Fear has a new face for me.  It is embodied in teenagers.  Now if I was a parent of a teen this might make sense, but being that I am half way through my 27th year of life and have yet to start a family of my own this is not the case.  When I was growing up, I didn’t fit in with my peers.  I was destined to remain on the fringe of the small pockets of society I lived in.  Some rejected me because I was not pretty enough.  Some rejected me because I was too smart.  Some rejected me because I was a band nerd.  When I became a Christian and lived my life for Christ some rejected me for that.  That was the easiest of the rejections to handle.  At least for that I was being rejected because of who Jesus was and not because of who I was…or wasn’t.  I hated middle school and high school in particular.  Hate is a strong word I don’t use often but I use it here on purpose.  While some people had notes in their lockers to look forward to and had invited to birthday parties of their friends, I was kicked in the back of my feet and legs as I walked down the hallway.  I was the one whose bike helmet was found on the roof.  And now there are parts of me that aren’t quite grown up yet.  There are parts of my heart that are wounded and have not yet healed.  There are parts of me that cower in the corner.  So today when I went to lunch with some of the youth to celebrate the birthday of the youth group directors little girl, one of those parts was uncovered.  I stepped way out of my comfort zone and tried to interact with high school girls.  Nothing big…just being in the same air space…talking about the menu…nothing intense.  And after about 15 minutes I was struggling with feelings of rejection.  To the point that I had to take a breather in the bathroom and allow God to strengthen my heart.  To the point that (I’m a bit embarassed to admit this) I shed a few alligator tears.  Why am I still so broken?  Can God heal my wounds?  Since I know the answer is yes, will He heal my wounds?  Since I know the answer to that is “Only if I let him” how can I be sure if I am letting him?  I felt so completely inadequate.  Interesting that this came right after one of the teens told me I had impacted her life in something I had written that her mom had at the house.  She said, “You don’t even know me, but you impacted my life and I wanted to let you know.”  And then she gave me a hug.  I feel like a ping ping ball.  The battle is fierce…


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11 Responses to “Fear”

  1. fourchances Says:

    Some times it is nice to get nice to get a coment from an outsider–a far outsider! I’ve read your posts, I’ve read what you want and in all those words you always go back to being inadequate. You sound very creative and you can write, so you gotta be able to think. Sure, God is gonna help you, particularly since he has helped get you to where you are, but, you can’t expect a healing miracle without doing something yourself actively. I was the one so many years ago that brought rage to the bullies. They loved their attacks and they loved how subdued I was if they only looked at me. I shed more than alligator tears. Now a whole lot older I would love to see those jackasses again. They are still ridiculous jackasses–and I have much more than they could ever think about. Since you are religious I won’t say where I want to put my knee–but before you get any older and before you have to help parishiners, please please find a therapist and get it all out. I did when I was your age…..Even with that I have issues with my worth, but nothing like before. I know who I am and I know what I can do and I know what I am known for. They could not say that. You can become stronger, but I think you need a little more than a prayer. Please go for it and then maybe when someone says you impacted their life you ca smile and say thank you and be nourished.
    My best thoughts to you, Frank http://fourchances.wordpress.com/

  2. more cows Than People Says:

    pinkhammer, i so relate to this. in a lot of ways. youth group was the source of great anxiety for me my first year of ministry. when with middle schoolers i feel like a middle schooler, and considering i hid for most of middle school this is not an asset.

    four chances is wise, therapy would be a gift. but even with good therapy your adolescent self is still a part of you.

    i’m glad you got some grace from a teen before the day was through.

  3. Lorraine Says:

    Yah, I’m with you. Although — I’ve discovered that I enjoy the teens more than the little kids. The little ones are cute of course, but I just don’t know how to talk to them. I avoid doing the “time with children” at our worship, despite my pastor’s best efforts to get me to do it. heehee…. I know she’s right when she says “the pastor must be prepared to do anything”. But still, I resist.

    And, did you get my email? I hope I sent it to the right address. Is it “thepinkhammer” or just “pinkhammer”?


  4. pinkhammer Says:

    My Pastor ‘A’ does a SUPER great job with the “time with children”! Seeing her example in that has broken the ice for me a bit. I did get your e-mail and I am sorry I have not yet responded. Classes started back up for me and I wasn’t quite ready for them!

  5. Lorraine Says:

    Classes? Is that summer term, or is your semester not over yet? I’m not taking anything this summer since I’m studying for ords. I’m still doing nothing — watching trash tv, etc. Back to the grind next week.

  6. pinkhammer Says:

    Yup. Summer classes. I’m too early in this thing to justify a break. It’s already going to take me a while to finish going part time. I don’t want to extend that longer than it has to be. I am sure I will end up taking a semester off here and there, but I didn’t want to do that after only one part time semester. : )

  7. Ruth Says:

    Pinkhammer, I am in a position to really understand your situation. I hated middle school, I truly believe that most normal healthy people hated middle school, it’s a survival of the fittest, and the means used are often cruel. Besides, my dad was the principal of my (Christian) Jr. High. Let’s say, that did NOT make me popular. So, fast forward — I graduate from seminary at age 29, with a young child, and pregnant with #2. First job is Assoc Pastor for Children and Youth at big dysfunctional suburban church. OK, I don’t need to tell you all this. Here are some thoughts to ponder:
    1. What do you feel called to? You mentioned preaching 2 posts ago — that is QUITE different from youth ministry. So which is it?
    2. Yes, you probably “should” get experience in every aspect of ministry, because ministers are generalists by profession. You have to be able to do a respectable Children’s Time, lead a youth mtg, everything. However, that doesn’t mean you have to train for any of those things NOW. Honey, you’re a newbie here. Lots to learn. All in good time.
    3. God may use you, God doesn’t need you. To paraphrase Reinhold Niebuhr. i.e. if you don’t do the ministry, somebody else will. Be willing to hold onto your No.
    4. Good ministers are Wounded Healers (Henri Nouwen) and you will find that doing ministry will help heal you, if you’re willing to let it. But in order to do that, you will need a spiritual director/therapist/mentor. Health is hard-won, not automatic. Doing the wrong kind of ministry without the right oversight, really could wound you further.
    5. I feel like I could do youth ministry now and be very good at it. My kids’ friends all love me, gravitate to me, I think it’s funny that I have become the “cool mom” without trying. I am 50. I think that in general, people in their twenties should stay away from youth ministry. You need distance and maturity.

    sorry to give you so much at once. . . .

  8. more cows Than People Says:

    good stuff here, but in solo ministry, which is MANY of the calls in our denomination preaching and youth ministry go hand in hand. or rather, i should say, you preach every week and participate in youth group every week- if not outright lead youth group. so… and even if you don’t want to do youth ministry overcoming some of your fears about interacting with this generation while still in seminary is a GREAT thing to do. because you want to be a pastor to ALL people no matter what your official role is.

  9. pinkhammer Says:

    Good points MC. I think part of this is that while I know that God has called me to ministry, I dont know what that’s going to look like. I don’t even know all the options even since I am just starting out on that path. I’ll meet with the CPM in July. Anyway, I have read your posts when you talk about your involvement with the youth in your church so thank you for pointing that out here. And your point about being a pastor to ALL people is well taken. Since this past Sunday was youth Sunday, one of the folks who has been volunteering with the youth for a while pointed out that the common ideaology of the youth being the future of the church is somewhat flawed: they are the church. As always, thank you for your thoughts.

  10. heatherelizabeth Says:

    You are one holy honeybun!

    Breathe in. Breathe out. Good. Now, breathe in again. And… out. Keep repeating;-) You are a gutsy, gifted, fearfully and wonderfully made woman who made God wink when He created you, to be sure.

    I still struggle with the overwhelmed thing sometimes, so I totally get the intimidated stuff. And you know enough of my wounds to know we share many of the socially awkward personal place in the world deals.

    He’s in the business of building very solid foundations, and judging by the biblical accounts He’s more about doing the job right in bringing you closer to Him than He is about duct taping together something that appears strong but has no substance to send out to His vineyard. If there’s a thing you have in spades, it’s substance or you wouldn’t care so very much.

    Sometimes I tend to look down the road and think I have to step from here to the goal in one step. Then I sort of look around and realize that the steps between here and there have a million treasured healing moments, and living those moments with people is part of our ministry as well as our preparation for future ministry. And He’ll guide your steps.

    I try to remind myself that it’s a “walk” in ministry, not an airplane ride. I wanna hear you preach, woman!

  11. pinkhammer Says:

    Hey! Long time no “see”! I hope you are doing well. Thanks for your encouragement. I appreciate it! I love the first line best. :)

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