I think I jumped in too quickly. And I'm sick about it.
It’s a pitfall common to sanguines. Bless our hearts, we chose fun over reality every time.
Certainly, I’ve learned. Over the years, I’ve learned the value of restraint and patience. I credit Corey and the Holy Spirit with teaching me to think and pray about a decision before I excitedly yet blindly dive in.
But this time.... Sigh.
It all started when I saw the announcement in our church bulletin that a leader was needed on Wednesday nights for the 4th and 5th grade girls. Natalie is in 4th grade. I love that girl so much, and I miss her something fierce lately. She is always around, but with three other kids in the home – all of them needier than her – I rarely get to sit and just enjoy her. I wondered if stepping in to lead her small group wouldn’t give me some of that focused time with my daughter that I crave and help the church at the same time.
Sounds good, right? Wednesday night children’s programming is a staple in the Midwest. It’s like Sunday school only more fun. The nursery would be open for the younger kids. Connor could be in the Wednesday night program for first graders. And it would give us an out-of-the-house activity for those weeks Corey needs to travel.
So I thought about it. I talked to Corey. I prayed. I knew the potential pitfalls, but I didn’t think any of them were insurmountable.
Fun. Let’s go.
And then reality hit.
This past Wednesday was our first night. I estimated we would need to leave our house by 6:00 at the latest, in order to be checked in and in place by 6:30 when the evening’s festivities would begin. I planned an easy dinner (Trader Joe’s pumpkin waffles and homemade sausage; I love brinner) and served it at 5:30, hoping that would be early enough for us to get out the door but late enough that we would still be hungry. (Normal dinner time around here is 6:30 or even 7:00.)
Good plan. But it didn’t work. The kids weren’t hungry. My easy dinner required a lot of clean-up, which I forgot to factor into the equation. Kieran was cranky and wanted to eat. I didn’t have time to feed him and I was hot and flushed from all the rushing.
Thankfully, Corey was home last night, and he stepped in and drove us all to church (through massive rush hour traffic, something else I didn’t factor into my equation). He took Teyla to the nursery while I hustled Natalie and Connor to the Wednesday night ministry where I was supposed to be greeting my girls.
The teaching time itself was fun. The girls are sweet and funny. I didn’t have a lesson prepared, since it was opening night, but we got through OK.
And then it was 8:00, time to go home, and Corey and I gathered up our HYPER children and as soon as we hit the car, the kids started whining, “I’m hungry, Mom. Can we eat something when we get home?” Which, OK, I sympathize with the hungry, but we are already late for bedtime here, and now you want to eat a snack? I don’t think so. And Kieran, bless his little heart, screamed the whole way home because he was so exhausted and once we got out of the car, Corey had to stay on Connor every second to get him to focus on getting into bed. And Teyla was running around like a banshee and she was mad when I tried to nurse Kieran while reading her a story and in the end, it was 10:30 before Teyla and Connor fell asleep. Such was the adrenaline and the general mayhem.
When the house was finally quiet, I fell into a heap on Corey’s neck and said, “I feel HORRIBLE! Tonight was a DISASTER! Why didn’t you warn me? Why did you let my inner sanguine agree to this? Because if tonight was hard, it will be COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE the next few weeks when you are traveling. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?”
He smiled gently and listened to me freak out and suggested some possible solutions. But he agreed, this might not be the season for me to make such a commitment.
I still don’t know what to do. I hate making commitments and then backing out of them. Hate. It. And Natalie would be devastated. She is ecstatic I'm leading her group. She's talked about it every day since.
But I've also learned that doing ministry at the expense of my family doesn't work. It makes us all miserable, and at this point, I don't even think it's right. My children and my husband are my primary ministry right now. If I forsake them to do something else, can I even call it ministry?
I just wish there was a way to do it all.
So says the sanguine.