You communicate using hyperbole, and it’s a problem.
As the words left his mouth I felt my face grow warm and the tears well up. Who is he to tell me how I communicate? I don’t talk with him often enough for him to judge me. Who does he think he is? I felt outrage and embarrassment. As he started to throw example after example into my face, I felt trampled on. Beat up. I felt misunderstood. I felt like, if given a chance, I could explain. As my tears spilled over, the chance never came.
Later, as I read this:
Hyperbole (/haɪˈpɜrbəliː/hy-pur-bə-lee;Greek: ὑπερβολή hyperbolē, “exaggeration”) is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.
I felt justified. I felt that my use of hyperbole was really quite creative, and he was taking it way too literally. So it was his problem. Not mine. As I crossed my arms and let out a “harumph”, a ball started forming in the pit of my stomach signaling to me that I was about to have to admit I was wrong. I was going to have to be humble and look inward to see the dirty, ugly parts of me that need to change, but it could wait. Wallowing in my self-righteous, you hurt me so I hate you, attitude is okay for a little bit. Right?
I woke up the next morning still feeling sad. Still feeling trampled on, despite an email that apologized for the bluntness and delivery of said criticism. In my mind the only things I could remember from every meeting I have had here, with him, was that I left feeling like I should just quit. That this life wasn’t really the one I was called to live. That, obviously, I wasn’t good enough. That I wasn’t accepted as I am, but that I had to change to be who these mere men wanted me to be. I spent the day in a funk that almost cost me an opportunity to shine my light. The light that I had successfully hidden while rolling around in my self-made pity party. The party that was serving up dishes of selfishness and pride with a free flowing pitcher of hyperbole.
Then I realized it.
He was right.
My Father put this man in a position that is harder than most I can imagine. He has the responsibility of relaying to us the things HE tells him to say. I know, without a doubt, this leader of mine is closely attached and holding firm to the life-giving Vine. I know the things laid upon his heart that are meant to mold me into the image of the Almighty aren’t his own ideas.
It must be hard to deal with someone who cries every time you give suggestions of improvement. It must be hard to see the tears and feel hearts break. It must be hard to be obedient when doing so brings hurt and causes doubt of the very One who gave you the words to speak.
It must be hard to be MY leader.
I am prideful. I don’t like it when someone criticizes the core of who I am. I don’t want to be told that something I do regularly needs to be evaluated because it may not be glorifying to the One who gave me life. I’d rather be comfortable and live in my bubble of perfection that closes out anyone who doesn’t like me.
But I can’t.
As I worked through the initial emotions and dismissed the voice of the evil one who wants me to run away, I knew, deep in my heart, in the places no one can glimpse, that He had spoken to me. It wasn’t a mere man. It wasn’t criticism…even if it felt that way at the time. It was my Father, who loves me more than I can fathom. Who died for me even though I am a filthy, no good, rotten excuse for a daughter. He wants to change me into a beautiful creature, inspired by the Holiest of Holies, in order to bring the Most High the glory due His name. And you know what?
I am honored.