Perhaps a Proctologist Could Help?

Deep Thoughts | Getting Personal (aka a little TMI) 5 Comments

Friends. I’m struggling inside. I’m mostly happy, but I can’t seem to let go of some bitterness and anger, and it’sdont fake beginning to overpower the general “happy” I work with daily.

This morning, on my way to work, I was trying to figure out how to get past these things that I’m letting upset me and something on the radio sparked a thought:
If I’m struggling to feel the peace of Jesus in my heart, then it means I’m relying on something else to make me happy, so what am I letting get in the way?
The answer was easy after a few seconds: my relationships.
I rely on relationships with people in my life to make me happy.

This isn’t all bad because I really like people and I love making them feel loved, but I’ve failed at this lately because I have felt so disappointed with most of my relationships lately. I don’t even have the will to reach out anymore.

When one person lets me down I am bummed, but when it feels like a repeating cycle of friends cancelling plans, or not inviting me to things, then even tiny things like not answering a text or a phone call becomes the biggest insult ever. And even the legitimate reasons for cancelling become “just another excuse” to me.

I’m at the point where I’m isolating myself from my friends because of the hurt I perceive. I’m on the verge of shutting down to most people in my personal life.

I know no one is doing these things intentionally to hurt me, but it certainly feels like I’m not being considered at all.

And it’s not just isolated to one group of friends; It feels like it’s everyone. That’s not realistic, but when it happens so much it feels like everyone.

20 years ago the easy answer would have been “Find new friends.” That’s not an option here; and not because I’m not friendly or capable of making new friends. No; these people who I feel so hurt by are truly my friends who love me and have invested in me. These people mean so much to me, and I know that is part of why I am hurt so much.

give and receive loveOpening your heart up to people and relationships means opening yourself up to the chance of being hurt. What I’m failing to absorb are the wonderful chances I have to feel loved.

I can love people rather easily, but allowing myself to feel loved is so much more challenging-Nearly impossible, in fact.

So how do I let it go?
Pray more? Read the Bible (admittedly, I struggle with the Bible, in general)? Quit everything?
I’d love 5 practical steps to get on over this, but I don’t really think that’s gonna happen.

Have you gone through something like this before? If so, do you have any words of wisdom or other advice for healing?

Realistically, I know I need to pray, and I am and will continue, but that makes me feel like I am asking God to solve my problem instead of working on it myself.

In 4 days I celebrate 4 years of knowing Jesus as my savior. As you can see, that doesn’t make everything hunky-dory, but I have no doubts about that decision.

This is just part of my journey for now.

Thanks for reading.

Would you pray for me or send positive vibes my way?

Lisa

fix my attitude

Friends. I’m struggling inside. I’m mostly happy, but I can’t seem to let go of some bitterness and anger, and it’s beginning to overpower the general “happy” I work with daily. This morning, on my way to work, I was trying to figure out how to get past these things that I’m letting upset me […]

(Untitled)

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Today I read a post by one of my favorite author/bloggers: Donald Miller.

It was titled “How to Overcome a Past Success to Make it Happen Again.” Here’s the first two lines from that post:

“Success can be the worst thing that ever happens to you. Many people can handle failure, but very few can handle personal accomplishment.”

greatest loveThe post goes on to talking about folks who have received notoriety and how it can really be a detriment if you let it all get to you.

I spent a bit of time thinking about if and how this applied to me while discussing it with a close friend once I realized why it struck me on a hurtful chord.

You see, my first year as a school counselor, after at least a dozen interviews, I was desperate for a job and really did all I could to get a position in the KCMO school district. The school year had started and I showed up to the district headquarters in downtown KC ready to show how much I wanted the position. I brought lesson plans I’d made while pursuing my degree. I had multiple copies of my resume, cover letter, and curriculum vitae. The district big wig with whom I was interviewing displayed some kind of emotion when she said to me “Oh, look at you. You really want this job, don’t you?”

I did.

And I got it.

And I loved it.

I was hired for a K-7 position in an urban school with another first-year counselor. We kinda knew what we were doing, or at least we knew what we thought we should be doing, so we did it.

I think we did alright. 🙂

But did I let that go to my head?

At the end of that year our positions were cut and I was very fortunate to interview in a bigger, better district AND get the position.

I traveled to 2 schools and worked with 3 other counselors, from whom I continue to learn so much about being a counselor and even more about who I am, specifically, as a counselor.

At the end of my second year (end of the first year in the bigger, better district) I went to a training with some staff for a program we ultimately did not opt to use. The man facilitating that training had been my assistant principal in my first school; the urban one. At a break he approached the table at which I was sitting with two of my peers and said to them “You probably already know this, but you have a great counselor.”

I told him he was very kind to say so.give love

My peers said nothing.
Realistically, these two peers hadn’t really ever worked closely with me so they legitimately may not have known if I was any good, but the moment had some unfortunate lasting effects on my psyche.

Looking back now, I think that was the moment I started to doubt myself.

I don’t always know if I’m any good at it anymore.

I don’t always know if I’m liked by my peers.

I don’t know if I fit in.

Wait, are those even the same thing?

Nope. They’re not, and as much as I WANT to be liked by my peers, I’m not sure that’s the right place for me to focus. #notaboutme #aboutthekids

So a new school year approaches; the beginning of my 8th year as a counselor–seven of them traveling between schools.

bruce leeI’m looking forward to the Global Leadership Summit this week. I’m hoping it will help me be a better leader, or at the very least, a better person and better teammate.

If I won’t be liked or approved of, I hope I can at least still be good.

This isn’t finished, yet.

I’m not finished, yet.

Looking forward to more of the journey.

Thanks for being on it with me.

<3
Lisa

Treasured. Sacred. His.

Today I read a post by one of my favorite author/bloggers: Donald Miller. It was titled “How to Overcome a Past Success to Make it Happen Again.” Here’s the first two lines from that post: “Success can be the worst thing that ever happens to you. Many people can handle failure, but very few can […]

Not Yet Fully Formed

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Do you ever have those moments where you realize you may have formed an impression of someone too soon? Or judged them too harshly?

Tell me what that’s like. I’ve never done that before….or I’m lying because I’m embarrassed to admit the number of times I’ve been wrong about people or situations.

I made the long drive home from Colorado to KCMO yesterday, and somehow fell down the rabbit hole of this initialmistakes do not define thought:
“Man. I am so much less annoying than I was in high school…thank God!”

to

“I think I’ve actually learned a lot in the last 10 years (since college) about life.”

to

“I wish some people would stop expecting that I would be done growing, learning, and maturing just because I’m an adult.”

And then the big thought:

“Oh crap. I have that expectation of all kinds of people….I’m a jerk!”

A good deal of my thoughts this summer have been focused on how I’ve unfairly treated some people in my life. I don’t know how to make amends for some of that because a lot of how we judge or mistreat people takes place in our “cognitive worlds” and a personal apology just doesn’t make sense (and I’d like to NOT look crazy). Some of the internal dialogue makes its way into the physical world. For me that usually means judging and complaining; together and separately.

still becoming“She’s been my friend for 25 years. How could she not know that would hurt my feelings?”

“He/She is in a leadership role now. They should know how to treat people and make all the decisions.”

“He’s so arrogant and makes mean comments. I don’t want him on my team.”

Those are specific examples from my brain in the last 2 years that I know caused me to harshly judge friends/teammates/coworkers/family and treat them poorly in words, thoughts, and/or deed.

And I know I have to do better.

I know that because that friend never intends to hurt my feelings. I’m grateful my friends don’t keep track of all the times I’ve hurt them and still love me.

I know that because I’ve been put into a leadership position and I certainly don’t know what to do a great deal of the time…and I’m thankful for those willing to guide me as I lead.

I know I have to do better because that guy did play on my team again, and he didn’t act the same way…and there are people in the world who love him and whom he loves. Love is a breaker of barriers. I LOVE love.

Common ground can do a lot to walk us down the path of understanding.

I think we are living in a culture where everyone wants to be given a second chance, but we are less willing to give a second chance to anyone else.

Or even a third chance…

And a fourth chance.

greatest charity

Instead of expecting the worst…

We’re human. We’re going to mess up over and over again and some of those mess ups are going to hurt people.

And sometimes we are going to be hurt, or annoyed, or mad, or disappointed.

Accountability and grace go hand in hand.

I don’t mean we should let ourselves be walked on like doormats, but that we should display a fair amount of grace.

How much grace is a “fair amount?”  I think we should show the amount of grace that we’d like shown to us.

So, I’m sorry for the times I judged others and expected them to be fully formed.

I’m not done growing yet,

and neither are you.

Love,
Lisa

Do you ever have those moments where you realize you may have formed an impression of someone too soon? Or judged them too harshly? Tell me what that’s like. I’ve never done that before….or I’m lying because I’m embarrassed to admit the number of times I’ve been wrong about people or situations. I made the […]

Mother’s Day-It’s Not Easy for Everyone

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On my way to work Friday a DJ mentioned that Mother’s day used to be a tough holiday for her. She shared that in college she’d had a crisis pregnancy and ultimately gave up the child for adoption. Although that situation is what brought her to faith in Christ, it was also understandably difficult. The DJ shared every year at church, on Mother’s Day, they would ask the mothers to stand and be recognized, and how conflicted she felt about that.

Now she has a family of her own, but she expressed empathy for those in tough situations going into this weekend.

I’m one of those people.

In the past I’ve shared that I had a miscarriage. I would have an almost 6-year-old right now. Sometimes I wonder if there’s a parallel universe where that path of life actually plays out. As hard as it is, I am thankfulyou are near I’m not living it.

This school year has been a rough one for my students; several of whom have lost their mothers, and another who will have their last Mother’s Day with their mom this weekend.

My dad lost his mom 14 year ago and it’s still hard. I think of his brother and sisters.

I think of my friends who lost babies.

I think of my family member who gave up one of her babies for adoption.

I think of my friends (and myself) who yearn to be mothers but it just hasn’t happened yet.

I think of my grandma and my Aunt Sue, who haven’t heard their mother’s voice or laugh in decades and how I am so scared for that to happen to me.

I think of my friend, Travis, who lost his mom when we were young.

I think of my sweet friend, Elizabeth, who lost her mom so unexpectedly, and how this has to be such a hard holiday for her; such mixed emotions with being so grateful to have a relationship with her own wonderful daughter and missing her mommy.

I think of all of these things, and I feel the pain of them (because I am a feeler, that’s what I do), and I remember that I am so very blessed to have my mom.

motherMom,
Thank you:
for being so thoughtful of everyone all the time
for loving my dad (even when he’s grumpy)
for showing me Christ
for holding my hand when I’m scared or sad
for thinking of me
for loving my brother
for loving the people your kids love without question
for being funny
for making our family and friends feel welcome
for being my biggest supporter all the time…even when I mess up
for never giving up on me even when I am tough to be around

Mostly, mom, thank you for being my mom, and for loving me so well.

I love you.

And for those of you who struggle with this holiday, I am sorry that I have no healing words. I can only say that I am thinking of you, and my heart is with you.

Love,
Lisa

On my way to work Friday a DJ mentioned that Mother’s day used to be a tough holiday for her. She shared that in college she’d had a crisis pregnancy and ultimately gave up the child for adoption. Although that situation is what brought her to faith in Christ, it was also understandably difficult. The […]

They’re Not Teachers

Deep Thoughts 1 Comment

I have something to say, and I want to say it as plainly as I can because it is painful. This pain is shared by many today, and I hope they can find solace in their brief time in service to some lost children.

I’ve said before I work in a low-income, high-needs community. No education job is easy, but when you work in this kind of community the skills required of you are a little different.  Most of us weren’t prepared for it when we started, but once you’re there for a year you find you can’t imagine doing anything else:

Buying supplies for your classroom? Sure, a few of them will come in with the full list, but most of them won’t. That’s on you.
Snacks (aka breakfast)? Ok, I can buy some granola bars.
Clothes? Shoes? Underpants? Wait…what? Ok, if they need it, I’ll get it. Anything that helps them learn.
Halloween costumes? Valentines? Birthdays? Done and done.

mandelaEventually you just start keeping a stash of those things so you can take care of it, move on, and get to learning.

That’s not intended to be harsh or uncaring, it’s just that what you can teach them and what they can learn could change the course of their life.

NBD.

Or is it?

It is. It’s a big effing deal, guys.

Sometimes, big families with big needs move in.

Sometimes, you know, with absolute certainty, that the adults working in that school are the only adults truly caring about those kids and making sure they get loved and heard.

Sometimes, actually every time, you open your heart and you love them because they need it and you can give it.

You’re an educator working with a low-income, high-needs population.

That’s who you are now.

You’re not just an educator; You’re a lover of kids.

That isn’t always easy, but you do it…Every. Damn. Day.

And you know what sucks? Sometimes they go; they leave. You don’t even get to know they’re going. They just stop showing up. You might never get to know what happens next.

But that doesn’t stop you from worrying.

Today was a first.

Today my fellow educators found out what happened to one of these families for which so many had worked so hard.

It’s not good. Tragic car accident. Ramifications for all of them; at least the ones who lived.

It’s heartbreaking. Truly.

And that’s why I think I will name this week something other than “Teacher Appreciation Week.”

It’s not big enough.

The truth is, if you take a job in a school you do so knowing you championwill have contact with younger and smaller humans.
Custodians, Classroom Teachers, Nurses, Paraprofessionals, Process Coordinators, Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Resource Aides, Nutrition Helpers, Focus facilitators, Administrators, Administrative Professionals, Registrars, Counselors, Library Clerks, Library Media Specialists, Instructional Technologists, Physical Education, Art, and Music Instructors, Special Education Teachers, Band and Strings teachers, and anyone I missed; Thank You!
To me, you aren’t teachers; You are Champions.

Champions.

That’s what you are; if only for a few months of their little lives–You were their champions.

And there are still kids who need you.

Keep fighting.

Every Day.

Champion On!

Love,
Lisa

I have something to say, and I want to say it as plainly as I can because it is painful. This pain is shared by many today, and I hope they can find solace in their brief time in service to some lost children. I’ve said before I work in a low-income, high-needs community. No […]

Jesus Loves A**holes

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As a Christian I battle the stereotype (almost daily) that I am also someone with her thumb up her a$$ and head in jesus equals lovethe ground…or just my head in my a$$, really.

That is how so many Christians are perceived because of the media and others who get more attention because of their closed minds and hearts.

I’m calling out my fellow Christians today because I think too many act like bigots but hide it by professing to love everyone.

But you don’t love everyone.

Admittedly, I don’t love everyone either. I try very hard, but there are individuals who test my human capacity for love.

I am flawed.

represent jesusBigotry is most simply defined as “intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.”

Christian brothers and sisters, many of you consider it a victory when civil rights are withheld from the LGBTQ community in our country.

And that is something worse than bigotry.

To be fair, I also don’t think it is just or of good character to single out Christians to maliciously sue them for holding different beliefs. Bigotry can extend in many directions.

Back to my point:

I understand the term “marriage,” in the Christian connotation, specifically refers to holy matrimony between a woman and a man among God’s chosen people.

Why does the local government have dominion over your holy union? Why don’t marriage licenses come only from churches?

You can tell me the historical timeline of how it came to be that county governments were handed the reins to marriage and that still won’t satisfy me. What I want to know is why you aren’t demanding that the “Non-Christian” government STOP issuing marriage licenses and demand they be ordained ONLY by God’s church? Why aren’t you livid about this? Why aren’t you fighting to get this domain returned to church control instead of fighting to withhold rights from others?

I mean, then you could have your religious exemption protection from performing gay marriages, right?

But I’m gonna make this bigger:

Why are you ok with the multitude of atheists or non-Christians who get married each day; oftentimes in a church, by an ordained person?!?

I used to be married. When I got married it was as a non-believer to a non-believer in a Christian church. I applied and paid for my marriage license at the county offices.

Here’s my real problem with your problem with gay marriage:ellen

For most of you it has nothing to do with protecting your ideal of marriage, but only serves to keep that status away from others. They don’t deserve to be married because of their sin.

They don’t deserve service because of their gayness.

They don’t deserve entrance into God’s presence because off their gayness.

I apologize if my terminology is uncouth. I’m really hoping my point gets across

It’s a very human thing to rank sin, I think.

Is a Christian business owner in Indiana going to refuse service to an adulterer or alcoholic or a child molester?

Probably not, and probably not even by choice, because those sins often stay hidden.

draw people to christBut those gay people, geez, they are just all about being gay. It’s all they talk about. They wear clothes that let on to what they are and jewelry with their icons on it and try to talk to people about their life choices and talk them into being like them.

No, wait. I might have actually just described a Christian. Just change the underlined word.

And realistically, Christian and gay are not mutually exclusive terms. And if you’re a Christian who thinks homosexuality is a sin, then you inherently believe that statement because there is no way Christian and sinner are mutually exclusive terms.

I know many will disagree with me, and that is truly ok; especially if it’s respectful.

I just want to end with this thought:
When you meet Jesus, will he be impressed with your refusal to serve? And maybe even more impressed because you can point out how the Bible supports it?

Jesus really supported all those religious rule-followers.

Well, maybe not, but he did love and serve them, too.
john 314

As a Christian I battle the stereotype (almost daily) that I am also someone with her thumb up her a$$ and head in the ground…or just my head in my a$$, really. That is how so many Christians are perceived because of the media and others who get more attention because of their closed minds […]

The End of Spring Break Crash

Deep Thoughts 1 Comment

more than sparrowsI try to be a very open and honest person, and I intend for this post to be candid. I know it’s a public blog. I know people read it even if they never mention it. My hope is that my process will help someone else who may relate to these struggles.

This last week I was on Spring Break. Thankfully, I was able to spend a good portion of that time having my bucket filled and getting to be around great people.The company and conversation have given me much to think about and will hopefully carry me through these last couple months of work. This school year has flown by in so many ways and is almost over, yet the daily grind can be taxing.

Let me clarify and specify what I mean by “taxing” before I dig in to this post. I don’t mean the actual tasks of my job wear me out. There are days that are tough with kids, emotionally and physically speaking, but I know how to handle those. That’s what I do. Lessons, individual and group meetings, plan-developing: Got it.

The part that specifically wears me out is the anticipation of interacting with a handful of people who do not approveGod is for you of anything about me. That is the easiest and simplest way to put it. Nothing I do or say is worthy or valuable because the only things I do or say that are given any attention are those I am perceived to have done wrong or didn’t do at all.

As I write this I am fearful of getting in to trouble. So why am I writing it?

I’m writing it because I have learned of so many other wonderful people who are struggling with the same feelings, and it’s too much.

Each of us thinks we’re alone in our fear and misery, and we are not….and that is cause for sadness, too. That any of us must interact with people whose words or deeds influence us to entertain thoughts about death, or at the very least, catastrophic injury, just so we wouldn’t have to deal with them; that’s a tragedy, my friends.

Now, I’ve been through enough psychology classes to know we each bear a great responsibility over the production of thoughts and the amount of time we spend experiencing anxiety or fear. Part of why I am writing this is to process my experience and get to the point that I can be “ok” to walk through the doors of my workplace, and I hope it helps others too.

As I said WAY back at the beginning of this post, I spent my break having fulfilling conversation, and one of them has caused a flurry of thoughts this week: Trust versus Belief. A treasured friend of mine mentioned that a friend stated that although she didn’t believe in God she would appreciate if her friend would pray for her. The contradiction in the statement was obvious to me right away, and after thinking about it for a bit, I realized that even though I am a believer, I was living in the very same contradiction.

I believe in God, and I believe Jesus is my savior, but do I trust them?

I realized I didn’t. I don’t remember ever actively deciding NOT to trust that God would keep His promise, but somewhere along the way I subconsciously complied with the notion that God hadn’t promised me anything (other than salvation through Christ).

he will finishBut He did promise more than that.

I am not a learned person when it comes to scripture, but I am learning more every day and will try to fumble through what I think is correct.

What I think I know is this:
God promised that all things would work together for the good of those who love and serve Him faithfully (Romans 8:28). That doesn’t mean it will all make sense, but there is a purpose even if we can’t always see it.

God promised to be our strength when we are weak. He promised to provide rest for the weary. I don’t have scripture for those, and I apologize.

These are the promises upon which I will be relying heavily for the next couple of months, and for as long as I endure trials (so, like, forever).

I hope they are helpful to others who are struggling.

I hope you confront the same complicit beliefs that have held me down in fear and anxiety for so long:
1) You are NOT alone in your struggle
2) You are worthy of love and approval
3) God didn’t send his son only to forgive you and leave you alone. He’s with you, always.

A “big” thing I’ve been learning through the messages at church lately is to pray boldly.

Meaning it’s ok to ask for what you want. It doesn’t mean you’ll get it, but it’s certainly ok to let God know what you’re thinking and feeling.

God has delivered His people from terrible situations all through history. He’s not gonna disregard your struggle andthe lord says strife just because it might seem minor in comparison to other global struggles.

Talk to Him. He’s listening.

If I can help, you know how to find me.

God, I pray for the person reading this who is struggling to do the work for which you created them. I pray they would spend their energy delivering the gift you instilled in them instead of squandering it with worry and fear and anger and hate. I ask that you deliver us from the wilderness of our struggles in a way that brings glory to you through our words and deeds. Lord, I also pray for those whose hearts and minds are blinded to the good deeds you are doing all around them. I pray for healing for all wounds as many go unseen and cause great hurt and discord.
Thank you for the work you are about to do in us as we seek to transform our hearts to be more like your son, and in His name we pray, Amen.

<3

I try to be a very open and honest person, and I intend for this post to be candid. I know it’s a public blog. I know people read it even if they never mention it. My hope is that my process will help someone else who may relate to these struggles. This last week […]

Would Mr. Rogers be Impressed with You?

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I found myself having some very out of character thoughts this week. Like, depressed thoughts, and they scared me. I was really hating on myself:
“You suck at your job.”
“You can’t even get a boyfriend.”
“You can’t make anyone you work for happy.”
“I just want it all to stop.”
mean all the time

I tell you that not as a plea for help, but to let you know that I’m going through some tough stuff right now, and as usual, writing is how I sort it all out.

Midway through the week I wondered, “was there a me who existed before I was so beaten down?” Really, I sat there and asked myself if I could remember back to who I was before I felt more negative than positive; before I felt more alone than supported; before I felt like giving up.

I don’t mean to say I want to die. I won’t deny that I have a sense of excitement and anticipation for the afterlife, but I am usually in no hurry to get there. Sometimes I do wish for the annoyance and hardships of some of my earthly relationships to go away, but there are so many more relationships in my life that are positive and loving, that I know I’m not ready to “go home” just yet.

A very dear friend sat me down this week and said to me “You can’t change people. You just can’t. But you’re letting this situation kill your gift. You have a gift for connecting with kids and it’s being squandered by the amount of energy expended worrying and fretting over how certain people are treating you and wanting to change it, but you just have to stop.”

You know what? She’s right.

Fairness and justice are important to me, and not in the 2nd grade sense of “That’s not fair.” I’m talking the grander adult version when you’re being treated in a way that makes you sick, anxious, and scared to live your daily life.

I grew up always wishing I would have the right words to say at just the right moment to change a situation-like on TV or in books. I think that is why I am still drawn to thoughtful and/or inspiring quotes.

The thing about watching those moments on TV or experiencing them in a book is that we get to see what happens

Did this work?

Did this work?

after the words are said. We see the change.

That’s not real life.

Sometimes those words take years to sink in. Sometimes those words don’t reach the intended target. Sometimes we never even get the chance to say them.

As I moved along throughout the week and a few more things happen that served to beat down my spirits, I started to think I was never going to be the real me again. That I was never going to get out of the situation I’m in.

And then the weekend came. And my mom took me to brunch and we went shopping.

And while we were together I had a new question pass through my brain:
“What if we HAD to love each other?”

My parents love me…and my genetic and biological code kind of binds us to each other, so no matter how much I disappoint them they are stuck with me.

No really, I have yelled some mean words at my folks in my life, and they’re still bound and determined to love me. They WANT me around, the crazy fools! They see me at my worst, as have many of my friends, and they stick around.

What the hell is wrong with these people???

And then I realized there is nothing wrong with them. This kind of safety and belonging is what happens when people love each other. We can be our true selves and carry on in relationships with each other that serve a greater purpose: to build each other up when we want to break down.

So what if our workplaces operated that way?

What if we HAD to love the people with whom we work?

Well, here’s what I know is true for me, and maybe I lost focus of it during this struggle in the wilderness…
About 3.5 years ago I made a decision to follow Jesus. Jesus gave a very clear directive:
john 1334So there it is. I can’t make anyone else follow the commandment, but I can do it (even if it is hard). The commandment is not to change people. The commandment is to love, and in that I will glorify God.

That’s my commitment.

Won’t you join me?

<3
Lisa

I found myself having some very out of character thoughts this week. Like, depressed thoughts, and they scared me. I was really hating on myself: “You suck at your job.” “You can’t even get a boyfriend.” “You can’t make anyone you work for happy.” “I just want it all to stop.” I tell you that […]

Don’t Call Me a Guidance Counselor

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school counselorAs an elementary school counselor my time at work falls under 4 categories:
Guidance Curriculum-Lessons in the classroom generally based around character development and building social skills.

Responsive Services-Small social groups, Individual short-term and solution-focused school counseling (you should read that as NOT therapy), and Immediate crisis intervention.

System Support-Being a member of teams within the school along with other staff members, coordinating testing, coordinating student support teams, etc.

Individual Planning-I don’t think elementary counselors do a lot of this, but secondary counselors do a lot of college and career planning as well as building student schedules through high school.

If, by chance, you’re pursuing a guidance and counseling degree and find I’ve mis-categorized those items, then please trust me when I tell you the categories only matter when you take your comprehensive certification exam or are doing a time-on-task analysis.

Anyway, I swear I’m not just telling you this because I think you’re curious. In fact, I know you are NOT curious.

I’m telling you this because I want you to understand what I mean when I say I have had a “hard” day.

If you ask me to label a day when it’s over I will give you one of three one-word descriptors:

“Fine.”
This means it was normal. Lessons, groups, kids with friendship troubles, planning, duties. Nothing really out of the ordinary.

“Busy.”
Normal AND lots of unexpected things came up so I might have felt rushed. A kid shows up crying and I have 7.5 minutes till I need to be in a classroom giving a lesson…that kind of stuff.

“Hard.”
All the normal things were on the agenda for the day, but some if not all of them had to get dumped because a kid needed real help.

A hard day in my school counseling life means a kid between the ages of 5 and 12 came to me for help dealing with counselorsomething a 5-12 year old kid shouldn’t have to deal with:
Abuse of any variety
Self-harm (thought and/or actions)
Suicide Risk
Domestic violence
Unsafe home life
Neglect (no supervision, no food, medical needs not met, lack of hygienic care)

These are the things that make my day “hard.”

Yesterday had 4 of those things and by today I’d hit all 5 of those items.

Please don’t misunderstand me and think I dislike my job. I do not.

I love it…

…even when it’s hard.

There is a profound respect within me that comes from being a/the trusted adult in the life of a child who has lived (or is living) through tough circumstances.

I have so many wonderful small moments in a day, and all of those work to balance the days when the tough stuff happens.

What they can’t do is take away the pain of a hard day. I’m pretty good with handling my emotions, but part of what women do while managing their emotions is push those feelings into our body.

Hard days hurt my heart and my body.

The kicker is that I signed up for the job knowing these days would happen. I know I am built to handle it.

My role in the school is vital so teachers can keep teaching and learners can keep learning.

And no matter how sad hearing about these incidents makes me feel, and no matter how much my body hurts from helping…..

No matter what, it is never lost on me that I am only the one hearing it and not living it.

natinal school counseling weekToday it occurred to me that although I cry for those kids and worry for them and thank God I am in the position to help them, I realized I have rarely prayed for them. Today is the day I am changing that.

Oh, and next week is National School Counselor Appreciation Week. If you have the opportunity, tell your counselor you appreciate them. Everybody likes feeling appreciated.

What’s a hard day like in your job and how can I help when those days happen?
I’m interested to know what other jobs are like.

As an elementary school counselor my time at work falls under 4 categories: Guidance Curriculum-Lessons in the classroom generally based around character development and building social skills. Responsive Services-Small social groups, Individual short-term and solution-focused school counseling (you should read that as NOT therapy), and Immediate crisis intervention. System Support-Being a member of teams within […]