Monday, January 26, 2015

How To Be Strong In Your Weakness {unlocking your true self}

How to be strong in your weakness - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

I am proudly introverted.  In a small, safe group I might be funny or engaging but in a large arena I will willingly fade into the background.  I am a wallflower.  I would much rather observe quietly from the wings than be the center of the party.  I am wired differently than a charismatic, outspoken leader.  I look on the world through a lacy romanticism and dwell in an introspective poetic protection that slows me down and has me dwelling on the texture of hope rather than some public fame that would have me dressed up in quick wit and leather pants.

Goals are essential.  Dreams are divine.  Trying to fit a round peg into a square hole is excruciating.  The fastest way to kill your spirit is to pursue something that just doesn't exist within yourself.


I do believe you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I don't believe you can turn a Cocker Spaniel into a Border Collie.

The last few weeks have been a time of deep reflection for me.  Of self-searching and rediscovery and making choices that, though painful in the moment, have freed me to be exactly who I was made to be.  

For years, I have been heavily involved in the worship ministry of our church - happily involved because I love music and have a heart for it - but never quite fully delivering because I could not be the leader I was asked to be.  It wasn't in me to speak an anointed Word over the congregation or to charismatically lead 300 people to some emotionally heightened precipice where they might meet God.  I led worship like I lead my life - quietly - independently - responsible only for my own personal experience.  If others followed along behind my quiet leadership and met Jesus in a moment of lyric or chord progression - wonderful!  If not, you wouldn't find me raising my hands from the platform in some plastic call to 'lay aside the burdens of your week and come into the holy presence of God' because that is not the person I was made to be.

 

I am not a preacher - I am a musician. 

 

And that's okay.

Finally realizing and accepting this has allowed me to breathe again.  It has shown me that for years I have been holding my breath and existing on this plain that has had me anxious and pretending and that is no place to be.

I need to be free to be me.

I had a lot of fear as I drafted my resignation letter.  Fear for the future of the ministry.  Fear that I was letting people down.  Fear that I was letting myself down.  But as I finished and read it back to myself I felt an incredible peace and knew - without a doubt - that I was making the right decision. 

It's hard to admit defeat.  Because defeat feels like failure and failure feels like ending.  But, in stepping out of your own way, you might just find yourself reintroduced to the self you left behind in your arrogant pursuit of the impossible.

And that's a freedom unlike anything else.

And it's very much like coming home.

So, how can you become strong in your weakness?

1.  Everyone is good at something and it's okay to admit the things you struggle with.


I am good at leading a team - at creating camaraderie, at encouraging, at pushing people musically, at pulling together an engaging set of songs and including everyone in the creation of something beautiful.  I am not good at leading a congregation, at being a charismatic front person, at speaking into the lives of people with anything but direct scripture...these are the things that were wanting in my leadership and these are the things I was unable to give because they aren't in keeping with who I am and where my strength lies.  

2.  Ask yourself if you are happy.  Who are you trying to please?


Forcing myself into a position that wasn't suited to my personality was destructive - not in an obvious way but in a slow corrosive manner that eroded my spirit - I lost sleep, my love for music was replaced by a need to please which ultimately affected my song choices and creative liberties, I was not myself.  There were pieces that made me happy - those beautiful moments with my band-mates when we'd arrive at the perfect arrangement that seemed to open up the heavens - but those were always outweighed by the pressure of charisma and {for lack of a better term} 'star power'.

3.  Listen for still, small voices and big, loud proclamations.


When you get out of your own way, it's amazing how many people and things might speak into the exact situation you're wrestling through.  As I pondered this particular choice a co-worker, knowing nothing of what I was working through in my head and heart, caught me by the lunchroom door and put her hand on my shoulder.  "Be true to who you are," she said.  "I just needed to tell you that for some reason."  I had just gone to refill my mug with water but in that moment, she spoke into my life in a way she'll probably never truly understand. I am a people-pleaser at heart.  I hate to let anyone down.  Had I not taken the time to listen to the nudging of those {not so} still, small voices, perhaps I would still be in a position which - for me - was really a lie.

4.  To thine own self be true. 


We are all made with a purpose, with different gifts and abilities.  How boring life would be if everyone was good at everything.  I may not hold the position of Worship Leader anymore but you can be very sure that I'll still be up on that platform come Sunday morning, playing my guitar or letting my fingers dance along the piano because that is where my heart is at and that is what brings me great joy.  I don't feel anointed with spoken words, I feel anointed with a gift of music and a heart for worship.

5. Let it go.


Holding on to something that isn't feeding your truth means you're holding back something that will.  By letting go of the thing that is hindering your own contentment the door is swung wide open to new possibilities - to joys and peace and good old fashioned happiness.  Letting go is hard.  Fear of the unknown can be crippling but if you can step beyond it, the possibilities could be endless!  

Tweet: The world is your oyster - if you stop farming snails you just might start collecting pearls!  http://ctt.ec/40f4Q+ via @alannarusnak

The world is your oyster -
if you stop farming snails
you just might start collecting pearls!



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18 comments :

  1. GIRL! Love it. Love you.

    How does this keep happening? I needed this! I'm in a similar - but not really similar - situation, and your words nailed it.



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    1. You're too sweet! So glad it spoke to you and I hope you find peace in whatever decision you're working through...

      Still, small voices ;)

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  2. This blog post leaves me with more questions than answers...

    I will miss your "just a musician" leading. I don't need (or want) a show. I need Jesus and realness and I am honestly having a bitch of a time finding those things behind the four walls.

    At any rate... so long as this isn't the end of your music-making... this isn't the end. ♡

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    1. My realness will come in being able to just play without the added anxiety of leading - I'm sorry this left you confused...it's really just a personal decision to lessen my load and hopefully open a spot up for a gifted leader who is called to lead!

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    2. No, no, no... The blog itself didn't leave me confused. I just have *my own* struggles with church these days, and I am honestly a bit saddened that a talented musician and genuine believer felt so pressured to be more and more charisimatic and to make people feel good about themselves... to what end?

      I'll shut up now. This isn't about me.

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  3. I am proud of you for making a tough choice and knowing and reflecting it was time However, If I was honest this post made me a little sad Why you ask? Because you are gifted and I believe you should never feel that "you can't be you" while leading the congregation into the presence of the King Who says a worship leader needs to have charisma/star power? I think some of the best leaders are INTROVERTS and we as the church and Christian community can't expect that every leader will be "extroverted" -Heidi (An extrovert)

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    1. I'm sorry this made you sad. I wasn't trying to post a commentary on the requirements of a leader but more on listening to yourself and your own needs for happiness. Worship leadership had lost it's joy for me and as I was being called to step up and grow in my leadership abilities I realized I was being asked to present characteristics that just weren't in my natural make-up. I do believe that some of the best leaders are introverts and I believe I can still be a great leader/teacher without the title - BUT, introverts are also sensitive feelers and I knew I had to step back to protect myself and my own happiness. I am gifted. We are all gifted. And I will continue to use my gifts where I can - authentically and joyfully. Thanks for your support! You're one of my favourite extroverts!!!

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    2. I applaud you for doing this. I absolutely do. I also realize this post wasn't about introverts and extroverts. However what you wrote struck me and I too am sensitive!!! LOLA. I always cry!!! However, you should never have been asked to do something or be someone you are not. That wasn't fair . We can't always be comfortable but we can't "do something" if it isnt in us. I believe we all need to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone is the same and instead of demanding something that just can't be, encourage the gifts that are within them and not push them to discouragement and the feelings of failure. Maybe I speak this from a defensive heart because well I am married to an incredible introvert. I totally get why and don't disagree with your stepping down. I bet you feel like a ton of bricks is lifted from you. I also am proud you for realizing what needed to take place for your own happiness. Many of us who are servants of Jesus. Forget that it's ok to say "no" and not feel bad about it

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    3. I haven't forgotten the 'she always cries' bit You're too funny!! ;) I want to be clear that I was in no way forced to try and fit into some kind of 'worship leader mold', it was suggested and encouraged but when I said I really didn't think I could be those things there was a very open and clear willingness to work with me to find a 'leadership model' I could do. It was an opportunity for me to closely examine my involvement and finally admit to myself that though I could continue on in my same methods, perhaps I would be happier if I stepped back and let someone else take my place. And yes! A TON of bricks have been dissolved into dust :)

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  4. so happy to have had you as my leader and now as my friend. I can't wait to worship with you. You are beautiful inside and out and such an inspiration.

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  5. Atta girl. You continue to inspire and speak to & for those of us that are not nearly as articulate.

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  6. No defeat in being true to yourself, life is much too short! Enjoy your Sundays without the extra pressure to be someone you are not!

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  7. Beautifully conveyed Alanna. You are a fine woman. When you pull back from leadership it's important to remember to continue to follow.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and I'm looking forward to actively following beneath anointed leadership!

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  8. I tried commenting on this via cellphone but that seems to keep erroring out and these massive comments I write don't ever submit lol. ALL I WANTED TO SAY is that I applaud you for being brave enough to take a step back from leadership because you know your limits. (I think that's ESPECIALLY tough to do in an environment that is also 'work' so double points for that). I am glad that you will still be joyfully playing piano and singing harmony because I think you're an incredibly gifted musician and to keep that from the congregation would be a waste! That might be selfish to say actually haha I'm just glad you aren't gone-gone.

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    1. I'm so sorry about all your commenting trouble :( I've encountered the same thing on my phone and tablet - for some reason it doesn't prompt the sign in until after the comment is written and then the whole thing refreshes and it's gone. Boo! I wish I could fix it but I think it's beyond my expertise.

      Thanks for your support in this. It's a thrilling breath of fresh air, actually, to show up on a Sunday morning with the sole responsibility of just bringing my gifts. It's a beautiful thing! Everyone has been very supportive and I feel very blessed!

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  9. Your most recent post led me here. Believe me, I have felt this. I often feel that as worship leaders, the expectations put on us are WAY too high. I'm so glad that you saw this happening and stepped down before it (potentially) crushed you. So different be an introvert in this regard, because I feel that you'd be more inclined to just quietly let it put out the flame, rather than me, who gets defensive to the point where it can get ugly. I wonder if there is a happy medium...? It is just a constant battle.

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    1. It's tough. Of all things, you'd think worship would be the one that's full of joy - and for many without a view of the leadership end, it is. For that I'm hugely thankful. BUT, yeah...the pressure and the expectations, (not to mention differing philosophies on worship) make for a stew that can be wildly stressful. I don't think that's what Jesus intended!

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