Friday, August 08, 2008

Ministry of Mediocrity

That's me.

Last night as after supper, as I was sweeping up what I'm sure was more food on the floor than what found it's way into the baby's belly, I caught a glimpse of the stack of paperwork waiting for me, the school papers not filed and the attendance sheets and logs from the day still waiting for me to fill out, laundry waiting to be folded, beds needing sheets put back on,...I was grateful to hear a program on Focus on the Family. I have to admit I was somewhat bored as it was on the something about the 1st year after having a baby is the hardest and the young mom was sharing her thoughts and talking about her book.

Not only disappointed thinking I may never finish my book, and when I do, will I personally be stuck with the 1999 of 2000 copies that don't sell? I disagreed somewhat with the mom...how hard is a baby that sleeps most of the time, is happily entertained in the playpen with a box and some Tupperware and gives you justification for not leaving the house, putting on makeup...or a bra, to have a messy house because you were too busy snuggling a newborn every second you could, use paper plates and the microwave meals, and being able to nap every afternoon? But that's just my thoughts now that my toddler is all over the place pulling out toys, not verbal enough to express himself in ways other than crying, whining, hitting...all of which are not only annoying, require little training sessions. Yesterday, I caught the monkey climbing on top of the coffee table than jumping onto the recliner.

But this mom said one line that changed my night. "The ministry of mediocrity. Women want to know they are not alone." THAT'S ME! That's what I have been doing for years. I think this is why I was asked to speak most times in the past because I'm really not any better than any other woman. My goal is to give hope that if I can do this, well, than just about anyone can. You will not be getting advise from me on how to make your own yogurt, with milk you collected from a goat, use cloth diapers that you hand sewed which were washed in homemade detergent. You won't hear me sharing how with 4 little ones and homeschooling and Allen's business that we make it through flylady's check list daily and House Beautiful called wants to do a spread. I just don't have it all together. I lack in patience at times and in wisdom how how to handle my kids, I get worn out and discouraged with my husband, our finances keep us on edge, I don't exercise daily, eat my suggested fruits and veggies or drink 8 glasses of water (can't fit it in with all the coffee).

And I was OK with the fact that I was no one special for some time. I used to live in a little bubble that thought everyone loved me and would be excited I showed up.

Do you watch the Olympics? I enjoy the high jump, watching it that is. Where they run and somehow catapult themselves over the bar, just barely making it, arching perfectly, then if they clear the bar, they land on the other side softly, with victory for all others just to try to make it to be on the high achievers side. I always cringe, covering my eyes and peeking through my fingers, don't know what good that does, but it seems to take the edge off, all the while gritting my teeth and thinking, they aren't going to make it....

In my own life I have an invisible bar. A bar I focus on far too often. If I read a book about all the wonderful things a home school mom does and should be doing, hear a Christian program on how an amazing wife treats her hubby, or find out that one mom grinds from wheat and makes her own bread, another mom has the gift of hospitality and blesses others often. I have a knack for grabbing hold of the things others do best and wanting to smash them all into my own resume. Then suddenly it seemed as if my bar were no longer a goal only a couple of inches higher, and that if I could just s-t-r-e-t-c-h, a little, m-o-r-e...but that one day I woke up and felt a hopelessness that the jump would be impossible for me to ever make. It was just too high. Who raised the bar that high? Honestly, it was not that someone raised it a couple of feet all at one time, but rather it was my lack of focus. While sitting complacent on the sidelines waiting my turn to jump, I got sidetracked with the fans, the 1/2 time show, the concessions, other competitors, decided to wander around and tryout a couple other events just to see. I had missed my turns. Then when I got back in line, I realized I was not ready to jump, I hadn't been practicing, I had grown complacent with my abilities. I had only shown up to compete and would be going home in defeat.

There is a difference between being mediocre and complacent.

Complacency Definition:
1. a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.

Mediocrity Definition:
1. averageness: a quality that is adequate or acceptable, but not very good.
2. mediocre person: somebody who lacks any special skill or flair

A common man, unperfectedness, a whippersnapper (this was actually in the thesaurus as a substitution and here I thought it was just a southern word)

There is a wide range of mediocrity. And that definition of what is average changes in the circle of life you find yourself in. When I'm surround by new moms, I'm considered an expert jumper, I've been there and lived through it 4 times now. When I'm among my peers and close friends I'm in the mediocre stage. Most of us are practicing on the same bar height. And then there are "those women". Those ladies that we come in contact with that seem to have a natural talent for getting it all done, have wisdom flowing from every word, terrific kids, beautiful homes, being all things and lacking in nothing (at least from the windows I'm peeking through). These are the ladies most of us other mediocre moms run to for coaching, look up to. We are inspired and awestruck with the talents they have which we are tyring to attain ourselves.

But then it happens, we start to compare ourselves. Without any thought of how far we've come, without any thought of their natural gifts. And the pendulum swings from complacency to self condemnation. We are called to only have to answer to our Father as the judge, yet we often as women take on that role to judge ourselves far too harshly. Condemnation comes from satan. Is it written how quickly we are suppose to have it all together? What of the woman who is a new jumper for Christ? Is her bar to be as high as a older woman? Is she to be judged and criticized for not having a natural talent to jump easily and as high as others who have been practicing as long? Is she not of value because it takes her longer to get to the bar?

The object of the high jump is to approach the bar, jump and get the body over the bar starting with the arms and head followed by the rest, clearing the bar.

So how in the world do we clear the bar? Run head straight at it as fast as we can? If we do, the law of physics says we will go straight up and the law of gravity says we will come straight back down. Do we run from an angle, coming along side as fast as possible? Almost trying to sneak up on and trick the bar? If we do manage to clear the bar, we'll miss our landing, on the mat landing is also a good goal. Did you know however, that the plan to get over the bar is not by focusing on the bar and trying to jump over it, but by turning your back square to the bar and concentrating on the preparation and to jump up?

The jumper runs at the bar at a 45' angle, giving him a full view of his goal. The approach speed in individualized. There is no such thing as the perfect speed. Some will run quickly, some slowly with a bounce, but none at their full speed, otherwise their gather will be ineffective. Then just as he is approaching he curves his approach and gathers the body, crouching and digging into his strength, in anticipation of the jump. He plants his feet and pivots his foot. If he plants too soon, he will go under the bar. This helps the body rotate, turning his back to the bar and gives momentum which will carry the body over the bar and onto the mat. The jumper doesn't have to worry about jumping over the bar, the body is going to go that way no matter what because the approach he took. With the correct foot work, all the jumper has to worry about is jumping vertically. The body will sail over and the jumper kicks up his heals for the final clear and then brings him down safely on the mat. Now he is ready and able to start training for the next higher jump.

When we concentrate our efforts not on trying to be great moms, but rather to be consistent in training our kids. Do not focus on a clean home but on being a good steward of our possessions. Not looking to be the star, but focusing our efforts to do all we can to jump vertically towards God, then the preparations we've made thrust us over.

And where do you start training? By Picking up a pole and going for it? Only if you like the flat landing approach. Little steps, little hops at a time. We may feel silly and self-conscious as we are hopping around just trying to catch our rhythm, to get a feel for what it is we are suppose to be doing. But without the proper foot work there is no successful jump. At first we must keep the bar low, just a little higher than the mat, landing on the bar under your shoulder blades for the 1st couple of times of failure can really hurt and discourage a potential star.

It is within each defeat that we find either the fear of failure or the humility to try again. It is within each victory that we find either the pride to sit complacent or gain the confidence to raise the bar. To set a new goal to for which to start training.

1 comment:

Sherri said...

Fabulous sister! I too feel SOOOOO overwhelmed by other mothers seeming perfection and my own mediocrity.

thanks for your insight!!

and just so you know... I AM excited when you show up!

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