Does it ever feel like you are spinning you wheels? Every day, you are trying to find time to sneak in even just a little time for the “want to’s” in between all the “have to’s?” All the while, in our busy and crazy lives, who’s paying the real price for our lack of time? Our spouse, our children, our health?
I heard an absolute mind blowing talk at our church during a ladies dinner the other day. I sure wasn’t going there preparing myself that what I would hear that night, would absolutely change how I think. Yet, it did! When a regularly scheduled meeting I had at church was postponed so the ladies could get together to hear a special speaker that happened to be with us, I feel now, God had a pretty amazing surprise for me!
You know, you’ve heard the word “Hospitality” a lot probably. I sure have and I’ve always associated it with things like the newest Martha Stewart trend for having parties, recipes and drink ideas. However, “Mother Barbara” from an Orthodox Christian Monastery in Elwood City, Pennsylvania suggested it is WAY MORE than that!
Some of the most striking comments that got to me in particular had to do with hospitality being more about “being present for the other people in your life” and what are you spending the majority of time doing that is keeping you from “being present for the others in your life?” Sounds strange, but hospitality in its original meaning had more to do with what we (as women in particular) have embedded in within us as a part of us in our basic form. Nurturing. And calls us to live for a MUCH BIGGER purpose, instead of living to please ourselves alone. It may come more natural to some women than others, but for the most part, there is a particular quality within us that helps us keep going when we are constantly knocked down that keeps us from eating our young, wouldn’t you agree? Ha Ha (okay so maybe that’s a bit extreme, but I think ya see what I’m saying). Women are different. We are called for a whole lot more than punching a clock, making dinner, doing laundry, carpooling kids to the next game, all while still making our deadlines for an overbearing boss! There seems to be a lot more pressure on us today. That said, when I look at myself and see my priorities out of balance, that’s usually when it becomes more overwhelming and makes me react in a way that really isn’t me. Have you ever said, “it’s the stress talking?!” Then you may be interested in taking this journey with me!
I cannot tell you how many times I’ll be cleaning the house and the phone rings and I answer with a bit less “hospitality” than I might normally. It kinda sounds a bit more like a very impatient and aggravated “WHAT?!” Ever done that? What about at work, when you have deadlines and a boss hovering over you anxious for you to do ALL they have asked in a very unreasonable amount of time. Then someone steps up to your desk and you look at them, as if they just shot your dang dog?! We hate being inconvenienced and having to adjust our needs for others. Yet we are called to do just that! It may not be adjusting your whole week’s schedule to host a family in need in your home or something as drastic as that. But it may be stopping EVERYTHING to HEAR someone who really needs to talk. Or at the very least, it may be smiling at someone, even when you have no reason to. Especially if you think to yourself, “no one has shown me that kind of consideration, so why should I?” You may not “get” what your part of the outcome will be or how it can spark a chain of incredibly positive events on a much larger scale which may or may not be a blessing to you or someone you know later. But that isn’t the reason to do it! I challenge you, as I’ve now challenged myself, to try and see the bigger picture and doing what ‘is right” because it’s the “right thing to do” not for what it will do for you! Trust me, this won’t be easy! It’s pretty much the very opposite of what is the standard in today’s society and the way we are taught to succeed. So there will be I’m sure, a lot of setbacks along the way, some resistance and probably a whole lot of doubt, but I know one thing for sure… Doing the right thing may not always “payoff” as we want right away, but as long as we are doing it JUST because it is the right thing to do alone, with no other expectation, (encouraging each other on this journey), there will be a much better outcome than we could ever plan ourselves, down the road!
At this ladies gathering at my church I mentioned, Mother Barbara put a chain of thoughts in motion in my heart and ultimately in my head regarding who “Being Me” really is. How much of the day, do I give to being truly present for my husband or my children? What am I doing that keeps me SO BUSY? I can tell you, I have been a bit freaked out in the reality of some of those answers lately. Try it.. Put down on paper or at least somehow actually note, every single thing that distracts you from connecting to what is should be the priority for you and it may blow you away that more often than not, we are ALLOWING ourselves to be distracted and in turn cheating those who really need our attention from having us focus fully. Being mentally, emotionally and physical present and completely undistracted for them in that moment. The sad fact, doing this repeatedly creates a pattern that will influence our kids and then you have this vicious spiral! On a larger scale, the negative effects will be more of a self-serving, detached generation making decisions for the future. Think about it, you think customer service in stores and restaurants and so forth, sucks now! In a society that has become so self-focused, with bitter and insecure people who don’t feel connected to anyone or anything will only become worse! If you don’t feel any one hears you at home or at work, over a long period of time, it takes a toll on you doesn’t it? I can tell you it certainly does affect how I feel, which does affect how I act.
The hardest part for me is so personal and hasn’t been easy for me to talk about. But this chain of events that is currently taking place is driving me to speak up and praying that if anyone else needs to make this journey, sharing this might be helpful in some way. I have been working since I can remember. I have always thought someday when I have kids, I’ll slow down. My type of job has never been 9-5 and with all the very exciting parts, has always been very demanding too! But now with where we are with an economy that isn’t good and big companies like mine having to lay people off, those of us who were fortunate to keep our jobs are doing the jobs of others and the demands are even larger. It’s still a labor of love don’t get me wrong, but certainly though more time consuming too!
I’ve been struggling with balancing the demands with the needs of my family. I’ve been good a multitasking as long as I can remember. But there are just a few things that shouldn’t be included! Yes, many parents are able to change a diaper while changing the oil in his/her car, however is this ever a good idea really?! Lol
Mother Barbara referred to those things, like changing your baby’s diaper the “Duty of the Moment!” It’s that thing that should be more important than whatever you are doing. When I see what comes before the “Duty of the Moment” in my life on a daily basis, I mostly have felt it’s because it had to… Especially with regards to my work. But sometimes that’s because that is what I know. We gravitate to duties where we are more comfortable! So taking ourselves outside of what we know, to walk in faith for what is more important is my current journey! For me, I believe I am here to do my part to further the Kingdom Of God. He’s given me certain equipment to do that, in the form of “gifts or talents.” He has provided the opportunities. Do you know, I’ve never really had a job interview? Each job I’ve had has come because I made that decision after someone contacted me to do that job. I don’t even have a background in radio. So I’ve always believed He helped me put my plans on hold, to serve Him in a very different way! But He has also given me my precious family who need me to be focus on their priorities more now! Am I present when they need to tell me about what seems so little or easy to fix, or in my distraction and business, am I just quickly solving the problem and moving on to the next thing? What about my example? Do they see Mommy who is able to put the priority God’s to be first in my life above the ones that are always just so darn “urgent?!” That example includes my choices on what or whom I serve. This stuff will either shape my kids into another selfish adult later or someone that gets what true sacrifice should be and the importance of HOSPITALITY!
Since hearing Mother Barbara, there have been a BUNCH of amazing things that have transpired to keep me from just chalking up my feelings on that evening’s gathering to PMS or just being tired and emotional and reading too much into it. One in particular was from a VERY unlikely source... My ex-husband! Believe me. If you knew how our very short relationship finally ended, you would know it was most certainly a MIRACLE or as people like to say, “A God Thing” for sure! Over the next few weeks, he would tell my husband and me about he wrote a song for a documentary that will actually be featured at the Canes Film Festival for this amazing charity called Water4. We learned there were people right here in Oklahoma that had a company that makes a sorta pipe for drilling that’s been around for like 30 years in our state. It donned on them this would be something that would really be helpful to people in countries that don’t have any of the basic needs our country does, like water or enough of an infrastructure that it’s people can sustain any type of decent life. With all the success they’ve had, chose to “pay it forward” and start making trips to these types of places, all over the world, to test the theory that if you give someone water they can survive, but if you enable them to produce the means to get their own, they would THRIVE! And so it began. It has become a worldwide initiative. It’s big and only getting bigger. So what does this have to do with my story and what I heard Mother Barbara talk about?
I began hearing more about Water4 from other people and believe it or not some of our Twister artists were even talking about it. Then others in the music world like Grammy Award Winner Sandi Patty from the Christian Music world and local and national politicians from different party backgrounds that could finally agree and come together for this initiative. There are people in the celebrity world like Jennie Garth from “Beverly Hills 90120” who is about to launch a new show on Lifetime that have embraced the mission too. Did you know she was from Oklahoma? Well, she is and is now a spokesperson for this organization! So all of sudden, here in my tiny corner of the entertainment world, I was hearing or reading all about how people from different industries EVEN MINE, where hearing about this and diving in. Than out of NO WHERE, the call came…
The inaugural Water4 Gala was set to bring about support and information to help get the word out about this incredible undertaking. Celebrities, Politicians, Sports Figures, Businesses and Citizens from all walks of life are converging on the Skirvin Hotel this week filled with some of Oklahoma’s biggest dignitaries getting to know more about Water4’s mission. It has been a National News Story that even passed my desk here, because of its star-power and tremendous potential to make a massive difference in the world and a model for future endeavors to help even the poorest regions to sustain themselves! So why I got the call, I have absolutely no idea!
I was asked to emcee this event, that is receiving international attention! My gut response… “I would love to, but I just have too much on my plate!” I was intimidated and knew this was big enough it would take a bit more preparation and time than I felt I had to invest at this time. I said to myself, they’ve got people like Garth & Tricia, Vince & Amy, Tom Cole and even Congressman JC Watts“ involved. What do they need with me? Heck Jennie Garth should do it. She’s a big name, right?! And I tried to let it go! But I then I couldn’t explain it… It kept nagging at me. That phrase “Duty Of The Moment” was never so prevalent. Here was an opportunity to put my commitment into action and be an example of what I preach to my kids. “Do it not for what I will get from it, but because it’s the right things to do!”
So with this, here we are! Water4’s Gala is THIS THURSDAY! I have emceed stadiums with thousands of screaming fans and not felt even one butterfly. I’ve interviewed the hottest stars and still felt the confidence to ask the questions it seemed no one else had the guts to. I‘ve succeeded when setbacks and roadblocks should have stopped me! I credit every darn bit of that success to walking in compete faith with God! God promises His people that if you tell that mountain to get up and do the rump shaker, if your faith is solid, IT WILL! (So I paraphrased a bit… You see what I mean!)
For the first time, in a very long time I feel the pressure differently than I have! I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s because I’ve distracted myself so much with my circumstances and taken my eyes off that promise, but lately I am having a hard time hearing His voice as clearly answering my questions about decisions I am faced with today. What’s also griping me and making me a bundle of nerves, is knowing how important this mission is! It has nothing to do with me, it will succeed with or without me more than likely, yet I watched a video of a women in a village in Zambia talk about the torture she felt not being able to take away the pain from her little 2 year old, when the dirty river water he drank every day, made him so sick. I felt her pain so deeply! She is fully present for her children and yet she didn’t have the resources to help them! I have resources, but haven’t been present to help mine! She inspires me with the very definition of HOSPITALITY in the face in the worst of circumstances.
Blows you away when you think, we take for granted even the basic necessities others are literally dying to have. All the while, we gripe at “Siri” because she’s not responding quickly enough with her results on which store have the best price on bottled water, bottled with filtered water, from a favorite spring, we heard about in a recent celebrity interview or something! So, I’ve come to a very unusual time in life. Why was I chosen to be emcee? Why did they want me? I’m feeling so inadequate….
So what next?
If God has me at this place, should I even ask why? So friends, I’ve jumped in! BOTH FEET! And in complete faith am asking not “Why?” but saying instead, “Okay God! You obviously know I’m completely out of my comfort zone, but I am going to trust fully in Your Word!” I realize it’s where He’s brought me may not be just for me and I may never even see the results of my part, but as Mother Barbara says, “Hospitality is take time from our agenda to be complete present for others in the Duty Of The Moment!“
I won’t be on the air like normal Thursday, as this undertaking for me, requires my complete attention. Know that I covet, your comments, the experiences you are willing to share as an encouragement and more than anything your prayers! Thank you for taking this journey with me. I’ll share more when I get back! So keep checking in here! I’ll share all the pictures and video we get. Though between you and me….. Really hoping that there WON’T end up being video of me falling on my face, or worse ending up in the fetal position on the stage, rocking on back and forth, sucking my thumb and crying (with that really awful, ugly face cry)! Maybe this bucket of nerves is God’s way of taking my eyes off what I know, to be in a position to respond to what I have yet to know.
To be continued...