"You're too sensitive...." - Printable Version

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"You're too sensitive...." - HelenaZF - 05-20-2006


How many of us have heard that indictment from leadership and others? It seems to be a wide-spread perception that worship arts people are just "hard to handle, unpredictable, moody, touchy" and otherwise just generally spacey and off in their own little world. We encounter it everywhere we go.

There are those in leadership that don't know quite what to do with their arts ministers, so they don't do much of anything except try to rein them in when they seem to get "out of control". So you end up with highly skilled. creative and yes, SENSITIVE people (that God MADE that way for a reason that we'll talk about in a minute...) that go virtually unpastored, misunderstood and are generally marginallized.

Now understand here that of course, there are situations that are marvelous and some of us do minister under the authority and care of perceptive and skillful leadership....but I have to say that from our observations, that is not the norm.

WHY ARE WE SO SENSITIVE? I often wonder why that isn't obvious to people. God made us that way so that we could see beyond the normal, feel past the ordinary, and create things with a fresh perspective. That takes sensitivity, and openness to think differently. Because of the overflowing fullness of what God has built into us, we risk moving out in areas that others are inhibited in--expressions of dance, art, prophecy, presentational offerings that affect and move others just because they are visual, experiential and well.....out there for everyone to see.

So why is sensitivity seen as a negative, rather than the gift and model it is meant to be? I think one reason might be that it demands engagement, often in ways uncomfortable to others. People don't like having your guts all exposed in front of them. And yet, isn't that what being a worship artists is all about? It's about bringing the inner things to full physical and public expression.

We see the outpourings of King David's heart....a sensitive artist expressing himself fully to his God--not always just overflowing in joy. Sometimes fully enraged, frustrated and wailing and yes, even complaining. And yet some might see it as someone throwing a royal tantrum. Being around someone who feels and expresses deeply and completely can be challenging when you have been taught all your life to keep your feelings to yourself. And those that are more successful at that, can tend to look at those without such "self-control" as somehow damaged or problematic.

It would be such a joyous thing to see sensitivity in worship artists celebrated instead of being seen as something they must "get over" or "mature past". Thank God for the true pastors who understand and tenderly care for the dancing, painting, singing, song-writing flock. That particular pasture of sheepies need a special kind of shepherd. One that will help others understand the uniquely transparent life that they live as worship artists.

"You're too sensitive...." - DeanZF - 05-20-2006


Much to think about. Yes, most artistic types are sensitive. Many might even agree that they are OVER-sensitive, or at least seen as over-sensitive. And way too many leaders do seem to think their worship-artists are too sensitive, flaky, hard to both shepherd and to manage. I remember one pastor's manual for training other pastoral staff being downright insulting to those of us in the arts. If any of his sheep had read the manual during his life, they might well have left his charge after finding out what he thought and how he talked to others about them.

We've already talked about the nifty worship retreat we had a couple of weeks ago. One of the areas that our retreat master touched on was how sheep teach the shepherd how to shepherd. Think about that for a minute. Doesn't a woman teach her husband how to love her? And a husband his wife?? In a very real sense, didn't our children teach us at least the mechanics of how to deal with babies and children and teens?? Of course. Can't sensitive artistic types teach shepherds how to shepherd them?? One could hope.

Our retreat master (RM) shared some from a book that I read long ago, A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm by Philip Keller. I remember one line in particular: "We are, after all, embarrassingly like sheep." And he then went on to prove that over and over and over again. What the RM did not say was that sheep are incredibly sensitive creatures. Yeah, kind of stupid a lot of the time, but overly sensitive to a lot of stuff. They won't drink from moving water. That's why He led them beside STILL waters. There are a whole raft of reasons that will prevent sheep from eating. If they are nervous or uncertain, or if they can't see their shepherd, they are reluctant to eat. Talk about being too sensitive.

As these (overly) sensitive artistic types, how can we expose and explode the bad rep that we've been assigned? Some questions:

:hyper: Have we done anything to earn that reputation?

:hyper: Are there behaviors that we need to examine that will help avoid those sorts of accusations?

:hyper: How can we behave or interact, or otherwise live our lives that will help our shepherds understand us and how to shepherd us? And in direct relation, if we sensitive types can be shepherded, how much better equipped would such a shepherd be to shepherd others with their own sensitivities?

I had a conversation with a friend recently. We talked about how a lot of folks have come to be pretty flippant about folks with issues that have unseen powers driving us. For me, I have diabetes, and the reactions to the medications that I'm taking, the natural course of the disease/disorder, and the decrease in energy, health, etc. It's not like a broken arm or some visible "thing" that can be combatted or even acknowledged. For someone having chronic fatigue symptoms, or some other condition that's on the edge of the medical realm, the sufferer is often told to buck up and get moving, that merely moving will solve all the problems. NOT! If we're sensitive, does that make those kinds of naysayers insensitive?? How do those kinds of folks get trained in sensitivity? Can't the sheep somehow communicate that to the shepherd? If not...

Anyone else want to weigh in on how to train up a shepherd in the way he should go? I'll ramble on more later... :decision: