Leaning in…and leaning back

When Zachary was a mere six weeks old I found myself sitting in an over air-conditioned hotel meeting room for a work conference.   I was trying SO HARD to care about whatever ministry strategy was on the table. But you know, my milk supply was all over the place (quite literally, sorry for that TMI), I was still recovering from some issues with my c-section and of course I was exhausted and most of all longing to be cuddling my sweet newborn who was at that time being attended to a few floors up in the childcare center.

Several months later I found myself facilitating a meeting with a bunch of college-aged leaders, with that same baby boy fighting sleep in the other room in a pack and play.  I was 4 months into sleep deprivation, a hormonal wreck, and having to excuse myself to go cry in the bathroom, then wipe my eyes and return to lead a bible study.


It was a hard season of life.

But honestly, a lot of the time I was okay with how hard it was. Really!  I loved what I was doing, my husband and I were working together at home and on campus and sometimes ‘hard’ means that you are doing things right.  Actually, I am a firm believer in life being hard, specifically the Christian Life.  All that love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control business can sound so sweet and fluffy and…easy.

Every Christian who has been around the block a few times is now rolling on the floor laughing at such a ludicrous idea.

A life of following Jesus can involve grueling works of death and obedience and submission, being pruned and disciplined and refined by fire.  The Kingdom of God is glorious, but giving up self, giving up comfort, giving up rights, giving up idols can be downright painful.

So when life suddenly involved some frazzled meetings and bathroom cry sessions and sneaking out early to nurse a newborn and master juggling – on a certain level I simply embraced it full on.

But then, one day, I just couldn’t any more.  So I quit.  I drew back.  Peace out!  I’m stayin’ home with my babies!

I like to think that my adulthood has been an exciting and ever-changing journey as my passions have grown, spiritual gifts have been revealed, babies have been born and our family needs have changed.  I have taught Spanish in person to college students and middle school students, as well as on-line.  I have done vocational ministry and volunteer ministry and no ministry.  Every year that Jon and I have been married has looked different for me – and I have loved it.

I recently read devoured Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In:  Women, Work and the Will to Lead.

If Sandberg’s term for showing up, embracing, leading and working as a woman is “Leaning in”, then I am most definitely in a season of  “Leaning back”.  Waaaayyy Back.

I found myself alternately nodding vigorously in unified agreement with this amazing COO of Facebook, and pushing back on some of her ideas and premises – and woven through it all were my own experiences as a woman who feels strongly about her purposes in the world along with my own theology (Lean In is most definitely a secular book).

So, because I seem to have ALL THE THOUGHTS about the content of this book I have decided to do a chapter by chapter review here on the ol’ blog based on my own stories, experiences and view of God, women and work.  This is also a way for me to Lean In during this season of Leaning Back – life is not so cut and dry, is it?!  I’d like to develop my writing and I have wanted to try doing a series to force some commitment and discipline in on my part 😉

If you have read Lean In (or would like to) or simply want to follow along, I would love to hear your thoughts (regardless of your gender or religious beliefs)!

Chapter One asks the question “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”.  The immediate image that comes to my mind is Pandora’s Box being opened in my heart – this should be interesting!


4 thoughts on “Leaning in…and leaning back

  1. Tarah

    If I wasn’t afraid, I would commit to regularly attending a boulder writers workshop and write a novel in the company of other writers like I’ve always dreamed.


    1. Kirsten

      Do it Tarah! I haven’t fully developed my thoughts yet on this, because not only is it scary to take risks in life, but it also feels scary to admit out loud what my dreams are! We’ll see what I fess up to in my next blog post 😉


  2. Pingback: Lean In Chapter Three, Success and Likeability | The Kirsten Tree

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