As a person who is largely an introvert, I often find being in a large group a real challenge. Large groups exhaust me and often leave me feeling overwhelmed, confused, or even ashamed from interactions that I feel others misunderstood.
This includes when my family is all together…there’s almost 30 of us…it’s a lot for me to process and I’ve learned over time that if I am going to successfully be with all of them, then I’m going to need moments when I can step away for a bit and clear my head…moments when I can reconnect with my own family unit (Chris and the kids) and remember who we are separate from the extended family group. The entire family coming together requires an enormous amount of compromise. My children inevitably have a lot to process with me during and after these times. Foods they had to eat, but don’t like. Dynamics with relatives that are not their favorite. Feeling looked over because they are older, and more emphasis is on the younger kids. It’s hard. I would be doing my own children a disservice if I didn’t allow for them to process and have pockets of time when we get away and focus on them…and remind them that to us…they are the most special children in the world.
The group overwhelm is something that I also must deal with when I go to group parties and work events with Chris. Those are really hard for me because…I’m suddenly thrust into a group who I only see once a year. I don’t really know any of them and we are very different.
This last weekend we had a work party to attend. It went far better than those of the past though because Chris and I remained connected and focused on each other, over the group. We chose to use it as a chance for us to get away. Then when I needed to speak with others…strangers…I could feel Holy Spirit guiding me. I chose to take a slower pace and allow my ears to hear Him guiding my tongue. This made it far easier to engage…though some of those people will never really understand me. That’s ok. I kept reminding myself that I don’t need their approval or to even be understood by them…I simply needed to be lovely. To let our kindness be seen over time. To allow others to see Chris and I live through many seasons, staying steady and faithful to each other. Basically, I felt God invite me to allow our lives to testify.
I don’t know how you feel about group dynamics, but I wanted to use today as an opportunity to lead you into being intentional. Intentionally set the dynamic in your heart first. Then, intentionally head into the Christmas weekend. Be kind to yourself, so you can be kind to others. Consider your family first, then extended family and others after. Be a touchstone for your children. They might not like groups either. Be aware of their cues and how they may be communicating discomfort with you.
We honor God when we honor those He gave to us as our first ministry. The ministry of family.
The Hurst huddle will be set in stone and all other interactions are secondary. I believe that if we all focus this way first, then the season will be so much more successful.
“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is untied to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. Mark 1:35