Want What You’ve Got! (weekend)

Remember photo albums?

Those weighty books with thick, plastic-covered pages which, when peeled back, revealed a sticky surface for mounting photos of people and places and events worth remembering? I’ll bet you have half a dozen of them tucked away in a closet or under a bed somewhere. Mine are stored in a trunk that doubles as a coffee table and they don’t see much daylight, poor things.

Some of the photos in your albums are ancient, dating back a generation or two, chronicling the lives and days of family members you may never have actually met.

Some of those pictures are embarrassing, with hairstyles and expressions and clothing choices you would honestly rather forget.

And inhabiting some of your albums are photos of trips and vacations with dear friends and family that this weekend, you need to be reminded of.

If you are fortunate enough to have a photo album collection, you are blessed to have a visual history and record of at least some of your memories! Have you ever showed these photos to your kids? To your grandchildren? How long has it been since you’ve tripped down this photo-induced memory lane with your spouse?

Every picture tells a story, and your stories were meant to be told! Grab the dust rag, unearth those bulky volumes, and Want What You’ve Got this weekend by remembering and celebrating your life and your loved ones the old-fashioned way, compliments of Kodak.

 

 

 

Want What You’ve Got! (awesome)

Big Heart of Art - 1000 Visual MashupsKid President is awesome! If you haven’t taken time to view his Pep Talk on YouTube, you really should. His laugh alone is worth waiting for the video to stream, but the message that this young prophet speaks is frankly one of the most important being spoken to our world today.

Because we’re all hungry for awesome.

We Like, re-Tweet, Share and Pin awesome. We follow, watch, comment on and get excited about viewing awesome. Be it music or teaching or video or sports, we get hooked by the awesomeness of others’ accomplishments and creativity. Yet when awesome goes viral, as it has for Kid President, our tendency is to be satisfied with observing awesome when what we ought to be doing is finding ways to be more awesome ourselves.

Kid President’s message doesn’t say: Look at how awesome I am, but rather: Look in the mirror, people! You be more awesome!

The downside of awesome is that people get hooked on your awesomeness and fail to wonder and explore and discover their own, choosing to live vicariously through you while letting their own potential and giftedness fall through the cushions on the sofa where they sit. Like the popcorn, coins and cracker crumbs harbored there, our dreams and ambitions may never again see the light of day unless we choose to Want What We’ve Got and do the difficult work of excavating the ruins of our lives for the awesomeness we were meant to display in our own, unique contexts.

Awesome is relative. Awesome means choosing to act and live fully, using every tool in your belt, every crayon in your box, every ounce of energy supplied by every calorie you eat – every single day.

My personal awesomeness is rooted in the raw material God gave me to live into, shaped by my choices and experiences and connections, and activated by the energy of God’s Spirit as He breathes life into these dry and brittle bones.

The God who created you knows just how awesome you are – inside and out! Psalm 139:13-14 celebrates this truth:

You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.” (God’s Word Translation)

You, my friend, are amazingly and miraculously made by our God whose creativity and appreciation for variety knows no bounds! You have been endowed with everything you need to be more awesome in your own skin, and today is the day that your soul needs to be made fully aware of this truth.

Don’t want the awesome that you see in the world! Instead, want the awesome that God has placed inside of you. Want What You’ve Got!

Daily Questions: What or whom do you consider to be awesome? What is it that makes them awesome? Look up some synonyms for the word awesome (words like: surprising, eye-opening, fabulous, stunning)… which words remind you of you? Take a marker and write some of these words on your bathroom mirror this week and begin to see yourself as God does!

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Want What You’ve Got! (help)

Help

Help (Photo credit: Hil)

When I walked out of the travel agency, I felt a wave of relief and excitement about my family’s upcoming European vacation. You may wonder how one could feel anything but excitement about traveling abroad, but days earlier as I sat eagerly at the computer to create an awesome itinerary for this once-in-a-lifetime family trip, excitement quickly turned to anxiety and in a matter of minutes, I was overwhelmed.

Sometimes there are simply too many options. Even with a clear window of time and one pre-selected destination, I found myself tangled in the World Wide Web – frozen by a seemingly infinite number of possibilities.

Travel agents aren’t exactly en vogue anymore, but it was abundantly clear that what I needed most of all – in order to insure the success of this family investment – was help.

When it comes to housekeeping, I can use all of the help I can get. Every couple of weeks I write a check for the young mom who helps me keep my house clean. If you know me at all by now, you know that hanging around the house isn’t really my thing, which makes housekeeping something of a four-letter-word in my world. By seeking help in the areas that challenge me the most, I am freed up to provide help in the ways I am uniquely equipped to do. This check that I write is part of the help I can give and in turn, I am blessed by the help I receive.

Paul talks about this as being part of God’s plan (the helping-one-another-part, not necessarily related to keeping house):

Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written, nothing left over to the one with the most, nothing lacking to the one with the least.” 2 Corinthians 11b-14 (the Message)

My deficits are many and include travel planning and housecleaning, but God has given me plenty of things that others need. Your deficits are an opportunity for me to invest my plenty in ways that make us both better people and faithful stewards of what has been entrusted to us.

According to author Ann Lamott, help is one of the three essential prayers (Help, Thanks, Wow copyright 2012 by Ann Lamott, Riverside Books):

“We say, Help, this is really all too much, or I am going slowly crazy, or I can’t do this, or I can’t stop doing this, or I can’t feel anything. Or, Help, he is going to leave me, or I have no life, or I hate the one I’ve created, or I forgot to have a life, or I forgot to pay attention as it scrolled by. Or even, Help, I hate her so much, and one of my parents is dying – or will never die. Unfortunately, we haven’t even gotten to the big-ticket items yet: cancer, financial ruin, lost children, incontinence.”

On any given day, our prayers for help cover a lot of ground. As I sit here this morning, already I have asked God for help in at least a dozen situations pertaining to my life and those I love. And I believe He hears our cries for help! But here’s the rub…

God answers our prayers. Yup, that’s the rub.

God answers our prayers, but instead of zapping us with holy help in a cloud of fire and mystery and miracle, the help that comes from the Lord almost always comes through people. This messes with those of us whose pride and privacy issues serve to keep others at arm’s length.

We post no trespassing signs around our lives and pray that God would help us with our needs… And then we wonder what’s taking Him so long.

What’s wrong with this picture? Today some of us need to Want What We’ve Got – which may very well be a need for help. Until we are willing to receive God’s help through people, or to be God’s help to people, we won’t be positioned to receive the answers to our prayers that God is eager and ready to give.

Daily Questions: Have you been crying Help and then waiting for lightning to strike? How might God be trying to answer your prayers through the people around you? Are you willing to let your need be known so that God can rally His troops? If you are equipped to be the answer to someone’s prayers, are you paying attention to the needs of those around you? Will you act to meet those needs when God calls?

Want What You’ve Got! (pisa)

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have an awesome photograph of our daughter standing in front of the Tower of Pisa. You may know it as the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Standing beside her European tour guide (our family’s former exchange student), our daughter is clearly pleased to be there, posing in front of one of the world’s most recognized structures. Famous because of its failure to stand upright as a building should. Recognized because of its structural malfunction.

Even before its completion, the Tower of Pisa leaned. The ground on one side of the Tower was too soft to hold the structure level, causing it to sink. As the upper floors were constructed, engineers tried to offset the tilt by making one side taller than the other and as a result, the Tower is actually curved.

In recent years a massive reconstruction effort took place in order to save the Leaning Tower from the gravity of its fate. Tons of lead counterweights were added to its base to keep the walls from eventually tumbling down, but because of the obvious tourist attraction, it was determined that any fix could not alter the angle of the lean – only keep it from continuing to tilt. Having been deemed stable in 2008 (for at least another 200 years), the Tower still leans at an angle of 3.97 degrees.

I’m willing to bet that back in 1173, the Tower’s architects didn’t intend for their monument to lean. They started with a plan, just like modern day builders do, but were met with unexpected conditions and unanticipated complications once the work had begun.

They had choices at every turn. They could have stopped the project or changed locations to an area of stable ground. They could have altered the design and made the building wider or shorter than originally planned. With every choice, their creation acquired character and substance, ultimately making it into the architectural wonder that it is today.

There had to be some for whom the Pisa debacle was both a disappointment and an embarrassment. Others who were further removed from the construction itself may very well have gotten a chuckle out of watching the fancy new building begin to lean. The Tower team was likely the butt of many jokes in surrounding communities – you can imagine how that must have played out.

In all likelihood, the builders and owners of the Tower of Pisa did not Want What They Got when they realized that they had built their house on sand. Little did they know that hundreds of years later, tourists from around the globe would be lining up with toothy grins for snapshots in front of their project-gone-south.

Some of us rolled out of bed today feeling like the butt of someone’s thoughtless joke because what we’ve been working so hard to build is beginning – ever so slightly – to lean.

Some of us are the architects of amazing and wonderful ideas and plans that seem to take on a failed life of their own every time we roll up our sleeves and go to work.

Some of us honestly don’t Want What We’ve Got because what we had pictured in our heads isn’t even close to what’s playing out in front of our eyes.

We’re disappointed. We’re embarrassed. We’re malfunctioning. We’ve failed.

From where we are standing, everything we’ve ever dreamed of is leaning 3.97 degrees off-center and the best we can do is throw some lead on the other side in an attempt to keep the whole thing from crashing to the ground. If we didn’t know better, we would be people without hope, blind and bitter about our inability to predict whether the work of our hands will stand or fall or lean…

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16 (KJV)

The good news is that while we cannot see what happens next, God can! Where there is uncertainty, God will navigate! Where there is darkness and confusion, God will illuminate! Where things are crooked and leaning, God will set them straight! Where there is hopelessness, God will not forsake!

Who’s to say that your current structural failure cannot be redeemed? Just look at the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Want What You’ve Got!

Daily Questions: Where has your life failed to live up to your plans? Are there adjustments required? Can you finish this job on your own, or do you need to call in a team of experts to help you finish well? Have you considered that God may have His own plan for the work of your hands? Are you willing to let Him decide whether to right the tower or make a monument out of your mistakes?

Want What You’ve Got! (papasan)

papasanI have wanted a papasan chair for as long as I can remember. It sounds silly (maybe shallow) – I know. I have a house full of chairs and couches and cushions, but there is just something irresistibly inviting about a papasan seat.

I’ve always been able to dismiss the thought of purchasing a papasan by simply looking at the price tag. While not costly in the world of furniture, I just haven’t been able to justify the buy. After all, this would be my chair! And isn’t it ridiculous for an adult to buy a chair that she has no intention of sharing?

Weeks ago I nearly tripped over a papasan frame while second-hand shopping. This particular store doesn’t tag their items, but when I was given the opportunity to buy it for $10, I simply couldn’t resist. I took my prize home and hung it in the garage until I could earn enough points on my credit card for a soft, cuddly cushion from Pier I. Almost two months after squeezing the generous frame into my little car, I sat down in my very own papasan chair for the very first time.

I don’t sit down much. With work commitments and family activities and church functions and errands to run, it’s extremely rare for me to stop moving long enough to sit during the day. But the first time that I sat in my papasan chair, which is tucked into the limited space between my bed and my bookshelf, I covered up with a scandalously soft blanket given to me by a friend and I closed my eyes. And fell asleep.

Do you have a place where you can go to simply rest ?

As ridiculous as it sounds, when I sit in just about any other chair in my house, I am unable to rest. I see the piles of laundry to be washed and folded. I see the books I should be reading for the groups I’m leading this week. I see the computer where dozens of emails wait to be read and responded to. Rarely am I able to sit for more than a few minutes before my to-do list trumps my need for silence, and reflection turns into production once again.

Each time I take a break from my driven, scheduled way of life to sit quietly in my chair, I can’t help but Want What I’ve Got.

Would you believe that Jesus advised His followers to find their own papasan chairs?

Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (Matthew 6:6 The Message)

When I sit still in my papasan chair, bringing only myself (and my blankie) before God, shift happens. Some days it takes longer than others, but eventually my self-centered thoughts are replaced by the comforting presence of the One whose grace I most desperately need and whose gifts I am most thankful for.

Today, why not curl up somewhere cozy and be your quirky self in the presence of God? Make Him your focus so that grace may abound!

Daily Questions: Look around your house today – is there a place where you can minimize distractions and take time out to be still as you get to know God? What would it take for shift to happen for you? Want the space you’ve got by redeeming a nook or a cranny! Some folks I know have a Grace-Space in their homes where family members can go and not be interrupted – a chair or a corner where a Bible or a blanket or a candle are kept for use in quiet moments of reflection and prayer.

Want What You’ve Got! (antidisestablishmentarianism)

Photo of Texas Instruments Speak & Spell toy, ...My brother was very young when he mastered the Speak & Spell.

I don’t mean that he learned how to use it… I mean that he knew how to spell every word the red box could pronounce. In search of a challenge, at a ridiculously tender age, he moved on to the longest word in the English dictionary: antidisestablishmentarianism.

My little brother was the recipient of many an astonished expression from my teenage friends as he nonchalantly rattled off the spelling of this word that most of us had never even heard used in a sentence. Was his interest in spelling an attention-getter? Yes. But it wasn’t only that. Today my little brother is among the most brilliant computer-minds that I know. What began as a quirky childhood thing was actually a foreshadowing of the unique and talented man he has become.

I have a friend at church who suffered a severe brain injury at age twelve. Now in her thirties, this lively sister in Christ is active in our church family and around the community we live in. Always equipped with a joke to tell, my friend’s pre-teen sense of humor has become her MO and people look forward to a dose of her quirky perspective as expressed through her fun and often mischievous way with words.

Many of us have, during a season of our lives, been known for something in our personality or interests that seems unusual to others.

In high school, my friends called me McBrita (because of my love for Egg McMuffins and the fact that I often made the one-block trek to the Golden Arches between morning classes).

Guys at the gym regularly stop my husband to ask about his leg routine as they suffer calf-envy over his genetically gifted limbs.

A little guy that I know brings his service folder home every Sunday so that during the week he can use a dictionary to look up the words he doesn’t know yet.

A friend of mine prays out loud as she walks between her home and the grocery store (after receiving a few strange looks, she has found that holding a cell phone to her ear serves as prayer-camouflage when needed).

Sometimes our unusual tendencies and talents bring welcome attention.

Sometimes the unwanted attention we receive because of our novelty makes us want to crawl into a dark corner and refuse to come out until July.

The things about us that seem abnormal to the world can cause us to feel so different from others that we respond by trying to squish the clay of our lives into the status quo molds of our culture so that we can fit in. So that we won’t draw attention. So that we can just look like and live like everyone else.

Paul talks about this tendency in Romans chapter 12:2-3 (ERV):

“Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you… You must see yourself just as you are.”

It takes courage for us to see ourselves just as we are, but until we are willing to do just that, understanding and acceptance will always be out of reach.

Today, let’s stop trying to make our bodies and minds and ideas and interests look like those of the people around us. When it comes to our own peculiarities and penchants, there has never been a better time to Want What We’ve Got!

Daily Questions: In what ways do you see yourself as quirky? Do your peculiarities draw the attention of others (or are you flying beneath the radar most of the time)? How might God be using – or planning to use – your unique self in His work in this world? Are you willing to embrace your inner geek and let your true colors transform you from template-made to Spirit-crafted?

Want What You’ve Got! (weekend)

Messy RoomFloor.

I’m pretty sure that my son’s room has one, its just that I can’t remember what it looks like (it’s been so long since I’ve seen it).

Guess what he’s going to be doing this weekend?!

Looking around at the piles of clothing, books, sporting goods and teenage-toys strewn across his alleged floorboards, it’s pretty clear to me that our children are doing everything they can to get what they want in this permissive society we live in… and they’re learning from the masters. We are intentional about teaching our kids to use their manners, show respect for others and to do their best in school (aren’t we?), yet we continue to add to the illusion that more is more and enough is actually a four-letter word. We do this – I do this – by example.

Maybe your room is clean and you won’t need to spend most of Saturday and a few hours on Sunday to unearth your bed (actually, that’s not a problem for my son – his loft bed is the only thing you can see right now – only getting to the stairs requires tornado insurance), but maybe there are closets or shelves or piles in your home that are sending confusing messages to those who live with you or will visit you this weekend.

Look around your home today – do you Want What You’ve Got? On this third weekend of our Lenten adventure, we’re beginning to realize that there is always another angle to consider when it comes to faithful living. It’s not all about me for the believer in Jesus who longs for God’s Kingdom Come!

“We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.” (1 Corinthians 10:24 MSG)

If this is true, then our example is foremost in showing others a better way to live. Our kids (spouses, parents, grandchildren) won’t necessarily Want What They’ve Got unless we do. This weekend, let’s take action! Let’s show them how.

Daily Questions: Where does your excess show up around your home? Do others see it? Start with the areas that are most obvious to others and ask yourself what messages you are sending through your stuff. Is there something you need to do in an effort to help others live well, by your example? Maybe it’s been a long time since someone told you to clean your room?

 

Want What You’ve Got! (drama)

red stage curtains

I have this friend on Facebook.

Actually, she’s the friend of a friend and we’ve met only once in real life. I can count on one hand the number of times I have visited her page (and it’s entirely likely that she would say the same about mine), but her status posts to my newsfeed, so I see her there when I log in at night.

And every night it’s basically the same post: Good Night! (or) Sleep Well! (or) something to that effect.

Now, this has begun to drive me nuts. Seriously! If this is the extent of what you have to say, do you really have to use social media to say it? This is what runs through my head – unedited – each time I scroll past the nighty-night post. Where are the stories? Where is the action? Where is the interesting or engaging or heart-wrenching stuff?

I’m beginning to see that what I want from my Facebook community isn’t connections or reunions or cyber-friendships… it’s drama.

On a typical weekend night you will find me tuned in to Netflix with my family. Having opted out of television subscriptions, Netflix allows us to watch an episode of whatever suits our fancy sans commercial interruptions. But lately the things we’ve been watching have been getting under my skin. The violence and sarcasm and disregard for the good of others that permeates pop culture is mirrored so clearly in what we watch for entertainment that lately I’ve been sickened by my own attentiveness to it.

It appears that the world is addicted to drama and I am not immune.

In the spirit of Want What You’ve Got, it’s true that we all have drama. Even in the quietest seasons of life we have family members, neighbors and co-workers whose real-life situations play out like a made-for-tv movie. At any moment on any average day we find ourselves cast in a variety of sit-coms and dramas (maybe even a bit of sci-fi action), because the world we live in looks more and more like the world of entertainment we have chosen to subscribe to.

Don’t you, on most days, look forward to collapsing on the comfy couch at home, leaving the drama of your life and friends and family behind (at least for the night)? Yet what do we do from that comfy seat after putting the day behind us? We grab the remote. Or the iPad. Or the controller.

As one drama junkie to another, we have got to stop tuning out reality and turning on our device-of-choice. Whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or PlayStation or the daily news, all we are doing by tuning in is trading one drama for another – the real one in which we actually play a role for the vicarious or imaginary one where we can identify with the characters or not because when we’ve had our fill, we can simply shut it off.

You may not want the real-life drama you’ve got, but it’s yours. Yours to affect. Yours to minimize. Yours to transform into stories that can motivate and instigate and inspire. If we don’t Want What We’ve Got when it comes to the details of our own lives, we have to ask ourselves why we mindlessly seek someone else’s drama, too. By turning on the nightly news or camping on YouTube or staying up late to watch another episode (because we just have to see what happens next), what if we are squandering our opportunity to actually live life in lieu of watching someone else live theirs?

Our world is crazy and scary and full of stories (real and fictitious) that capture our attention and threaten to consume our best energy for living. We as a society are so wired-in to the constant newsfeed (and drama-roll) that it’s no wonder so many people are so afraid of so many things.

This insatiable need for drama is addressed by Jesus in Matthew 6:34b (and for some reason the King James Version keeps replaying in my head):

“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

What if we say it like this…

My drama is enough for today.

There is enough action, dialogue, tension, plot and character development in my day to satisfy my inner drama-junkie! Today I choose to Want What I’ve Got – simply because it’s mine.

Daily Questions: What stories are being told by your life today? What kinds of drama do you typically choose for entertainment? How might your life tell a better story by your choice to live it (rather than avoid it)?

Want What You’ve Got! (earplugs)

Individual silicone earplug worn at ear with E...Each spring, as women gather for an annual retreat at a local camp, we prepare a packet of pillow treats. This year’s version was a small blue box which contained a chocolate mint and a pair of earplugs.

Sleeping in a room with others whose sleep habits are different from our own can range from unsettling to nerve wracking to disturbing, and yet most of these women find that it’s worth the disruption every time – to be able to experience God’s presence there in a way that they simply aren’t able to on their own. A pair of soft, foamy earplugs can ease the intrusion of night-sounds from others and can enable us to rest in communityeven if everything about that community isn’t ideal.

Earplugs act as a buffer between our senses and the noises made by those we do life with, making it possible to live with the distractions around us.

My family attended a concert last fall in the gymnasium of a small local college. The headliners were the real draw, but the warm-up band was one we were also eager to hear (a new band formed from a long-time favorite group, recently separated). We had an opportunity to sit in the second row from the stage, so we took it! This was the new band’s very first concert and we weren’t going to miss out! But as the music began to rattle the metal rafters of the drafty old gym, my ears began to pop. Then hurt. Then sting. We stuck it out for a couple of songs but ended up moving all the way to the back wall of the room to protect our ears, albeit too little, too late. The damage was done and my ears hurt for days afterward. Earplugs would have been a good idea.

Earplugs protect our hearing and minimize the damage caused by poorly mixed sound and the sometimes ridiculously loud-living of others.

It can be excruciatingly difficult to Want What You’ve Got while lying sleepless next to someone who is snoring the night away. It can be painful to Want What You’ve Got when what sounded like a great idea ends up sounding like something that no human ear ought to be called upon to endure. And it can be awfully hard to Want What You’ve Got when the words and choices and actions of those around you blast loudly through your own efforts to live a peaceful, well-ordered life – and yet, here we are. All in this together.

Earplugs offer a subtle, unseen way for us to be proactive in creating harmony in a dissonant world (unless you go for the hot pink or neon orange variations).

Earplugs can create space in our jam-packed living conditions so that we can think and rest and move about without alienating those closest to us whose habits and volume threaten to create discord.

James 3:17-18 says it this way:

“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” (The Message)

If you’re finding it difficult to Want What You’ve Got while living with (and sleeping with) some intensely distracting sounds, remember this…

If you have to wear earplugs in order to sleep at night, you are in relationship! You are not alone! Healthy, robust connections with others aren’t accidental – they only happen when we do the hard work of getting along and treating each other with dignity and respect (and by choosing to quietly put the earplugs in place, as needed).

Daily Questions: What are the life-noises that tend to drive you crazy (think actual noise as well as felt noise – like people’s opinions, attitudes, actions, etc.)? What or who is the source of this noise? Is enduring this noise necessary in order to keep relationships/community intact? If yes, what might your ‘earplugs’ look like? What gentle, subtle choices can you make to buffer against the loudness around you? If no, maybe it’s time to cut some cords or turn down the volume on some of your personal live-feeds in order to Want What You’ve Got.

Want What You’ve Got! (wannabe)

Hand in handI remember sitting on the big, comfy chair in our family room as I filled out forms that evening. It’s been several years since that night – I can’t actually recall what the forms were for – but I have a crystal clear memory of reaching the space on the page that asked for employment information.

A very small line was provided for my answer to the prompt: Job Title.

Now, perhaps it will help you to know that mine has been a fairly circuitous path where career is concerned. An education degree, selected largely due to an anticipated teacher shortage (you know – job security), spit me out of college into a market flooded with aspiring educators who had been fed the same misinformation. After several long and painful years of subbing and interviewing and tearing up rejection letters, I landed at the YMCA via a few strange and interesting work-experiments in my young adult years.

The seven years I spent with the Y were fruitful (mostly for the Y, somewhat for me) and I left exhausted but enthused about a new career path: stay-at-home-mom. This lasted a few short years (serious kudos to moms who make home and family their career – toughest job ever!) after which I went to work part-time in our local church.

This is where it gets squirrely. Church-work may come with a title, but it’s rarely descriptive of what you actually do there. Having spent the past 14 years on this career adventure, I can tell you that there are days when even I couldn’t tell you what my job is – let alone sum it up on a line as short as the one provided on the form in my lap that night.

So, I did what most of you would do. I asked my family for help.

Big mistake.

There was some legitimate brainstorming at first, but things went downhill quickly. I can’t recall any of the job titles suggested by my kids except the one that finally stuck (and is still firmly attached to me today): Wannabe Pastor.

I’m pretty sure that is not what I wrote on the form that night, but these words have taken me on quite a journey in my head through the years – a journey of Wanting What I’ve Got in light of what I don’t have…

A seminary degree. A cool, pastory title beside my name. An office. A collar (though I did find out that anyone can buy these through church supply catalogs – I don’t think they actually require your credentials at check-out). A stamp of approval on my ministry from a sanctioned institute of higher religious education (is that redundant?).

But every single day since my “true” job title was coined, I pay attention to the work I’ve been doing all along. I look intently into the eyes of the women in my small groups. I hand Kleenex to church members who sometimes have no words for what’s breaking their hearts. I get kisses laced with dinner from children every week and hold hands with teenagers who may not actually have washed their hands since they took their last shower. I pray with families. I eat a lot of crockpot meals around crowded tables. And I love on people. A lot. Because that’s what Wannabe Pastors do.

What I’ve got is a career that was tailor-made for me. It didn’t come with a job description (I actually write those myself). It didn’t provide me with a Rev. or Dr. to dress up my signature. But I Want What I’ve Got as a Wannabe Pastor because, at least for today, this is where God can use me.

This is a call-out to all of the Wannabe Rock Stars, Poets, Photographers, Athletes, Counselors, Doctors and Pastors of the world…

You are the best Wannabe for the job! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s more than okay to Want What You’ve Got whether it came with an awesome title or not (of course you can always go for the title, too).

You can Wannabe anything you wanna be! (Can I get an Amen?)

Daily Questions: What would you say your “true” job title is today? How does what you do at work connect with who you are becoming? Would taking on a Wannabe job title change the way you look at what you do for a living (or perhaps help you to Want What You’ve Got)? Does thinking about your life like this cause you to ask questions about your job? Your commitments? Your future plans? Go ahead – ask them!