Sunday mornings in our house are rushed. Chad goes to the church hours before the rest of us do, and getting myself and three kids ready almost always proves to be a challenge.
But, we make it, and most of the time with minimal yelling/nagging/panicking. (Ok, maybe a little bit sometimes.)
One thing that has been glorious about Adelade and Sawyer getting older is that they can dress themselves. Can I get a hallelujah from the moms out there? It is such an incredible miracle when kids start getting themselves dressed.
This morning I got the kids’ clothes ready for them and instructed them to brush their teeth and get dressed. A few minutes later, Adelade came into my bathroom where I was fixing my hair and said, These leggings are so tight! I can’t even breathe in these things! I had grabbed the leggings off the top of the dryer, where all our clothes’ dreams of being put nicely in drawers go to die. I glanced at her and told her that they were the same knee-length leggings she had worn last Sunday under a different dress. Well, they shrunk or something! she insisted. I told her they would stretch out.
And, only ten minutes late for Sunday school, we left the house in a whirlwind of hairspray and freshly washed faces. Adelade had stopped complaining about her tight leggings, Sawyer’s hair was perfectly coiffed, and Emerald’s “princess dress” was so big I could barely get her carseat buckled. All good signs that we were ready for church.
Tonight I started looking for the little black knit pants that I often put on Emerald at bedtime. I knew that I had seen them on top of the dryer, but now they were gone. I suddenly had a flashback to the tiny leggings that Adelade had worn this morning. I dug through the hamper until I found them. Yep, size 3T, stretched to the hilt. Poor Adelade had endured toddler sized pants on her fifth grade frame for several hours’ worth of church! Her dear mother had assured her that the pants actually fit, but Adelade knew better. She could feel the squeeze of pants that were all wrong for her, even though I kept insisting that she was wearing the right thing.
Maybe something similar is happening to you in life. I don’t mean that you accidentally put on a three year old’s clothes. But, maybe you have taken on some role that you know doesn’t really fit. I think this happens a lot in church. We don’t want to say no. We don’t want to seem like we’re not team players. We hate the thought of any job going undone. So, we step up. We fill in the gaps, and before we know it, about 30 of us are doing every job there is to do. And, there is certainly something to be said for stepping into roles that scare us a little bit. Or that challenge us. We should do that regularly. But, there is also something special and good about saying, No, that doesn’t fit right. But, this does.
I’m in no way trying to give us permission to say, Oh, that’s not my gift. I’d better not do that. The truth is that most jobs in the church can and should be filled with people of all different giftings. But, there are those times when we have taken something on that we know isn’t working. And, in those instances, let me be the first to say it, sweet Christian overachievers: it’s okay to say so. It’s okay to step back and leave that spot for someone else who maybe needs just that kind of role in order to feel like they are a vital part of the body. Because, you see, when you step out of a role that doesn’t fit you very well, then you are opening up that spot for someone else who might be a better fit. And, then you are more free to pursue the types of ministry and work that is best suited to your temperament, talents, and abilities.
In the meantime, we are all called to pray, wash dishes, move tables and chairs, help the needy, minister to families, show care for our pastor, be friendly, show up for church, give, volunteer in various positions, and the list could go on and on. There is plenty of work to do that fits each and every one of us. Do what you can. And, if something is just making you lose the joy of being part of the body of Christ, you may need to just pray that God will change your outlook. You may just need to depend on Him more and allow Him to show His might through your weakness. Or you may need to admit that someone else might be a better fit. There’s nothing wrong with creating space for somebody else to try on a new role.
When Adelade found out that she had worn her sister’s pants as leggings, she laughed. I told you they were tight! she just had to point out. It’s true. She did. And, I’m not really sure if those pants will ever quite be a size 3T again. But, one thing I know: Adelade will never wear toddler pants to church again, because now she understands the difference between what fits right and what doesn’t. May we have the same discernment in our churches, and the courage to say so. But, most of all, may we be open to any and all opportunities to serve Christ and His church, trusting Him to equip us wherever we are called.