A Pregnant Pause

As we have transitioned in this season from pastor and pastor’s wife to laypeople who quietly sit every Sunday in the back row at a church full of people whom we do not know and who do not know us, it has been a very curious thing to experience the slow change in posture from one-who-ministers to one-who-receives. It took us a few weeks to break out of the mindset of, “Oh I like how they do that; we could have done this in our services too.” Slowly that faded…and as we simply began to enter into Sunday services as our own weary, disoriented selves, we have begun to cherish the ability to just bring our empty cups and have them filled, or at least start to plug and repair a lot of the leaky holes, one by one.

I suppose at this point, I should stop referring to “we” so that my husband can speak for his own experience. For me, there have been at least two main things that have stood out to me in this time.

The first is this very large part of my heart that has tremendous need for God’s comfort, ministry and peace regarding the level of suffering and amount of death I witness regularly as a pediatric ICU nurse. When the husband was still pastoring, and I was leading worship in music on a regular basis, I realize now that for many of those years, I came before God with the posture of a conduit – “Lord, please fill me with Your heart and Your power so that I can give or minister to others.” But I wasn’t receiving what I needed for my very self, because I wasn’t acknowledging that I mattered too. Now, He is telling me that I matter too, and it’s time to pay attention to my own vital signs. I haven’t fully unpacked it yet, and I probably never fully will. But curiously, as I stand in the back row and quietly sing my prayers unmic’d, no longer preoccupied with the musical arrangement of my fingers or the tone quality of my voice, I weep largely out of my own sorrow and confusion and anger and BLAAAHHHH over suffering and illness and child abuse and poor-quality-of-life-on-machines and death. There is something deep in my soul that yearns for heaven, and sighs deep relief in knowing that the Suffering Servant who bled and died on the cross knows more than just a small taste of our agony. You know, Lord. And You overcame it. It is not just my spiritual rhetoric. You know.

The second thing that stands out to me is the very pregnant pause that occurs in conversations with people who don’t know us, who come over to welcome us. Sometimes it eventually comes out in the conversation that my husband was previously a pastor at a church in the area, and they never seem completely sure how to respond or how much to pry without overstepping their boundaries. I always feel this need to reassure them that it was a peaceful process, which I find unfortunate, perhaps because of too much media sensation about pastors who have resigned from their churches over contentious reasons. I don’t know how to explain where we are or what we are looking for, except that we are “just visiting.” There is so much more, but we ourselves haven’t fully figured it out yet, and hence the tongue-tie, I suppose. By simply divulging that detail about my husband’s previous role as a pastor, we distinguish ourselves from the “typical” visitor, and I can feel it in the pregnant pause. It is something that I both despise and also embrace. I despise it because I feel it comes from the same family of pregnant pauses that I felt separated me from a closeness in relationship that I longed for when I was in active standing as a “pastor’s wife.” I also embrace it because it is basically what encapsulates exactly where I am. In the middle of a pregnant pause. And I need people who know how to pick up the conversation with me, without intimidation, condemnation, or prolonged awkwardness, and who can help me complete my currently tongue-tied response to, “Hi, welcome to our church. What brings you here?”

Navigating the Complexities of Relationships in Formal Ministry

As my husband and I take a step back from formal ministry for an undetermined period of time to find rest and renewal for our own souls, I have begun the slow, deep and at times painful process of reflecting on both the joys and the pains that have come with being the “pastor’s wife.” One thing that stands out to me in my early reflections is the complexity of our relationships as people in ministry. We have all at once felt so close to people, and yet so incredibly distanced. We have felt so privileged in the intimacy granted to us and also so sorrowful because of the barriers that felt so hard to overcome. I have a feeling that much of the emotional fatigue that we are currently recovering from is rooted in the tremendous effort required to navigate such extreme dynamics in our relationships for a prolonged period of time.

Before going on, I need to preface the remaining reflections with the declaration that we had the most amazing and supportive congregation and Board that we could ever ask for. When my husband mysteriously lost his voice for many months, our church family did not give up on him and gave him all the time (and some generous financial assistance) he needed to get proper medical care. What is a pastor without his voice, and yet they loved and supported him as their pastor through the whole process. I could go on and on about how supportive our congregation was to us, but that merits a whole other post in and of itself. By sharing the struggles, I do not mean to be ungrateful. It is simply inherent, I believe, in being in formal ministry. Or at least it was, in our experience.

Joy and Privilege

In the years that my husband spent pastoring our congregation, he has had such privilege to officiate weddings, funerals, and baptisms. This is not just about ceremony. This means we have sat with couples as they prepare to make a lifelong commitment to each other. We have heard their more private struggles in learning to be so vulnerable with another person. We have heard about their hopes and dreams with regard to their relationship, children, career and ministry roles. We have sat with families in hospital rooms, in their living rooms, and in funeral homes as they felt either the cold shock or the burning slow grief of losing a loved one. My husband has sat with individuals who have shared their spiritual journey with him and have sought his counsel in the significance of making a public declaration of their personal faith through baptism. What privilege, what intimacy, has been granted to my husband, and at times to me, because of his ministry role. We have shared some of our friends’ most significant life moments in the most personal way. This has been a true gift, encased in trust that has been more valuable than gold, from each person.

Distance and Sorrow

It is so curious, and so confusing, to experience such depth of relationship and yet, simultaneously, feel so much distance from people due to factors that are often hard to identify, much less directly address.

One clear factor is the ever-present gap we feel between our own brokenness and the expectations you feel others may likely have – or the expectations you have of yourself – for you to have it all together, to have it all figured out, all the time. Of course there are, and there should be, high standards for people who assume formal ministry positions. That said, my husband and I are broken people. God has been unspeakably good to us, but our lives have been pretty ridiculously hard at times, and we have not walked away unaffected. If you get close enough, you can see the patchwork that sometimes strains to hold us together when we are stretched. I think sometimes people in formal ministry roles feel that patchwork shouldn’t be too obvious, lest it somehow hinder the confidence and faith of their congregants. I think sometimes the world pushes for untouchable leaders and the church expects the same, forgetting that God’s ways are upside down and He uses the broken before the mighty. But we forget that, so we don’t want to let the patchwork show too much. It’s a hard balance – being authentic versus being vulnerable to the point where someone might decide you are not fit for ministry – especially when everyone’s got a slightly different idea of where those lines are drawn.

The other factor is the sense you get that others struggle to let you in when you are in formal ministry because of their own shame, fear, theological / political / moral disagreements, or their own misunderstandings / misperceptions about your expectations of them. Some people decide they want a distance from your role and therefore must have a distance from you as a person because it feels near impossible to distinguish the two. This is especially painful if you as a person have had a relationship with them, and then they later decide down the road for their own reasons that they want or need distance from you because of your role. Sometimes, you just miss your friends.

As with all big topics, there is much more that can be said about all these things. For this season, what my soul longs for is two-fold. First, I want to come back to having a relationship with God not so that I can be something to or for other people in my “ministry,” but because He knows my name, He knows where I have been, He gave His life for me, and I love and need Him for all these reasons and more. Second, I want my relationships to be a bit less susceptible to the extremes I’ve described. I just want people who know me, know where I have been, who can sit with me and be stupid and shallow and real and deep and fun and serious and love God together in all our messiness because we’re messy people. I want others to feel they can be the same with me. I am hopeful during this season of coming back to the basics. Rediscovering God, rediscovering others, rediscovering myself.

dear friend,

You are in the darkest place your soul has ever known, and my heart hurts for you because I’ve been there too. It is beyond lonely. The voice of shame and accusation feels stronger than the voice of truth and love, because you feel more acutely aware than anyone around you, even your dearest loved ones, of how deep your sin and darkness have run, how far they have taken you from the person you thought you were, the person others thought you were. You wonder if your life was a lie, and it feels near impossible to even imagine yourself regaining any resemblance of that life again. You don’t know where to turn. You don’t feel you can fall any further and yet you feel you can never move forward again.

I want to say some magic words, pray some magic prayers, give a hug somehow strong enough to bring your heart back to freedom. I hurt because I cannot, but I hope because there is One who can. Oh my beloved Christ, He never gave up on me, though I ran, though I cursed, though I protested, though I shook my fist and said it was impossible for me to come back to life, I’d gone too far. I thought I understood grace until I didn’t understand grace. I had made such intentional choices against the One who gave up His life for me. Who forgives that? I deserved my emptiness. But He was stronger than the grave of my heart. He ran to me and wept over me and sang tenderly over my sick and broken spirit and loved me back to life. He will do the same for you. Maybe you have never fully understood the grace you preached, but maybe now, now you will, more than before, more than ever. Your life can still count for good, because of Him, because of the Gospel.

Friend, you may not believe me, but I still respect you as much as I ever did. Not because you are the hero you felt you had to be, but because you are my dear friend, because you are a child of God, that’s all, that’s enough. Please don’t walk away from the ones who love you. We won’t leave you, we won’t shame you in our words or our thoughts, we won’t. Please just let us love you.

I am not my pregnancy

I confess, I am 100% guilty of doing it myself. When I see other pregnant friends, my mouth says hi, but my eyes automatically drop to their belly. The first, and at times only, thing I usually ask about is related in some way to their pregnancy. Being now on the receiving end of this, I want to say sometimes, “I am really excited about this and think about this a whole lot. But I am not my pregnancy. There are other things going on in my life, heart and mind that I’d love to talk about too.” When I see moms with their very young children, I’m guilty again as charged. I say hi to the mom but my attention automatically goes to the little person in mom’s arms, and that’s what we talk about. I forget that the mom was her own person before this little critter took over her world.

I do this to my patients and their parents without realizing it. I see the patient, and see the vital signs. I see the tubes and the medication lines attached, and I form a list of tasks in my mind to define who this patient will be to me today. A busy patient. An easy patient. A high maintenance family. A helpful family. They are who they are in this hospital room until I see the photos and hear the stories that show me a fuller picture of who this patient and this family was before illness struck. A love for bicycles, art, and silly hand-painting projects. An honors student who got in some trouble here and there but was trying to work things out. And then I remember, this child is ill, but this child is not his or her illness.

This morning, I woke up to a busy day ahead at church. I was tired on many levels. I had just worked two busy 12-hour nursing shifts the previous two days. I said to the husband, “Sometimes it’s hard to be both a nurse and a pastor’s wife.” And then my Father in Heaven reminded me, “Well, good, because that’s not who you are today. Don’t be a nurse. Don’t be the pastor’s wife. You are a child of God. You are a friend to those in your church community, and they are friends to you. So just be who you are today because that’s what you need the freedom to be.”

Today, I kept conversations about my pregnancy to a minimum. I tried hard not to look at my church community through the lens of a concerned pastor’s wife, but just as one who was simply part of the community, just being me, being there. I know the roles are necessary sometimes. But today, it wasn’t about the roles, and that made today a really good day.

your secret is safe with me

I am all at once a wonderful and a terrible secret-keeper. If others tell me of their own deeply private and personal matters, I can carry those things with me to the grave. But of my own private matters, there are really quite few, for better or for worse. I suppose the public offering of this blog’s contents would suggest as much. People tell me at times that they appreciate my raw honesty expressed here. For me, I can’t really think of expressing myself any other way. I would feel too fake, on a much too public scale. And perhaps I’m looking for a certain kind of safety or acceptance; if I put myself out there and my friends are still my friends, then maybe I’ve got a safer place in this world than I sometimes realize.

Christmas has passed, and I thought a lot about Mary, when she learned she was going to bear a son, Jesus, in her very virginal state. She had a secret, and it was big, and it was eventually going to become very, very public. Very scandalous. Very controversial. The implications were huge. Surely her heart ached for support, advice, sympathy. Surely she feared the judgment, the misunderstandings, the unwelcome and unjustified criticism. Where was her safe place, and with whom? Scripture doesn’t actually tell us a lot about what went on in her internal processing of her unexpected pregnancy. All we know is that she “pondered all of these things in her heart,” she sang a song of worship, and she went forward with commitment and indescribable sacrifice in her relationships to her fiancé and her unborn son. God was all at once the Author of scandal in her life, and her very safe place. She rested in the assurance that He knew her, all of her, and she was safe in Him when her secret spilled out and the people around her decided what they wanted to make of it all.

Some secrets are better kept low-key. The media does not need, and dare I say, does not deserve, to uncover and distribute it all. Some secrets are meant to be secret for only a certain amount of time, a right amount of time, and then they are to be shared and celebrated by all. What I’m pondering these days is why secrets can be so hard to keep, and why a safe place can sometimes be so hard to find.

this odd simultaneous pursuit

I’m not cut out for this job. Not entirely, not always. My ego bristles against that truth, fights that truth with all its emotional strength. There are days when I picture some unreal, superhuman nurse who knows everything (as I approach the still very young two-year mark into my nursing career), who has the skills and smarts to perform every skill be it my first or my hundredth time, who does every task for every patient without disappointing, who listens patiently and therapeutically to an anxious parent, and then goes home unfrazzled to cook a hearty dinner, tidy up the house, and engage in meaningful conversation with loved ones. Well, to the Supernurse who lives in this illogical place of my brain, I want to ask you to please stop lying to me about the reality of your existence.

My ego would love for me to put flesh on this elusive idea of Supernurse. There are days when it strongly, strongly insists. But until I can lay Supernurse to her final resting place, my ego will never fully understand how much I need others, how important it is for me to let myself need others, how this really is the only way any of us will be cut out for this job of caring for children and families in a pediatric ICU.

I need my coworkers to help me and teach me. I need my respiratory therapists to do what they are so good at doing. I need my social workers and chaplains and child life specialists to be that calm, therapeutic presence for my patients and families when my necessary tasks are calling. I need my patients and their family members to take ownership of their own needs where they can. I need to recognize and value my role in this team, not too small, nor too grandiose. I need to let myself let my husband sit me down when I get home, despite all my compulsions to clean, so that I can just be.

False (or at least incomplete) humility is so vastly different from true humility. It’s the difference between, “I don’t know how to do that, so please don’t hold me accountable for it,” versus “I don’t know how to do that, but yes, please teach me.” It’s the difference between, “I’ve got a lot of demands on my plate but no, no, I don’t want to trouble you,” to “Thank you so much for offering to help me, and yes I will take you up on that.” I am sobered to see how much I still operate in the former rather than the latter. It’s got to change. A right heart, not only in nursing but in all areas of life, means that I work hard on learning and growing in my own skills, and that I lean more on others too. Both can be hard. Especially when you’re aiming for both at the same time.

I’m not cut out for this job. Not entirely, not always. But the team around me, the team I am a part of, is. And I am cut out for my role in this team, so long as I continue, diligently, intentionally, in this odd simultaneous pursuit of both independence and dependence.

The answer to a Charlie Brown prayer

The other evening, I received a small but profound blessing, a seed.

We had gone away for a brief vacation, both of us burdened by the sadness of many hearts, and weary from the battle for hope and joy and light when the darkness felt so thick. I asked a dear friend to house-sit for us. Yes, and can my other friend come too? She has been looking for a time of retreat. It couldn’t have worked out better. We prepared and cleaned as hastily as we were able, and I was glad that our time of getting away could in turn allow for other hearts to also find a time of hiddenness and rest. We left a small list of things we needed them to do – gather the mail, water the plants, take out the trash. I wanted their work to be minimal, and their rest to be true. I felt a bit badly for the countertops I didn’t get to clean before we left, though I knew these friends wouldn’t mind.

Our vacation was perfect. Mammoth was my much-needed reminder that beauty did not always require heartbreaking effort to find. That is the mercy of God over me. I hope in His redemption but I rest in His unshakable love.

Returning home from vacation always involves a mix of relief (there’s no place like home) and low-grade dread (I’ve got some work to do). On the long drive down U.S. Highway 395, I began to plan what we would do when we got home. First things first. Wash the towels and bedsheets. Wash the dusty dog. Semi-organize all the stuff we unload from the truck. Wash up. The rest can wait until morning.

Weary, though in a lighter-hearted kind of way, we finally arrived home. After unloading our vacation-in-a-truck, I walked into the main living space, and there it was, the blessing. Clean towels, washed and folded. Bedsheets newly washed, beds remade. A handful of thoughtful gifts, and a note. Everything has been washed. Enjoy your rest after a long drive. I walked into the master bathroom, and saw there was more. The countertops I hadn’t gotten to were now wiped down. Even the jacuzzi bathtub, which we hardly use, had the embarrassing spiders and dust rinsed from it. These friends had served us in their own time of retreat, beyond what we could have asked. They gave us a blessing.

In a profound Peanuts cartoon strip by Charles Schulz, Charlie Brown whispers a prayer one dark night after reassuring a very frightened Snoopy that the sun would eventually come out again. Who comforts the comforter? That was my heart as I wept in my prayers before leaving for Mammoth. God, my heart feels so drained, and so lonely. Who comforts the comforter?

These friends had given us the blessing of meeting anticipated needs. They were God’s answer to my prayer. I know what you need. I know what you need. He moved hearts to be thoughtful in the most substantial form of the word, to be sacrificial, to be incarnationally compassionate down to the most minute details.  I took this blessing, this seed, and put it in my heart. It is growing. Hope. Joy. Light. Life.

The Case for Counseling

At first, I thought it was a copout response. My patient’s mom knew that her child was extremely sick, but she told the medical team that she didn’t want any real “bad news” until the father was able to join her in a week. The overly practical part of me thought, with a shameful lack of sympathy, “So we’re just supposed to keep this poor child in medical limbo, and an expensive one at that, until Dad gets here to make any sort of plan one way or another?” The more that I considered the mom’s position and response, however, the more I saw and respected her self-awareness and her humility. She knew that any decisive family conference would essentially determine the entire course of her child’s life – aggressive but painful measures to try and fight the awful disease with a poor prognosis, or comfort measures that would likely lead to an earlier but hopefully peaceful death. This mom was aware that one set of shoulders and one heart, valiant but frail, was not enough to hold the weight of this burden. She needed the help of another, and not to mention, the dad certainly deserved a voice in the matter. She was wise to advocate for herself, because it would not do her other child, healthy and growing, any good for mom to become consumed by the heartache of a burden too great.

This is my case for counseling. A friend and I talked over lunch about the taboo that still exists with regards to seeing therapists. I understand completely that therapy might not be for everyone, or perhaps only for certain seasons of life. But why do we hold such judgment towards one another for our common brokenness, our need for the help of another?

When a person has a broken leg and cannot walk, the doctor is wise to prescribe a crutch and the patient is wise to lean on it. Unhelpful pressure is alleviated, and healing can happen. The person who tells the patient that he should be strong enough, brave enough, to just keep walking without a crutch is not kind nor wise. It always saddens me when I hear deeply hurting friends say in response to the suggestion of counseling, “I just don’t want to be seen as someone who needs counseling.” I have to ask again, why do we judge one another and judge ourselves so harshly for our brokenness?

I’ll dare to get even more controversial here. Some Christians say that the Bible and prayer should be sufficient for any faith-filled believer to work through his or her troubles. I love the comfort and the direction of the Word of God. My heart has been relieved of many burdens through times of prayer. But does this mean that the Apostle Paul was wrong when he wrote, “Bear one another’s burdens, and in so doing, fulfill the law of Christ”? Did he misunderstand the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, our Wonderful Counselor, when he penned these words? God knows I need my family and friends when life is hard. Why can an insightful therapist not be another tool that God uses to help carry out this exhortation in our times of trial and confusion?

I have not been a parent to a dying child in a pediatric intensive care unit. But I have faced issues in my life that have been bigger than me, bigger than my understanding, bigger than my maturity, bigger than my solitary heart could manage. It is the discernment, the objectivity, the outside, unbiased perspective of a tender-hearted, insightful, truth-speaking therapist that has helped me untangle myself multiple times from the mess of painful circumstances, the twisted lies of Satan, the flawed voices of people too close to the situation, and my own spinning thoughts. I can see situations for what they actually are, and I can breathe again. The outside pressure is alleviated, and I have the space I need to heal.

I am thankful to God for those who have the courage to help bear our burdens this way. It is my prayer that we will be kinder towards one another and towards ourselves when considering the option of undergoing counseling in our times of need.

a messy answer to a loaded question

It is an incredibly hard question to answer. You’d think that I would have some kind of ready response, given that I think about it every day, but there simply is no neatly packaged answer that seems to do any meaningful justice to the question,

What is it like to be a pastor’s wife?

First, I need to explain why it is so hard to answer this question in the first place. Complexity. This is not just one question. It is at least two. What is it like to be the wife of a pastor? And what is it like to be in the separate but related role of “a pastor’s wife”?

So now, part one of that question: What is it like to be in a marriage relationship with someone who is a pastor?

Well, relationship is fundamentally molded by time shared. And for the pastor, there are demands on his time that do not exist for any other profession, coupled with expectations that he can or should find a way to meet many, if not most, if not all of those demands. This makes for an irregular schedule for your home life. His meetings with people are generally scheduled around the 9-5 work schedule that the majority of people abide by, which means that others’ free time is his work time, i.e. evenings and weekends. The spouse, then, either comes with him or stays home without him, both options having their challenges if the spouse works full-time herself. And it’s not just demands on his time. It’s demands on his emotional, mental, intellectual and spiritual self. He is constantly asked to give, and give well, on all these levels. He needs to find time to recharge, through our marriage but also apart from me. He needs his man-cave time too. It takes a lot of intentional effort on both his and my part to help make sure that happens.

If you are married to the pastor, you don’t hear the sermon the same way as everyone else in the congregation. At least I don’t. I am thinking about the sermon, but I’m also thinking about how he feels about his sermon and what kind of feedback he will want and need from me afterwards. I listen to sermon podcasts from other pastors so that I can listen to a sermon just for the sake of my own learning and growth, and for nothing else. I also have learned how to better negotiate with my pastor-husband just how much he uses me and our relationship as analogies or examples for the things he is preaching about. While I consider myself to be fairly honest and open about my life, I am nonetheless uncomfortable being the center of attention, especially in a larger group. I don’t always want to be worked into the sermon. Our dog has been a nice substitute.

If God gives you children, you are going to raise the pastor’s children. You want them to be just your children, but the fact remains, they are also the pastor’s children.  No pressure.

You know the pastor in ways that no one else does. You know his dreams, his hopes, his fears, his frailties. And you are to be his main support and encourager through it all. It is wonderful and amazing. It can also be heartbreaking.

Now, part two of the question: What is it like to be in the role of “the pastor’s wife”?

The expected “role” of “the pastor’s wife” is largely defined by your denomination, and more specifically, the personalities in your church congregation. They determine a lot of the underlying definitions and expectations of that “role.” Even if you have a supportive congregation and a fairly healthy sense of self, you still feel yourself constantly negotiating those tensions between what you want and need and what you feel others want and need. What is more, the tensions are not completely static. They will change as your congregation changes, and they will change as your own personal life changes. As a result, you are constantly re-negotiating them to some degree. You’re evaluating your personality type, your social preferences, your boundaries with time, the needs of the church, and your own needs. And you’ve stepped into this role, regardless of any other roles you already play in your own career, family, and other circles of influence.

There are other miscellaneous dynamics that are somewhat unique to the role of the pastor’s wife.

Your financial situation is different from everyone else’s. I’m not talking so much about salary and tax laws, though those can certainly be sticky topics. I’m talking about perception and expectations related to finances. What you buy, what you wear, what you drive, where you live, where you go on vacation. You feel the presence of perceptions and expectations related to all these things more than the spouse of any other profession, I would argue. I know of one pastor’s wife whose husband won a contest from a local sports radio station, which landed a huge HDTV in their living room. I know of another pastor’s wife whose wealthy mother-in-law passed on a used Mercedes to her and her husband. These would be much more normal and acceptable in any other context, but because the husband’s occupation is that of a pastor, they receive, at times, questioning looks about these nicer things in their possession, and they feel a need to explain.

Your relationships are just different. It’s hard to articulate the dynamics in this arena. But I remember going to a family’s home for New Year’s Eve, and they had two energetic, playful dogs who proceeded to do what dogs sometimes do – they humped. Mortified, the teenage son pulled one dog off of the other with this specific scolding: “Not in front of the pastor’s wife!” I was mostly amused but also a little sad. He didn’t feel like he could let his dog just be a dog, simply because I was there, and I was the “pastor’s wife”? I never forgot that, maybe because it reflected a bit of this underlying threat to honest and real relationships that I wish with all my might didn’t exist, but does. Adam McHugh describes this well in his blog post, Why I Sometimes Lie About My Profession.

There are spiritual aspects around this question that I have for now intentionally left out of this post. Not because they aren’t important, and not because life is really that compartmentalized. God knows that without the spiritual aspects for me and my husband, none of this would ever be possible or worth it. But I left them out because usually when people ask me the initial question presented at the beginning of this post, they are asking about the day-to-day, nitty gritty stuff, which is what I’ve tried my best to describe here in hopefully some measure of succinctness.

I also do not intend this blog post to come across as a litany of complaints. I’m just trying to describe the experience of at least this one pastor’s wife as honestly and as straightforward as I can. These are the challenges and tensions that I am constantly working through. Can it be hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Guest Blog Post: The Collision of Introversion, Culture, and Confrontation

They say that it is in our relationships with other people where we see our true selves come to light. This is especially true when we are faced with situations in which we must decide whether to confront another person. If not, why not? If so, why and how?

Personality type and culture are obvious factors influencing how we approach (or shy away from) confrontation. I wrote this recent guest post on Adam McHugh’s blog, addressing some of these issues after a very uncomfortable encounter at a local farmer’s market which left me wrestling with a big moral dilemma and a whole lot of soul-searching. Adam is the author of a most wonderful book, Introverts in the Church, which I’ve alluded to in previous posts.

Here is the link to the guest blog post: