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.
5 thoughts on “the go-to girl.”
I can certainly understand your need to be the go to person. I was that way in college. It took a lot when I got settled down here to focus on the things I considered important. I’m still not great at it and sometimes want to move into the hotel so I can be here all of the time. But I think (I hope) I’m making a lot of progress. So no, you’re not alone. And you’re right, it’s not easy to break that habit. But you’ve got support. And I can promise you that we all do still love you very much and are thrilled to let you do you (and Dax).
I love you.
Lindsay,first of all great blog! You are not alone. When my husband and I lived down south we were involved in everything. We were both on the worship team. I sang he played guitar and ran sound from time to time. I was in charge of the childrens nursery, scheduling volunteers etc, helping planevents, teaching VBS and various other things. All this on top of raising a family. Kye was only 3 and Brea was 1 when we moved here. Looking back it was a blessing to be involved in all those ministries but it also burned me out. I also have those insecure feelings. I get offended when people don’t ask me to do anything but then again I don’t put myself out there either! It is time for you to sit back and take on the highest honor anyone could, being a Mom. There will be opportunities for you later. As for myself and my family, we don’t love you because of what you do. We love you because of who you are. Dawn 🙂
ditto on that last sentence 🙂
me, too. HS & college, mainly, tho some in grad school as well. the logic is near-exact to my own line of thinking – if I’m not in everything, people will think I can’t do anything. If I didn’t have meetings three nights a week, I needed to join another club. When I moved away from Tallahassee (and proceeded to move four more times in two years), I got over it – mostly from lack of things to join and knowing it would be too big of a pain to leave people “in need” as soon as I found out I was moving again.
Oh hon…you are not the only one! My husband and I have been in ministry together since we first met. From worship planning and praise teams to working together as co-youth directors when we were newly married. I believe that our ministry together is one of the main reasons God brought us together. When we moved to KY for seminary it was the first time in over 5 years that we had no set place to minister together. It changed the way we related and we had to learn to live with it. Long story, but we found small ways to minister together. We had our first son and learned to become parents together, and now we are back in OK and he is the senior pastor of our church and I am left trying to find my place and figure out what roles I am or am not supposed to fill. It’s not easy with a little one, and we are expecting our second son in June. My MIL (also a pastor’s wife) gave me some great advice the other night, “You can’t do everything. God has blessed you with a family and you need to focus on that. There will be plenty of time for the church.” She told me to be myself and that no matter other’s expectations, I had to be confident in who God wants me to be. For now, I know that is a mother, wife, and Christ follower who has just a little less time to committ to the children and youth…and any other ministry I am passionate about, like worship and outreach.
I’ve had that crying breakdown with my husband on mutliple occassions and he too supports me the way your husband has expressed his care for you. That is a huge blessing!
I will be praying for you as you adjust to this new journey!