Don't you love when you learn something new about someone you know so well? Monica has been one of my dearest friends since the day I met her in the cafeteria line at a campus ministry conference some 7 or so years ago. I've never poured my heart out to someone quite as deeply as I have with Monica. And she's allowed me the privilege of venturing into the depths of her own heart. She has spoken so many powerful words of truth into my life...words that have changed me, words that have given me the courage to take risks, words that have connected a lot of dots in my life.
We rarely get to see each other...especially now that I'm not in campus ministry anymore and she moved over 10 hours away. But we talk pretty regularly on the phone...almost weekly...sometimes more than once in a week. I know she loves dance and old houses and anything cute she can find at Goodwill. I know what she read in her quiet time this morning and what she believes about the Holy Spirit and that acts of service is her love language. I know that she loves Madeleine L'Engle and that Cingular is her wireless company and that she uses a notebook to keep track of her family's finances. So how could I have missed this?
Many of you know that for the past year I have been addicted to all things 'Alias.' Yes, I watched the DVDs of Seasons 1-3 in a ridiculously short amount of time. I've seen all of Season 4 and have all 5 episodes that have aired this season saved in my DVR. I admit I even bought the Alias magazine (which I don't recommend...it's not very good). One of my friends has taken to calling me "spy girl" because of my fascination with Sydney Bristow.
So today I'm talking to Monica and she asked me what I was doing tonight and I told her that I was going to enjoy an evening at home and was going to watch the bonus features on the Alias Season 4, Disc 6 that Netflix had so graciously delivered to me this afternoon. To my surprise Monica replies, "I'm a huge Alias fan...we've watched the show from the beginning." How has my friend been watching Alias for 5 years and it has never come up? How could I have been addicted to this show for the past year and never had a conversation with her about it?
After discussing our theories on the true fate of Michael Vaughn amongst other Alias tidbits, we hung up. Monica called back 5 minutes later to tell me that Victor Garber played Jesus in the original movie version of 'Godspell.' A whole new world of conversation has opened up to us. Sweet Alias.
Today I took my Children's Ministry staff to lunch. They have worked so hard for the past 2 months as we've been bombarded in the busiest stretch of ministry I've ever experienced. All six of them have been on staff for less than a year so it would have been easy for them to get overwhelmed and crash. But they lived through the craziness of these past 2 months with such grace and smiles. I'm so proud of our team. So today I wanted to celebrate them.
I took them to one of the nicest restaurants in Naperville. It's a Spanish place called Meson Sabika that serves tapas. We tried all kinds of things we've never had before and had a great time asking each other questions and being together with no mention of work. I'd written them each a note expressing how much I appreciate them and stuffed a Panera gift card inside. I think they all had a great time. But I don't think anyone enjoyed it more than me.
Sometimes I forget how fun it is just to celebrate other people. I feel like I spend so much of my time and energy thinking about myself...what I want...what I need...what I'm experiencing or feeling or desiring. But it is true that lately nothing has filled up my heart as much as the experience today of blessing my team. It makes me want to crawl out of myself more often.
Man, I hate criticism. Even when it is constructive I hate it. Today I received a few bits of it. "The curriculum you wrote is not detailed enough. You need to explain things better." "The class you put together is too babyish for 4th and 5th graders." I'm trying to discern why I am so resistent to these honest words.
I'm sure some of it is plain old pride. Who likes to know they didn't do something right? That's the ugly part. I wish I could get rid of that part.
Some of it is that so often I feel like I'm working from a place of ignorance. Let me write a lesson for college students instead of 4th graders! I know how to write for college students. I feel confident writing for adults. I don't know how to fix things when it comes to 4th graders. I feel like for the most part I've done a fine job faking it like I know what I'm doing in children's ministry. But sometimes I feel like the criticisms expose me for who I am...relatively clueless. I know God can work through our ignorance and weakness, but do you think He'd be willing to rework the family baptism class for me?
In honesty, a big part of my resistance is laziness. I just don't want to have to go back and redo something that I thought I was finished with. Nothing is worse for a beaver-personality than to have to uncheck something that was checked off of the to-do list. It is mentally exhausting.
So I have to pick myself up and embrace the helpful words of correction. I'm sure sometime, somewhere I prayed a naive prayer for humility and selflessness. I'll have to be more careful about that in the future.
What is it about football? I know I am a sports junkie, but I have to care about the teams to sit through a baseball game. I love basketball but pro-games can be pretty boring until the 4th quarter (in my opinion college games have something on pro-games in this sport). But I can sit and watch football for an entire day. In fact, I'm a bit ashamed to say, that's exactly what I did yesterday. I was pretty worn out from several weeks of non-stop action and after arriving home from church, I planted myself on the couch and managed to stick there pretty consistently through the Bears-Vikings, Patriots-Broncos, and Seahawks-Texans. An added draw--some guys talked me into joining their Fantasy Football League so now not only do I get to watch I get to play along rooting for my players (this may be the ultimate in couch potato sports).
Where does this sports gene come from? I can't understand what it is like to be like most women who couldn't give a rip about sports. I know I am the odd girl out in this one...but there is nothing like watching an exciting game. Maybe I got this from my mom? I remember her telling me that in high school she took 4 periods of gym. Math, gym. Science, gym. English, gym. History, gym. I remember when I was a small girl my dad gave my mom a basketball backboard for their anniversary. But if it is purely genetic conditioning somehow my sister managed to escape having any desire to play or watch sports.
I love Jane Austen novels, clothes shopping, sappy romantic movies, deep red candles, and wearing skirts in the summertime. But I also love The Super Bowl, March Madness, The Masters, LeBron James (in the purely platonic sense), and Sportcenter. I love going to the theater, but I'd be just as excited about going to my first Bears game.
Can anyone say, "Monday Night Football?"
Sprints and Yoga
Well you may have guessed it from the title...I went through with it and signed up for the beginning yoga class. My friends all think it is funny, but I'm actually taking it kind of serious. Not serious in the "I am going to become a weird New Ager" kind of way but in a "I want to see if this is really physically valuable" kind of way. My first class was last Tuesday and I have to say I enjoyed it. There were a few weird parts, a few words the instructor wants us to say at the end of the class that I'm going to blow off (i.e. something about the universe in me connecting with the universe in you). But mostly it was about stretching, relaxing, and breathing. I felt great after the class and again at home when I've practiced what they taught a couple times. I might just enjoy this yoga thing.
There are about 12 women in the class. I'm excited to see if God opens a door for me to befriend one or two of them. I spend so much of my life (almost all of it) in the bubble of my Christian world that it felt so refreshing to be in another circle even though no one interacted this past week. I hope that changes in the 10 weeks we have together.
Already I can tell that there is something good about doing something that is totally out of your normal world. I didn't necessarily need something else in my schedule, but I find myself looking forward to this hour in my week far more than I would have anticipated. I am sprinting right now at work. I won't bore you with the details but let's just say I've had moments of panic in the past week or so wondering how I am going to make it through the month of October.
But stepping out of that on Tuesday night at 7pm reminded me that the world is so much bigger than the view I typically have of it. These 12 women stretching around me could care less that I have to give 3 talks at 2 conferences in the next couple weeks. They haven't given a single thought to the reality that we are launching 2 new church campuses in a week and a half. It makes me wonder what is happening in their worlds. What are they stressed out about? What is taking up all of their time? Even though I would love to see some of these women become part of my church through a connection we might make, for right now it is good for me to think about their worlds and not my own.
And it doesn't hurt that I get to relax and stretch in the process.
We haven't gotten to this pose yet.
Maybe the 3rd class?