when you know exactly what you’re doing

I had a strange thought yesterday.

This one curious thought was born from many smaller thoughts. One of them came in the middle of our new online French lesson. Another popped into my head when my boys collapsed under the weight of laughter that results in writing fictional names on Which Wich order bags (getting the sandwich guy to yell out “Bobby Joe!!” and “Elvis Presley!!” is the end of hilarity to a ten year old). One happened when I was in the car driving all over the great state of Texas for baseball games and practices. There was one more when I purposefully made a salad for myself (why does this always seem like a miraculous act of greatness??). Still another was when I managed a grumpy child (like a BOSS).

All together, these thoughts mixed and mingled and became one giant newborn thought: I may actually know what I’m doing!

My closest friends will mock me for this. They love me and think I am amazing and always believe in me. {Which is why they’re the kind of friends of whom the world is not worthy.}

But the truth is that being things like a mom, a wife, or {Lord Jesus, have mercy}”the pastor’s wife”, generally means that there are several people every day who feel disappointed by you, who wish you could/would do more for them, who need something you can’t give. Learning to carry that weight with grace is the hardest part of any kind of leadership.

The other truth is, many times the person most disappointed in you is staring at you from the other side of the looking glass. The most difficult person to please some days is yourself, or at least the critical voices in your own head. Learning to love who you are, faults and all, is like slaying a dragon in a fairy tale- you have to be perfectly cunning and have perfect aim. It takes some practice and and maybe the help of a magic ring to make it happen.

Nothing was particularly different yesterday. I wasn’t more patient, or kinder, or better at caring for the people around me. I didn’t hear angels singing, or see a bright light, or have some sort of life-changing moment.

But I took more deep breaths. I let the beauty of each individual moment seep into the pores of my soul. I stopped the whirligig lie that puts performance in the center of every situation.

When the buck stops with you in your life, when you lead and love with all your heart, it’s challenging not to feel that you are responsible for making everyone and everything perfect (or at least okay). Breaking that pattern of thinking takes a great deal of soul-work.

But this morning, I awoke with that new thought of freedom and grace tucked into the pocket of my heart. The air outside was cool and breezy with magical Texas Springtime happiness. I opened the windows to the backyard. I breathed fresh air and swam through memories of open Southern California windows, of succulent lined paths to beach waves,of riding bikes with my brother through suburban streets, and of childhood joys that slipped away so quietly I had forgotten them until now. It’s funny the way tiny, seemingly insignificant things become foundational in your soul.

My children won’t remember disappointment. They will remember Which Wich bags with stupid names. I won’t hold the memory of their early morning fights years from now. I will tenderly carry the feeling of their little faces pressed into mine for comfort. The kids won’t remember the time I told them they couldn’t have that cookie before dinner or that they couldn’t go to baseball practice until they finished their responsibilities. But I will be proud of them if they choose to be the kind of adults who patiently wait for rewards and diligently serve the world in love.

My boys have already had a fight that came to blows. My daughter has already issued a meaningless complaint. The puppy has already been naughty in ways only puppies can think of. My day is off to an imperfect start.

But I know what I’m doing here, in the breezy morning air. I am living and loving and learning to be who God made me to be, and so is the rest of my family.

And you know the most amazing thought of all? That is, and always should be, enough.