Today, I tried to explain to my husband how complicated it is for me to meet all the roles that I am expected to be. Wife, Mother, Maid, Cook, Biggest Fan, and to keep up with my full-time job as Director of Women and Children’s Ministries. I explained to him that I feel like I am spinning plates. Overall, I can keep the main plates spinning. I am a good wife, I’m a good mom, and, overall, I’m effective in my ministry position. I can keep some plates spinning. But, it feels like if we were to look at my life in smaller, sub-sections of plates, I am failing at this task. I can spin the laundry plate, but only if I slow up on the grocery shopping plate, I can keep the “biggest fan” plate going round by cheering my kid on at their next game, but only if hand over my “cook” plate to whomever is working the concession stand. Even at work, I can spin the plates to keep the work going, but when it comes to important details and giving time to specific, hurting individuals, I am dropping plates. I am epically and totally failing at spinning plates!
Look at this video of chinese plate spinners: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4-SHBgCQ2U&feature=related
I think so often women’s ministry wrongly comes down to spinning plates and teaching other women to do the same. Let me explain.
Think performance. Think about all of the things we do as women to impress others. Even beyond that, not even considering what the others are thinking, think about the things we do to impress ourselves, to make us feel like we’re good enough, or doing enough, to define ourselves as a success.
In my job, as Director of Women’s Ministries, I could become a professional plate spinner. I could be the woman that has it all together, spinning the roles of wife, mom, Pastor, friend, daughter, etc. effortlessly. I could make it look easy, like I have found the secret to life. I could paint this dream picture where all is beautiful, and lovely, and peaceful. I could become the woman who pretends to have it all together. More than that, I could be the one telling other women to follow me in this pretense. To measure our walk with God by the way we spin plates. We could become this circus act and I could become the choreographer teaching moms to “get it all together” so it looks good on the outside.
I am here today to shout–FORGET ABOUT THE OUTSIDE!! Drop a couple of plates. Nap when the baby naps, let the dishes sit while you play a game with your kids, let your husband iron his own shirt, and don’t care if a spontaneous guest sees a bit of your mess. I truly do want it all together. I want every little thing in it’s place and every little detail covered. I want the perfect picture, not to impress you or other people, but to impress me to meet my own standards and to impress God, to show Him I’m working hard enough. But in His beauty and His grace, He says, “You need your failures and your weaknesses. Embrace them, because I love you that way.” It doesn’t impress Him when I spin plates, or when I teach a group of women to perform. I think He’s more impressed when we let others into the ugly places, let them see the ugly cry of our hearts, and to care through the ugliness of life~to truly love.
I don’t ever want to encourage a woman to spin a plate or to go through life feeling like they can’t keep up with all of the demands. I want us to lay our everything before our great Big, God and say, “Use me for Your glory!” We have to cover the details, we have to maintain our many roles in life, but it’s so much more than spinning plates. It’s a beautiful, messy journey of faith. I am so blessed.