More and more I am continuing to note the lack of courage in my life. And it really bothers me.
It came up again this Sunday. I was about to head out for church, and I got a phone call. It was from the camp director at the camp I am helping with. I had jumped in last minute to help with camp pastor responsibilities. After being with middle schoolers for a week, I said I could help at camp by doing camp pastor duties. This generally means giving a talk in the evening and being available to counsel with kids. Sometimes it also means leading Bible studies in the morning.
Well the leader said she is not doing any worship at camp...and she is handing the Bible study stuff, and she wants me to be a game leader.
Game leader?? And no pastoral responsibilites. And instead of just dropping in to fill in a loose end in the evening she wants me to be a cabin leader in evening with the boys. Arggh.
I was going to use this week to catch up and do a little bit of preaching and teaching at camp. Now since Friday I have to spend the night and lead games but dont get to do the things that are most important to me.
And what did I say? What did I do?
This is what I am most frustrated with myself about. I did nothing. I couldnt think fast enough to respond. I could not take a break to really mull it over since I went straight from mission trip to young adult party to sleep and to church stuff all day.
Now if I am giving myself a break I would say that I dont respond well in the morning. I just say yes and ok. And I generally have time delayed frustration....meaning things dont bother me until I think about them.
But there is a deeper problem.
And that is that I often find myself acting like a coward. I want to stand up for myself more, but I dont. And then I get run over. And when it finally hits me I am upset, I am worried that I am going to look like a jerk for saying and doing something earlier.
This cowardly tendency showed itself on the mission trip I was just on as well. It was a wonderful trip...but I also had to deal with the most difficult attitude from a child that I have had to deal with in 10 years of youth ministry. Difficult both because it was so disrespectful, and because she was the most popular child on the trip with the other students. I kept thinking of ways to do some discipline with the student...but it seemed every solution either punished me or punished the other kids in the group. And the behavior was so subtle. I guess what I am saying is that I should have done more with the situation, and I felt like a coward for not being meaner or stronger with her. And the bigger part of the issue is....that her parents are the people and in the family which have questioned every one of my decisions and made my life difficult here. So part of me struggled to do the right thing in trying to keep her accountable...but also knowing that I had to be careful or her family would be after my job again.
But in the end...the problem does not as much lie with other people as it lies with me. I need to learn to be stronger and more courageous. I need to learn to not people and situations push me around so easily. And though I have grown a lot in this regard...I still need work.
I think part of the issue within me is that I do not trust myself enough. I dont trust my instincts. I dont trust my heart. I dont trust my experience. I want to be compassionate. I want to make people happy. I want to be competent and do what is expected of me.
But there are still some situations where I need to learn how not to be played and manipulated by people around me.