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Posts Tagged ‘growth’

Since my last blog post, I have been trying to emotionally recover from pulling out of school. I decided to go ahead and take some time off serving at church so I could regroup and figure out where to go from here.  While at peace with the decision, it was easy for me to feel lost with no clear idea of what my next step should be. Work was proving to be difficult too, as summer is totally different than the school year in my department at work. By the end of the first session, I was feeling a bit smothered by people in general, overwhelmed, and confused. I was pretty excited that things worked out where I was able to get a paid “vacation” after only being there 4 ½ months. I seriously needed the reset time.

I decided to spend part of it with my kids, and the other part concentrating on me. It’s difficult as a mom to do that because we tend to feel guilty or selfish, but I knew I had to do it. Deciding to take the kids to the library proved fruitful for me, as I found a book called Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe. I was just going to get fiction books at the time, but I figured I might as well read to help improve my understanding of myself.  I read that book and it had some great information. I had a little issue with the style of writing, not that it was bad, it was just not what I personally liked (still a good read overall). Then I set out on a journey to a couple of book stores (oh my goodness…how I LOVE bookstores!!!) and found the next books, Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath and Quiet by Susan Cain. I read Strengths Finder pretty quick and took the test, and found it very helpful in learning more about me. I am still working my way through Quiet, which I LOVE so far (definitely something to look into if you are an introvert).

So in all this reading and time off I have finally been able to deeply process stuff, which I haven’t had the time to do since starting my new job. There is so much I am learning about myself and being an introvert. I can’t begin to tell you the relief it is to finally understand that I am “normal” (whatever that means! LOL) and there is nothing wrong with me!

I have spent most of my life, and even in recent years, feeling like I was “broken”.  There was strong pressure even at a very young age to talk to people and interact with people. I have a faded memory of when I was in about 2nd grade, and hearing a discussion about me needing to be in a speech or some other special class because I wasn’t talking much. I was a very intelligent child, teacher’s pet-type, but I hated talking in class and only had a couple of friends. That’s pretty much how I was through school, except add in a little weird to the mix by high school. Much to my mom’s dismay ( love ya, Momma 🙂  ) that meant dressing in a lot of baggy clothes, black, Converse, combat boots and lots of grunge rock…oh and don’t forget the strong desire to have purple hair (which sadly never happened….one day it will….even if I have to wait to be one of those crazy old ladies with too much of the “bluing” stuff in her gray hair lol)

In my adult years I have struggled so much with my social awkwardness. I always held this strong feeling of discontent about that part of my life.  In one of my relationships, I was accused of a lot of things (that looking back were actually tied into being a depressed introvert. I can’t really explain it here without coming across as bashing the other person or revealing details I would rather not discuss at the moment) and highly pressured to be more extroverted. After my battle with depression was over, I had other things to work through, like actually figuring out who I am!

 It was a difficult trying to figure out why I struggled in that area so much, but when I was reading Introvert Power, I read a section where it talked about shyness being different that being introverted, and that the 2 often overlap! It was one of those things I knew, but could never put in words. There has been a shift in me internally over the past year and a half or so. A kind of growing out of the shyness and growing into my introverted-ness.  God has been helping me in overcoming my fears (which intensified my shyness and awkwardness), and in embracing how He created me.  I love how He is using books to help show me that being an introvert has great strength in it, especially when fear and anxiety are removed from it. I am learning so much, and there is a freedom in knowing that I am not “broken”, I don’t need to be “fixed”.

It is also helping me be a better parent, as I can recognize my children’s introverted traits, and encourage them. At the same time I have to be careful with one who is more extroverted so I don’t try to “fix” her. I have to remind myself that even though I may need my down time, she needs her time with her friends to feel charged. I am also learning that she may not be as extroverted as I once believed! Every day, I am seeing that she could very well just be a healthier introvert that I was at her age 🙂

Overall, I feel like all this learning has been a relief! Between all this mentioned and some other things I have learned about my personality , spiritual gifts and insights from various friends in my life, I am seeing myself in a way I hadn’t before.  So much of who I am had been tied up in who I was hanging around, what I thought would please those whom I loved or masked by depression… it was no wonder that I didn’t know who I was! God has been faithful to answer my prayers for help in this part of my journey, and I know there is so much more He will help me with as I go along. There is peace that comes from finding the missing pieces or in my case discovering the pieces that were hidden underneath. I can’t wait to see where He leads me to next!

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In this post I want to talk a little bit (or a lot! LOL) about my experiences and growth in leadership.  I will be honest, I don’t feel like a born leader. I have struggled so much with fear and depression over the years, and I am an introvert. I was for the most part a follower in many aspects of my life. I did have some leadership experiences in the past, but it was not intentional. I think it had more to do with my dependability and knowledge than being the typical leader type person. I feel totally unqualified and unprepared most of the time. And with all that being said, I find it utterly hysterical that God would even choose me to lead anything.

Leading in Konnect was a result of God choosing me. I knew God wanted me to serve, and so I put myself out there, in total trust that I would be put where God wanted me to be. All the while, I was secretly hoping it would be something easy. I think God must have said to the angels, “Hey watch Kristie’s face as soon as she hears where I want her!” and He laughed. Then came the shock as the words “experience captain” came out. I think I probably looked terrified, but I knew to dismiss it would be the wrong choice. My thoughts were, ”Ok, this is REAL funny, but I will do it, because its where You want me. I will trust You, knowing You will help me.”

One of the things that I love about LC is that leadership is so important. Once you hang around for a little bit, you see that there are so many different type of leaders, and these leaders are mentoring other people to develop their skills. It sounds like something so simple, but I see that the leaders don’t necessarily stay in LC, sometimes they go off and start their own ministries and business. Leadership is very much a living organism at this church, and I am totally amazed. I have not been to a church or business that does so much to pour into their leaders and future leaders. They don’t just tell you to watch a video or read a book, it’s all about action and learning through multiple sources. It doesn’t matter whether you are a volunteer or employee, there are opportunities if you want them. It’s been such a huge blessing to be a part of a church like LC.

I have only been leading in Konnect since January, but I feel like I have grown and learned so much. I recognize now that just because I am not an extrovert, it does not mean I can’t lead. Even if I feel a slight hesitation in a situation, I choose to push through the discomfort, knowing I will grow. There are many times I wonder what in the world I got myself into, but I KNOW deep down in my heart that this is His will. I will be uncomfortable, I will be pushed and stretched, and I will make it.

I am learning to recognize my weaknesses so that I can improve those areas. I am also learning to recognize other people’s talents and gifts so they can help me learn and so that they can grow too. My desire is to learn all I can, and to do that I am learning to be more teachable. Sometimes that means that people call me out, and let me know what I am doing is wrong or needs to be tuned up. I have to keep in mind not to take it personally. The area I am tuning up right now because it was brought to my attention is being direct. That is something I struggle with so much because I like details…sometimes too much! lol In the past, the smallest constructive criticism would send me into tears. I think it was because I want to do well, and it hurts to hear that you have stuff you need to deal with sometimes. God has helped me been helping me see these things as they are and not personal attacks. I sometimes have to remind myself that this is for my benefit and because I mess up does not mean I am worthless or a screw up.

I can hardly believe how much I have grown, all with my Father’s help. Only He could do this…but it also takes being willing to let Him help. I have to be willing to trust that He is leading me in the right area. He is going to refine me, and yes, it’s going to hurt sometimes. I have to remain flexible, so He can mold me into what He wants me to be. To be a leader, I have to submit to the Leader. I have to follow the One so I can lead others according to His will. It’s a huge responsibility, but I know that He will give me what I need to be successful.

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