In accordance with typical Bible College graduates and ministry staff I have come to learn that I can be described in categories. I am an INFP, Type 2 Feeler, Golden Retriever, I have gifts for Hospitality, Encouragement, Administration, Adaptation and Creative Communication. I am flowery words doodley hearts. Above all else, I feel everything.
Scripture says that there will be no weeping in Heaven. If that’s true, I won’t know how to express myself. I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m tired, when I’m hungry…I’m basically a five foot toddler. I feel way too much. I’ve been called sensitive, thin skinned and labeled and“emotional female”. The reality is that I’m not any of those things. I’m tough, reasonable, rational and decent, I just think with my feelings. This is something that has been labelled Emotional Intelligence.
I am in a season of rejections. I’ve gotten multiple “let her down gently” letters written on embossed letterheads and I’ve had at least three telephone conversations that I’ve had to hang up on very quickly because, the tears come. I know exactly what I’m crying about. Every time.
Emotional Intelligence is something that the world takes for granted, sure. But, what if it’s something that the world misunderstands? In a class on Christian Character and Leadership my final year of college during a lecture on Leadership in the Book of Titus, I raised my hand and asked my tough-loving, no nonsense professor if he thought it was necessary to be harsh to be a leader. He said
“Laura, you are a strong leader. People get excited about you, about your ideas your mission for the Kingdom. It’s because you like them. You and my wife are all warm and fuzzy and impactful while I am more like Titus.”
See, Titus was a fixer. He was sent to beat people into doing things God’s way. I mean that quite literally. Titus wouldn’t have asked you how you felt about anything, but rather thrown a few tables or swear words or both, and walked away once he knew that you were working.
Later in the semester, Rob and I had a conversation that changed my life and my leadership. He told me that I was Emotionally Intelligent which, was different from being gooey and warm and fuzzy because, I used my intuition to see people’s strengths. He told me that if he were on a ministry team he’d never boss me around, because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings but, he knew what I was capable of.
Emotionally Intelligent people may appear warm and fuzzy, and silly and care-takery. But, we are. Most of us want community to be safe and warm and a comfortable place to grow. That’s why asking us to do things like lead volunteer teams and start small groups from the ground is brilliant. We are entrepreneurial gurus in bringing people together. But, we feel everything that we think and think everything that we feel. We are an intense bunch. But, Jesus even uses us at our most sensitive to bring something bold about.