Showing posts with label My Story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Story. Show all posts

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tweets if I Were Not a Minister

As one who serves in a small-town church, I often worry about sharing too transparently on social media.

Will my jesting tone come off in this tweet? (Probably not.)

Will I offend women with pixie cuts with this status? (6 of the 5 will take it the wrong way.)

Will people change churches if they see that I watch (ok--am obsessed with) #SNL?
(Yes, but it's probably those flaky fans who quit watching when Farley and Sandler got fired and still claim that was the "best cast ever". #ImTriggered) 😂

Questions like these have forced my thumb over the delete button many of times, and while this is most likely for the best, I started a running list of these unfiltered tweets.

Once I hit 10, I thought, "What the heck, some folks might get a grin out of these."

So, without further adieu, here are 10 tweets that would have been tweeted (twitted?) if I were not a minister:

  • “Watching Peppa Pig confirms why they lost the war.” #ThingsMyHusbandSay
  • Some people are as pleasant to be around as bitting the inside of your cheek. #boundaries 
  • Sometimes in life, that which you thought was a Mr.Darcy, just turned out to be one hot jerk. #FirthFan4Life 
  • Canceling cable seems to be the new cross fit or vegan trend, “You gave up TV? Wow..." 😜 #OkWeGetIt
  • Rocking my daughter to sleep makes me feel like a club DJ at last call.There's one half-awake/over dramatic person left whose random song request are barely understandable, “one more song peese!? Tinkle ittle stAr? Back sheep,bahbah?Wane-wane? One more song peese!? Just one more?!”
  • First experience of trash talk from a reader on my blog right before I went in for my well-women’s exam. Things can only go up from here, right? 
  • I want to be like the assertive types that take crap from nobody and drink their coffee strong and black. But the truth is that my coffee is often sweeter than it should be, and my sincere joy comes off as passive, unaware and nieve. 
  • There's nothing funnier than your toddler using "I forgive you" in the wrong context. It reminds me of the #AnchorMan scene when Ron says to Veronica, "When In Rome". 

And another version of this Tweet--

  • There's nothing funnier than your toddler using "I forgive you" in the wrong context. I mean, I have never been forgiven so much, well except, you know--Jesus.

And lastly-- 

  • Today's one of those days that I'm so mad I could cuss on Twitter, but I'm too damn afraid to piss off any church members.

If you are like me and are too scared, filtered, or overly-analytical to share transparently on social media, may we be bold when it counts (like on actual issues of justice and mercy) and share the hilarious tweets that were never twitted (tweeted?) below!😋✌❤ 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mindy, Monty, and Ministry: What Comedians Teach Us on Leadership

While some watch sports or cooking shows, I am slightly (ok--very) obsessed with well-written comedies. So much so, that my friends threw me a shower that was themed Saturday Night Live. There was a “Mom Jeans” skit (written by the blogger, Leah Hartman) and more Chris Farley impersonations than one could imagine.

My utmost respect & admiration is given to comedic writers. Laughter is the sweet fruit of the highest form of happiness and these literary geniuses bare this in a simple sentence. Ha! Just like that, that stressful work memory is now silenced by the sound of one's own glee.

While it has been proven that laughter is healing on a holistic level, today I would like to explore another gift that comedians give us, and this the gift of wisdom in our ministerial leadership.

After the first 5 years of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels (its creator) left the show due to burnout. Want to be sustainable in your leadership? Tighten up those boundaries. 

This can mean different things. To me, it means that I do not talk about volunteer needs when I am off-the-clock unless the person brings it up to me first. I don’t want others to run away when they see me in the bread aisle for fear I might hound them for their time or talent. I also keep healthy boundaries by only speaking on issues that I am “over” (#busychurch) and delegating the rest to the right personnel. This naturally builds up the rest of our team and eliminates some potential miscommunications.  (I won't bore you with thoughts on rest, work, and play, but all I got to say is that Colossians 3:23 teaches us that in everything we do, do it as if we are doin' it for the Lord. So work hard, but play and rest like you are doin' it for the Lord! 😂😉) #ExegeticalHumor

Michaels returned 5 years later armed with stronger boundaries and for forty-plus years now, the show has been killin' it.

Tina Fey shares in her book Bossy Pants that the talent must outweigh the crazy (lack of emotional health) in the comedian in order for the show to be a success. 

A volunteer’s vices must not upstage her talents; if so this is a liability to your team and the reputation of your program. A high maintenance teammate can be a huge distraction from the ministry to which God is calling you. Plus, your other teammates will suffer if the majority of your attention is used on damage-control for this one person.

After the second or third apology to parents, you might need to take a page out of my boss's book and ask, “Is this simply a rough edge of this volunteer who is serving out of her gifts and has loads of potential?” or “Is this is a red flag that this teammate is either A) not emotionally/spiritually healthy at the moment to fulfill this role or B) not serving out of her gifts?” Either case calls for an honest conversation. The latter calls for a potential break from serving or some grace-filled redirection towards a different position.

The birth 😉 of the Mindy Project by Mindy Kaling taught us that when it is heart-work, you don't just survive the hard work, you thrive in it.

Kaling based her show the Mindy Project on her Mom who was an OBGYN. Her show got picked up by FOX on the same day that her mom passed from pancreatic cancer. To say Kaling is close with her mom is the understatement of the century. She considered her a soul-mate. While the grief was insurmountable, Kaling honored her mom's legacy in doing what she was made to do and created an amAzing sitcom.

When you serve in the nonprofit world, it is a necessity (sometimes) that tasks end up on your plate that are not inline with your gifts/passions/job description. I get it, I really do. However, I would be wary of these tasks taking up too much your time, because they will slowly diminish your grit. Doing heart-work (the tasks that our hearts fiercely beat to do) is how we thrive in the moments of ministry that are gut-wrenchingly hard. Like yeast building up bread, time given to heart-work builds up our resiliency over time.

The Dana Carvey Show taught us that no matter how talented a team is, timing is everything for an idea and to make sure that your vision is the same as your supervisor's. 

In 1996, after leaving SNL, Carvey joined comedic greats like Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Heather Morgan in starting his own variety show. Despite all of the talent, this show failed due to its crummy time-slot (It was shoved next to Home Improvement. I mean, come on?!) and the big dogs at ABC trying to squeeze Carvey into a different comedic box than he was feelin'. Seriously--there are so many illustrations on teamwork and innovation in their documentary. You have to watch it, friend.

Think long and hard about the timing of your next big idea. Is it being set up for success by its "time slot"? What does this season of life look like for your parents? Your volunteers? Also, communicate this idea to your supervisor clearly and get him/her on board before moving forward (or else, you will get fired after only 7 episodes).😆

The Monty Python taught us that other teammates are sometimes needed to carry another teammate along. 

Many don't know this, but the best actor in the bunch (their words, not mine), Graham Chapman, was an alcoholic. In fact, he was late and often clueless of his lines while shooting The Holy Grail. Throughout this time, the other Pythons patiently loved him through it and helped him reach his potential as an actor. They believed in him and their love paid off as Chapman went on to star as the lead in their next flick The Life of Brian and totally crushed it.

Sometimes, in order to be a healthy team, we have to fling another's arm around our neck and lovingly carry her towards the best version of herself (personally and professionally). Can I get an amen?!  (I feel a sermon coming, I'd better move on to the final lesson.)

Miranda Hart teaches us that vocational callings evolve and that our talents can be used to offer healing to others along the way. 

Where do I begin? I have so much love for this chummy (actress/comedy writer/ author/director/producer/mental health advocate) comedian's work. I first "met" the fabulous Miranda Hart on her sitcom Miranda on Hulu when I was on maternity leave. Watching it was like taking shots of oxytocin--instantaneous joy and warmth. Her work was such a cathartic release for me during this nervous season, that for the next 3 years while my husband worked nights, I would fall asleep to her show. Yep, I have watched Miranda episodes over 800 times--impressed?😋

Arabelle Weir hit the nail on the head when she said that, "Miranda is the sort of performer whose funniness is timeless. Every tiny thing she does is amusing. She'd have been a great "turn" in 16th century England or 1930s vaudeville. She can't not be funny: everything about her – her expressions, her mannerisms, her pauses, even her silences – are funny. It is an unlearnable and rare quality."

Ok, I will stop bragging about Miranda Hart. (But, here's the link to her show, just in case you want to check it out.😉)

Bottom line--the underlying value of her work is to offer joy and comfort to others. This is shown implicitly through every word she (very methodically) speaks or writes and explicitly in her work with Comic Relief and other causes for mental health.

While serving in full-time ministry comes with its challenges, (That's a whole other comical post.) we get the privilege of joining people in life's most sacred moments. In these times, may we follow Hart's lead and be fully present, and then explosively share comfort or joy.

I am curious to know who your favorite comedians are, please share 'em in the comment section! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rooted II; How Bad News Enhanced My Calling

(Be sure to read Rooted first :). ) 

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As I lay on the operating bed in the final step of ensuring my funky chromosomes would never taint a zygote, I prayed aloud (the doctors had stepped out of the room), “God, you are here. You are here. Though there is some sadness here, you are here. Thank you for the chance to birth Henley. Thank you for my body doin’ its miraculous thing. You called Garrett and I as co-creators, and I thank you. Thank you for Henley. Use me, Lord, Use our family however you see fit. I know you have work for me to do. May I see and love every child at the church as one of my own, especially the Bluebonnet Children. Oh, the Bluebonnet Children! You are here, Lord, and I feel that you want me to shift my focus now on birthing their book. Lord, if I am misguided, redirect me; but yes-I need to, I must birth a book for the Bluebonnet Children, I-” my intercessory moment was interrupted by the doctor entering the room, and the peace of Christ filled me.

The local church has become my bustling house full of jovial, high-energy children,and Henley June feels just as much at home there as I do. She was named after the one and only poem by a brit named William Henley who wrote of having an unconquerable soul and a country singer who loved hard (what a combo, no?). Her namesake has painted the lens through which I see the children I serve,especially the Bluebonnet Children.
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Just recently a fifth-grade boy from a very troubled home came bounding down the hall, “Miss Meg! You walked by me without giving me a hug.” Disclaimer: I am not really a hugger. I’m more of a shoulder-tap-kind-of person; which this boy could care less about and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. As he hugged me, I prayed within, “Dear God, despite all odds, give him an unconquerable soul, may our church work so hard at loving him that his soil does not stand a chance at defining him.”

Pray, pray, pray! Pray fervently for the Bluebonnet Children in your midst. Not only does prayer sustain you and your church family as you serve, but from it will bloom the most resilient and faithful disciples. Build up those Bluebonnet Children, church! Seek ‘em out, invite ‘em in, pray ‘em up, and teach ‘em to stand firm on the Truth expressed by the apostle Paul:

“  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? 
It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Questions to Ponder
  1. Is there a part of your story that forever altered your perspective in ministry? What fruit has been born from this mentality shift? 
  2. How could your story offer a healing touch to another? A fellow teammate? A child? A family member? An acquaintance you have yet to meet? 
  3. What would happen if the Bluebonnet Child in your midst knew you prayed for him/her? How might he/she act if he/she knew you earnestly believed he/she was more than a conqueror through Christ?

Stay tuned for the rest of the story! Be sure to subscribe to the right. 😁

Can't wait that long? Own The Bluebonnet Child  eBook now!


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Rooted; How Bad News Enhanced My Calling

Every night my daughter and I have a mini-worship service in her room. I doubt she would ever define it as that, but it is one in my mind. After books are read, and a lullaby or two sung, we rock a little longer just so I can get a good hold on the moment before it passes. A very artistic friend of mine painted an explosion of leaves on the ceiling above the rocker. It is truly the loveliest nook to read and rock.

Books used to be followed with a prayer while nursing (which in itself is a very holy experience), but now I carry her to her bed, tuck her in and then pray. With each stroke of the hair or scratch of the back, I say aloud the words of Saint Teresa of Avila.

“Let nothing disturb thee, nothing affright thee. All things are passing, God never changes. Patient endurance attains all things. Those who seek God shall never go wanting, 
God alone suffices.” 

My grandmother shared this prayer with me, and it is truly sacred to speak it with Henley. I then pray the Spirit would fill her with peace for the night and strength for the morning. And then when I sense my hovering over the crib has become borderline stalkerish, I quietly slip out.  Like many other couples, our child was once a mere dream-a mere prayer that was somewhat unlikely.

I am a carrier of trisomy thirteen, or should I say, I have a translocation between two of my chromosomes. (Be forewarned if you Google this horrific condition.) Like a Picasso painting, I have all of the correct chromosomes, but they are not put together properly. Fun fact: it actually shows only forty-five (versus the normal forty-six) chromosomes on my lab results; so that's good dinner conversation.
This not only made becoming pregnant quite difficult, but it also made the actual pregnancy one of high-risk. Throughout the different visits with genetic counselors, the CVS test, and then the following procedures, I felt a divine nudge that she would be all. She. Was. It. Henley June is the only child that I will have naturally.

Thankfully my husband felt the same nudge. We were so richly blessed with the knowledge of my condition beforehand, and, well, not to sound cliche, we felt that with this knowledge came great responsibility. There are times in life when God whispers, “You choose, my child.” And then there are other times when  God proclaims, “My child, I have chosen.”

It was during this time that my loved ones seemed more fertile than ever. In my brokenness, bitter jealousy ensued.  I too had visions of a bustling house full of children. I would pray these faithless feelings away. Over time the Holy Spirit convicted me that time spent comparing my story to them was a waste of my own holy moments.   Yes-the loud houses of many children were beautiful, but my house would be as well, and in more ways than I could have ever imagined.  It was at this point of conviction that I surrendered to the will of the Spirit. (That’s usually the way it goes, right?)

As I lay on the operating bed in the final step of ensuring my funky chromosomes would never taint a zygote-

Stay tuned for the rest of the story! Be sure to subscribe to the right. 😁

Can't wait that long? Own The Bluebonnet Child  eBook now!