Motherhood: Planners and Playdates Aren't Enough

Motherhood: Planners and Playdates Aren't Enough

Have you ever felt full? (Don’t answer that)

No, I take that back. Not full. Let’s call it, stuffed. (Don’t answer that either

Full hearts, full minds, full schedules, full plans, full plates and full lives -- everyday feels like a highly anticipated holiday, but not in the good kind of way. No, I mean in the way where everything is a rush, you squeeze out seedlings of quick plans, and then comes the inevitable crash and exhaustion afterward.  

Recently after becoming a mom, I made a list of the main roles in my life. As I tried to piece together new routines and possible personal systems to be successful in each one, I came to the realization that tenured mamas already know. 

Yeah, it’s impossible. Should I end the blog here?

Here’s the main list I came up with:

  • I am 100 percent a follower of Christ.

  • I am 100 percent a wife.

  • I am 100 percent a mother.

  • I am 100 percent a pastor.

  • I am 100 percent a daughter and a granddaughter.

  • I am 100 percent a leader.

  • I am 100 percent a friend. 

These percentages never lessen, skew or become partial. The roles never go away or take an off day. They do not switch on and off in commute between home, the office, church or out-and-about.

On my best days these roles work together in synchrony like a championship winning team. On my worst days, they appear as opponents duking it out to be the Heavy Weight Champion of my schedule, focus and care. 

The Good Ole' Days

The Good Ole' Days

Despite the 45-year age difference, two of the closest people in my life are my grandparents. Our relationship goes far beyond the occasional trips or calls. There is a genuine love for one another.

This type of grandchild-grandparent relationship is rare, especially as both parties get older. Growing up, I would spend most of my days with my grandparents as my mom worked multiple jobs a day to provide for us. The more time I spent with my grandparents, the more I interacted with their peers — or what I used to call them — “old people.”

I pulled pranks on my grandparent’s peers, and I lost my weekly allowance to their late night card games. I accompanied them as they went to nursing homes. They gave me money (…$1…) to negotiate at the local flea market for the sports item I inevitably wanted. I illegally sat and played Keno at the Coffee Shop. I even took up the hobby of reading the newspaper.

I was 12-years-old going on 65-years-old — and I loved every minute of it … for the most part.

The more I was around the older generation, the deeper the stories got. I’m fairly certain 90 percent of their stories were fabricated for story-sake. I can confirm 99 percent of my grandfather’s stories are. There are cousins in our family who think he was in the mob!

The stories eventually turned to conversations about old houses, food and automobiles.

“When I was your age, I could get a hamburger and a soda for 10 cents. Those were the good ole’ days.”

“A brand new car cost $2,000. Those were the good ole’ days.”

“My first house cost $10,000. Those were the good ole’ days.”

In the beginning, I nodded my head as I anxiously waited for the next topic of conversation. As I got older, it clicked, and I learned about inflation. So, I always made sure to interject this to their stories:

“But, didn’t you only make a few thousand of dollars a year? We make more today, so everything costs more.”

I knew once I said that the conversation would change!

The statement ‘the good ole’ days’ feels innocent by nature. It’s a fun conversation — especially with those older than 60-years-old.

The slippery slope of this statement and perspective comes in when we magnify it on to the Local Church. Through conversations with church leaders and personal experiences, the mentality of this statement often places immovable obstacles in a local church experiencing change.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, this statement usually coincides with style differences (music, dress, service, etc.), a pastoral change, or in regards to the vision of the church.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is an interesting one. The author, Solomon, paints a painful reality of life from his perspective. It’s a perspective of ups and downs — and about everything else in between. Here’s what he said:

The Crossroads of Quitting & Why You Shouldn't Quit Just Yet

The Crossroads of Quitting & Why You Shouldn't Quit Just Yet

Muhammed Ali is widely-proclaimed as the greatest boxer in history. Ali’s charismatic personality was secondary to his systematic and often thunderous approach in the ring.

With all of his success — Ali finished his career with 56 wins and only five losses — you would assume that he loved all the preparation and time it took to be a champion. Not so fast — Ali famously hated training and preparing for his fights.

While we’re unsure of the amount of training Ali participated in, many trainers suggest that an average boxer should train 3-5 hours a day for five days per week leading up to a fight.

With that said, let’s look at a famous Ali quote regarding training:

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’

— Muhammed Ali

This statement gives an incredible snapshot of reality. I can’t imagine how many times he wanted to leave a training session early or cut corners in his workout, but he didn’t because he had his goal fresh in mind. His foresight and discipline led him to become the greatest boxer of all-time.

THE CROSSROADS OF QUITTING.

At some point in our lives — maybe on numerous occasions — we face the crossroads of quitting. We internalize a pros and cons list of the situation (job, school, relationship, etc.) and then proceed with our decision.

Due to the nature of society, our decision is often blurred through the lens of convenience. The greatest part of our society is the fact we can (literally) become anyone we want to be. With the wealth of industries and knowledge available for personal growth, we can develop into any version of ourselves that we imagine.

The greatest challenge in our society is because of that availability of training — we can rush processes that are essential for development.

When You Know it's Time to Leave Your Church

When You Know it's Time to Leave Your Church

If you’re a church-going believer, there inevitably will come a time when you will transition from one church to another.

Depending on your church background, this could be both a strenuous spiritual assignment and a difficult practical task. While I don’t advocate “church-shopping” or frequently leaving churches in general, I do understand that there’s a season and time for everything.

Frankly, it’s incredibly rare for anyone to attend one church for their entire life.

The local churches you see in a community today are widely diverse. It’s fascinating to see the differences in churches that are mere miles away from one another. With such diversity, it’s not uncommon to leave one church one day and drive down the street to try out another church the next week in order to find a church home.

The lifeline of a local church can be exhausting.

There are seasons within the local church that are exciting followed by seasons of stagnation. No church is immune from this. There are new trends and approaches that come and go. On average there are pastoral changes every six years (per LifeWay). There are moments of supernatural God encounters and times you feel like God is non-responsive.

These reasons often lead to a mass exodus of people. When people start leaving, everyone who hasn’t left notices. In these moments, naturally anyone begins contemplating whether or not it’s their time to transition to another church.

So, let’s look at some reasons you should consider leaving your church.

7 Frustrations That Make Small Group Leaders Quit (and Solutions to Save the Day)

7 Frustrations That Make Small Group Leaders Quit (and Solutions to Save the Day)

Growing a healthy small group system within any church doesn’t solely rely on identifying and training new leaders. Retention – keeping leaders serving in their area of purpose and away from frustration and burnout – is arguably more important than fresh faces.

Without preserving leaders, the system becomes a revolving door of people walking in and out. Such a system appears distrusting from the outside. Why would a church or community member join a group when the leaders don’t even stick around for a while?

While currently in our fourth year of small groups at our church, in the beginning we struggled to keep the same leaders from year to year.

Part of this issue simply came from building and implementing something new, but part of it was our lack of awareness to the obstacles small group leaders face and being prepared to offer scriptural solutions.

No one can deny that more leaders leads to more groups, and more groups lead to more people being pastored, discipled and cared for in a strategic, biblical manner (i.e. Exodus 18).

So, on top of leaning into new leaders, we asked questions to past leaders about why they no longer served. We asked current leaders what frustrations they had that made them want to stop leading.

Overall, recurring statements emerged. Now, we’re better prepared to talk a leader off the ledge when quitting their group over normal frustrations becomes a thought.

Here are seven frustrations that make small group leaders want to resign with seven practical solutions we’ve offered in return: