Don’t Try To Be Great
...and why this has everything to do with egg bake.
Today’s title is borrowed from a podcast by my ‘friend’ Emily P. Freeman. Though she has no awareness of my existence, I’ve given her significant space in my life. I’ve come to love her podcast, “The Next Right Thing,” with such consistency that I find it worth sharing
Her May 12th podcast hit me between the eyes. “Don’t Try to be Great,” she said, “Just be Solid”. The trouble is - we all love being great. Being sensational in our own corner of the world is fun. Mediocrity is not.
In an effort to avoid mediocrity, my own pendulum swings to the avoidance of things I’m not great at. If I can’t do it well, I figure someone else should do it. When’s the last time you signed up for something you were terrible at? Yeah… I thought so. We typically avoid those things.
So what happens when our number is pulled for something we’re not good at? Like living in the face of a global pandemic or responding to rioting cities and fighting people?
Personally, it paralyzes me.
For those of you familiar with the Enneagram personality assessment, I’m a 2w3 which is basically an action-oriented “helper” personality. If I see a need, I can’t-not help. Sacrificing life and limb for others is standard protocol for my brain. So what am I supposed to do when I have a whole state of rioting people who need to be helped and loved and understood? It’s mentally paralyzing.
Truth is, I can’t respond perfectly… and I highly doubt my response will be great.
My Facebook news feed proves that many are feeling the same way: helpless overwhelm. It’s overwhelming when our state is burning down. It’s overwhelming when people are at war. It’s overwhelming when we don’t have answers to fix it. It’s overwhelming when I love my black neighbors but no matter how I say it, I feel like I’ll be wrong.
John MacArthur recently said,
“Being a Peace Maker is not avoiding issues, it’s diving right in the middle of them”.
This statement struck my mental paralysis about current issues.
I had started to let overwhelmed feelings cause life-paralysis.
I'm sure you know the feeling.
Like when we can’t shut off the news.
Or we can't stop reading what everyone and their mother’s brother’s sister is posting.
Or when we're not mentally present with my kids because we're mentally consumed with what’s going on.
All of this FEELS like we’re doing something, but in my life, it’s just inexcusable paralysis.
If I’m paralyzed, I’m not doing anything. Does it help anyone if I can’t do anything?
This is why I love Emily’s podcast. Her famous tag line is “Do the Next Right Thing - In Love”
The truth is - I don’t have to solve the world - and neither do you.
The truth is - we CAN’T
The truth is - we all have a next right thing.
The question is - what’s yours?
In her May 12th episode, the call to be “solid” instead of “great” may cure the paralysis.
“Don’t try to be great - just be solid”, she said.
So what’s the next solid thing you can do?
Can I fix the rioting? Probably not.
Does worrying fix anything? - Nope
The words of Matthew seem so far away and quiet next to the bullhorn of news and social
media. “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your [or anyone elses’] life?”
Worry makes me feel productive and compassionate but really it just renders me ineffective.
If we’re not trying for greatness, can we at least be solid?
Can I solidly love people? Yes
Can I solidly turn off the news and teach my kids truth? Yes
Can I solidly make dinner? Yes
Can I solidly hug my kids? Yes
Can I solidly smile at my Farmer today? Yes
Can I solidly pray as much --how about more-- than I scroll on Facebook? Yes...? (IMAGINE what would happen if we prayed for the situation as much as we scrolled/watched about it!)
If you’re like me, it’s helpful to ask: what’s my next right thing?
Yours will look different than mine.
Maybe yours is entering “ground zero” with groceries and grace.
Maybe yours is donating to a helpful cause or a harmed business.
Maybe yours is shutting off the news, and laying on the floor with your kids
Maybe yours is deleting Facebook from your phone
Maybe yours is drinking water so you can show up for the people in your life
Maybe yours is mowing the lawn while you pray for the situation
Yesterday, my ‘next right thing’ looked like engaging and empathetically listening to the black truck driver in Kwik Trip. We were both getting an iced coffee. I was headed home - He was taking his on the road to Minneapolis of all places- TWICE in one day, and then on to New York. His wife is worried. He was positive. And Kind. And jolly. With a twinkle in his eyes he expressed thankfulness for a job that pays the bills. I listened. He talked. It wasn’t great. Or profound. Our conversation won’t be televised or cataloged anywhere. But it was solid. It was my next right thing.
My next, next right thing yesterday was mowing the lawn and listening to a podcast. Clearing my head to make space for purposeful mom-life. Then my next right thing was teaching my daughters. Talking to them. Shaping them. Teaching them truth. Was any of this great? Not really. But it was solid. It was my next right thing, done in love.
So what is it for you?
What if we refused to be worried, but instead set one foot in front of the other and strung our “next right things” all in a row, making a whole day of right things instead of a day of paralyzed things.
Isn’t that what we want to teach our kids anyways? I want them to grow up knowing how to be solid -- especially in the face of negative life circumstances.
So what does this have to do with egg bake? - maybe everything.
As ridiculous as it sounds, maybe our next right thing is as simple as making breakfast.
(or Breakfast for dinner?), while we teach our kids. Talk to them. Love them. Be there for them.
Our paralysis doesn’t help teach. It’s just confusing.
At the end of the day, who do you want them to be?
The scary thing is, you’re largely in charge of making that happen. The beautiful thing is - you’re largely in charge of making that happen!
So let’s DO our next right thing - in love.
Here’s mine: sharing the Farmer’s Favorite Egg Bake recipe with you.
We make this all the time and we love it.
More than the food though - we love the time around the table, asking each other questions - enjoying each other's company.
Here are three questions we ask every day at our house… Maybe you can use them to connect with whoever is around YOUR table today.
What was your high today?
What was your low today?
What was your Buffalo (Something silly that happened)
And a Bonus:
What is your next right thing?
Farmer's Favorite Egg Bake
Melt 3-4T butter in a 13x9 Baking Pan @ 350 in your oven.
1/2 -1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
½-¾ Cup Cottage Cheese
1t Lemon Pepper
A pinch of fresh Black Pepper
1/3 Cup Milk! :)
Dump the mixture into the (hot) melted butter & bake it at 350 for 25 minutes or until it is set.
Feel free to add bacon or sausage or onions if that floats your boat!