By Alvin Slaughter
My inbox gets flooded with questions dealing with life challenges. Sometimes it’s concerning music. Sometimes it’s just dealing with other people’s attitudes and everything in between. Hey, I’m no Dr.Phil, but here’s a question that came to me recently… as well as my answer. See if you’ve been in a similar situation. The name of the person who asked the question has been omitted for their privacy.
I just wanted to know, from your experience as leader of worship, what advice you’d give to a young woman, who’s been blessed to lead worship for a large congregation.
She’s been singing all of her life, and is fully aware of the “gossip”, the “backstabbing” nonsense that always comes along with receiving favor. She pays no mind because she puts her focus on the Lord, but I can see it’s hurting her.
Sometimes I see her ready to quit – she’s been singing professionally since she was a little girl, and knows the ropes, but there are some in the body of Christ, who may not realize, or maybe they do, that they hurt.
Coming from your point of view…how do you handle the stress, and the hurt….yeah, I know “let it roll of your back”, “rise above the occasion”, but you know it hurts….so what to say? Any advice sir?
Here’s my answer…
I’ve come to realize that if I’m going to be successful and move to higher levels in whatever I do, I will ALWAYS have critics. It comes with the territory. Does it hurt? Absolutely! So I’ve learned 3 ways to deal with negativity:
First, I have relationships with people that love me and that I love and respect also. So for every bad comment from people that I don’t feel are respectful, there is enough strength in my quality relationships to pull me through. They will also let me know when I need a reality check.
Secondly, even from the days when I held a mainstream job, I’ve always been more focused on my assignment than everybody’s opinion. Backstabbing and gossip is sure not exclusive to the church. It’s in the workplace and families too.
You see, I did well when I was in school, so I was considered a nerd. I was a Christian as a kid, so I was called a goody, goody and church boy. I was overweight then (and lets’ just say “big boned” now, haha), so I was the subject of fat jokes.
There were even many who thought I would never make it in music. Well, for decades I’ve been traveling the world singing Gospel music.
Lastly, I used to be a people pleaser. Sure I want everybody to like me. But if they don’t, I’m strong enough to focus on what’s important. If she thinks she’s going do anything in life of any great measure, she had better have a tender heart and tough skin. When I walk in the door, I know some will like me and some won’t.
She needs to work on her self esteem and stop worrying about other peoples opinions. She needs to read biographies of great women who have succeeded against all odds. Her biggest problem is herself, not other people. You can’t change other people. But you can surely change yourself. Strong, firm and steadfast!
You matter, Alvin