I’ve held these feelings in for a few months now. To be honest, I probably haven’t held them in as well as I think I have. I know 4 close friends off the top of my head who have probably gotten this story already, but in true writer fashion…I can’t get over it until I write about it.
I’ve been a praise dancer for two decades of my life. I remember wanting to join my church off the strength that it was a requirement to join the praise dance team. Even going away to school and coming back hadn’t caused my passion for this ministry to end. I’d even been president of the ministry at one point for awhile. Over the last year or so, I’d been feeling like it was more of an obligation instead of a privilege. I’d become irritated, frustrated and contemplated quitting on several occasions.
Earlier this year, for reasons I won’t discuss, I finally quit. My praise dance career began in March 1997 and ended May 2019. That’s crazy to even type out. I was relieved to have ended what I thought had run its course, however there were other emotions quickly rising due to circumstances. Anger. Hurt. Disappointment.
I felt as if my hand was forced. It wasn’t the way I wanted to quit. I wanted to retire after our anniversary, ministering one last time and feeling as if I could move on peacefully. That didn’t happen and what’s worse is what I expected to happen after my abrupt departure didn’t happen either.
People that I thought would check on me didn’t. I felt like my involvement in the ministry wasn’t as important as I thought it was. No one seemed to care that I wasn’t ministering. I got a few comments asking why. But overall…nothing.
My anger came back. I thought my role meant something to my church. I thought people would miss seeing me with the group. I thought. I thought…I. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next. God checked me.
I quit the ministry to protect my peace. So who did I think I was that people had to check on me for something I decided was best for me? Who did I think I was that my decision required validation? That it required ego stroking? That it required anything other than my decision?
Yes, my feelings were hurt, but what did that mean? Was I entitled to feel that way? Was I really upset at anyone? Or was I afraid of what stepping away from this ministry after 20 plus years meant?
There are plenty of instances in the Bible where people did things to Jesus that would hurt anyone’s feelings. They ridiculed Him. They disrespected His calling. They shunned Him. They killed Him. That didn’t stop Him from being Jesus. It was all apart of the process.
I have to learn to stop taking things so personal. This is a present charge because I’m not there yet, honestly. However, I have realized that there are certain things God will allow in our lives to “hurt our feelings” for very specific reasons other than the obvious.
- To Make You Uncomfortable
A lot of times, we tend to move out of obligation and not desire or will. I’ve felt this in my career, my relationships and family duties. Sometimes, God has to sever a tie that we won’t let go of. He’ll do what we can’t in our own weaknesses by making us so uncomfortable that the fear of staying the same begins to outweigh the fear of change. If something you’ve been committed to starts to become uncomfortable, it may be time to evaluate your participation in it.
2. To Get You to Set Boundaries
Unlike number one, you could very well be meant to be where you are. However, that does not negate the fact that you need to set boundaries to protect your peace and state of mind. Don’t be a pushover; learn to voice your opinions and boundaries in healthy ways so that you can continue to do the work you were called to do…but without the added stress.
3. To Get You Over Yourself
My new favorite phrase is, “Don’t take it personal.” (Queue Monica). It just so happens that everything doesn’t revolve around me. I had to specifically learn this lesson when the anger towards me feels very real. Whether it’s a situation I’m in or not, a lot of times when situations hurt my feelings, I look for the root cause. If I’m sure that I’ve done all I can do and my intentions are good, then there must be something going on in this other person’s life and they are projecting that onto me. This isn’t always the case. Sometimes I am at fault and that is dealt with accordingly. However, it’s easier to walk away from a potential blow up when you realize that it isn’t about you.
It’s always easier said than done and I still have moments where it seems unfair or inconsiderate, but I am so grateful to be in the process of letting things go. My hurt feelings aren’t doing anything but holding me back from fulfilling my purpose and reaching my goals. I am responsible for my actions and my growth. Nothing more and nothing less. God wants me to focus on that.
Can you think of a time you felt your feelings were hurt? How did you deal with it? What lesson did you learn?