How Do You Like Your Eggs?

A while back, maybe a year and a half ago, I had a conversation with Beth McCord, an Enneagram Coach, because I wanted to know for sure that I was a 9. I was pretty sure, well, almost completely sure, but I was having a hard time taking that definitive step and saying yes, that’s my number, because I didn’t want to be wrong.

During our conversation, she used an example to describe an Enneagram 9 as Julia Roberts’ character in Runaway Bride who, every time the reporter asked an ex-fiance how she liked her eggs, it was exactly like his.

In the end, she tries all different kinds of eggs and settles on what type of eggs she likes best, not the type of eggs that she thinks she should like best because it’s what someone else likes.

I’ve spent a lot of time liking other people’s eggs.

In Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly, which I read more quickly than any other book in a long time, she writes about the difference between fitting in and belonging (see also her newest book, Braving the Wilderness):

“Fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. In fact, fitting in is one of the greatest barriers to belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

When you’ve moved around as much as I have, belonging is a lot harder to come by and fitting in is–in the short run–is a lot easier.

  • Go to a church where women aren’t allowed in leadership? Sure, I can find other ways to use my gifts.
  • Live in a town where there are unwritten rules and expectations that aren’t to be questioned? Sure, I’ll just keep my thoughts to myself.
  • Go to a Bible study that feels like it’s at the pre-kindergarten level? Sure, I’ll just read on my own. It’s all about meeting new people.

There are some advantages to adapting to other people; you can find common ground and you really will have something in common, and you don’t always have to get your own way in everything. The disadvantage is that it makes it difficult to differentiate yourself from others and to understand your own identity, and you can never really get too close to anyone to truly share what’s on your heart and mind, because the fear is that if they knew, they’d think less of you, you’d stop belonging, you’d be disconnected, you’d lose people, and you’d be lonely.

However, it’s more lonely to not be able to be yourself.

It’s also exhausting, because you have to spend a lot of energy wondering who and how you have to be based on other people’s expectations and standards instead of truly learning who you are.

This is a lot harder for women, I think, because we are often the primary caretakers of our homes and children, and so much of our energy is expended on other people, and various churches will see that as what we are primarily supposed to do. They even have moms groups for us where we can get out of the house and have adult conversation–about our kids. Have you ever found a church with a dads group that talks about changing diapers and sleepless kids? No? Think about that.

I have spent a lot of time in places where my identity is wrapped up in that of being a coach’s wife and a mom; there have been relatively few times in the last thirteen years where I haven’t met someone because of those two parts of my identity.

And so, I learned to adapt and take them on as my full identity, shoving the rest of me aside as necessary. Not all of the time, of course, but a good majority of it. It’s only been in the last two years that I’ve really started to feel more free to be who I am, and it’s often a daily struggle.

In a recent episode of the Typology podcast, author Marilyn Vancil spoke about being a Type 9 and the vague sense of self that comes along with that. She said:

“I didn’t even really know how I feel about anything. I don’t even know what I want. I don’t even know what I care about…I didn’t even know what my agenda was, let alone have it matter.”

It’s easier for us Type 9s to understand and know what we don’t like/want instead of what we do like and want, and so I’m now trying to figure that out for myself.

One thing I know for sure, though, is how I like my eggs:

  • Cook 1 hash brown patty in a frying pan and break it apart.
  • Add 1 egg and scramble it together.
  • Mix in approximately 1-3 teaspoons of salsa, depending on how much you like it and how spicy it is. I prefer Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa.
  • Top with a handful of shredded cheddar/taco/Mexican style cheese and mix in until melted.
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The Calling of a Coach’s Wife

My friend Beth wrote a post about how being a coach’s wife is more than a title; it’s a calling.

I happen to disagree with that (Beth has read this and supports it; we’ve had a great conversation privately about it).

But first, there is a lot in Beth’s post that I do agree with, so let’s start there. We also run a lot through the “football filter;” this is why we pretty much only travel in July, and nobody expects us to be able to do much during the fall, unless maybe there is a bye-week. 

I also have helped 1 my husband a lot. I have created season highlight videos, managed social media, made travel arrangements, cooked meals for players…and probably a lot more I can’t even remember at this point. I have attended almost all the home games he’s had, and have been supportive. I am happy to help with some things as needed, and when I can make the time to do it.

But it isn’t my calling.

The topics of identity and calling are of high interest to me, and I’ve written and spoken on them before. In a recent talk I gave on calling, I explained that our callings can actually come and go; we don’t necessarily have one specific calling in life, but we can have multiple callings in our lives. My understanding of calling comes primarily from Frederick Buechner, who says:

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

Beth writes:

“God does not make mistakes, and he has created you for the life you are currently living. He is not surprised you married a coach, even if you are.”

I fully agree God isn’t surprised I married a coach. But that doesn’t mean God called me to marry a coach, and even if someone is called to do this, while it might be a description of her life, it’s not a prescription for all of us.

People choose to get married for different reasons and love usually has something to do with it, regardless of the career paths each person chooses to take. I was a little surprised Beth “knew exactly what [she] was getting into” because I certainly didn’t! I had some general ideas that there would be long hours and job changes and moving involved, but I had no idea of any of the ramifications of those.

I’ve since learned what it can mean, like what resigning “to pursue other opportunities” or “spend more time with family” actually means, that when people say a win-loss record isn’t important that they actually mean the opposite, and that most people outside the staff and the staff’s families have next to no understanding about what coaching is like.

But at 22, I didn’t know any of that.

I didn’t know the anger and resentment of having my life turned upside down by people making decisions for me that were out of my control. I didn’t know the heartache of leaving people and places I’d grown to love.

No, I certainly didn’t get into it knowing what it would entail in full.

I also wouldn’t change it.

It’s taken me to places I’d never have gone on my own, introduced me to people I’d have never met on my own, and given me experiences–good and bad–that I’d never have chosen on my own. I’ve learned and grown through all of it.

Now, maybe there are some women out there who do believe they are uniquely called to be a coach’s wife. I’m not going to judge someone else’s calling. This should be considered carefully, though, because what happens if her spouse decides to quit coaching? If her identity and calling is so wrapped up in this one particular career of his, that could be cause for concern. But if your deep gladness meets the needs of the football program, maybe you do have a calling, though maybe not for life, and if your husband leaves coaching and you still have a calling to be involved in a football program, what then?

A few years ago when I spoke at a MOPS group, the topic the women wanted to hear about was how to be a better wife.

I said there were a ton of marriage advice books out there, and that we’d all heard the advice to have a date night, but that what I thought was important was understanding that:

“we are not only wives and mothers.  We are our own unique selves, created by God with interests, passions, abilities, and gifts that sometimes do not fit into that mold, and we should learn to be able to celebrate who God created us to be”

Beth also wrote something similar in her post as well.

But if we continue to think that being a coach’s wife is the calling, we can miss out on so much more that God has in store for us!

One way to start finding out is these 4 questions my friend Andy from Align Coaching uses:

  • What are you good at? (what talents have others recognized in you?)
  • What makes you curious? (what do you want to know more about?)
  • What are you passionate about? (what do you believe in deeply or what are you concerned about?)
  • What do you find exhausting yet exhilarating? (what drains you in the best way possible?)

I could be wrong, but I’m not sure anyone really can answer those as leading to being a coach’s wife anymore than the answers can lead to being the spouse of a doctor, teacher, electrician, or plumber. And if that’s the case, then how is being a coach’s wife a calling, if it is not necessarily a calling to be the wife to someone in any other profession?

And in answering those questions, we might find out that those answers may not fit into the myriad of duties that coaches wives take on. We may find out that there is so much more to us than we ever realized, and we owe it to ourselves to explore that and truly know who God created us to be.

A person’s calling isn’t dependent on another person’s calling; it’s dependent on what God calls us to be and to do. My husband would never say he’s called to be a writer’s husband. So why should I think I am specifically called to be a coach’s wife?

What we can do is explore how we live out our callings within this particular lifestyle that we’ve chosen. That’s actually much harder and more nuanced. Moving means losing jobs and finding new ones; there is a lot of sacrifice involved, there is a lot of reevaluating, there is a lot of confusion.

There’s also a lot of opportunity.

Each of us has our own lives to be lived, each of us has our own callings to pursue, and this lifestyle can enhance that in unique ways; we just have to do the work to figure it out.

 

 

1Please note “helper” does not mean subservient to or less than, but I can’t go into detail here. For an easy-to-read treatment of this, see this post.

The Risk of Friendship

I go to a MOPS meeting on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month, and am in charge of devotions for this year, so on those Thursdays I’ll be posting here what I say there.

This year’s MOPS theme is “Take the Plunge”–in other words, take a risk.

We’ve all probably been down the slide at our local swimming pool:  it is exhilarating and scary but fun–and it goes a lot faster than you might think!  This week’s specific  topic is friendship.  Friendship can or can’t be risky, and there are a couple of different types of friendships we have:

  •  Acquaintances (not really risky at all)
  • Friends (can be true, deep and intimate, and that is really risky)

For me, acquaintances are easy, friendships are a lot harder.  I have moved around and it takes time to develop deep, intimate relationships with people.

Let’s look at an example of a true, deep intimate friendship in the Bible:  David and Jonathan.  It’s kind of ironic, because we don’t think of men as having intimate friendships; we think that is our area of expertise, but David and Jonathan were closer than many friendships we may have today.  Here are some descriptions of their friendship:

  • Souls bound together (1 Sam 18:3)
  • Jonathan took “great delight in David” (1 Sam 19:1)
  • They loved each other as their own lives (1 Sam 20: 17)
  • Not divided in life or in death (2 Sam 1:23)
  • Their love surpassed that of the love of women (2 Sam 1:26)

How many of us have a friendship like that?  I’m not sure I do.  And, there’s more:

  • Jonathan gave up relationship with his father, King Saul, by taking David’s side.  He warned David about Saul’s plotting against him and was willing for David to become king and not want the job for himself
  • David was distressed when Jonathan died.  He later then learned about Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son. When Jonathan died, Mephibosheth’s nurse fled with him, he fell and was injured and was then lame after that.  Because of his friendship with Jonathan, David brings Mephibosheth into his own home, promises to give him the land that had been Saul’s, and promises that he will always eat at David’s table.  David will take care of his best friend’s son because of his love for his best friend.

SO.  What risks are you willing to take for a friendship?  Have you ever gone against your parent’s wishes in order to stick by a friend?  How about looking ahead to when our kids are teens?  What happens when they choose a friend over us? How will you “take the plunge” into friendship this year?

Those Days When Everything Just Feels Off

Do you remember the old commercial that said “It’s 10:00 p.m.  Do you know where your children are?”

I feel that way today, but not about my children.  It’s a voice saying to me “It’s 3:00 in the afternoon.  Do you know where your muse is?”

I’ve been home from Bible Study and picking up Z. at preschool for approximately 3 1/2 hours.  When I got home, my plan had been to make lunch and then get down to writing a handful of posts that I’d been thinking about throughout the morning.  Now, I can barely remember what it was I wanted to write about, I feel tired and grumpy, have lower patience for the kids (which then makes me question my parenting skills since that is when I start yelling), and my motivation has gone downhill faster than an Olympic skier.  I also didn’t do the laundry I had planned or get the kitchen cleaned up like I wanted to or bake some bread like I thought I would.   It is just one of those days when nothing seems to go right.  It’s not even big things!  It’s just little things, here and there.  That almost makes it worse, because I wonder then “why am I complaining?  why am I irritable?  It’s not like my life is really a mess or tragedy has hit.  It’s just little things.”

It is times like this when I wonder why I even bother to blog.  I don’t have a huge readership (and that’s ok with me; it would probably be way too stressful on me if I did, at this point, and then I’d have to worry about such things as my “brand” and getting a more memorable domain name and feeling like I need to produce more content and feeling like I need to comment on every big topic that comes up, and…and…and…).  Plus, there are so many, many excellent blogs out there, and so many that I read and think “hmmm…that’s what I was thinking”.  I mentioned that very thing recently on Twitter to someone, and he said back that he thought he was the only one who did that, and that I should still write what I am thinking.

Discouragement and distraction for writers is nothing new.  I know I just read something about this recently in Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, but I just spent some time looking for it and can’t find it, so you will just have to take my word for it.  I promise I am not making it up.  At least I hope I am not.

Distraction is hard to come back from, at least, it is for me.  I could be in the middle of reading or writing a sentence, get up to change a diaper or respond to one of the myriad times I hear “Mommy!”, come back to the computer and have to reread what I was originally doing and then remember what was supposed to come next, and then get up again…this means it can actually take me all day long to write a very short blog post.

I really do not know how so many other mom bloggers do it.  When do you find the time to write, uninterrupted?  What are your tips and tricks for accomplishing what you want to accomplish in your writing?

The Woman of Valor

One of my favorite bloggers, Rachel Held Evans, has a series of posts about “Women of Valor”, based on the Proverbs 31 woman, and also posts about how she spent time trying to be this woman in her “Year of Biblical Womanhood” project.

As I was reading a book last night called Deepening the Colors: Life Inside the Story of God, I came across a reference to this Proverbs 31 woman.  The author, Sydney J. Hielema, writes:

Our experiences concerning what it means to be male or female also affect the shaping of our dreams.  Every culture on earth conveys particular assumptions concerning what it means to be a man or a woman and what sorts of dreams are acceptable for each gender.  For example, North American culture cultivates dreams of the “career woman,” and, in reaction to that, various Christian subcultures have encouraged dreams of the “stay-at-home mom.”  The Bible does neither.  When it dreams about the “wife of noble character,” it describes her as someone who “considers a field and buys it, out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night…She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31:16-18, 200).  In other words, such a woman is very active in all parts of society (pages 112-113, emphasis mine).

 As  I start exploring the next call that God has on my life, this is encouraging to me.  Too often I have felt the tug-of-war between working mom and stay-at-home mom, and in the past have been able to find a balance between them by working part-time. 

This chapter with a section on having dreams has also encouraged me to be deliberate and intentional about blogging.  I had thought that I would try to take it up again on a regular basis once I moved, and I am now going to set a starting goal of blogging three times per week, probably Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  If it is more frequently, great, but I hope to keep it three times at a minimum. 

There are many things in this book that spoke to me, and perhaps sharing them will be some of the content for my blog.