I’m a cowardly woman pretending to be brave

I sat there crying in a large parking lot.  Cars buzzed around me and in my embarrassment I prayed that they would not park beside me and see my tears.  My soul was in great anguish and I was praying fervently, “God, what should I do now?”  The answer could make or break a friendship.

I was in a text message battle with one of my pastors.

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It’s true.  Pastors, church staff, and ministry leaders don’t always see eye to eye.  In this case, I was the coordinator of a ladies meeting and I needed his help.  Since we are two different people, we naturally disagreed on how things should be done.  He held tightly to his opinion and in the process of duking it out via text, my feelings got hurt.

Thus the tears.

At this point I had a decision to make.  Do I just suck it up and swallow the hurt feelings, hoping that the pain would go away in time and that we could still remain friends?  Or do I choose to be brave and honest and tell him how I am really feeling?

I felt like he was not listening to me – that when I told him what needed to happen, he just dismissed it.
I felt like he valued his ministry above the event that I was coordinating – that his came first and mine came last.
I felt like I had been a bother to him and that I as a person was not important to him.

All of this in a 30 minute text battle.  And we all know that texting is not the best way to communicate when there is a disagreement.  It is full of wording that can easily be misunderstood and feelings get hurt at the drop of a hat.  A phone call or face to face conversation is the best way for disagreements to be resolved.

So as I cried, I rehearsed what I had been taught by Danny Silk’s Keep Your Love On book and conference.

I am an important person.  How I feel matters.
I am an important person.  How I feel matters.
I am an important person.  How I feel matters.

I could do what I would normally do – just keep my mouth shut and suck it up and deal with my hurt feelings.  I could process things with my husband and with my mentor.  I could work with God on forgiving my friend.  I could hope that our friendship could one day be restored to what it had been before.

I could quietly go through the pain of hurt feelings for the next few months OR I could go talk to my friend NOW and work things out.

The thought of talking to him NOW terrified me.  When it comes to confrontation, I am a weakling, a total coward.  But because I greatly valued my friendship with him, I took the brave step and called him.  And then when he asked if I could come to the church to talk to him, I changed my plans and went to meet with him.  Immediately.

As I drove there, shaking in my boots, I called on the name of Jesus.  I texted a trusted friend and my husband to pray for me.  I looked like I had been crying all morning.  I was a cowardly person pretending to be brave.

Since God was there, the meeting went well.   I bravely shared some of how I felt.  As we talked and worked things out, I realized that he did value my ministry, my opinion, and me as a person.  Some things I had just misunderstood.  My feelings still smarted a little, but I realized that some things I could let go.

I will be honest – the whole exchange exhausted me emotionally.  My sweet little self can confront, but it comes at a cost. I had to eat lunch at Chick Fil A, buy a new outfit at Dress Barn, take a nap with my puppy, and eat a Panera Bread frosted shortbread cookie to recover.  And I was so wiped out that I couldn’t go to church that night.

But I did preserve a valued friendship, so it was all worth the high emotional cost of confrontation.

How do you respond when your feelings are hurt?  Do you just suck it up, knowing that your friendship will ultimately suffer?  Can you, even if you feel cowardly, be brave and call that person to work it out?  Can you humble yourself and courageously ask that person if you can meet for coffee?

You are an important person.  How you feel matters.

Don’t let a text message battle ruin or weaken a friendship.  Be brave and work it out.   You can save a friendship.  If I can do it, shaking in my boots, so can you.

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