I used to feel so tied to the church, like something might fall apart if I missed church as a pastor’s wife. But it won’t. And I’m so glad I changed all my plans and was my spontaneous self, not my scheduled self, and went to be with my mom on Mother’s Day. I have no pictures to show you of my smiling girls with me, or a picture of my mom and me. Mainly because she opted to go in the backdoor of the church when she realized they were taking pictures at the front door, with a red carpet rolled out and long-stemmed roses to hand you as you walked by.
If ever there were a face and a beauty to turn heads on red carpets, it would be hers.
I smiled, this is just like her, the one who avoids red carpets and photo opts. It might have been nice if we had a picture with the two of us, the one avoiding a photo opt and the one who was avoiding posting a Facebook status because I honestly didn’t want anyone to know where I was.
There is all this pressure and I can’t escape it, but I can outsmart it and so can you.
With so many people to visit in my hometown, I began to list people that I should go see. But I only had one spontaneous day and I just wanted it to be about the one woman (although their were more than just one) who sacrificed so much so that I could be who I am today. I wanted it to be about me too. I’m a mom, I want an entire day to be about me…oh, and my birthday, that should be a big deal too. So, I want two days, just two, and I don’t need long-stemmed flowers and red carpet. I want sloppy love letters and kisses on the lips. I just do, I love those.
Life is way too short and way too sweet to not drive three hours and make memories. Truth be told, I drove three hours to a farm with spotty cell service, which sometimes makes me have nervous tics because I’m attached to my email and the constant state of being connected, as if I’m the POTUS or something. No one is going to die if I don’t answer my phone, texts, or email. But, when you are in the ministry…someone usually does die if you go on vacation. But, the two things aren’t related. It just happens.
In the past, I spent a little time being the preacher’s wife who got sick, as in full-throttled vomited, on Sunday’s before I led worship or spoke. Or shook a hundred hands with baby snot on my black, nice tailored shirt. It was anxiety and I had to fight it. I absolutely love what I do and I love ministry. But, I did not love the pressure both unspoken and spoken. The things we were “supposed to do” because we wash the pastors undergarments and called him “honey” in public.
The beautiful thing is that we are many different things and we are not roles, we just fill them sometimes. My concern is this, the statistics are staggering for those in ministry and leadership, especially women, who find themselves sitting in counseling, which I am a FIRM believer in, and in the doctors office with a man in a white coat writing a prescription you can’t read for an antidepressant.
This is me raising my hand admitting that I’ve done both, the counseling and ten milligrams of Zoloft to take the edge off of life. I was a hot-mess on the inside and trying not to be.
I do not miss being that one, the one who was tangled up trying so hard to please everyone. Did it come from a sweet and loving place inside of me? Absolutely. But, we are the only ones responsible for figuring out the difference between what God is asking us to do and what we feel pressured to do.
Our life status: wife, mother, worker, finder of all missing things in the house because no one knows where anything is except for you.
The needs around us: both at home, church, and our communities.
Our needs. You do realize it’s okay if you have those, right? Needs? Because it is. What is it that you need to stay sane? What is it that you need to be the best you? Do more of that one thing that makes you feel alive.
Pressure is so much apart of every single thing that we do, but it’s something we have to outsmart and figure out as individuals. You have the Bible and the Holy Spirit to guide you. But, as far as a rule book or how to be the most effective, happiest woman in leadership, it’s just not out there. Not in book form, not yet. None of us have it figured out. We are all just winging it as we walk through life on worn-out carpet.
If something inside of me is lacking and jacked up because I can’t say no to pressure and yes to what I need to stay healthy…then that is on me and there is not a single pill, book, or lecture that can help me because I am the only leading lady of my story. His Word brings life, so we can count on that.
I walk on worn-out carpet, not red.
And I walk through front doors and backdoors and I capture moments and memories and soak it all up because I want to say beautiful things about a broken life becoming unbroken.
I have learned that we are playing lesser roles when we feel like our lives are not significant or worthy of fulfilling our God-given, God-sized dream, beautifully undefined stories.
We play the best-friend role and we stand in the shadows of another people’s stories desperate to find our own, the one that fits us.
We play the martyr and complain our way through murky living, unhappy in our roles and with everything in general because we let our true voice be muted. We live in the mundane because we have forgotten how to embrace the miraculous. We can’t see that sometimes the mundane is the miraculous.
We play the typecast and the outcast.
We play the extras, because we have learned to just blend in.
We play the woman in the shadows too afraid to stand in the light and even more afraid to be the light.
I’m not the POTUS. So, I need to disconnect and unplug from distractions.
I’m not Audrey Hepburn.
I’ll never walk on red carpet with ropes to separate me from the pictures and spectators watching.
But, I don’t live in black and white anymore.
I am in color.
I am not a perfect woman, but I’m good one.
I am not what I do, but I am important.
Thinking about all of you this morning and I’m wondering if you are lurking in the shadows of someone else’s story. Maybe you don’t feel alive and you are fading under the pressure while you are waiting for God to open doors for you. While I was praying, this story came to mind about the little girl in Mark 5:35-43.
When Jesus walked into the house, he asked them a question…”Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”
When the people in the room ridiculed Jesus, he put them all outside. He removed the distractions and the people unable to believe that healing was coming and that hope would awaken. I think that’s a good word for us, maybe we need to put some people “outside” because they bring confusion and doubt.
He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).
And she did. She got up…and so can you.