I’m Cranky–But Being Honest.

16 10 2010

If I’m being honest with you, I have to admit that I hate the phrase “If I’m being honest”.

Doesn’t it make you automatically distrust the person saying this overly used, pithy phrase? Like instantly their credibility is in question, because they have to actually clarify their honest statement in the face of the rest of their statements, which are clearly nothing but baloney?

Anyone else feel that way?

Alright. We cleared the air on that one. I’m the only loony in the world.

Since I strive for honesty in everything I write, I think it’s time to confess something: Sometimes I seriously question my sanity.

Fine, you’ve got me. I know I’m sane. It’s the rest of you who are the insane ones.

What I really mean is that I question why on earth I decided to go into youth ministry. I’ve been in that funk for a few days—that sort of haze where you look around you and say, “Gee, this is a really stressful job with way too many deadlines, and I’m getting pretty darn sick of texting kids all the time and getting messages back in a language that only halfway resembles English.”

Part of my stress comes from the fact that one of the biggest events of my entire year is just a week away, and naturally the one year I decide to bump this retreat up two weeks early, I’ve ended up being away at conferences for two weeks—cutting my prep time in half. Add in several difficult issues within my various programs, increased responsibilities, leader issues to manage, and the additional strain on my schedule in deciding to become a high school leader this year—as well as trying to maintain a blog and a column, joining a district leadership team and promising to write curriculum for them, and mentoring a few students—and you get me on a rampage, ranting about the rest of the world being crazy.

What on earth WAS I thinking?!

This stress is probably what has prompted me to start cracking odd jokes about clowns and spontaneously buy the movie Killer Klowns From Outer Space for one of my students.

I know. Nonsense. You’re wondering what sort of fine, upstanding youth leader I can actually be, if I buy cheesy horror movies on impulse.

I’ll tell you exactly what kind I am—in Pastor Mark Driscoll’s insightful words, “a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody”.

What exactly am I trying to say here? I don’t know. Maybe I’m trying to be brutally honest and tell you that life isn’t always so great when you work in the ministry. Weekly, I feel like I’m in an uphill battle against a downward landslide in our world. I have people get angry with me, blame me for problems, and share the worst parts of themselves with me.

I hear unbelievable things from students and parents—issues I never even imagined going on under calm exteriors. I routinely meet dozens of new kids who are crushed if I don’t remember their faces or names the very next time I see them. I have to remember hundreds of inside jokes and details about students’ lives, and I have a constant radar scanning for kids who are secretly troubled and upset so I can help them.

I have articles and curriculum to write, events to schedule and plan, programs to run, mission trips and banquets and classes and retreats to plan, and leaders to train.

And that’s all on a good week.

This week, we had a multi-site expert come in to talk to our staff. I stayed after his presentation to chat with him. He told me that, based on the number of kids in our program, I was doing the work of three or four full-time employees.

Hm. Not sure if that was more of an affirming, “Way to go, Cassie, for handling everything you do!” or a “Hold still, sister, while I try to hit you in the head with this shovel and bury you just a leettle bit deeper!”

In the midst of my already very stressful week, I ended up with some of the most immature, worst-behaved kids I’ve ever dealt with in a small group Bible study I was leading. I was exhausted, cranky, and didn’t really want to be there. Everything I just stated was hanging on my shoulders like a heavy load. And, to top it off, I had been so pressed for time that I had asked my husband to help me write this Bible study—and was ticked that he had only written three questions for an hour and a half long study (never again, dear, never again).

I was counting down the minutes till the study ended, to be honest. I didn’t even care that the floor was coated with a lush carpet of popcorn and candy wrappers. I just wanted to go home and put on my pajamas. And that’s when it happened:

I watched a student have an “Aha!” moment as we talked about what Jesus has done for us.

And instantly, all the frustrations and stress vanished—the load was lifted.

I can’t really describe it much more than that. All she said was, “Oh!” in a surprised way, and her face absolutely lit up—but I knew that all of my long hours had been worth it. She connected with her Savior. God used me, in the midst of all my crankiness and bitterness.

Me. A nobody, trying to tell everybody about Somebody.

In the end, it’s all worth it. The Holy Spirit is always working, even when we’re wrapped up in our own frustrations and irritations.

And that’s really all I have to say…if I’m being honest.




2 responses

28 10 2010

Wow !!! Cassie you ‘re my teacher? I am your student in Thailand…..
I searching you on Google, I like you when you teaching on my class room,’ll meet you on class room.


2 11 2010
Joyce B.

When someone says “Let me be honest”, the comeback is “as opposed to?”

That is a lovely statement and comes in handy a lot! Enjoy your blog. J.B.


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