Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I am getting way too close to being one of "those" people...

Those people who come to church, talk to few if any people...

Those people who sometimes don’t want to be there...

Those people who pretty much want to avoid social events with church folks...

Those people who bring others down...

Tonight was the last straw. My wife and I were skipping Wed class (working on VBS stuff in the work room... we do this every wednesday night till VBS... why go to church at all then?) and my wife mentioned how she is starting to notice her attitude slipping. I am 100% certain it is because of me. I know it is. Guilt swept over me... how could one of the sweetest, kindest women on earth have a bad attitude towards doing work for the church? Why you ask? Because of ME!

That was all it took. I canceled Tuesday night VBS work sessions, canceled one of the Saturdays, and told my wife let's finish this crap with a bang and never do it again.

I desperately sought out an elder with which to speak (We have 4... one I care not to speak to as much as I can, one seems to care little for anything, much less church related issues, and the other two who seem to know what's going on were not there...) I mentioned to the non-caring elder that I am not doing VBS next year. I had to stop it at that because I started to tear up and was about to cry.

Anger? Frustration? Saddness? Guilt? Joy? I don't know, I cannot pin-point the emotion.

I refuse to sacrifice my joy, my salvation, my eternity so some kids can make macaroni necklaces for mommy and get a sugar rush on cookies and kool-aid each night for a week. If VBS saves a few souls, awesome, but if it would be at the expense of my own soul, forget it. Call me selfish.

I get so ANGRY when people use the "over worked" excuse as a reason why they don’t work for the church very much, but here I am using it (though I am not using little-league as an excuse and I dont just come to fun events and avoid the work events...). I need to back off. I really think I do. I am a negative influence on my wife, my friends, my brothers and sisters.

I don't socialize like I used to. I shun being around alot of the people I used to long to be around. I am starting to associate this church building with work that I hate doing. Hense, I dread walking into the building at all.

Dare I say I am starting to hate going to church?

But it makes me sad. VBS is kewl. We are good at it. But frankly, I am sick of it and if I never do another one, it will be too soon, which again makes me sad because this is not the Jamison I have always been. Why the change? What does God want me to do? I feel like I am seeing my church, my brothers and sisters and everything in a different light. And I don’t like it.

Pray for me to find the zeal and passion I used to have. Pray for me to improve my attitude. I know God will answer that one. In high school my mom always said I had a bad attitude. I finally just prayed that God would improve my attitude and He did...

Love you.


Brewster said...

First take a break. Take a couple of days or a couple of weeks. VBS will survive without constant watch.

I don't know the whole situations or your obligations toward this. If you can hand it off to someone for awhile do so. If not find some help.

Man everyone experiences these types of crisis. YOu sound like you are burned out. YOu sound like you've been working your butt off.

Reminds me of theatre. By the time the show was close to closing we all would swear it off and promise to never do it again. Yet a couple of shows would go by without us and there we were again at rehearsal.

There is no shame at getting tired. Rest. Try not to think about VBS. Talk about it with your wife. Pray, study. In time you'll be at full strength again.

Yudelka said...

Maybe I missed it in the post, or perhaps I'm simply out of tune with church, but what in the world is VBS?

...And maybe you guys don't remember me, so I'm from the Writer's Digest forum, where Josh hangs out.

Jamison said...

Vacation Bible School....

Soem churches start working on thiers a week before it starts and do it straight from a 'kit'.
Our church starts on it 2.5 months in advance and makes it all up from scratch, from the script and crafts to the set and costumes...

tnmommieof2 said...

Yeah, it sounds like you need a break. VBS does take ALOT of work and if you and Larissa are really the only ones putting forth effort to make it happen, then you absolutely need a break.

You also sound like you are a bit discouraged with the congregation as a whole. Do you think that might be part of the motivation behind the attitude change? I mean if you really only like 2 of the elders, you don't enjoy going as much, you don't feel social...

Just a thought....

I will pray for you. I need to work on my prayer life anyway. This seems like a good way to jump start it again.

Yudelka said...

Thanks Jamison!
Now that my ignorance has been revealed--an inevitable occurrence, it seems--I'll comment.

We have Children's Church Camp every Summer for a week. I guess this would be similar to VBS.

Anyway, as a mom of three, I am experiencing what you've described.

My congregation is very active and highly demanding (encouraging). When I first came in, I only had my son. It was quite easy to do a lot with just him, or to get a sitter.

Now I have two girls, a 4yo and a 1yo. I refuse to drag them around all the time, and I won't leave them with a sitter. It's really hard for me as I'm very particular about my kids. In simple terms, when it comes to them, I'm a freak. I don't expect anyone to understand, because a lot of the ladies in my church do a lot with their kids, so it's hard for even my hubby to comprehend.

I feel that I've lost my zeal for the things I so gladly did years ago. My passion is now my little ones. My ministry, first and foremost, is my family, my kids. As one of my pastor's wife once pointed out, it is my season to be a mother. Kids change lives, what can I say! My lifestyle as a Christian hasn't changed, but I have many limits. As you pointed out in your post, I'm very selfish concerning my children.

Here's something you have to be careful about--scheduling. Though certain things need to be done around the church, my pastor is very concerned with the times in which those things get done. He doesn't want to go in the office and find me working on the computer, or go into the bathroom and find hubby cleaning during service.

Try to work around your service/class schedule. If you don't enjoy involvement in the VBS deal, finish it off and like you said, never do it again. Note: God has odd sense of humor.

As I pray for my zeal, I'll remember to pray for yours.

Jamison said...

thank you mystery girl, and eveyone else...

Having kids makes things different. I can see it. I dont have kids, but I know they can offer up challenges that can prevent people from doing work. And we have LOADS of kids at our church...

But why is that a couple, who have no kids, and a man who has 3 grown up kids are in charge of something for kids?

And likewise, alot of the parents at our church will let nothing get in the way between them and little league baseball, but bringing the kids to the church to work is out of the question... quite a message they send.

Oh, I am not saying you, or all parents do this, but some do, I see it.

7 or 8 years ago, it was not unusual for us to have 20 or 30 people EVERY NIGHT at VBS work nights, staying till 9pm. Kids would run around, having fun, laughing, church members got along, grew close to one another, and finished off with a VBS all were proud of.

Now, when one person shows up to help on a saturday afternoon, I feel like the father in the prodical son story, running to this person, killing the fatted calf and dancing a jog of magnificent proportions...

bigsip said...

I've been dead before too, man.

It's easy to get burnt out working at so many things. That's one of the reasons I say "No" easily.

Saying "No" is important not only for the person saying it, but also for others who might find detriment from the nay-sayer's attitude or eventual burn-out.

I have been at some VBS workdays, too. I don't go to every one of them, but I at least help.

It seems to me that getting just 10 people out of the 500 member congregation is more difficult than pulling the ears off a Gondar (SW:ESB ref).

That's freaking discouraging! Seeing that sort of apathy all the time hurts. It makes you wonder if you're in the right place and with the right people.

When I get discouraged like this, I usually remove the stress. If that means stopping the work, so be it. If it means talking to people and getting some action going, then I'll do that.

Then again, just letting it roll off is worth a try, too.

But, none of these are easy.

I'm sorry man. I've been in situations where I have made a commitment and HAVE to be there, but HATE being there. It sucks!

Just hang in there. Then, when it's over, don't do it again if that's what it takes to bring your good attitude back. If it's a stressor, rid thyself of it.

I'll pray for y'all too.

Yudelka said...

The couple in charge of our Children's Church has three grown up kids, and the second in charge is a couple with no kids. Go figure!

Hey, at least you have recognized what you're going through. Prayer is the next step to prevent it from blowing up inside you, and manifesting in your walk with God.

mullinz8 said...

pray brother pray.

I love going to church I just don’t care for being at church sometimes. I’ve used the kids as a crutch to not go Wed and Sun evenings but the truth is that they are at a more manageable age now and the whole family should start going again.

I would say that you should finish off your commitment and let people know you REALLY NEED HELP NOW NOW NOW, before you tell them you are not going to do next years VBS.

I have fought for a long time with what I could offer to the church and I’ve tried lots of things that were almost for me with little success. Finally I’ve come into my place doing the occasional video project. I offer my assistance and will sometimes get taken up on it. The best thing is that this is something that I enjoy doing and something that I have set parameters in accomplishing.

Take a break and do something else or nothing for a while.

Keep your focus on finding and staying closer to your savior and I think things will work out. Just because you enjoy something doesn’t always mean it’s the right reason to undertake a project, it helps, no doubt. Still you need to find something to move you.

Welcome Yudelka.

Yudelka said...

I get involved in anything I can that doesn't jeopardize my style as a mom, if that makes any sense.

That includes working with the kids -- helping out with making schedules, writing holiday scripts, working in the nurseries, Sunday School classes, etc.

It's incredibly how much work needs to be done. We had to stop a Saturday evening event for the children because there weren't enough volunteers.

I don't think I do a whole lot in the church right now, at least not as I'd like to, but I guess everyone has to go through different seasons.

Yudelka said...

...And thank you, Mullinz!

Ryan F. said...

Jamison, some advice from a good friend. Sometimes, when you do a lot at a church (I can sympathize) you can get burned out. Being burned out doesn't just mean being run down or tired, it also means that you begin to get angry with people, your temper shortens, you develop a bad attitude about things, etc. I have dealt with this a couple of times since I have been here at University. Here are some things that helped me.

#1. Just be a member for a while. Don't do anything but come, worship, study, fellowship, and leave. Don't do it for just a week or two, try 6 months.

#2. Get away for a while. Take 2 or 3 weeks and visit different churches. I'm not saying leave Dalraida, but if you go to say, University or Eastern Meadows, you will be greeted with a smile and feel unobligated while there. You can worship without feeling weighed down. Get away from the people who make you angry for a while. It will help.

#3. Think of it as Satan trying his hardest to discourage you and get you to leave the church. Just look down at him, laugh, and say, "Is that all you got? Is that the best you can do to drive me away? Because if that is it, you will have to try a lot harder." Satan is trying to discourage you through things like this b/c he knows he can't get you in other ways.

#4. Realize that this is not just a problem at Dalraida, but in a lot of churches. That's why I believe that there are degrees of reward in Heaven. Why should some dude who sat on his can in church his whole life get the same reward as someone like you who worked his tail off?

#5. Just pray about it. Take a big step away for a while and pray about it. When you feel refreshed and renewed, then you can get back into whatever you want, but I would encourage you to get back into something different.

Hope that helps.

Jamison said...

Thanks Ryan... best advise yet.
Thanks to all, but very much to Ryan who speaks from direct experience... I have said this about a billion times to you, btu I dont know how you do your job.
Number 2 was the best one yet. I think after VBS is all over, the wife and I will visit you and your wife at church, maybe go out afterwards.

I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about going into worship service and people not asking me things that get announced 50 times a week.

"When does VBS workday start this saturday?"... I want to say "It is in the bulletin, pew sheet, projector announcements, verbal announcements and has been 9am since I started going to church here... you figure it out!"

But I dont...

I dont want to be angry or hate people. In fact, I hate and am angry and no "person" but more like "people" as a whole I guess...

I need to fish more...
Sip, I am under the assumption that any time I go to Luverne I can fish in that pond? With permission first of course...?

bigsip said...

Probably be better if I'm with you, but yes, we can fish in that pond any time.

Burnout is a biggie, man.

I mentioned it, but Ryan really laid it out well.

I miss happy, excited Jamison at church. Find the healing you need, my friend. Take a break and regain your verve!

If fishing will help, we'll hit the pond again sometime soon. Take great comfort in your trip with MD, too.