18 days!

Some how its 18 days till im getting married. I feel like my life is blur. For the past several months my whole life was consumed with work, and wedding planning. And now 18 days out only a few details remain. Its weird i feel like i don’t know what to do with myself. I had my first official weekend “On point” last friday-Sun. Friday was pretty calm but Saturday was pretty crazy. Two kids who have been struggling for awhile snapped and cussed out every single staff member in the lobby for literally over an hour. Some of the insults where shocking and somewhat offensive but there where times that i was trying really hard not to laugh because i was having flashbacks to the fifths grade when calling fat was a major insult. It was a rough weekend for me. I felt overwhelmed trying deal with the additional stress of being the one in charge, while constantly discovering things i didn’t know, wasn’t trained or just don’t like doing. On friday we had a new shelterwood record. Me and the Hall director had to put 9 kids on a subsystem. We run on a points based system where the kids need to earn between 10,000 and 13,000 points a day to earn privileges for the next day and continue to progress in the program. Small infractions like swearing, or doing certain things without asking permission cause a student to lose 1,500 points. But when something major like kids fighting, running away, using drugs happen they loose between 85,000 and 100,000 points. Once you loose 30,000 points or more you are on a subsystem that you have to work off before being returned to your normal daily point system. There have been weeks and entire months that have gone by with no one getting a subsystem but in one day me and the hall director put 9 kids on subsystems. We met with each kid individually, explaining what happened, what they were losing points for and agreeing on specific target goal that they could achieve to get back large chunks of points for. All this to say it took 4 hours to meet with all the kids and process their subsystems on friday, Woof. This of course set the stage for the epic rant and controlled anarchy of two students saturday.  The 4 hour subsystem meetings, the 1.5 hours of anarchy, it is amazing what stress can do your body and your mind. I think you can learn a lot about someone when you see how they handle stress. We all of course have our natural proclivities in this reguard. Some people cave, some cry, some get angry or depressed, some people lash out, others become controlling. I found that my response to stress and anxiety from the lack of control on saturday was to first, initially freak out, then become angry, then to maintain as much control was possible, (eliminating the audience, keeping the troublemaker isolated, and preparing myself to intervene if necessary) and then during various breaks in the madness retreat the bathroom to vomit.

When all was said and done the situation had been resolved, i was, concerned primarily with my visceral response of vomiting and secondarily my intense and somewhat unrealistic desire for control. I was processing with courtney the next day and realized that my personality was possibly, partially to blame. I thrive in harmony, i generally do not enjoy conflict, and would say that i go so far as to avoid conflict if possible. This kind of sucks because i work in a place where is in one way or another almost always conflict of varying degrees either between students or sometimes staff. I realized that a lot of times that i let my emotions be dictated by my surounding. If the house is calm and generally well ordered i LOVE IT, i love my job, i love my life, it is well. But then things are crazy, there is disorder, disrespect, anarchy, my life seems to fall apart. Courtney wisely pointed out that this is no way to live life and is probably actually quite sinful because i am trying to control things are ultimately in Gods hands. Yes i have a sway in these matters, and No i can’t just sit back and let things blow over but i do have a choice about how i let things affect me. With that said i realized that the only way that i could have peace in the midst of chaos was  remembering that God, NOT me was in control. It was and is very humbling. But i know that if i want to continue working at shelterwood, i HAVE to have this mindset, because it is folly to think that i can actually control these kids. “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (1peter 4:19). This verse nailed me today, and i realized that this needs to be my mindset when things get tough. I have to entrust myself and shelterwood, and the kids that i am responsible for caring for to the Lord and continue to do good. Boom, nuff said.

Now im going to eat chick Fil-a and play tennis with my almost wife.

In Him,

Brian

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