From Kelly King: In today’s article, Deb Douglas reminds us that sometimes dealing with difficult people is a matter of looking in the mirror. Jesus spoke about the need for us to remove the log out of our own eyes before we take the speck out of another. As a leader, may this article remind us to do a little self-reflection and work at being less difficult.
Why is there drama everywhere I turn? Why is everyone against me? What’s the common denominator in all this drama? Me!
Am I the difficult one? Ouch.
In moments of self-discovery, we may find we have become the difficult people. The pressures of leadership—and let’s be honest here, of dealing with difficult people—has gradually put us in an unhealthy state of mind.
We can see that we’ve become the difficult person through:
- A change in our level of frustration, stress, anxiety, and impatience
- An eagerness to think negative thoughts of others
- A tendency to dwell on the drama
- A feeling of being tired and exhausted
But do not fret. We are not condemned to remain difficult. Try these steps to become a less difficult person:
- Take a prayer retreat. Reflect on how the process of becoming a difficult person began. Confess any sins. Ask for healing from life’s hurts.
- Be honest.
- Be bold in taking a close look at how others have been hurt by us when we’ve been difficult. Ask for forgiveness and seek reconciliation.
- Talk to the people in our lives about our present situations.
- Get help.
- Seek counseling.
- Consider an accountability partner to point out areas the difficult behaviors are evident.
- Take a break.
- Consider a sabbatical from leadership.
- Dig in.
- Seek wisdom in the Scriptures. Study Jonah who pouted under the juniper bush, Sarah who lied about being her husband’s sister, David who committed adultery and murder. All were difficult people at points in their lives but became heroes of the faith.
- Reassess our roles.
- If ministry and leadership have precipitated our difficultness, it may be time for us to step back and reassess our roles. Is there a new area we need to focus on? A new role in serving others?
- Be eager and willing to be transformed.
- Look for ways to prevent becoming difficult again.
- Move on.
- When we go through a difficult time, we can either allow being a difficult person to become our identities, defining the rest of our lives, or we can move on, accept God’s healing in our lives, and choose to learn from our own messy times in life to help others.
Are we the difficult ones? Do not lose hope. We do not have to remain difficult. God is eager to transform us from the messiness that being difficult people creates. Recognizing our own ability to become that difficult person will help us as we compassionately give hope to difficult people.
For more help and resources on ministering in the messy, check out Women Reaching Women in Crisis and Steps: Gospel-Centered Recovery or refer to the other articles in the Hurting Women or Ministering in the Messy categories.
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.