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25 September, 2012

It's all a part of me, And that's who I am

For those who do not know, I am a Confirmation coordinator at a very large parish.  Each year I have over 170 candidates.  This year I have 194.  Each year has it's own set of battles.  A few years ago I was planning a wedding and got married during the "Confirmation Season" last year I was pregnant and on bed rest trying to organize things from a far with help from co-workers.

This semester of work has been particularly challenging for me but in a different way.  This year our pastor/boss charged the youth ministry team with being bold and to not back down to pushy parents.  Obviously, there are exceptions and there is compassion.  He meant that the people in our area feel very entitled.  They use their money, job status, and every other thing you can imagine as an excuse to not follow the guidelines for our program, or the rules of the Church.  You would probably be appalled at the lines people give me.  He asked us to stand up to their nonsense.

Of course, the vast majority of the teens and parents in the program are normal, sane, and law-abiding.  And to all those families, thank you.

It's the squeaky wheels that get me.  Some years I need a little more WD-40, and this is one of those years.  Instead of dialoguing with me, one parent emailed my pastor/boss a full page email about my "uncompromising attitude".   But did she even try to talk to me?  No.

Another parent sent him an unsigned, full page, with five bullet points letter, about all the ways I fail to do my job.  If this parent had even halfway listened at the parent/teen meeting I host at the beginning of each year, they'd know that 4/5 of those bullets are untrue, and the last one was just ridiculous.

A few years ago these "attacks" would have eaten me alive and elicited an immediate, angry and defensive response.  After just a few years of ministry I learned to walk away, sleep on it and reply later, as to not reply from emotion.  Another year or two later I grew to learn that it's often not me that the attacker has an issue with, it's something within them that is bothersome and they take it out on me.

Now?  I take to heart what is said, but I take it to prayer and ask God to show me what I need to learn about myself, kindly respond and move on.

It took almost 8 years to learn that my job is not WHO I AM.  I spent so many years putting 110% into my job, as any person truly dedicated to their ministry work does and should, but I let that work be my identity.

I let my job success define my happiness, my mood, my satisfaction.  I took parent's anger towards the Church (that they took out on me) personally.  I would lose sleep for days thinking they hated me.  And for a people pleaser, that is devastating.

This week, after fighting these seemingly personal attacks, I told my husband that I've finally realized my job does not define me.  It's not who I am, it's what I do.  It's how I am called to serve the Lord with my gifts and talents, but it's not my sum total.

I finally feel free.

I am a faithful Catholic.
I am daughter, I am sister, I am wife, I am mother.
I am a youth minister.
I wear my heart on my sleeve.
I laugh at punny jokes.
I am a gadget geek.
I am a historian.....

It's all a part of me, that's who I am.

Title: song lyrics by Jessica Andrews "Who I Am"

1 comment:

  1. And I adore you for who you are! Keep serving our Our Lord in all that you do. You are a light and an inspiration. Praying for you always!


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