November 21, 2007
Rolls versus Roles
“You have many workmen: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as men skilled in every kind of work in gold and silver, bronze and iron - craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.” 1 Chronicles 22:15-16 (NIV)
Consider these why questions of the holidays:
Why do women usually mail invitations or the RSVPs to parties?
Why do dads usually put together the multi-million piece toys?
Why do men usually string the lights on the Christmas tree or house?
Why do women usually determine the dinner menus?
We perform most such why’s because they need to be handled by the most competent person. Some why’s are done because they are roles we want to assume, because the tasks come naturally to us. Other ones we perform because of expectations from others. Or perhaps, we just do them out of habit. Or worse, we do them to impress others with our ability to do everything!
I find this need to impress others especially prevalent in myself during the holidays. I want to be considered by family and friends to be the superhero holiday hostess. The Thanksgiving table needs turkey and ham. Buttered rolls, green bean casserole, potatoes, and homemade gravy are arrayed on a linen tablecloth. Then pecan, pumpkin, and apple pies with a dollop of homemade whip cream must follow. That’s only Thanksgiving, but it will give you a preview of my “Christmas superwoman complex.”
However, last month I discovered something very interesting. My husband is a great cook. He has hidden this talent away for twenty-three years. It wasn’t his role. But, the secret is out. From scratch, he baked a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. The cake could have won an award at the local state fair. At first, I was shocked—pleasantly. As I devoured my portion of the tasty dessert, I began to think about the upcoming Thanksgiving menu. “Maybe he could make a carrot cake instead of one of the pies. Perhaps, he could create a new vegetable casserole. He just might be able to roast the turkey. I could carve it! Well, maybe not. But I do think I will attempt to switch one or two of our family’s holiday cooking roles.”
Honestly, it might be fun to start a new tradition. We could share kitchen tasks and teach each other our “specialized skills.” I need to learn to release a few of the holiday traditions to others who are just as capable as I am at creating a delightful dinner. For beginners, we’ll have carrot cake instead of pecan pie. And, I think my husband can take over the dinner rolls, too. We will try on a couple of role/roll reversals for this year’s festivities.
However, I will send out the party RSVPs. Why? I guess because it’s always been my role and it needs to be done.
Dear Lord, reveal to me the roles that I tend to control because of my own perfectionist tendencies or other’s expectations. Teach me to release some of the control I hold in our family’s holiday traditions. Teach me to share the work, the time, and the joy. Help us as a family to work together and enjoy each other’s company. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Perplexing Proverbs by Susanne Scheppmann
The Bathtub is Overflowing But I Feel Drained: Defeating Mommy Stress by Lysa TerKeurst
Women Who Do Too Much by Patricia Sprinkle
Ask your friends and family what new “role” they would like to try during the holiday season. Allow them the privilege of sharing in the traditions. Remind yourself to assume the role of an encourager. Don’t allow yourself to nitpick about the results of someone else’s effort.
What role do I always assume in the family festivities?
Do I aspire to the role of superhero holiday hostess?
Am I willing to let others share their talents in my holiday traditions?
Deuteronomy 16:15, “For seven days celebrate the Feast to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.” (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 10:15, “A fool's work wearies him; he does not know the way to town.” (NIV)
Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105