Tuesday, May 31, 2016

re: all the things and the Sunday I preached in church

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” 
-Colossians 1:16-17

Lately I’ve been overwhelmed by all the things.

Finishing up school, baseball tournaments, church related stuff, writing projects, etsy shop details, dance classes, as well as the omnipresent laundry/dishes/parenting gig I can’t seem to outsource at all; the western world's struggle to survive is not for the faint of heart. It would be so easy to just lie down and enjoy our comfy sofas and endless streaming media. But, alas, we are not of those who shrink back one minute before 10pm on a Friday night, when we binge HGTV or ESPN while eating ice cream.

I used to think I was a good multi-tasker. But now I think I am just a uni-tasker with a case of overdeveloped self-confidence. Turns out I don’t juggle as well as I thought I did.

For example, two Sundays ago, I was supposed to speak in church. Morgan asked me to speak on the same weekend Boy 1 had his championship baseball tournament and I was hosting our Volunteer Appreciation Night at the church. With a packed schedule like that, how could I say no?

I woke up Sunday morning, grabbed my coffee, and spent some time with Jesus. I got the kids toast and juice and gave them instructions about proper church attire. (Why do children who have gone to church every week of their life act like they’ve never heard these rules about not wearing ancient ratty t-shirts with holes in them?) Then I took my shower, got dressed, and started doing my hair and makeup.

All the children wanted to be in my room, reading or playing with some toy while I finished the monumental process called “make the forty year-old woman look not a day over thirty-nine”. It’s precious, the way my kids all want to be with me. Except they don’t just want to “be” with me. They want to talk to me. They want to talk a lot to me. In fact, that particular morning my kids wanted to bond with me as they retold me Peanuts comic strips, discussed the batting averages of MLB players I’ve never heard of, and analyzed every movie we’ve ever seen as a family. I think one of them wanted to discuss the progression of our foreign affairs from the Cold War to the present day, and how that’s affected the free market. Or maybe they just asked why I don’t buy Pop Tarts very often. I’m not sure. All I wanted was to get my eyeliner on straight, because forty year-old women look like they’re trying a little too hard if they don’t get their eyeliner on straight.   

So I kicked them out. Actually, Morgan kicked them out because he is a good husband. Also, I was his guest speaker in church that morning, and hearing me shriek about eyeliner and 1980s politics (or Pop Tarts- whatevs) was little scary for him.

I finished my hair and makeup in peaceful silence.

We all rolled out the front door a little later. After I turned out of the neighborhood, a tragic realization crept upon me from the back of my consciousness. In the midst of the discussion of all the things I didn’t want to talk about, I forgot to put on most of my makeup.

I looked in the mirror, and there was my face, wearing some blush and eye makeup, but nothing else. No foundation. No powder. Nothing to cover and soften the charming laugh lines or the scars on my forehead or my wicked awesome crow's feet.

No big deal, right? Besides, I was speaking on vulnerability and the courageous Christian life. I could have been my own sermon illustration. No more masks! Real life! How brave of her, everyone would have said. I would reach heights of epic courageous vulnerability in the western world for this act of bravery.

Just kidding. I turned around and drove back home and slathered every bit of makeup I own on my face. Because I like how I look with it, and although I am willing to be brave and vulnerable, I suppose I am also a little vain. It would have distracted me all morning, knowing I was walking around with a naked face. I wouldn't have felt courageous, I would have felt ridiculous.

I preached my sermon with a fully made-up face. I talked about stretchy pants and guacamole in church, and proved once and for all I am totally crazy. Bless it. (If you want to listen to my message, it’s posted here.) Then I took my kids home and begged them to help me clean up our messy house before Morgan got home from a post-church meeting. I ignored the laundry, and ate gummy bears that night instead of being responsible.

I'm still behind on all kinds of things. I forget things like make-up all the time. U-turns and re-dos are my specialty. It seems like the balls I’m juggling in life are flying so fast, they are all a blur.

But they are my blur. I love every crazy thing I am juggling today, don't you? We all have some crazy thing God is asking us to do, and He is holding it all together while we gad about trying to spin plates or walk tightropes that look terrifying. 

These circus acts of ours are the best way we can worship our God, who holds all things together by His power (even when we are overwhelmed). He is worthy of our obedience, and delights in the unique way we find our rhythm as we follow Him.

Go ahead, take the center ring and make magic happen in your life. (Even if that magic is just laundry or office spreadsheets or sponsoring a child in Haiti or applying the proper amount of eyeliner for your age.) Do all the things for Jesus, as an act of worship to Him. He's here, holding it all together so He can make something amazing out of our little sideshow juggling acts. It's incredible, really, to just be a part of His beautiful plan for the world.

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