There was a time in my life I would get supremely offended if I wasn’t asked to do something important for the organizations in which I was involved, whether they be work-related, school-related, church-related, or otherwise.
Planning an event? You’d better ask me to help.
Putting together a band for something? You know you need me to play and/or sing.
Creating a video? You’d be amiss to not employ my skills.
If you ask someone else, I’ll know it’s because you think I’m completely worthless and incapable of anything good.
This mindset got me to a point where I was volunteering for any and everything that was needed. My goal was to be everyone’s go-to girl. What’s more, if I felt like I wasn’t someone’s go-to girl for something, I was mad about it, even if the reality was that I was already spread too thin and stressed out to the point of breaking down.
That time in my life wasn’t so long ago, actually. In truth, that time in my life was…
Oh that’s right.
I suppose it has something to do with my innate need to be loved and accepted by everyone. Ergo, if I’m not doing a thousand things for other people, I’m not giving those people a reason to love me, which means they will reach out to others for their needs and love them instead.
Oh, insecurity. You tricky, tricky jerk.
When I got pregnant, I was forced to sit down and really analyze all the ways I was spending my time — working two jobs, volunteering in and/or leading four (four?! is it really that many?!) ministries, recovering from knee surgery, trying to keep my marriage and other relationships intact…
And I came to the conclusion that I had to step down from some things. And, thanks to my crazy insecurities, it hurt a lot:
You can’t step down from anything. People will think you’re weak. That you can’t handle anything. That you’re worthless and stupid and obviously undeserving of love. If you do this, the people you hold dearest to you will always label you a selfish loser with nothing to offer anyone. If you’re not everyone’s go-to girl, you’re going to be no one’s anything.
Even though I didn’t want to, I sat down for a meeting with my husband, who is the pastor in charge of the junior high ministry, to discuss an end date for me as a volunteer. (Yes, by the way — I do have scheduled “meetings” with my husband. There are only so many times you can talk shop on your couch before you’re sick of it.) After sobbing uncontrollably over it, I agreed to continue as a volunteer through the end of April, with the 29th as my last day. We’d break the news to the students then. I was absolutely heartbroken. I felt like I was letting all of the students and my husband down.
“You’re not letting me down,” he reassured. “Either way, I win. Either I have a great junior high ministry leader, or I have a healthy, not-stressed out wife and a healthy baby boy.”
“But you deserve to have both,” I protested.
“You can’t give me both. And that’s okay.”
Okay? How is that okay?! It means that someone else is going to step in and be your right-hand ministry leader. Someone else who isn’t me! Someone who may be a better leader than I was! How is that okay?!
After that meeting was over, I knew I had to have another meeting with Lori, the church administrator and a dear friend, about stepping down from leader of the Outward Connexity (fancy term for “fellowship”) Ministry. You’d think that after my meeting with Dan (that went really well, I think, despite my outrageously embarrassing crying fit) I’d be that much more ready for my meeting with Lori. But I was dreading it — after all, it’s one thing to be honest about your limitations with the guy who signed a legally binding document that he’d love you no matter what. It’s quite another to do so with someone who isn’t contractually obligated to care about you.
Last week after rehearsal for an event we have coming up this Friday, Lori and I walked out to the parking lot and were bouncing details about the event back and forth off of each other. Eventually, the subject of events in the fall came up and my stomach dropped.
“Actually, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that…” I started.
“You know,” she said smiling, “I was originally going to tell you that you were done after this event. But, then, I remembered that you need to work on saying no to things. So I was just waiting for you to come to me and tell me you were stepping down.”
Well. Okay then.
So. That’s it. I’ve surrendered two things and (surprisingly) the world is still spinning and I still have friends.
Am I the only one who feels this way? I can’t be, right? Help me out.