Hi, I’m Chelsea! I serve with Hallie, Callie, & Alicka in the student ministry at our church, & I want to share something I’ve learned there recently.
Lately, I’ve noticed myself not being “all in”. Sometimes when I’m there, I’m not really there. Sometimes in conversations with students or other leaders, I catch myself not really listening or engaging with that person. I even catch myself avoiding people all together, sneaking off to an empty spot to be alone for a minute or two. Really, I thought it was just a phase, kind of a normal thing that happens in ministry – you just have times were you feel less connected, less passionate. At least that’s how I justified it… But it wasn’t until my mentor pointed it out & asked some questions that I realized there was a deeper issue & that meant it wasn’t going to go away.
You see – I’ve been hurt a lot in my life. Family, friends, boys, pastors, teachers – they’ve all said/done things that have caused me pain, made me feel rejected. Sometimes it was intentional, but a lot of times, it was done unknowingly, & through my mentor’s prodding, I realized I had experienced a moment where some leaders in our ministry had unknowingly hurt me pretty bad, & because of it, I was backing away & closing myself off from people I consider family to protect myself from further pain. When I realized that, I could clearly see how it was affecting my ability to relate to students, work with my team, & give my all to our ministry. I knew I wanted to change, to be all there, but I didn’t want to risk getting hurt again. It was just too much, too hard.
Then my mentor (who, I remind you, is watching me sob & process all of this) said something that changed my whole perspective. He said, “When you signed up for ministry, you signed up to get hurt.” At first, I was really upset about that statement – I didn’t like it one bit – but he elaborated: People are messy & they make mistakes & they cause pain, but God has asked you to go after them anyway, & He’s promised to be your Healer through it. See, when you answer the call to love & lead people (which we all did when we decided to follow Jesus), you have to know that you’re gonna get hurt, & you have to make the choice to say that they. are. worth. it. That you value their soul over your pain. That you value relationship over being right or being okay. That you will love them & be there for them FULLY even in the face of the things they might do to you.
Coming to this realization has been a complete game-changer for me. It has made me (make the choice to) love my team & my students even more & it has made me love my God, who is the perfect model of pursuing relationship with us through rejection, hurt, etc., even more. So I encourage you: Don’t let the sting of rejection or the pain of wrongdoing stop you from being all there, fully invested in the people around you. Change comes through relationship, & you will never know the joy of seeing someone’s life changed or even the joy of just real relationship with someone if you are only halfway in it trying to protect yourself. As the great philosopher Justin Bieber once said, “Don’t do nothin’ ‘less your heart’s in it, heart’s in it, heart’s in it. Don’t do nothin’ ‘less you’re all in it, all in it, all in it.” There is nothing more difficult, painful, or more rewarding than giving yourself fully to the people around you – no matter what.