"You're a tender hearted bean" she said in her thick New York accent. Living on opposites coasts of the U.S., I only saw my Aunt Evelyn a handful of times in my life, but she made quite an impression. Being raised in a church where smoking was taboo, she was the first person, that I knew personally, I ever saw smoke a cigarette. At ages 6 and 4, my little brother and I "smoked" stick pretzels for weeks afterwards. She introduced me to the taste of true New York style pizza...delish! And she said those words that I've never forgotten. I have no idea what tender hearted and beans have to do with one another, but I got her point. I'm sensitive.
The world is not always a fun or safe place for us tender hearted bean types. Being in church leadership can be especially vulnerable. Many, many times I have felt like the wrong personality for life in this cruel world, especially in this "line of work". I need to be tougher, less vulnerable, more thick skinned. I need to be more guarded, less open hearted, less trusting. So, I try, try to be more, try to be less...but just as surely as my slightly quirky sense of humor, is sure to come out sooner or later, my T.H.B., (you do get the initials, right?), side comes popping out too. I question, question that T.H.B. part of myself, the part that weeps too easy, opens up too readily, feels too deeply. Life would be easier if I wasn't so...so me!
But this IS me, and so here I am facing 36 ladies this weekend at our retreat. Half of them, due to our recent church merge, are fairly new to me. But out it comes, the minute I start to share, teary eyed T.H.B. all exposed and vulnerable. Thirty six ladies look back at me. I know that God's anointing is only on the real me, not some facade of who I wish I was. Those 36 ladies deserve God's anointing. And so I trust, trust that God can and will, use and also guard and protect, my tender heart.