This is a hard post for me to write. I am always so open and honest with you guys, but I have to admit that this is a tough one. It's been stewing for a few weeks though, so I think it's best to go ahead and write the darn thing. Here goes...
About a month ago, Matt and I took a trip with some of our youth group kids to Kings Island for Spirit Song, a Christian music festival. We camped for three nights, went to the park every day, enjoyed the music and all came home with sunburns. It was EXHAUSTING for the adults, but I'm sure the kids thought nothing of it.
The youth that were there seemed to be so amped up - acting crazy, doing everything EXCEPT what they were told, being mean to each other, running, yelling, AAAAHHH! I felt like I was just chasing after these kids scolding them, keeping order etc. Towards the end of the trip, I had a SERIOUS. MELTDOWN.
I remember sitting in one of the only air conditioned buildings in the park, saying to Matt, "I don't think the kids like me very much." I was expecting him to tell me that I was just being paranoid, that I shouldn't be silly - of course they like me! That is not what he said. Instead, he said, "Well, you ARE being pretty bossy." Oh yeah. He did. That's when I got up, and marched right out of that amusement park. (Can I just say, that this was no small walk of shame here...it's probably at LEAST 1/2 mile or so from where we were to the car. HUGE walk of shame...HUGE!)
We got to the car, got in, and I proceeded to FLIP OUT! How DARE he side with THEM and not ME? I am his WIFE! Doesn't he understand how much I have sacrificed for HIM to be in ministry? Doesn't he remember that I am giving up PRECIOUS vacation time from work to be subject to this CRAP? Blah, blah, more "woe-is-me-I'm-such-a-victim" crap, blah...
That's when he let me know that he didn't ask me to come on this trip to be "the enforcer" - he invited me to be a presence in the lives of our youth for a few days. To enjoy them. To have fun with them. To let them be themselves, and be okay with it.
OUCH. He was right.
He also made it clear that I had been mean to HIM on this trip too. Oh yeah...I bossed him around just like I did those kids. He let me know that it pissed him off when I did crap like that. That every time I did something like that, it underminded his authority to the youth group.
OUCH. Right again. I hate it when he's right (but I secretly think he's sexy when he stands up for himself...don't tell him I told you that).
I realized that this hell I was living in was mostly my fault. I WAS being a pain in the butt. I WAS being mean and bossy - to everyone! I straightened up pretty quick.
The next day I had some of the more challenging guys in my car. I was a little worried about how the two hour trip home would go. I just tried to keep in my mind that I am there to enjoy them, to be Jesus for them, not to be a drill sargent. I decided that I was going to talk to them about what they liked, listen to the music that they listened to, etc. And wouldn't you know it...
...I had a GREAT time!
It's been a good summer ever since. Youth ministry is HARD. I mean...HARD! But these youth are so enjoyable - I just can't help but love them all.
Growing like this is really painful, but it's really worth it too.