Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hard Lessons for Christmastime

Hello, everyone! I'm sorry I all but disappeared last month. NaNoWriMo took up a lot of my spare time. To sum up: I won NaNo with about 52,000 words, but didn't finish There's No Place Like Home? by about 10,000-15,000 words. So December's goal is to finish that up and maybe get a couple other small writing projects off the ground.

While working on NaNo, I've also been preparing for Christmas dramas at church. Really, I've been preparing for them since some time in August or September (I've slept since then, so the exact details are a bit fuzzy), but we are now in crunch time, with the next two Sundays taken up with adult drama (written by yours truly) and a children's musical (which I will only be participating in as a character).

Not THAT character, but the show does have a Whoville-type setting.

And in the last few months of preparation for these productions, along with an Advent-starting service this past Sunday, God has been teaching me some hard lessons about myself and leadership that I didn't know I needed and wasn't sure I wanted. God's like that -- He gives us what we need like a good Father, sometimes over our protests.

If only getting shown your shortcomings tasted like strawberries...

I'll spare you all the details of the situations and confrontations that led to these lessons, but suffice it to say that I have been hit with the hard reality of my own inadequacy and shortcomings.

So, the lessons:

1. Protect those under your leadership (whether they be younger siblings, children, team members, or members of a study group or ministry) from harm, even and especially if the harm comes from you.

2. Count the cost of any endeavor before you sign yourself (much less other people) up for it. Make sure you know how much will be expected of you (and your team) and that you are willing to put forth that time and effort.

3. Even when things look like they are falling into place, something can change your plans. Be flexible and try not to get your feelings hurt when your idea for the perfect whatever has to be tossed out to make room for what God is sending you.

4. Even if you thought the previous plan was what God was sending you.

5. When you have a backup plan for when things go wrong, don't wait until the last minute to enact it. It's no good to anyone if you never use it when it's needed.

6. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Always. With everyone. Even if you think you're on the same wavelength with everyone, communicate anyway. You'll save everyone a lot of stress and heartache this way.

7. Don't expect everyone to think the way you do. Something that's immediately obvious to you may not be from another viewpoint. Your thought processes are not universal, so don't pretend they are.

8. When your feelings are hurt, as they inevitably will be, don't linger on them, but don't ignore them either. Acknowledge them, deal with them (which for me is just acknowledging and then ignoring so they don't take over), and move on. Dwelling on hurts and harms, particularly small ones, without seeking reconciliation just leads to resentment and a hard heart. Have a spirit of forgiveness toward everyone, because you'll need it yourself when you say or do the wrong thing.

As you can see, I had a lot to learn.

To end on a lighter note, here's a picture of our adorable calico, Pumpkin, inspecting the invaders who have taken over her place beneath the tree:

One of these is a Decepticon, Dad. I'm sure of it.
As we head into Advent and Christmas, what lessons is God teaching you? Are you willing to listen and learn? (And do you have adorable pictures of your pets interacting with seasonal decor?)

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