It’s not you…it’s me.
As an ENTJ parent on the MeyersBryggs personality test…I have some strengths. Annnnnd some weaknesses. And when I get frustrated and my temp is rising toward my kids or my family dynamics – it’s at that moment I need to remember: it’s most likely me. Not them.
ENTJ’s have different stressors that get their head spinning. There are 3 that really speak to me as a parent – especially of young children:
-Others Ignoring Established Guidelines
-Lack of Control
The above 4 “stressors” for my personality are VERY present in children….and especially in Preschoolers. Indecision is the name of Olive’s game right now: “I want to wear the pink pj’s! Not the pink! The purple long ones! No! The pink! Not the puuuuuurple! No – the pink!” This is a real conversation. Every. Single. Night. The indecision slowly makes me want to….I don’t know…..say very rude things. This is why Dad rocks at bedtime with her.
Children are completely inefficient. No one is thinking about getting everything they need from their room all in one swoop before leaving for school. Sometimes my 7 year old runs up and down the stairs to his room 6 times….forgot socks! I need to make the bed? Whoops! I need to brush my teeth? Where’s my red school folder?
And then efficiency in life….having three kiddos is anything but efficient. Getting out the door without forgetting your one year old’s shoe that he just got off and chucked across the kitchen floor or to refresh the diapers in your bag or to grab your coffee too…..several trips is just what is needed to get into a van with a family of 5. Not. Efficient.
Others ignoring established guidelines
….that’s, again, what kids do. They push against what you have set. They ask WHY a bazillion times….or just ignore the rule and start shoving each other on the bar stools at breakfast. This is a clearly stated rule they are ignoring. Blatantly. This is also what most kids want to do growing up – ignore rules and do what you want to do. And if ENTJ’s are not ready for this constant stressor to be a norm in their life…..then stressed you shall be.
And the lack of control a preschooler may have….say, when they don’t get their way? The solution? Why not just scream? And not control your body in any way but let it flop around and kick and scream (did I mention that?) and in general lose all control.
Sometimes I find myself clenching my teeth and sighing loudly….and Rob asks if I’m ok. Since understanding more about how I am wired and then interposing that with being a mom….I have to step back and see that it is not my children’s fault.
In fact, fault is not the thing here. They are kids. I am an ENTJ mom. We are made this way and we are growing up…all under the same roof. I am growing up and they are growing up and we all help each other grow up. They are learning what they like or do not – decisions are part of growing. They are learning what would be the best way to get out the door in the morning – me too. They are understanding why guidelines are established and what they are for as they do life.
And I lack control when it comes to chocolate. So we are all even here.
If you are an ENTJ – this stressor picture was a good gift to me and helped me understand myself. Not an ENTJ? Find what stresses you out here
and maybe you’ll give yourself and those under your roof more grace in the growing.
Some days you wake up and there’s Empty. Staring right at you.
Void daring you to despair.
How challenging your mustard seed of hope.
How can I do this…make it…one more step.
And then days where we are greeted by Full. Shining bright in your face.
Brim daring you to laugh.
Why challenging you to humility.
Why have I been given so much. So much love. Goodness. Babies. Fruit.
Full is here this morning.
Full and Overflowing…skipping toward me. Saying: see the gifts everywhere! Every nook, every street, every blade of grass! You silly! Open your eyes!
Finding three fluffy, wavy plumes on top of giggly, dreamy little heads.
Seeing new wood, fresh windows, confident hammers.
Watching space being carved out for me and who I am, for him, for her, for others, for open hands that knew loss but now have room ready for gifts.
Looking at a new chapter…maybe even a whole new book. At 35 I’m writing and seeing and hunting and finding Full on my couch sharing coffee with me.
I see you, Full. Thank you for coming. Thank you for knocking and shouting at me with a huge grin on your face and pointing at every detail like a kid in a candy shop.
All praise be to the Giver of good gifts!
To the Full One – the Filler, the Brimmer, the Overflower.
To the Carpenter, the Story-Writer, the Lover.
To the In-the-Womb-Baby Knitter. And the Giver of strong hands to hold babies grown inside or outside your own belly.
To the King.
(I’ve been reading “Little Pilgrims Progress” to my kiddos. I love the personification of attributes….Hope coming around the corner and Despair trying to block her from arriving, etc….)
It’s Good Friday and I read this today:
“The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
on him, on him.” – Isaiah 53 (The Message)
Some key words that stand out to me describing Jesus:
-Scrawny, Scrubby, Not-attractive, Scum
Key words that hit me about what MY sin did to Him today, Holy Friday, the day we remember Jesus died:
-Ripped, Tore, Crushed, Bruised, Piled upon Him
Words that describe what His suffering did for us:
-Made us whole, Healed us
Ripped. Usually I see that word and think about paper or something flimsy that it easily torn. But we are talking about a person. To think about a human being ripped and torn – about your mom or your dear friend or your child being ripped – that’s vivid and horrifying. People aren’t like paper; they have bones and flesh and souls and dreams and abilities and hopes and laughter. And He wasn’t just a person – He was fully a person AND fully God – God-King.
God was shredded. That’s what happened today on Good Friday.
Robby asked as I was writing this: Why is it called Good Friday when it’s when Jesus was crucified, mom?
My first thought: He was crushed and killed for our good, bud. It was horrible…for our good. So we could be made whole and healed.
Which of these words hit you today, on Good Friday?
It seems some key ingredients to making decisions for me include:
-Reading my Bible and watching God’s character in my reading
-Asking trusted friends/family for advice and to pray for me and to report any thing they see or hear as they do (words or visions or verses from God)
-Time away from distractions in prayer and journaling (visiting a friend completely alone in Raleigh for the weekend: check!)
-Asking then expecting God to speak however He wants
This is what we did this past week and a half after thinking through if we should snatch up this plot of land (that has already begun the footprint of the house). We knew we didn’t have a lot of time with this particular caul de sac spot.
We weighed it all: location, trees (lack thereof), community, schools, the emotional toll of the current 1920 house needs, the freedom of new construction (with a builder who does craftsman style wood work!), the investment of our home and life in our current place….
and let me tell you – this is not between a new city or Bowling Green – it’s within 2 miles of our current house in BG! But when you live in a small city – the charm is being walking distance from friends and downtown and the university that I work. That’s been SO sweet.
Turns out bikes are an option, too 😉
So – we are building!
A few things God spoke these past 14 days:
-Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of the man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” I have always wondered if this was a man planning his own build-his-own kingdom-kind of ways, for selfish ambition….and then God establishes his steps out of discipline. Turns out all commentaries point to a man who plans his way for God’s kingdom and then God will establish the steps (however He sees fit) to get there. It’s a loving son or daughter who wants to be in God’s plans and then a loving God who responds by establishing each step. Can apply to SO much of life! Which stroller should I buy? Which guy is the one? Which peanut butter should I eat? If we want to know and please God in it….He will establish steps. Choose in faith unto Him. Listen as you go.
I felt like it was my Dad’s voice saying something like (as he often does): “Oh Baby Doll, I’ll help you get there. Don’t you worry about a thing. And, remember, it’s not your house. I gave it to ya.” (with a wink and a smile)
God also gave 2 friends separate visions about our family and our house specifically. They were pictures that showed me understanding that nothing is mine. My house. My kitchen bowls. My old church pew. It’s all His and He uses His stuff and houses and beauty to bless as He sees fit. These pictures were what helped me open my hand. And to see that in an empty hand…. I actually held everything.
There may or may not be a fortune cookie involved. That may be too much for everyone right now….so you can ask me personally. (If God spoke through wacky burning bushes and clouds….nothing is off limits….)
I have had the sweetest fellowship with God in my grief of letting go of our 12 years of work. He knows. He is not taking it lightly – isn’t His redemptive work important in our lives – one that He does not take lightly? Doesn’t He love to take crumbling marriages, houses, relationships and put in the hard work of restoring? It is not flippant or light work – and it is valued. He knows and cares and will walk with me through it.
Jesus quotes Isaiah on His work of redemption:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
The photo above is one of many pages in my journal…..as I was away in a North Carolina coffee shop on a rainy southern afternoon…and I listed that God is my foundation and my home and the One who will hold my hand in it.
I am breathing so very freely right now. I am absolutely sure this is the next move. If you would have asked me 2 weeks ago if I would EVER consider moving – I would have said NOPE, next question?
Another large piece has been Rob wanting to be released from the emotional weight he carries as he maintains our home. We have remodeled and fixed and knocked out walls and painted and sanded floors and roofed and built a deck and remodeled a bathroom and added a new one and and and……for over a decade….and we love it. But we are in a place right now in life where he wants to be a dad who can play not on busy Main Street….but in a caul de sac with neighbors…..with pick up football games and riding bikes freely and loving our kiddos and other’s kiddos well.
May your decisions be made with others, open handed, with tears and joys, with God in it all, with release and freedom and joy.
(Let’s get designing! Anybody love Chip and Jo Gaines? I think Rob and I would like to partner with them…… I am going for Farmhouse Mod for our next canvas.)
How do you decide on the BIG stuff?
On where you should go to college or grad school? Or if this guy is the guy for you forever and ever amen? Or if you should move after 12 years of sweat, blood, tears, babies, memories, history, sharing, giving….move out of your house you have come to adore and have custom made everything and it has been touched, every single inch, by you or your husband, has been redeemed, has been called out and made beautiful again? Feeling like a baby you have helped raise…..
Not to mention the lovely “lane” (or alley) and our dear friends at the end of it… and more around the corners….and all the memories in between? Community is precious.
How do we make decisions….and what if we love God and want to love Him above all else? Because if God is God, then I want to do what He’s doing. I don’t want to do what He’s not. I want His peace more than my plan. I want His gifts more than my greasy elbows and stained working hands. I want His shepherding more than my shifty heart.
Aren’t we so complex with our hearts? Aren’t we so layered? One minute feeling confident in a decision and the next deep fear and regret?!
God, help us give you ALL the layers. You hold all things together (Colossians 1:17)….even the complexities and the paper thin layers. Like honey in the fragile sweet phyllo layers of baklava…..you hold it all together. Sweet and delicious and complex. You hold.
We are thinking of moving…of digging…of building fresh up. Of creating and dreaming and making fresh and new but taking what we know so well from this 100 year old first-house we love so much that God gave us.
Because it’s His, lest we gravely forget.
And we are asking questions like: How will this decision (or this move) enhance who God has called us as a family to be? A fantastic question…because it forces us to wrestle more deeply with who we are and how we want to live. Priorities and desires and wants and needs….. (great thoughts from my sister and brother in law)
And we think through seasons…and what are we in now….what there are “times” for….which there are times for everything…moving…staying…planting…reaping…(another dear friend shedding the season light…)
And we think through Who and not What regarding “foundation.”
And we think through faith and fear and somewhere in between.
I don’t want a house the Lord has not built. Laboring in vain sounds awful…just as David said. (Psalm 127:1)
Sigh. The push and pull. It’s all held. He holds and He owns and He builds and He levels.
As you decide on the BIG things….what do you ask?
The first thing I can remember giving up with a dear friend in high school that felt really hard and somewhat meaningful to my spirituality. How many french fries a week was I actually eating that I needed to give them up?! Who can say…but apparently they needed to go.
It’s not like I need a more sophisticated fast….that was real for what it was. We need ones that intersect our lives, right where we are, like fries to a high school freshman – a momma needs to whisper this Lenten season.
The Whisper Momma.
I will be whispering this season in the high stress places.
The places I want to bark. What are those, you may ask?
-Helping Olive get dressed (the deliberation starts at three…..THREE. Oh sweet Lord….)
-Coming and Going (any getting ready to leave time…so many things! book bags! and gloves! and basketballs!…..and children! THREE. Oh sweet Lord….)
-Dinner cooking time (so much poking and screaming and running and yelling and how many times should I remind them that we are only watching one show as I cook? THREE times? Oh sweet Lord….)
I told them I was practicing whispering during Lent. They thought I was hilarious. Then Robby started whispering to Olive as he got her coat on and zipped her up (his job). You know what – it’s pretty hard to be pissed when you are whispering. A lot more smiles and giggles and actual LISTENING happens. It’s really something. I’ve been here before, whispering. But I need 40 days of it.
It’s truly going to prepare me for the King. And after you preach on your heart being closely tied to your mouth….it’s a thing.
I am praying it changes our communication all together.
What’s your Lent season looking like?
Two of my favorite things to do – writing and teaching – have been a big part of my lifeblood the past 15 years. I have been a busy bee recently writing and teaching and it all came together in a sermon for Brookside Church this week. What a privilege to have the opportunity! We are in the middle of a series on the Book of Proverbs. My topic was words.
Words. They can shape a soul. And a wardrobe. Take a listen.
Words Of Wisdom – A Study of the Book of Proverbs (Words) from Brookside Church on Vimeo.
30 Days of a whole lotta NOTHING! It’s done and I am counting my blessings. (What’s Whole30?)
No Dairy. No Gluten/Grains. No Sugar. No Legumes.
No fun. For at least 5 days. Those first 5 days….SUUUUCKED. Did I mention no sugar? I found myself shaking at church on Day 4. Coffee in hand….wobbly. Like taking crack from a crackhead. That was me. I’ve done the no sugar for a month before…but this was a look at ALL labels and we will take away honey, agave and any natural sugars and leave you with……dates.
Dates. These are saving the world, did you know that? Dates actually have a cape and parade around the homes of those on Whole30 and talk these humans off of ledges, intervene for loved ones, become a warm blanket on a lonely sugarless night. God bless those dates. And bananas ….bless the bananas too. They are the Robin to the Date Batman.
I lost 4 lbs and 2 inches total. Which was my pre-Olive pregnancy self. So that’s fun.
I have dairy cancer.
Sad. Today is dairy day and I added a tablespoon and a half of cream to my coffee this morning. Within 15 minutes the sinus pressure and sinus drip were back…same stuffy feeling! I cannot believe it. Shock. I love dairy and have eaten my whole life. My sister brought up an interesting point though – when I was born….I cried my head off bloody murder for 3 weeks (my poor mom) until they switched my formula to soy-based. Then I was happy as a clam. Hmmmmmm.
Tons of research backs up the link to pasteurized dairy and sinus issues….was hoping it was not true. I actually cried at the table. My friend Ann reassured me the grief was normal…she grieved gluten for a while. Dang it. I guess the knowledge now gives me the choice – if that pizza slice at some point is worth it or not….
In two more days I’ll enter non gluten grains and journal and see. And then legumes… then gluten.
So what else happened? Let’s make a list:
-For the first 5 days due to consuming ridiculous amounts of veggies, fruits and meats….my digestive system was REALLY at work.
-My body went through sugar/carb/grain withdrawal and I had super low energy and thought: WHY? Why did I do this again?
-Day 6 nailed the WHY for me: I woke up for the first time EVER in the fall/winter with zero post nasal drip, no morning sore throat, no sinus pressure, no sinus ANYTHING. I usually have a little bit, used some Do-Terra Essential Oils and they would clear up for the day…but would return and do the oil thing again each morning.
-I purposely used zero essential oils during the month….and did not need them.
-My brain evened out and so did my emotions. I have written for years on this blog about my anger issues and temper that I practice controlling….but this actually has been SO much easier because I don’t feel like I am all over the map in my brain. I don’t know if it’s the sugar or zero dye or sinus pressure gone (so stress there is gone )or what – but it feels beautiful up in there.
-My pants got tight mid month and I was sad. I had just a few extra pounds left from baby three and was hoping this would help…but what was with my tight pants!? You can see the chart below….all part of the detox. And truly, this is a detox. It’s starting over like you were a baby with first foods.
-Day 20ish I got my “Tiger Blood” going and feel good (see the timeline at the end for Tiger Blood), pants back to normal and even the best they have fit and what is normally a flat stomach in the morning (you know, your flattened stomach self in the morning) and then bigger by the end of the day…. was just now flat through the day. I think this was my digestion being awesome and healthy.
-My joints do feel significantly less achy. We will see what that’s all about as I reintroduce foods.
-I was nervous about being a nursing mom and cutting all these things out. My supply did dip that first week…but I chugged the water…and it actually went back up and has not reduced. In fact, it’s amazing to know Judah was eating THE best things possible to eat with me. My Whole30 Baby. And believe you me….the apples and almond butter is flowing around here. Other nursing moms on Whole30 attested to a consistent supply and studies have shown that a mediterranean diet is the best nursing diet….interesting. People live long, are healthy weights and are all kinds of other goodness who eat mediterranean diets (this isn’t just mediterranean…but has a lot of the same stuff)
-The quantity of food consumed….a LOT. Because they don’t want you to think about counting calories…they want you to just eat good food….no limits. So I ATE until I was satisfied. They want to repair your relationship with your food. I love that.
-Passing by all the sweets…ALL the SWEETS made bananas and dates taste like cake (as previously noted). Or truffles. Or ice-cream. I am good with Nicecream – non dairy ice-cream stuff like frozen bananas blended with cocoa powder. Get serious. Its amazing. I made it for 4 other couples the other night – rave reviews. And hard cheeses usually pass well too….we shall see.
-Sugar cravings are gone.
What do I miss?
-I think I am missing my coffee “experience” of milk and sugar each morning. Black coffee wasn’t bad – but I just don’t love it. Maybe I just loved it as a conduit for sugar. #sugaraddict I hear there is a coconut almond creamer that is actually creamy and rocks. Gotta try it….since I have a dairy issue. Boo.
– I miss baking with my daughter Olive. We made cookies…oh…every three days…or some sugary treat. How was I not 400 pounds I am not sure. But I have asked her if she wants to help me with dinner lately (MUCH slower…STILL worth it) and it has been sweet again.
-I missed social eating….we went out a few times and I asked for no bun and no cheese and blah blah blah….but it was not as fun. Limiting isn’t fun.
-I miss Saturday morning pancakes and syrup.
-I am going to keep reintroducing food groups on the 10 day plan so that I didn’t do this in vain….you take stock of how you feel with each food group. They have a real plan with all of this and it’s perfect hand holding. And as I just shared….Dairy. Darn Dairy.
-We are dye free around here now and made some slow changes for snack and options for kids. We ate healthy before…but sugar creeps into EVERYTHING. Robby is greeted for after school snack options: almonds, cashews, dates, fruit leather, apples and peanut butter, raisins…..
-I just took out the non compliant foods when I made dinners….and found things that we all could eat well. Italian food wasn’t really present…..that’s all the things in one dish usually.
-I think Saturdays may be a treat day….baking on that day, waffles and syrup….just THINKING through it all again. Because I like my brain and how serene it is. I like my temper far off….I like how I feel. I have NEVER felt better.
–The Timeline for the timeline is hilarious and true….
So, that’s my journey! What a month.
My husband is pretty talented.
Check out his latest for the IndyCC conference – Cru (the ministry I work for) has an annual student conference each year in Indianpolis….
And if you have a few more minutes…..cruise around the Madhouse site! I recommend Mudkarts
“Crazy Busy” by Kevin Deyoung was placed in my hand at our annual IndyCC conference this year for all the Cru Staff. His tagline for his book: “A (mercifully) short book about a (really) big problem.”
Being crazy busy is a really big problem? I’d like to think I have a full life, a cup that is overflowing, days brimming with opportunity…..l got STUFF and THINGS to do and say and write and hear and share.
But, yes, of course, I’m feeling it. And sometimes I wonder if God relates to feeling pulled in one MILLION directions with all the good intentions set out and little boundaries being put up and a lot of enthusiasm poured everywhere but not fully filling up one spot. Because He’s…..God. And He is really big and all knowing and all powerful and all……kinds of amazingness. Seems like He can’t really relate as He has all the resources to deal with….oh…everything.
Thank God he came in flesh, experienced the earth we are on, and lived (like, defeated death kind of live!) to tell about it.
Deyoung addresses this:
“Many of us are so familiar with [Jesus’ life] that we fail to see the obvious. Jesus was a very busy man……..Don’t think Jesus can’t sympathize with your busyness. You have bills that need to be paid? Jesus had lepers who wanted to be healed. You have kids screaming for you? Jesus had demons calling him by name. You have stress in your life? Jesus taught large crowds all over Judea and Galilee with people constantly trying to touch him, trick him and kill him. He had every reason to be run over by a hundred expectations and a thousand great opportunities.” – page 55
His point? Jesus was busy, but about the right things. So many good things…but what are MY best things to be doing? I know for sure my kids only have one mom. “Thanks, Captain Obvious,” you’re thinking….. but it matters. What falls into only what THEIR mom can do and do well? Gotta make a small three point list in my motherhood. And stick to it. More on that later.
I know I have gifts that God has given me, in my own AMY way. (Many of us can teach, write, facilitate, innovate, develop, maximize…but only in our non fungible way) Gotta list that…and when asked to do something…see if it fits on my list. If so, have at it!
I’m looking forward (kinda) to the next chapter he wrote: A Cruel Kindergarchy (You need to stop freaking out about your kids) Sounds about right.
May you feel like your load is a little lighter today just having knowledge that Jesus carried a large load, too.