For me, writing isn’t just something I enjoy (yes, I enjoy it), I feel that writing is a “calling” in my life. I was created to write. Even though my readers only get a post every few days, I often write things that I do not “publish”. Sometimes aren’t meant for everyone.
This week has been…well, for lack of a better description, I’ve felt my creativity has been stomped on. Yes, outside influences can effect creativity…at least for me they can. I’ve been feeling “beat up”.
The thing is, my feeling of being “beat up” is a result of people who genuinely care and I believe want good things for me. It is possible that the words weren’t even aimed at me.
There have been several women who I have had a mentoring relationship with. Because of my personality and gifting, it seems easy for me to see what needs to happen and I have no problem being direct in saying what I think. Some of my mentoring relationships have been successful and some have been detrimental to the person who was being mentored. People want to hear the truth to some extent.
Ephesians 4:15 (hey, look it up and read it in context) speaks of how we need to mature and speak the truth in love. I have never had an issue speaking the truth….speaking the truth in a loving way in which in would be received is another story.
Many of the leadership styles I had been exposed to and many of the leadership styles that have mentored me are less leading and more commanding. In other words, most have been more military or dictator styles rather than true leadership styles. A friend of ours described in this way….a shepherd will lead his sheep, the sheep follow him. They know his voice, they love him, they follow. A rancher on the other hand drives his cows, the cows go in the direction they are being driven because there is someone behind them with a whip.
When in has come to mentoring, God has had to teach me (I am so sorry to those of you who I “learned” on) that I cannot change anyone. Only God can change people. I can advise and I can pray but only God can change a heart. I had to stop trying to drive people to make the right decision or do what I thought they should do. My job is to ask the hard questions, advise when asked, and pray always.
Every mentoring situation that I have been in that I have tried to “change” the person being mentored have resulted in frustration on my part. Frustration leads to harsh words. Harsh words result in hurt feelings. Even if the words were true and accurate they were not well received and did not result in the change I was hoping to see.
In this season of parenting I have learned that our foster baby is much more likely to do what I want him to do if I show him what to do. He likes to mimic me. However, if I tell him to do something without showing him, he is resistant.
If you want someone to do something, you do it first. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Fitting.
So back to getting “hit” this week. When I said that the words weren’t necessarily “aimed” at me. Our words can be like bullets in a loaded gun. In this case, the guns were not really aimed. They were automatic weapons and words were sprayed out over the group. Would you want to know if the people around you were leaving your presences feeling beaten and defeated? (Of course you think the answer is “yes” but is it really? Do you really want to know? Are you open to the answer?)
God did not design us to be robots. I didn’t actually come up with that concept. Dr. Dobson wrote it in his book “Dare to Discipline”. It is applicable! When you read your Bible, you will see all of Jesus’ disciples were different. Peter was much more outspoken and opinionated than other disciples. The heads of the early church didn’t always agree. They definitely were not all the same person. Discipling is about following Jesus and becoming like Him, yet God still designed each one of us with unique personalities and giftings. When I mentor someone, I am not trying to make them into a “mini-me”. When I parent, I am not trying to create a “mini-me”. My desire is to point to Jesus, teach others to hear the voice of God and think things through (apply wisdom, knowledge and understanding).
What now? Will I find my creativity again? Will I tell you all about how the baby took off his diaper himself? Eventually. 😀