Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hello, my name is Taylor, and I have a Vulnerability Hangover

Usually fear comes in a blinding white flash before you do something wildly brave: its the "I don't think I can I do this" as your feet leave the blocks. Just showing up and taking the leap are enough.  Facing the fear takes your breath away and gives it right back.  You empty yourself out, and the payback is immediate: you brim over, happy, sparkly, "I did it!"

But sometimes the fear comes later, after the leap, when the rush of adrenaline has left you weak and wobbly. Numb at first, and then the feelings return in painful prickles. This fear is darker, slipping over you in oily whispers: "What did I just do? Why did I say that?"  You are empty, like a water bottle sucked dry, crunching and crushing.

Brene Brown calls this a "vulnerability hangover".   I have had two opportunities to teach and share my story lately. In both cases, the folks were kind and supportive, and I imperfectly delivered what I'd prepared to share.  And yet, one time I jumped and caught the wind; the other time was a nose-dive. I'm left feeling over-exposed and desperate for the Bloody Mary of vulnerability benders.  Honestly, I don't know if I flopped, and that accounts for the sting, or if this is just the way of things. That sometimes stepping out (and speaking out) results in a tumble, and you just find ways to tuck-and-roll.

For now I'm just feeling all the feelings, talking to people who love me, and trying not to eat too many sleeves of cookies. (Because I've ALREADY eaten too many cookies. Obviously.  I'm about setting realistic goals here.)

What's your go-to treatment for a vulnerability hangover?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Five Minute Friday: See

I was one of the best artists in my high school, but when I entered the graphic design program at OU, I felt like I knew nothing.  In the first few months, we did nothing but draw lines.  Straight lines, curved lines, line studies of rhythm and texture and tension.  We drew them and painted them and painstakingly cut them out and pasted them down.  Lines and lines, over and over until our professor, Karen, was satisfied.  Which she rarely was. 

I remember asking her once to demonstrate exactly what she wanted me to do.  "You're from Missouri!" She proclaimed.  "You're ALL from Missouri!"

I am Sooner born and bread, thankyouverymuch!

I soon discovered that Missouri is the "Show me State" and Karen knew that the best way for us to learn was to keep us far away from Missouri.  She could have shown us exactly what to draw-- but she was not teaching us to draw.  She was teaching us to see.  Before we could be trusted with a computer program, we needed to recognize and understand what made design effective: line, texture, rhythm, tension. 

She didn't just want us to learn to use designer's tools-- but to develop designer's eyes.

She was teaching us how to see.
Five Minute Friday

This is a part of the Five Minute Friday link-up on Lisa-Jo Baker's blog !

Monday, January 6, 2014

More than Enough

My son Will loves toy cars. He spends hours staging elaborate races--and equally complex ranking systems--with his cars. He even sets up football games with them—cars v. dinosaurs.  And since I have 3 other kids, every day presents me with the same challenge: how do I coerce motivate Will to share with his siblings?  Once, in my desperation, I made him count out

“Look!” I said,  “This pile of cars is GIGANTIC! There are more than enough; how can you not share? What is more important, your brother or your stuff?”

(Cue weeping and gnashing of teeth.)

Will’s reluctance to be generous comes naturally.
Confession: Sometimes I pour my Coke into a coffee mug so I won't have to share any with my children.  (They think coffee is "bisgusting.")

I would gladly die for my children, but “laying down my life” every day? That’s hard.

I just want to sit down, I can’t play soccer with you.
I just want a semi-clean house, I can’t bake cookies with you.
I just want what I want… if I give my time, my energy, my stuff, my sugary caffeinated yumminess…what if there isn’t enough for me?

In 1 John, the apostle addresses Christians as “little children”.  In the same way that I helped Will take stock of his toys, John points out the abundance that belongs to God's kids: “See what kind of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”

He poses this question in a subsequent verse: “If anyone sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”

He says, in essence, “Look! God’s love is GIGANTIC.  There is more than enough; how can you not share? What is more important, your brother or your stuff?”

I am constantly challenged by the things I say to my children. As I parent them, God never ceases to gently--and persistently--challenge me to take my own words seriously.  To listen to His Daddy's heart in the Mama words I say.

He challenges us because we're his kids. His love won't give up.  He won't forget His good intentions for us.  He knows what we believe will make us happy--getting our own way-- will result in pain. When we follow the road of selfishness, we'll end up as lonely as the child whose friends have gone home because he won't share.

There is no need to hoard--not our stuff, not our time, and never-oh-never our love.  This is the God of our Jesus--the one who made a banquet from a boy’s lunch! When we offer what we have, God promises that there will be enough of the important stuff to go around. 

 A version of the following was originally published in my church's magazine in November of 2013.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Fight

My kids fight all the time.  They fight loud with screams and wrestled grunts, they whisper-fight, straining against the straps of their carseats, they fight silent with shiny angry eyes, white knuckling the coveted toy of the moment.

"But he started it!!!"

In the space between the fighting and the making-up, the offense and the hurt, there are two pointed fingers and one mama losing her grip on calm. 

"It isn't important who started the fight. You have a part in this too. You hit back. You said hurtful things too." 

And I fight-- to hold it in, to keep it down, gripping my right to an uninterrupted life like a favorite toy.  And my fingers are pointed, too.

"They started it, Lord!  I can't help losing my temper again!  Why can't they just get along for five minutes?"

"I'm a terrible mother. It's all my fault--how will my kids ever learn self-control when their mother can't keep a lid on it?

I doubt my children will stop their bickering any time soon.  But their mama can.  I can breathe deep and lean into the discomfort of resolving conflict. I can own up to my angry words, and drop my blaming fingers.  I can seek and grant forgiveness. 

After all, that's what I want my kids to do--and some things are worth fighting for.

Five Minute Friday

I discovered this Five Minute Friday link-up on Lisa-Jo Baker's blog yesterday-- and since I'm new to blogging, it felt like a great impetus for posting something every week!  Plus lots of bloggers participate, and I'm always on the hunt for a good read.