Hey guys –
Sorry, it’s been a while. Turns out being a full time wife/mom/sales diva takes, well, a lot of time. Sometimes, though, you have something you can’t not talk about, aaaaand your baby falls asleep for three hours, so you get to write.
Lately I’ve had a few words rolling around in my head, and I’ve been trying to sort out how they fit together. The words I’ve been thinking about are mission, method and calling.
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately on how to simplify, be more organized, and basically win at being a wife and mom. Now, I don’t think you would think this of me, but let me be real clear. These mom bosses/mompreneurs are great, and I’m not trying to bash on them. The ones I listen to, at least, love Jesus and really want to help women uncomplicate their lives, de-stress their routines and dial in their budgets. They usually have some kind of system or class or series of steps to follow if you want to achieve the desired outcome… *cue harp music*
You will have your house spick and span, your command center set up, and your meals planned for a month. Your children will always have matching socks, your husband will be happy that you (finally) dusted, and your boss won’t be flustered that you forgot to ask off work to drive the swim team carpool. You will own a planner that will automatically send birthday/anniversary/congratulations-on-your-new-pet-poodle cards. Your capsule wardrobe will be full of white/black/navy/greige with the appropriate amount of floral and/or graphic print scarves and earrings. You will finally find time to work out and drink 8 glasses of water (plus a protein smoothie with kale and beet juice!) because, well, your planner says you have time.
You will be organized.
You children will be the envy of all the other moms.
Your marriage will be easy and hot.
Your friends will think you are the best friend ever (because the poodle card).
You will be wearing the right thing, and skinnier too, glowing even.
And you will be SO happy.
Now, the Good Lord knows I need help organizing, and I will be the first to tell you my husband appreciates a clean house. And yeah, you should drink all the water (but not too much, because a chick did that on a radio contest once, and it didn’t end well).
Sometimes when I listen to these really amazing women, I forget to listen to ME. My crooked heart has this talent of taking what is good and twisting it. I get caught up in – well, guess I’d better go to Target and get some new leggings to neutralize my wardrobe. (Sorry, not sorry my wardrobe is full of citron, scarlet and tangerine!) Guess I’d better never eat bread again. Guess I’d better redo all my closets so they’re filled with matching burlap bins. Guess I want to be some glam-o Insta miracle, so I’d better figure out how to care about lip stain. I start trying to forge a calling and a mission out of a method. I turn the means into the end. I start admiring the frame of the Mona Lisa. I set up camp before I even get to Yosemite. (Get it? Ok, ok, I’m done.)
Let me try to untangle in a few paragraphs what has taken me all week to put words to.
God calls us to join in on His mission, and He equips us with a variety of methods to do so.
The mission is the big plan, God’s story of how He made #allthethings, and then we wrecked them, and then His long plan of restoring them through Jesus and the continued joining in of people on the mission. The churchy word for this is the “Gospel” aka the true story of the whole world and the good news of how the story turns out.
That’s the mission – all the stuff that God has been doing and is doing and will do until He’s done restoring things to how they should be. The way that people get to jump into the mission and take part in God’s work is through their calling. I’m not talking about some super technical official complicated moment with angels and a scroll, I just mean what you do where you are with what you have. Pretty basic. (For more on this, check out the book The Call, by Os Guinness)
You’ll notice, we aren’t called to have perfectly organized laundry rooms. We aren’t called to the konmari method. We aren’t called to organic paleo crockpot WholeThirty meal planning. We aren’t called to out-control-freak each other (because don’t we love control?). At the end of time as we know it, when God calls us to account for our lives, what exactly do you think He’s going to ask about? It’s kind of sobering, really, to think about that actual moment. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be like, but I know this – we aren’t going to be accountable for how many Instagram followers we had. We aren’t going to be accountable for whether we always ate “clean” or not. We aren’t going to be accountable for having the most beautiful planner or checked off to-do list or creative soccer team snacks.
Did you love your neighbor. Did you honor Me above all else. Did you give generously. Did you help where you could. Did you take care of what I gave you to take care of. And these, not as a means of salvation, but as a measure of the power of grace in us. Christ in us. Come follow Me.
So what in the world does grace and Christ in us have to do with cleaning systems and freezer meals?? Well, even Jesus had to eat. Even Lydia had to go to work. Peter had in laws. Just because we care deeply about the spiritual doesn’t mean we don’t care deeply about the physical #gnosticismprobs #worldviewstuff. In fact, the way we jump in on God’s mission is often VERY physical, which brings us to the idea of method.
God’s restoration of relationships (to Him, to others, to ourselves, and even to naturrrrre) is weird. If I were Him, I would have just said, OK, POOF, NOW EVERYTHING IS RESTORED! But I’m not God, and we’re should all be very glad. The way God restores things is by the power of the finished work of Jesus and the continued work of the Spirit. But what that LOOKS LIKE is PEOPLE DOING STUFF. All kinds of stuff. Their stuff.
Stuff they’ve been called to do. (Career stuff and non-career stuff) Stuff like building amazing safe bridges and giving malaria shots and doing PTSD counseling. Stuff like bringing dinner to new neighbors and talking kids through being chosen last for kickball. Stuff like making bouquets for weddings and writing poetry that makes people cry. Stuff like calling people out when they’re headed the wrong way and telling the truth about the amazing gifts people have just waiting to be developed.
Well, it’s pretty hard to be a good bridge builder if you never eat lunch because you forget to meal plan. You could be the best counselor ever, but your patients are going to suffer if you can’t keep their schedules organized. You might really want to feed the neighborhood, but you can’t afford to bring people dinner if your budget is a jungle. Methods were made to serve your call to the mission, not the reverse. Winning at life management does not matter unless it opens up space for grace to work in you.
So. Use the planner. Put all your salads in mason jars for the week. Encapsulate your wardrobe. Listen to all the podcasts about effective time management. Go for it. There is nothing wrong with having finely tuned methods. I’m working on them in my own life. But remember. The frame is for the Mona Lisa. The road is for Yosemite. The methods are for the mission.