Re-Fuel

It’s not so much the disappearance of bobby pins, barrettes, pony tail holders, and pacifiers that stumps me.  I’m baffled by the fact that they never show back up.  Where is the pile of 50 hair things, random socks, and pacifiers that I’ve never seen again?  Seriously?  Where?

Blah. I need a hair band right now to get my soon to be greasy hair off of my shiny forehead.  I’m so beat.  It’s funny how a long holiday weekend needs it’s own holiday weekend in order to recover from the exhaustion of a “break”. I need one of those right about now.

Lance had to preach this Sunday and any pastor’s wife knows that there is no weekend for such mommies.  On a preaching weekend, there is no such thing as a holiday.  I know it’s not one of those things that we’re supposed to say out loud but since I’m pretty much a scholar at doing that sort of thing, here it goes…..

Sometimes I really envy the women who aren’t in the ministry.  A lot of times I wish Lance could just go to work and come home and that be it…not fifteen people calling, 2 people in the hospital to visit, 14 conferences to attend, meetings to go to, counseling to do, etc.  The truth is that even if he wasn’t bi-vocational, that sort of thing never ends.  For some reason it’s socially unacceptable to say something about ministry being draining but worthwhile things can have their limit.  There has to be room for moms to get tired, family’s to need quiet time, children to need the whole family unit together, and so on.  I don’t care what you are giving your time to : charity, ministry, counseling, social work….even Mother Teresa needed a nap every now and then.  And all minister wives said a hardy AMEN.  I just heard a ‘hallelujah’ from the back, too.  That was me.  Now there’s a ‘praise the Lord’ from the corner.  That was me, too.  I’m running around the room yelling cause I really believe in what I just said.

Lance is reading this at work thinking, “Man, I should really get back to work.”  Just kidding, he isn’t thinking about work at all.  Lance is thinking, “Dang, you’re making me look bad!”  People aren’t “supposed” to say anything negative about ministry and really, I’m not! It’s hard though.  It’s time consuming.  People aren’t calling every other member of the congregation with the same questions and expectations like they are our family.  It’s not that it’s a bad thing and it’s not that it’s not an expected thing, it’s just that in real life, it gets exhausting.  Literally.  Where is our time?  Where do we have our own little solace as a family?  When a job is not nine to five, where does the job end and family time begin?  Lance just threw up in his throat when I called it a “job”.  Swallow it down, Lance.  Those little bags of chips I bought you for your lunch aren’t enough so you could use the extra calories.

Ultimately, I guess I’m just saying that it’s hard to have family time and protect some time for us that isn’t always fifteen phone calls “after hours”. It’s like perpetually being on call.  I know that’s Lance’s job to set limits and boundaries and that I’m not the one who controls that.  I’m not the one that is being called all day and planning to go on conferences, trips, and blar blar blah blar.

Yes, I meant to say ‘blar’ and ‘blah’ both.  That wasn’t a typo.

Anyways, if any women not involved in ministry are still reading =0), I suppose I am I just saying I need more family time and I think most women can relate to that. Moreover I need consistent family time.  Whether your husband works an unconventional job, is married to his phone, chasing commission, or just spending too much time pursuing his job and not his family, don’t you just feel like you want set time for your own little family tree?  Time that can’t be interrupted?  Gosh, a little morsel of time that is actually yours?!?!!  I know that gets hairy and a lot of people in the church and out will judge that statement since my scenario is ministry.

“How do you not bring that special needs couple pickles at nine at night?  You are their pastor and they need condiments!” (true story)

For my particular “job” situation or Lance’s I should say, the push to take each call and make each visit, go on each trip, etc., seems so noble that it’s hard to say no.  But I promise, men in ministry and not, it’s not wrong to not bonus that month if you got to go to the park with your family.  It’s not unwise pastor’s to not answer every call and you don’t have to be all and do all and frankly, you shouldn’t do all if you aren’t making family high on that list of musts.  Furthermore, you aren’t doing anything well if you’re priorities are that lopsided.

Sometimes I feel like we need to shut the phone off, blog off, computer off and be out of touch with everyone for a weekend so we can have quality time.  I feel like I go without as much family time as I need so I have even higher expectations for the time we do get.  There’s almost an anxiety about getting the most out of what time we have together that I don’t enjoy it as much as I would if I knew I could just have family time whenever.  When a weekend is botched I think, “Great, we won’t get another shot at alone time as a clan for another two weeks.”

I don’t know.  That just makes me sad.

We have a lot of time together I guess I just wish it wasn’t time that always involved being shared with calls, texts, questions, e-mails.  In a time where everyone wants more, has more, has more obligations, and ways to be connected, sometimes, all I want is my two little girls and their dad and a bunch of bread chasing, scary, honking ducks at the pond.  In a world where everyone wants to do great things and make a difference, honestly….

sometimes, all I want to be is normal.

Green with Envy

“Jealousy is sorrow in the face of your neighbors joy.”

I don’t know who said that originally but I remember hearing someone quote that.  What a pitiful thing to say of ourselves that someone else’s happiness or blessing makes us sad.  Still, we’ve all been there. I can say that the truest form of jealousy I’ve ever felt was of other girls who were pregnant when I couldn’t conceive.  Being jealous is an all consuming and nasty way to live and feel.  Even when I felt those jealous feelings, it ate at me but I felt like it was winning no matter how much I despised it.

When you are jealous, you are either openly or secretly critical of that person. When you are jealous, you attribute evil motives to everything that person does. 

You know…..

“She wore that on purpose to look cute in front of my boyfriend.”

“She was just showing off.”

Fortunately I have been blessed with certain gifts in my life but unfortunately, with anything good you get, there is someone else who will want it.  I have been prey of a few girls in my life and it changed me a great deal but you know what blows my mind about that?  What do I or any other person have to do with the gifts we’ve been given?

Think of any gift someone could have and in this sense, I’m talking about innate gifts aka  gifts you are born with.

Being a great athlete, artist, writer, dancer, musician, speaker, photographer, leader, singer, surgeon, etc.  Or maybe you’ve been given physical beauty, intelligence,  a great personality, or gifts of that nature.

Either way, you were born with those gifts and abilities.  You had nothing to do with the alignment of your DNA, the shape of your face, the ability to learn, sing, create, the physical abilities that came from the way your body was formed.  You didn’t do that.  God did.  I’ll do one further.  Not only did you not do anything in the womb to manipulate your DNA, you didn’t even have a hand in choosing the parents that would hand you down your DNA, aiding in giving you certain traits. 

Now at this point, inevitably someone is thinking, “But you can work and practice and create gifts.”  That is true but the ability to even be able to practice those things in to an amazing gift has to start with a basic aptitude that not everyone will have.  I could study and study math but I will never be good with numbers.  I could improve but I will never be a mathematician because my brain is not innately wired to be a math whiz.  There has to be an underlying ability and if you take 10 guys with the same dream and skills and practice them all the same, not all of them will be Lebron James or Larry Bird…the only other athlete that I like to refer to for humor’s sake and for the sake of me not knowing athletes.

Knowing that basic truth is what makes jealousy seem so misplaced.  For me, I’ve always sung and that has been both the joy and the bane of my existence at times.  But why?  Why would someone be jealous of me when I have nothing to do with it?  I didn’t choose it and I didn’t give myself the ability.  God was the one that saw fit that I could sing just like he saw fit for a million other men and women to sing and just like he saw thousands of other talents fit for someone else other than me. 

When I was born, my vocal cords were formed.  That’s it.  End of story. Rebecca did not do that.  For the rest of my life, I didn’t do that.  Sure, I’m a steward of my graciousness in receiving the gift and how I handle that talent and hone the skill but the gift is about God, not me.  Seems like people would be more inclined to say they were mad that the gifts they were given were not the ones they wanted or not as good as they wanted but the person with the gift is not the target.  Trust me, I’m not saying shift anger towards God by any means because that is strongly off course too but I am saying you can’t be mad at someone for something they did nothing to obtain innately.

This brings up a good point though.  Actually, it brings up the whole point.

Why does anyone have gifts?  We all have gifts and what the heck for? 

2 things:

Gifts are to be used for the church and to bring glory to God and ALL gifts whether they seem random or not can do that.

Gifts are created to make us in awe and to praise the creator.

Think about this for a second and how amazing this is…  Take two people, one that’s a phenomenal artist and one that is not.  Have them hold their hands in front of them and what do you see?  You see fingers.  You see hands.  How can one person manipulate those same hands into creating sculptures and paintings and the other person only be able to draw stick figures?  We all have hands.  We all have brains.  Why can one person be Van Gogh and the next a finger painter, at best?  It’s amazing.  It’s a powerful, giving, mighty God that can take 10 fingers that look just like yours and use those to create the Mona Lisa with same joints I’m using to type right now. 

Take the singing example.  Have you ever seen vocal cords?  They make a V shape and everyone’s do that.  Some may be longer than others and some thicker or thinner but when you see pictures of Whitney Houston’s and Roseanne Bar’s cords, they look the same: v shaped, thinned vocal muscles.  How does God take the exact same anatomy and have each voice have it’s own unique tone, range, inflection, etc?    It’s amazing.  It truly is.

Those things are supposed to make us marvel at God, not people.  Anytime we do the opposite of what something was created for, it gets ugly and dysfunctional.  Jealousy comes, among many things, from marveling at people instead of praising God.  Also, it comes from being ungrateful for what you have been given.  Anyone who is jealous is usually sitting on the blessings and good things they’ve been given and wasting them.  That could mean relationships, opportunities, mental/physical abilities, and on and on.  You can’t use what you’ve got if you are pinning over the few things you didn’t get.

So, dear gifted reader friends, the next time you find yourself wanting to be jealous for anything, remember that the person is not their gift nor the author of that gift.  Praise the giver. Don’t waste time admiring the receiver and know that just as He gave to that person, He gave to you too.  How will you use what you didn’t deserve to show people that there is a glorious creator?

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