So I married this guy 13 years ago. He’s great. Super cute. Spontaneous. Would give me the world on a platter if I wanted it. Bend over backwards to help me succeed. Knight in shining armor…all that kind of stuff.
And he’s a visionary. A big one.
All of those people who are married to visionaries don’t need me to expound on that point at all. They get all the inner workings on what that entails. Those people who are NOT married to visionaries will need me to explain.
Visionaries see all things in big pictures. They see end products. They see huge and elaborate and great. They see things through a glass-half-full lens…not only is it half full, but the part that is empty is clean and sparkly and just begging for something to be poured into it! Visionaries are created to soar. They are not created to sit on the sidelines and cheer. They are created to be in the game. To lead the game.
Now let’s talk about the kind of person a visionary often chooses to marry (at least in this scenario.) In this house the visionary chose to marry a tall, smart-ish (until she had children and all her brain cells left), down-to-Earth, attention to ALL the details, slightly OCD, control freak. She tends to see the glass as half empty and the part that is empty is dirty and needs to be cleaned (because DARN IT! who didn’t clean the glass after they drank out of it? And who wore red lipstick when they chose to drink out of the glass?!? Lipstick is impossible to get off of anything! Exasperated sigh.) She sees things in details. All the many, many details. She doesn’t see end products until they are crossed off of her to do list. She sees things in small steps and organized plans, and with four children, any extra plans are O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-I-N-G!
And so they make a slightly awkward couple. But they love each other to the moon and that’s all that matters. God put them together and no man (or woman…watch it, Ladies!) will tear them apart. So they learn to adjust to each other’s half full/empty glasses.
So in this marriage, through all the years of ministry, I have held a very special job, a responsibility that I have taken great pride in. I have been the honorary Caution Flag Waver. I have a uniform. It’s conservative: khaki pants, a polo shirt, a little flag waver vest. Prim, proper and completely organized. I imagine myself standing on the sidelines, stepping out whenever necessary to hold up my bright yellow caution flags and slow Mr. Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-His-Pants the heck down. Sometimes my flags are acknowledged and I feel completely justified in my flag wavingness (this is followed by a pat on my own back and a gold star) and other times they are ignored (this is followed by a stomp of my foot and a demand that the flags be seen next time. The stupid things are as bright as a highlighter!! How on Earth can you miss them?) Over the course of 13 years I have learned to be more selective about when I bring my flags out. They need to be seen, so if they are waving 99% of the time, they will get overlooked. I have to be wise and discerning about when to step out with them, and then they are noticed because they aren’t an everyday fixture in his peripheral.
About 9 months ago God so graciously allowed me to tag along with Husband on the Vision Plane. God let me in on the BIG plans and the BIG visions He has called us to in ministry and I’m so thankful. It’s like He took us on a little trip and the caution flags were not allowed to board the plane. They didn’t make it through the security check…after all they could poke an eye out…or more seriously, contain an explosive device! So the flags had to stay down on Earth while God let our minds sore into space with possibility and what should be in this ministry. Well upon returning from our little trip, I forgot to pick my caution flags back up at the little office that they were being held in at the airport. And I thought, It’s ok. I can do without them. I know where to find them if I ever need them.
And then 9 months passed and all Hell broke loose (literally) over our ministry. And I marched myself right back into that airport and demanded that I be given my caution flags back. I thanked the kind lady who had stored them for me and promptly went home and pulled my flag waver vest out of the closet. Why? Because through all the Hell, Mr. Visionary has been released to do what God has called us to do. For real. And that involves some serious soaring. And what do you need when you have large pieces of machinery about to erupt and soar into space? You need a caution flag waver. By all means.
So my flags have been B-U-S-Y! I have been waving them left. I have been waving them right. I have been doing cartwheels with them. I have learned acrobatics and joined a circus so that my caution flags can be seen. And every once in a great while, I tuck them away and let Mr. Visionary sore a bit (but not too far…let’s don’t get crazy!) But a couple of days ago, my flags were fighting to make an appearance (AGAIN!) and I knew that they needed to stay tucked away, so I decided to take a little drive, caution flags in tow, and have a chat with the Man Upstairs who keeps imparting all these big plans to my husband.
On said drive, I started my list of all the details and reasons why these plans needed to proceed with caution and why my flags were so necessary to get that done. He let me have my tantrum. He sat back and watched until I was done. And then the conversation when something like this:
Jesus: “What are you afraid of?”
Me: “I’m afraid to fail again. I can’t handle more failure. I can’t sit back and watch if this thing you have called us to is a flop! I CAN’T TAKE IT!”
Jesus: “You can’t take it? Or your pride can’t take it?”
Jesus: “Because you have me. So YOU can handle failure if it comes. Your PRIDE, however, may need to die because you’re right. You’re pride can’t take it.”
Jesus: “I love you. But you’re going to need to set those caution flags down. You’re going to have to leave them behind if you are to sore where I’ve called you both to go.”
Me: “But if I don’t hold those flags who on Earth will wave them when he is going too fast or too far? This is my position! This is what I do in the marriage-ministry dynamic!!! It’s my JOB! I am the FLAG WAVER!!! What will I do if you make me leave my flags behind?!?!”
Jesus: “You haven’t been his only caution flag waver. You have simply been the most noticeable. There have always been caution flag wavers. So many of them. The ministry you just transitioned from was FULL of caution flag wavers. He doesn’t need another caution flag waver to go where I want him to go. I need you to be his cheerleader. You won’t be the only one. You will simply be the most noticeable.”
Me: “You want me to be a cheerleader? I don’t even have PomPoms!”
Jesus: “You can trade your flags in for PomPoms. Be his cheerleader. Cheer him on. Loudly.”
If Jesus wanted to choose one way, and only one way, to K-I-L-L my giant, enormous, elephant-sized pride, it is to ask me to be a cheerleader. For the love of peppy. I struggle with peppy. Peppy tends to be glass-half-full kind of stuff. There is red lipstick involved. I don’t do glasses and red lipstick!!
So here I am. I am willing. I will sign my rights away to my flags and allow the Holy Spirit to take full guardianship over them. He’s the only one Mr. Visionary should be listening to anyway. And I’m so eternally grateful that he does. He has a keen ear and a good heart. He is willing to be shaped and molded by the Holy Spirit. And he has the faith to soar. I have no doubt about that. I will also let the same Holy Spirit take ownership of my pride, although it may be a daily relinquishment. I’m not even beginning to say it will be easy. It is simply what is right. For me. For us.
So I will board this plane. Pom Poms in tow…they can’t put an eye out…and they’re too happy for explosive devices. I will cheer. I will encourage. I will pray. And I will learn to use my cartwheels and acrobatics for different purposes. But I will NOT wear a mini skirt. There is only so much I can take.