I've been thinking a lot lately about people. Like really digging deep and trying to understand people on a greater level.
What motivates them.
What hurts them.
What drives them.
Why some dream big and others are content with where they are.
Why some people can be hit over and over again with things that could throw anyone off course, yet they continue to rise again, better and strong then before
What makes some people feel as though they have no choice and no ability to go on with life.
I've always said people are my passion. I've been in the business of sales for over a decade. First in Corporate America, then as a small business owner and network marketer. But to me, sales has always been more than just the exchange of goods and services. Sales is relationships. Sales is understanding the needs, problems, desires and goals of others in order to make an exchange that will solve the aforementioned. In my business, helping others around me achieve their goals drives me. It gives me purpose and helps me wake up each morning with incredible excitement. And because I realize that the relationships around me are such an important component of business and life, I've also been honored to be a part of very personal conversations and moments in the lives of others that I don't take for granted. These are personal stories, experiences, tragedies, achievements and moments that real people are going through that trust me enough to share with me how they are feeling. Last week the passing of Pastor Andrew Stoecklein really crushed me. I was heartbroken for his family, especially his wife and children. I was also sad for his congregation. Even more so, I was heartbroken for the Church. And when I say church, I am referring to all of my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, because I know that the last few days have left many questioning why and feeling extreme sadness and hurt. Mr. Stoecklein's suicide shocked so many. And I think a big part of it is because of the obvious - he is a Christian, but more than that, he is a Pastor. He's a pastor of a thriving, growing, healthy church. But it is so important that we realize that Andrew Stoecklein is not just a pastor, he's a person. He's a human being that goes through the same challenges, hurts, grief, happiness, and cycle of life that each and everyone of us goes through. It's time we open up and talk about feelings.
I give my husband a hard time quite often.
Example of a conversation:
Wife: "But I want to know what you're feeling right now."
Husband: "Men don't talk about our feelings."
Listen, I'm not a psychologist and I'm not an expert who is here to give professional advice. But I am a person with a lot of common sense and I'm going to say this. It is time we talk about our feelings, both men and women, and it's time that we all become better people to those around us. It's time to be better to one another. We need to talk about our struggles, our sadness, our anxiety, stress, and life just as much as we talk about Target, Pumpkin Spice, Starbucks, and shoes on social media (and I say this with full sincerity, not mockery!). We need to take off the masks that are on and highlighting a so-called perfect life on social media, in business, amongst friendships, and especially at church. Too many people, and I hate to say this, but too many people in the church are judging others and creating these barriers that prevent everyone from supporting, loving, encouraging, and helping those around them. Stop it. Stop the quest for perfection. Stop the judgement. Stop making your pastor feel as though they have to be the epitome of perfection without any challenges in life. Now please hear me and know that I don't know all of the challenges associated with being a pastor, but I do have the greatest respect for those who know Ministry is their calling. I was raised in a very active Christian home and spent a good majority of my time at the church as my family led various ministries during my childhood. But even with my knowledge and involvement, I don't know the full extent of what my pastoral staff at my church deals with on a daily basis. I can only try to imagine as my business has dealt with many personal situations over the years where I have found myself at times a bit of a motivator, coach, psychologist, friend, leader, boss, and so much more. This message isn't just for pastors though. This is for anyone who is out there who feels that they have to constantly put on a brave face and pretend everything is perfect in order to keep those around them feeling supported. Sometimes, even the strongest people need support. Sometimes, the strongest, bravest, most inspirational person that we know and love is the person behind closed doors praying and crying for the pain and hurt to disappear. I've heard so many comments since Mr. Stoecklein's death and all I want to say is that it is not our place to judge. I'm not a Biblical expert and I can't give you verses or support to back my statement, but we cannot judge him. We do not know his pain. We do not know his heart. There is only one, The One, who knows what he was going through. And because of that, we can only love, extend kindness, and hopefully use this tragedy to be better to everyone we come into contact with us.
Every single person has something that they have gone through in their life that makes them question their ability to survive it. I'm going to say that again. Every single person has had a struggle, a moment of despair, a moment of questioning whether they are good enough, loved enough, etc. Stop pretending that Pastors or leaders or business mentors or celebrities or anyone is exempt from these feelings. Today, after reading this, I want you to do one simple thing. I want you to call someone and tell them you care about them. Tell them you love them. Ask them how they are doing. Ask them if they are okay. Tell them that you are reaching out because you want them to know that if they aren't feeling 100%, you are there to help pick them up and support them through the season of scarcity. If we can all start to have active conversations and remove the masks that we are hiding behind, we can take steps to help those around us who are hurting, feeling worthless and feeling as though they can no longer go on. Be good to one another. It matters.