening. The sermon happened to be about “Listening to God,” which caused my inner narrative to start (oh, I’m terrible at listening to God, I wish I could listen better or be able be calm enough to listen, blah, blah, blah.) Fortunately, the preacher is a very down to earth, practical “this is how you do it” type of guy. So after listing off ways that people can hear from God, he went on to talk about things that prevent us from listening to God fully or at all.
The first thing on the list was, unsurprisingly, holding grudges. He went on to talk about a bunch of other things like lack of trust, curses (imposed by yourself, others or generation things) and false narratives. At this point, all I can think about is how I am terrible (or is it really good?) at holding grudges and how I have so many issues trusting people, etc, etc. This leads to feelings of inadequacy and how I’m so stressed out about school and the uncertainty of the future and it just goes downhill from there. Please cue the waterworks!
Let’s get something straight: I hate crying in front of people, let alone a church full of 250+ people. So, here I am: battling the urge to start crying with any attempts of me trying to distract myself failing more than the previous attempt. Thankfully, I had a partially clean kleenex in my coat pocket to wipe my face before going up for communion in a vain attempt to keep a shred of dignity about me. I’m able to make it through communion without further tears, but once I sit back down and Mr. Bean looks at me, there is nothing that I can do to stop the coming flood. Note to self: wiping your face with the sleeve of your sweater only does so well.
After the service was over, Mr. Bean sat with me as I cried on his shoulder for at least ten minutes. At this point, any hope of saving any last piece of pride is gone, especially after my mother in law asks me what is wrong – prompting the whole trust issue thing again. I finally calm down enough and go through enough Kleenexes to tell Mr. Bean what I am feeling. I tell him how angry I feel about the small group situation and how I don’t feel that I am justified in my anger towards our pastor, or anyone that is in a position of authority that I respect. (issues, much?)
After some discussion, I waffle between confronting our pastor or not – confrontation ranks up there with crying in public. I do know myself well enough to know that if I didn’t do anything about it, that I would be really angry all week, which is definitely not something that I needed to carry around all week. So, I asked Mr. Bean to go and ask our pastor to come and talk with me.
A while later, after a few people came and talked/prayed for me – things like that make me feel loved, which is exactly what I needed at that moment – the dreaded confrontation started. I told our pastor how I felt that he did not handle the situation in the best way and that he broke a few boundaries with me – namely that he made me feel responsible for his hurt feelings on the matter and a few other things. We talked about how he may have not dealt with his emotions effectively at that point, about his role as a pastor and the associated relationship dynamics that come from that, how I have an inherent distrust of priests, and how I have issues with black and white thinking. He definitely garnered a lot of respect from me as he apologized and asked for forgiveness whenever I am ready to give it. (That’s one of the many issues I have with people asking me for forgiveness – I feel that I have to forgive them right then and there to make them feel better even though I have not had enough time to process the situation, my emotions and how I can deal with it.)
I was fairly impressed with myself because I did not burst into tears or becoming really angry during the whole confrontation. (The whole pride thing, remember?) I even did the whole assertive “I felt this when you did this” thing and stayed calm. But then again, I’m also the person who went to the hospital and told the triage nurse that I felt like harming myself while appearing to be quite calm, pleasant and collected. (At least according to my Mum, anyways.)
So, there we have it – God made things happen that I really would never have done on my own: crying in public, confronting someone about how they had hurt me and started me down the path of getting rid of my grudges. Ironically and happily, I guess I did listen to God today – at least inadvertently – so I praise Him for that! I also know that I could never had made it through that time without Him as had I not His strength, I would probably have gone home and spent much of the day crying, wrapped up in blankets and being generally miserable, stressed out and depressed.
Has God ever put you in a situation where you had to do something that you weren’t comfortable doing? How did it work out?
Note: Part of me really wants to apologize for the length and the babbling but I realize that I don’t have to apologize to anyone for expressive my emotions on my blog. I also want make light of the situation so that no one knows how I really felt, but I promised more honesty in my New Year’s Resolutions, so there you have it.