You look like a beaten puppy

There are certain people in my life who I don’t know where I would be without them.

I have been lucky to be surrounded by loving parents, great friends, and mentors who care.

They have spoken truth to me when I lacked it,

Affirmed me when I needed it,

Challenged me when I needed to be stretched,

And extended grace when I least deserved it.

Earlier this year I was in the middle of a dry stretch of ministry, overwhelmed with school and work, and quickly reaching my breaking point. I had a busy schedule that was draining and leaving me discouraged.

(This is when being surrounded by great people is important)

One day I got lunch with someone who was filling a mentor role in my life and had been for a few years.

We started the conversation just like every other conversation we have: planning a trip to see the Thunder and Bulls play.

As the conversation went on he asked several questions about how I was doing with ministry, school, and work. I did my best to answer without showing that I was about to collapse.

I thought I was holding myself together pretty well…

I was wrong.

He looked at me as if to say “Why are you lying to me?”

Then he said, “You look like a beaten puppy” 

This is what I tried to look like…

This is what he saw…

In this moment I didn’t need to be challenged or stretched anymore.
What I needed was someone to speak truth to me, encourage me, and affirm me even if I didn’t ask for it.
The conversation continued and I shared all of the things that I hate to admit:
  • I don’t have it all together
  • I need to be encouraged and affirmed
  • Things aren’t going as planned
  • I feel like I am failing
  • I want to give up

This conversation ended with him speaking incredible truth about difficult moments in ministry and times of feeling overwhelmed. He encouraged me to keep persevering and affirmed my abilities, talents, and hard work.

He also cared enough to tell me that I was not the answer, shared how I could switch my focus, and offered me a fresh perspectives on the situations.

I left this lunch with exactly what I needed: a full belly, encouragement, affirmation, and feeling rejuvenated.

  • Are there people in your life who fill this role for you?
  • Are you willing to be vulnerable enough to let them?
  • Are there people in your community who need you to fill this role for them?

6 thoughts on “You look like a beaten puppy

  1. I am crazy grateful to have been on the receiving end of so many of these conversations. Where I was reminded that I did not sign up to be a hero. That the only person who expected me to do it perfectly was me. That I had permission to fail. That I was talented. That I was my greatest obstacle. That there are seasons for everything.

    The challenge now is being a leader, friend, etc. who encourages and influences in the same ways. One-on-one. Its easy to invest all of your time in what will produce the most profit for your own ego, instead of intentionally creating a culture of encouragement for those people around you and with you. I think that’s what separates the leaders who produce merely things from the leaders who produce people.

    • You wrapped the conversation (and several others) up perfectly in your first paragraph. It’s like we have the same person telling us these things, weird.

      And wow, becoming a leader who produces people and not merely things. Is there a better goal and focus as a leader?

  2. wow. I needed this! I have been struggling lately with alot of things. Almost the exact situation happened to me. I thought I was holding everything together really well on the outside and wasn’t letting it show to others that I wasn’t. Then I sat down with a friend of sorts and we talked like we always do. after asking me how I was doing and me telling it things were alright she told me she was going to be harsh for a minute and said I looked like a sad puppy dog. (it’s freaky how that phrase is getting around!). At that point I let a lot out.
    I think she is someone who I let fill that role for me. things aren’t always the best between us anymore but I can always count on her to tell me exactly what’s on her mind and what I really need to hear…even when I don’t want to hear it.
    I was hesitant at first to really let her or anyone else be there for me. I have this thing about me a lot of the times that beleives I can handle any situation and don’t need to depend on others to help me or that I don’t want to burden others with my problems. It’s taken me a while to see that it’s ok to do though. That I do have some people in my life that get more upset that I don’t let them help me because I’m trying to protect them or shield them from my pain and problems than it is just to let them in and let them be there for me.

    • First of all, thanks for sharing! It sounds like we were in very similar situations and it’s funny that we were described in the same way, ha.

      Secondly, I think you nailed it when you said you had to learn to let people into your brokenness. This is something that I struggle with all the time. I get into this routine of wanting to help others and poor myself out for them but I don’t let them do the same for me. What I am learning (slowly) is that people want to be a part of our lives even if it is messy and ugly. It just takes a certain level of vulnerability on our part that does not come easy.

      Lastly, what changes have you seen since you have been letting people be there for you and as they enter the pain and problems?

      • well…as I kinda mentioned, things aren’t the best between us anymore. not really sure how things ended up where they are now. Letting myself be as vulnerable as I was kinda took a hit when things between us went south. just when things really started getting bad is when I found this. When things were good and I did let down my walls though it felt great. It was nice to feel how, I can only hope, others feel when I am there for them and let them be vulnerable to me. One of my good gifts God has given me is the ability to let others feel comfortable to be vulnerable with me. I don’t know what i do but for some reason people put trust in me right away. I like being able to be there for people. sometimes I just need to let others be there for me too. I know that “as we go” is really helping me with that. I’m not one to blog or journal but this is giving me an oppurtunity to share my problems and converse with others. It feels weird and awkward sometimes but it helps knowing others are going through the same things and have the same questions and struggles.

  3. Pingback: As We Go’s Top 10 | As We Go

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