authenticity, comparison, discernment, grace

Do I have food in my teeth?

I have big teeth, and I cannot lie. This is a fact. They attract green leafy food. I could try to defend against it by not showing my teeth–painfully keeping my mouth closed while at dinner with friends or in the company of strangers. There’s a problem, though. My mouth was made to smile, to talk, to laugh, to inquire of others, and my gummy smile is part of that. The experience of that joy is worth more to me than my worry about a broccoli branch sticking out of my canines.

This has taken a long time to embrace. In fact, I wanted to fall into the floor when Greg told me I had something in my teeth on our first “date.” I was 23, but I felt all the insecurities of 8th grade burst into my being.

Why did this uncomfortable moment serve as a gift to me? 1) I knew he was not afraid to tell me the truth. He was not worried about impressing me but helping me. Flattery and charm help you feel good for the moment, but they leave you empty and hurting in the end. 2) We got uncomfortable out of the way. That is risky. He still pursued me knowing I had a propensity for wearing my meal in my grill. To this day, he tells me. I laugh and ask for direction, and we move on.

There are things about each of us (much deeper than food in the teeth) that are flawed, that carry wounds, that, in shame, we try to hide or manufacture a facade to cover. Some of those things are very clear to others and not to us (as food in the teeth). Some we push deep down hoping to never face or reveal. And, in doing so, we minimize our gifts, our hearts, and our joys that are meant to be shared with others. We also miss out on the joy of relationships and community–where unconditional love has a place to grow.

We live armored lives, and therefore, we encourage others to live that way. We think we are self-protecting, but we are really living 1/2 lives. EVERY SINGLE PERSON has hang-ups, insecurities, places of shame, imperfections, places where we have or are going to royally fail. What we do with those realities defines the life we live and how we empower or enslave others.

Are you risking others seeing the food in your teeth? If not, what are you afraid of happening? Is what you are afraid of worse than what you are missing out on by not being vulnerable?

Embrace with me #getrealwednesday in the simplest of things today. The world is a MUCH scarier place when we hide and cover. It doesn’t have to be your deepest secrets that you let out, but embrace the reality that you DO NOT have it all together. Smile, laugh, talk and floss your teeth!

Anxiety, authenticity, discernment, God's sovereignty and goodness, God's will

Where the heck am I going?

I’ve always had pretty good direction–I see maps in my head. I like to get my bearings and understand where I am in order to navigate where I am going. I get the shakes when I am just following a crowd. My husband will tell you that I am all about backroads and finding the faster way.

“The faster way” has gotten me in trouble a few times. It reminds me of a trip to London when I was 25. Long story short, due to my mom breaking her ankle, I took my parent’s place on a senior adult tour of England, Scotland and Wales (thankfully my good friend Amber also went). There are many stories from this trip including a stalker that I naively picked up, but that one is for another time.

Now, for you, youngins, this was before you could get walking and driving directions by phone. I didn’t even have a phone on this trip. We were trying to get to a show very quickly using the Underground, and I basically was leading the way on directions with a lot with people following. Which lead me to the brilliant shortcut… Picture it, a winding staircase from the Underground that wound up probably 10 flights of stairs (that I thought would be 2 flights)–with twenty 65-80-year-olds behind me. The map did not show topography…it just showed distance. So, my “shortcut’ almost sent 5 adults into cardiac arrest. Not my finest moment.

At twenty-five, I was coming out of a season where I felt directionless in every way. I had landed on a plan and was in grad school for school counseling while in a serious long distance relationship with Greg. I thought that getting a plan for what I was going to do would lead me into understanding who I was. We easily confuse that as humans, huh?

Looking back with what I know now, it makes sense that I was overcome with making a decision with so many choices before me. As an Enneagram 7, I love spontaneity and new adventures and loathe a plan that buckles me in. However, the world, my parents, and all the little ladies from my hometown were continually asking me the question “what are you doing with your life?” I felt the weight of deciding the rest of the path of life right then and there from career to marriage, and I did not have ONE clue which direction of the 3000 ways I could go was right. My heart is beating faster thinking about those weird conversations I had from about twenty-two to twenty-six.

The “right” part was the thought in which I was stuck. I felt I needed a distinct calling into something to do it.

What would the 43-year old Jen tell the 22 or 25 year old Jen?

  1. It is going to be okay…apart from the marriage choice, these decisions on jobs or cities or careers are not going to make or break or DEFINE your life. And, even in the marriage choice, God is gracious with both of you.
  2. Pursue God and be in His word and with authentic people on the same journey. You are going to meet some amazing friends that will struggle with you, encourage you, stretch you.
  3. You are messy. You tend toward depression. You do not have to be the image of that 10-year-old girl that does everything right to be praised. The best growth and beauty will come out as you share your brokenness and lean into your Gracious Father.
  4. Girl, you are going to try lots of new things. You will paint, sing, speak, write. And, don’t throw up in your mouth, but you are going to be a pastor’s wife as one of your roles along the journey. Breathe…you are going to be okay with it.
  5. You are going to learn how to study God’s word deeply. You are going to grasp and dig deep into the power of the gospel, and you will be transformed and taste greater freedom than you can imagine. In fact, instead of drowning in your feelings, start pursuing that now!!
  6. Life is not about your happiness. Happiness is fickle and a shadow in life. You will learn, through much pain that I will not disclose at this time, that the secret to life is being content in the Lord. In plenty and in want, in sickness (which will come) and in health, in laughter and in tears, in gain and in loss…your roots are going to grow deep into Him. It is going to be really good.
  7. It doesn’t matter your job or career, Jen. I know now it seems it does…but you are going to be you and minister to others with God’s love wherever you are. He is in control–breathe. He is going to take you on many adventures, and you will get to experience new challenges in each season. Be open to the new and do the small things of faithfulness in the midst.
  8. Remember this: the people who have a plan and seem to have conquered adulthood are just as lost inside as you are. Their outside “direction” may look together, but on the inside, they might be feeling the burn of walking up 10 flights of stairs looking for a shortcut. We all are in need. We all struggle.

The verse I was meditating on this morning: “May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thess 3:5

Wherever you are on the journey, this is my prayer for you.

authenticity, discernment, Uncategorized

branding and the heart

Persona:  The aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others

The buzz these days in business, in ministry, in the non-profit world, in sports, in politics, and on social media is building a personal brand.  We all have one, and some of us are experts in tapping into it and being strategic about it.  In my business, I have a lot of interest in coaching people to understand and to develop their personal brand in order to connect genuinely with their audience.  In reality, I see it as helping them know and examine themselves and their strengths and to embrace themselves and what they have to offer others.  I find that many women do not know the beauty of who they are and do not think they have anything “special” to offer. I enjoy encouraging people to live bravely and authentically as themselves.   Sometimes our “brand” is born naturally and sometimes it is painstakingly crafted. I can read somebody attempting to build a brand pretty quickly, and I can read and smell authenticity and the opposite.  I have embraced more of who I am and realize that my brand was there without too much strategic thought.  Truthfully, me living as me on social media has opened up opportunities for me to help others.

I have spent some headspace lately thinking about how much of the true self comes through with social media and the “spin” we execute when building our personal brand. How much of our energy and thinking goes into this?  I’m thinking…what if we actually invested that in our actual character?  Lately, I have heard several people speak of loving the persona of someone but being disappointed with the person in real life–maybe there was some false advertising:).   And, 2 dimensional never translates to 3 dimensional, therefore, it is impossible to share everything.

One of the downfalls of our “branding yourself” society is this:  we can easily spend more time constructing our persona than growing as real people and investing in and serving real people.  In fact, It’s not even just business these days.  With Social media profiles, where we build a following and build a personal brand, we can easily become absorbed with self.   Our hearts and minds can be consumed with what we will say about the hottest topic or how we will be funny or how we can best capitalize on a picture or experience to fit with our “brand.”  We can become obsessed with the “response” of people to us and to our message.  We can equate our worth with how much we are “seen” and “liked.”  It can be a slippery slope to self-promotion where we miss the message that we were created to carry.

The problem is as believers our allegiance is not to promote ourselves.  Our purpose is not to magnify our self-worth.  I began writing this blog last night and was reminded this morning in corporate worship that our mark of faithfulness in this life is in servitude to Jesus and in stewarding the mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 4:1).  Think of the humility of God coming to earth as a man.  Philippians 2 speaks of Jesus considering equality with God something not to be grasped and making Himself a servant and becoming obedient unto death all for the glory of God.   In John 5:41, Jesus himself said “I do not receive glory from people.” All throughout John, Jesus speaks of listening to the Father and seeking not His own will but the will of Him who sent Him.

So, what are we to do with these conflicting ideas?  Do we run from being business owners?  Do we divorce ourselves from all social media?  Do we cloister ourselves away from all things that can become snares and temptations to us?  Do we not write or speak or create for fear we are self-promoting? This is sometimes the knee-jerk reaction to seeing our sin.  We fear, and then we shut down and pull our voice and influence away.   However, we are called to be a city on a hill, salt and light in a world that desperately needs to see The Glory of the One and Only full of grace and truth.  So, we have to learn the balance of examining our hearts and surrendering our own wills.  We can easily be deceived–we deceive ourselves quite well.

I have learned that some do not have the skills and bent to know how to examine their hearts.  So, I will present several helpful questions we can ask ourselves:

1) Where do your thoughts camp? Do you invest more time in building your persona (thinking about what you will post or how you will promote your business) or in living less of you and more of Him?   Are you spending time being shaped by the Word and the Lord and living out of that?

2) What is your purpose in building a brand or persona? All things can be done and leveraged for the glory of God, and all things can become an idol.

3)Has your “schtick” become the “it” and not your original purpose? Ask your good friends what they see in you.

4) Look at what you are saying and doing (social media and publically).  How are you leveraging your life for the sake of the Gospel message? Is it more about you and your message or His message?

5) What part of your life are you serving others?  Are you using your gifts and brand for the benefit and service of others?

Do not give up your voice.  Work to find the voice and the service God created in you to steward for His purposes.  This takes work and prayer and looking in the mirror.  I champion us all to wrestle on!

Anxiety, authenticity, comparison, discernment, grace, insecurity, parenting, the gospel, transformation by truth

A good mom…

Well, it’s building again.  That pressure to do the right thing, to do it the best way, to prove your worth is on the rise.  Where does it come from?  From women’s mouths, popular books, sub-cultural norms to your ears–actually straight to your heart.  The words marinate in your heart until you believe it and act in pride or until you are shamed because you are not enough and you embarrassed because you have fallen short again.  This must be something really essential–you think.  Or has someone else pushed it as essential?

Motherhood.  Until I was first baptized into this “secret club,” I never realized the pressure to fit there, the pressure to perform.  It starts almost as soon as you get pregnant or fill out the adoption papers.  “Surely you are going to do….A thoughtful mother would only plan this way….Are you going to feed your child that?….You let your children go this long between feedings?”   “I will only do natural birth…  You are going to put THAT into your body?”  “You are going to name your child that?”  “Godly mothers do…I only use natural products…”

I was 36 when I gave birth after many years of infertility, and I will be 38 with my second.    I had some maturity under my belt, but that little teenage girl who was worried and timid about “fitting in” and would did not know who she was looked me in the eye in the mirror as all of these expectations came rushing toward me.  I had NEVER felt so much pressure.  There was a lot of opportunity to feel so much pride in my decisions–when I thought I chose to do something “right.”  There was also a lot of opportunity for me to feel “less than” from the club of mothers around me–things I chose or did not choose or could or could not do.

It is interesting how many trends can become en vogue in just a short span of years.  Right now, I see many young women in their twenties in the serious evangelical realm going for natural and home births.  I totally respect people for choosing that for themselves.  This is obviously something you pray and decide seriously about (as with many decisions in motherhood and child-rearing.)   I have then seen women who are crushed and feel like they have failed at a major point when a health issue prevents this (and they have to have a C-section or go to the hospital) and they lose that goal.   I  see people who are drawn to sleep training and parent-directed (AKA Babywise verses people who are very into attachment parenting (AKA Dr. Sears).  There can be a lot of judgement and shaming between those camps–I felt that when we decided to carry through with a Babywise philosophy.    There is MUCH MUCH MUCH pressure to exclusively breastfeed–which is a wonderful thing, but the pressure I took on myself from outside sources and wanted to work for me nearly crushed me as my body would not produce what was needed.  I truly believe the pressure that I internalized (yes–I take the responsibility) nearly put be over the edge with such deep postpartum that I could not see straight.  I could  go on and on and on…You get the point.

This is my concern…Somewhere along the way, we have made choices into essentials of our identity. “If I do not do it this way, my whole identity is shattered.”  We get on this proving ground and lose our minds and hearts.  And, as children grow, the proving ground changes but we still act as if our identities are essential to our decisions within the parenting realm.   It may be how we discipline our children or how we interact with them or what we expect from them at certain ages or what we expose them to (homeschool, private school, public school.)  I’m kind of getting the hives just writing this.  Because we cling to making the “right” choices as our identity, then we must enforce that with others.  We judge them in our mind, hearts and with our mouths because they are not doing things our way.  We think they are less than because in order for us to continue to gain our identity and worth from these things, they have to be wrong or get on board and think we are right.  We make things essential that are side issues.

So, as the pressure mounts, yet again, on this uphill climb in pregnancy and mothering, I remind me and others of what is essential.  The essential piece to our identity is the Gospel–whether we are single, married, jobless, parents, CEO or stay at home mom.  We do not prove our worth or acceptance to God by what philosophy we adhere to or birth plan we choose, whether our children sleeps in the bed with us until they are 6 or is in the crib the first night, whether we breast or bottle feed, whether we give immunizations or feed kraft macaroni or organic.  All of us are going to fail as parents because we are human, fallen, sinful creatures.  We can lean hard into the Lord from day one and do everything “right”, and our children will sin and rebel and break our hearts.  We can royally try to do it on our own without the Lord, and our children are going to sin and rebel and mess up.  It is what we cling to and  remember in our triumphs and our failures that will shape our hearts and our children’s hearts.  Who does our help come from?  Where do we go for our essential identity?  How in our failures and our children’s failures do we point them toward the hope of the Gospel?

Our children will get the message from us loud and clear as to what we think is essential to our identity (and, in turn, theirs).  They see what we cling to and what crushes us when it falls apart.  So, from the beginning, I encourage those on the journey with me to be on the journey together, encouraging instead of accusing, making the gospel essential and not side decisions, loving instead of comparing.  Will you come with me?

Anxiety, authenticity, discernment, facebook, healing, Uncategorized

Living without Facebook

In the last five to six years, my life has changed with technology.  At this pace, it will continue to.  As much as I don’t want myself, my child or family to be engrossed in technology, this will be our battle in this present age.  People have begun to “live” in a virtual world.  The ways we “connect” with people have been changed as we learn about one another through tweets and status updates and instagrams.  We may not be able to recognize someone’s voice but we know intimate details about them.

I have been in John 10 in the last few days…”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  The intimacy of getting to know Jesus’, the Father’s and the Holy Spirit’s voice…wow.  Sometimes I feel as if I know facts about Jesus just as I do a virtual friend.  Information without intimacy and transformation.  He becomes a task and a to do just as the hundreds of status updates.  This happens when I have too much on my plate and too much noise in my mind.  I am not able to stop and hear and see Him in opportunities that arise.  Opportunities become annoyances that are in the way of “my” tasks.  Those God appointed moments that He has planned for me to walk in good works and become a refined workmanship of Him, I can make a mockery of.  (I miss the very reason He has me here because I believe I know better what to do.)

The last year I have talked about my plate a lot–learning how to balance.  SInce being on Facebook for the last five years or so, it has become a way that people have reached out to me ministry-wise, in friendship and has replaced email in many ways.  With the young adult population I work with, it was a “necessity.”  However, as of the last six months, it has become another thing that has stretched me thin–wide and not deep in relationship with others.  I felt pulled to return intense messages of needs of others while not interacting deeply and faithfully with those the Lord had given to me in person.  I felt pressured and harried.  I checked it first thing in the morning and multiple times a day…and for what?  I really don’t know.  Maybe I was afraid I would miss something earth-shattering like a picture of someone’s kid or an engagement or a pithy comment about a tv show:).

These last months without Facebook have been awesome.  At first, it was hard–my mind was trained around status updates.  Then, I began to think a part from that.  My mind has been retrained.  No one needs to “know” what I think about my day or the latest tragedy or latest pop culture reference.  It is not wrong to have a facebook, and I will probably have one again.  However, it has been so refreshing to let my mind and heart rest from the pull.

I miss the people of facebook–people who I do not regularly have contact with, people who have lost husbands and children and mothers and dreams.  I do miss knowing how I can pray and minister.  I do not miss the noise in my heart that comes from the added facts that are oft times pointless–other people sharing their noise.  I do not know what the future holds with me and facebook, but I do not have a committed relationship to her right now and I am thankful for this break.

authenticity, comparison, discernment, eternal things, God's word, idols, infertility, self-absorption, transformation by truth, trusting God, Uncategorized

Where does my hope come from?

Jack turned one a few Sundays ago.  My heart was full with thanks, memories, relief that that first month was not to be relived:).  What a beautiful, fun-loving, joyful, strong, funny, determined little one we are blessed with.  In the time of postpartum depression, I could never have imagined the beauty of his life and liveliness.

Sleepless nights, deferred goals, multiplied chores, inconvenient days…all of those are included in parenthood.  I stand today thankful.  I am thankful for this opportunity and humbled by it.  It is so easy to become overwhelmed and forget the miracle and not stop to experience the joy of moments that are racing by.  The giggles, the new milestones and funny tricks, the little mumbles and squeals…all can be easily missed.

You know what I hate, though?  These nagging thoughts that pull on my joy.  I am still trying to figure out balance–time in the word, time to keep house, time to cook, time to minister, time to do business, time to invest in my relationship with Greg, time to teach Jack, time to play with Jack, time to invest in family, time to invest in friendships, time to exercise.  I seriously do not know how to do it.  The thoughts that play in my head include the word “fail” a lot.

We all choose ways to try to make life work.   I have found myself struggling with two things…seeking peace where it is not to be found and comparing my family situation with others.  Everyone needs breaks to regroup.  The Lord has convicted me that I think that breaks and a vacation and date night and quiet times is where I will find my peace…where I will finally rest.  The only problem is I have not been getting any of these regularly or at all.  So, as with every expectation that is blocked, I get frustrated.  I think “if I could just…if they would just…I need more of…”  Until the last two weeks, I have not been diving into the Word consistently.  I have been expecting little breaks and laziness to be my solace.

This backward thinking has been designed in the sinfulness of my heart.  I have been seeking my idols of comfort and ease.  See, I have always sought after them before God.  He has been teaching me for a long time about this, and I always forget and forsake Him to try to be comfortable again.  I then begin to prop up my idols by comparing (coveting) my situation with other parents who are leaving their kids with grandparents a lot or going on vacations alone or even with their family.  See, I have not been joyful for them…I have just been thinking that they have it made…poor old me.

The Lord woke me up to the grossness of my thoughts.  He reminded me that peace is only found in Him.  No vacation or quiet or pampering or girl’s night or date night will give me the peace that passes understanding…only Him.  I have found solace and true joy in His Truth again.  He has allowed me to see where I have allowed these thoughts to take control–the more I have spent time in Him, the more I see the battle for these thoughts of covetousness.

Weirdly enough, I have entertained them much more as a mom than as a woman who struggled with infertility.  In infertility, I spent a lot of time in the word and in trying to guard my heart against sin. I spent a lot of time then reminding myself that the purpose of life on earth is not to be fulfilled with marriage and children and vacations and stuff.  I remembered daily that my hope is found in Christ and in eternity where we will see fully and experience fully His joy.   Since I have less extended time to spend in the word and I have not guarded my heart against sin in this area, it has been covetouspalooza in my mind and heart.  I have experienced amnesia of where my hope is to come from.

I am so thankful that the Lord has graciously awakened me to this sin pattern and the truth of His grace and hope in the midst of this season of my life. I do not come to you today with seven steps to get “cured,” but I come reminded of His grace in the Gospel, the power and efficiency of His Word, the joy that is experienced in Him.  Instead of having a free for all of jealous thoughts, I have been working toward remembering truth, rejoicing with those who rejoice and choosing to be thankful for so many blessings in my life.  It is still a struggle but one that I see the lie in now.

I want to be faithful…I want Greg and Jack to be spurred on in that…to see the richness of Christ.  That is more important that any momentary comfort on this earth.  I also remember that there is an eternity to travel and rest on the new earth.  Following Christ I lack nothing.

Anxiety, authenticity, comparison, discernment, learning boundaries, Uncategorized

Great Expectations: What to Expect?

I wish it were the novel…but it’s the list in my head.  So many expectations…in every area of my life.  Some are specific and some are inferred.  Some are imperative–feed, clothe, love, educate my child, cook dinner more frequently than not, laundry…make sure my house does not look like the atomic bomb exploded in it.  Most of these expectations are a part of the universe in my head–the dangerous place…

In the 9 months that I have been a mother, people ask me the same questions–“how’s it going?  Do you like being a mom?  How is your ministry going?”  I keep answering (though sometimes I do not believe me) “good, but I am still looking for balance.”  Seasoned moms laugh and say, “good luck with that!”  I have also said, “I wish I had a boss just to tell me what to do next.”

Jack is a precious, precious, precious boy, and I am really enjoying being his mom and seeing Greg engage as his daddy.  In my heart I trust he is doing well.  However, it’s hilarious the panic that ensues when I see other moms feeding different things to their babies or having a special toy, etc. I am like “wow, have I been content with this stage and missed something he needs to continue to flourish?!?!?”  It can be things as simple as a sippy cup or bits of food.  I think to myself….”boy have I gotta step up my game and be on the lookout to anticipate all his future needs.”  Then, I am trying to talk to him all the time like the doctor told me.  More than that, I want to continue talking to him about God and theology from now on…gotta keep that on the tip of my tongue with him teaching as we go.  Then I think, “do I simply sit and play with him enough? Is he catching the tv screen too much, will he get ADD?”  I hope you are laughing by now at the deluge of my thoughts.  Most of the time, I throw up my hands and hold on.  I have really not been anxious about motherhood–though it sounds as if I have been.  God has given me a peace from the time we even learned that we were going to be parents.

Where my thoughts can really get crazy is the expectations to be all I was before and more.  Ministry to young women.  The time to meet with young women has shrunk to two specific days a week.  There is more than just sitting down with them…there is prayer and study and what they share.  I am not enough for them–nor is that the point.  The point is to point them and bring them to Christ as their all sustaining one.  I feel as if I am doing some of the same things with them that I do with Jack…teaching them about who God is, his faithfulness and not fixing them but bearing with them and presenting them before God in prayer.  I told Greg the other day that there is a lot of heaviness in the lives around me right now (but there always is because of the nature of this life engulfed with sin)…heartache, transitions, struggle in marriage, eating disorders, loss, strife in relationships, unbelief…  My expectation problem spirals out of control when I try to be the fixer.  Fixing is much easier than walking alongside with heart work.  I get exhausted, and I feel completely ineffective.  I have expectations of myself to always be prepared, to anticipate needs, to be able to minister to more and more.  I also have them on my mind all the time praying…then I think “am I praying enough, am I praying in line with God’s word?”

The only problem…the space on my plate has gotten smaller because I have this life that I care for continually physically, emotionally, spiritually.  So, I have to learn the balance of what is realistic for me to expect.  I have drawn boundaries to others with my time–Tuesday/Thursday from 8:30-2:30 (when I have childcare), but I have greater expectations of myself on the inside.  And what happens when my expectations cannot match with my output?  I continually feel like I am failing.  Honestly, there are areas where I really am failing, but I remember to lean into my Savior.

I want to be more as a friend to friends who are struggling and hurting.  I want to be better at pursuing friends–I need to just have fun and share my heart.  I want to be purposeful as a wife in loving Greg well.  I want to be organized with cooking and lose this baby weight.  I want to serve the church well.  I want to be a helpful and loving family member.  I want to paint and write and create.  See why I am unbalanced:)?

This morning greeted me with many muscles in my body aching.  I shared this with my mom, and she said, “you are trying to do too much and always on the go.”  I responded with “but I am not doing that much–I’m not getting anything done!”  My reality and my expectations are not balanced.  It is helpful when someone can speak into that–especially when that someone is one that is on the go all the time, as well.  I grew up witnessing a mom that had a full-time teaching job, a part-time job as organist and a full-time job as my Dad’s ministry partner.  I remember her cooking, cleaning, ironing and talking to people every night and not sitting down until 10 pm.  I do not have the energy my mom had, but in my own way, I think I am trying to keep up.

As women, I think we are caught in this endless banter in our head.  We each have different expectations, and many times, we compare ourselves to many people who excel in different things.  At that rate, we are ALWAYS behind and always feeling less than.  My prayer is that I listen to the One who directs and has called me…and listen to what He wants.  I pray He give me the wisdom to have realistic goals and expectations of myself and to serve excellently by depending on Him in those areas.  I had an irregular adulthood in that I had time before kids to develop in ways creatively and and use my time ministerially and personally that most people do not experience until empty nest.  I now am having to readjust expectations to balance well now.  Please pray that I can…I want my heart to be at peace for the long haul.

Hopefully you do not want to commit me after this post…just wanted to be vulnerable to hopefully encourage anyone out there on the expectation treadmill!