Friday, October 12, 2007

Here's to Handel - and My Life Coach

So, I spoke with my personal Life Coach and she told me to quit being a martyr and to quit being involved in children's ministry. (Strains of the Hallelujah Chorus are playing in background) I picture Jeremy Piven (the actor) characteristically holding his head in his hands, looking up at John Cusack and shouting, "Man, you're like my oracle and s---!" (From the movie Serendipity) This is what this friend is to me, an oracle. We are that for each other - we are both oracles. My other "processing" friend is a healer. I'm into those old world terms lately.

Anyway, she walked me through a very logical process to find out who I really am and what I'm really called to. It boiled down to this: I am a Christ-follower, a wife, a mother, a homemaker, and when needed, a friend/relative. That's it. I am not called to anything else; I have no other openings at the current time, including children's ministry. (Again with the Hallelujah Chorus...) These are the specific things that I am called to at present. She asked me why I was trying to add more responsibilities beyond the ones God has already called me to. She told me that the things God has called me to are the same things forming the lens that I need to filter life's other stuff through: "If I add X,Y,Z is it going to make me a better wife, mother or homemaker? Will it fit anywhere into the existing picture without causing harm in those areas?"

It's amazing how a paradigm shift can create some breathing room. She may not realize it but I feel like she rolled a giant oxygen tank up into my space and now I am getting my color back. It makes me cry just thinking about it. She said a bunch of other stuff about boundaries and not being a whiner, and to you-know-where with the whole "pastor's wife" crap, as only a friend who really loves you can say.

Later that night I read some powerful words that a wise man said to his son, Ralph Moody, nearly a hundred years ago:

"You know, a man's life is a lot like a boat. If he keeps his sail set right it doesn't make too much difference which way the wind blows or which way the current flows. If he knows where he wants to go and keeps his sail trimmed carefully he'll come into the right port. But if he forgets to watch his sail till the current catches him broadside he's pretty apt to smash up on the rocks."

All I know is that I had a mouthful of gritty sand and that I was a long way off the course. Once I got my little boat off the rocks and back on course it was very apparent to me just how far off the course I had been. My boat must have been careening willy-nilly all over the lake, crashing into other water craft, dragging bottom across rocks and who knows what else.

As I focused my myopic eyes looking through my newfound lens I was disheartened to see the level of neglect in my "wifering", mothering and "householdering". Good thing I am married to a strong and independent individual with a sense of humor because he seems the most intact of the three.

As for the children, where is Nanny McPhee when you need her? It's like the children who live in our home have either lost their hearing a.k.a. Helen Keller's difficult early years; or they no longer speak English - seriously, "Do you not understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?!?" as Chris Rock hollered at Jackie Chan. It is also possible that they have become characters from the book "Lord of the Flies". Because of my sailboat detours, this week at our house has been Baby Boot Camp only I don't get to cuss anyone out or call them derogatory names to make them feel like certain kinds of ants. There is no barking, "Drop down and give me 50!!" You know, that would be waay easier than trying to discipline in love - hopefully including patience - along with the giving of encouraging words while trying to keep the lectures and yelling to a minimum (that's where the duct tape across my mouth comes in). The poor little tykes have needed a lot more direction than I had been giving them and it's been a long week for all of us. Those drill sergeants don't even know the meaning of boot camp. I now understand the words, "This hurts me more than it hurts you."

As for the home, it looks like a bunch of hogs live here - not that it's a new look or anything - but now I feel like I have permission to focus on some care and keeping of it instead of the bunch of frenetic add-on activities that I usually succumb to.

And last but not least, the following of Jesus. Well, we're working things out. I felt emboldened enough to asked Him the same question his cousin, John the Baptist, once asked of Him, and you'd think John would know his own cousin better than this, "Are you the Christ or should we look for another?"
True to form Jesus reminded me of His miraculous signs from then and now and asked,
"Who do you say that I am?"
So that's where He and I are at but that's a post for another late night.


Jennyth said...


I'm simply amazed at the similarities in us. Isn't it ridiculous how our perceptions of what it means to be "a pastor's wife" still cloud our thinking, even though we've been freed of the labels/ideals from past church experiences? It doesn't surprise me that you got pulled into helping with the kids, cause that was where the need was. I'm so glad you've been freed of this...SO GLAD!!!

Anyway, I meant to come on your previous entry and tell you...DON'T DO CHILDREN'S MINISTRY~You aren't called to it, obviously it isn't bringing you joy, and good gosh, you are in the trenches of raising little ones, you need a BREAK on Sundays. I am SO in agreement with your life coach (love that you went to one, I've considered it myself-I've heard it's a great step after therapy).

And I'M SO PROUD OF YOU! Do you realize that by putting these words out there on the net, many women and men may see this and take a step towards freedom in their own life, and have permission to focus on their current calling, rather that add on new ones? It continues to amaze me how we as followers of Christ continue to do this time and time again. We have our life calling confirmed, then are quickly swayed by needs of the church and of others. Man, we've got a long way to go.

Personally, this is a great reality check for me. I'm in a current state of "upheaval" as Jeremy and I are almost done with seminary and Pasadena and are looking toward the next step. My calling always number one has been mother/wife, and I always seem to be distracted by the part of me that wants to be important. Why can't I accept that being a mom/wife is important? So, here I am in school taking a rough load of classes, and my house is out of control, I'm a stress case, and I have no energy to support my husband as he moves toward the next step. Love what your life coach said about "will these things make me a better wife/homemaker?". That's a reality check for me.

Okay, on a funny note, I have wanted to do a "Mom Boot Camp" for about a year! I bought all of these camo decorations, bought camo pants, and was going have a 2 week period of "intense training" to get my house organized, my kids putting away toys and dishes, etc. I've never followed through on the idea (huge procrastinator), but maybe I will now that you have reminded me of it. Not only does it look like hogs live here, but roaches actually Do live here. Nasty.

Thanks for your open heart Collette. It is a continued blessing. Jenny

CGA said...

Ha! You must know that I am in jest about having an actual life coach! This person is one of my best friends/relatives which makes our conversation all the more amazing to me in that she can "call me out" when it comes to some of the nonsense that I put myself through. :o ) I think that I would have a hard time trusting a real life coach who knows nothing about me compared to this friend who knows me nearly as well as my husband does - if not better in the ways that make she and I female.

If any of the hard realities in my life can be of help or encouragement to others I am sooooo glad!!!

Jennyth said...

I totally wondered if you were kidding about the life coach thing, and now I know...thanks for clearing that up!!