Humorist Erma Bombeck had a special hat. “It is graceful and feminine and gives me a certain dignity,” she said, “as if I were attending a state funeral or something.
“Someday, I may get up enough courage to wear it, instead of carrying it.”
It does take a certain panache to wear a hat. Singer Frank Sinatra told people to cock their hats (like Kate Middleton is doing, below), because “angles are attitudes.”
Though I don’t wear them, I’m totally fascinated by extravagant hats. I’m intrigued by the hats sported on opening day at the Del Mar racetrack in Southern California. Every year I see the “best of the best” on the news and think, “Did they really wear that?” They remind me of the sometimes-outrageous British hats at the Royal Ascot horse races.
The headgear at William and Kate’s wedding certainly made a news splash, and the lovely Duchess of Cambridge continues to spark interest in fashionable hats.
In recent years, I’ve seen hats that look like a hot dog, frog, pizza, cow, fruit bowl, lobster, watermelon, kitchen sink, bacon-and-egg plate … you name it, there’s probably a hat for it!
I have to admit to passing on photos of dogs wearing hats (to Facebook Friends).
Maybe my obsession with hats began as a young mom, reading Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat to my boys. I was amazed how that crazy cat balanced a teacup and an entire birthday cake on top of his striped stove-top hat! (And I just remembered: Seuss also wrote The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins!)
But stacked hats. That always makes me smile. Have you ever seen people trying to balance a stack before everything comes crashing down?
So like my life.
Balancing is always a challenge.
Women normally do, I think, wear a lot of hats: woman, church member, wife, parent, child, sibling, employee, employer, volunteer, friend, mentor, care-giver, volunteer, mediator … you can probably think of many more.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of learning to balance what God has given us.
In that case, there I think there are five steps to keeping balance:
1. Determine biblical priorities and what you value most. Figure out what kinds of tasks and responsibilities come with those priorities. Don’t forget your priorities and values – no matter what comes your way.
Consider these Priorities: God (Deuteronomy 6:5); Your personal Spiritual Growth and sanctification through the scriptures (John 17:17); your Spouse (Ephesians 5:22, 25, 33); Raising godly children (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4); caring for elderly parents (Deuteronomy 5:16); Ministry to Believers (Hebrews 10:24 and many other scriptures); and the Gospel outreach to the world (Matthew 28:19).
Also consider your physical and emotional Health—which can affect your ministry. (Some add finances and career to these priorities, but be sure these two don’t overly influence the other priorities!)
2. Decide to say “no” to whatever detracts from those priorities—even if it’s temporary. (In other words, is there a hat you can put on a “hat rack” until later?) But sometimes the “no” will be more permanent. Beware of things that distract, even good things that can seem important at the time. Weigh your choices in light of your priorities. Do you really have time, energy, resources for something else?
3. Delegate what you can to others—especially when a task fits their priorities better than yours! You may be robbing them of a blessing!
4. Dump “flashy hat” thinking. Learn to be content with doing your best and relying on God to help you. When you try to impress others with “hats” that don’t fit well, or try to impress others with a “superwoman” hat, you’re bound to end up disillusioned, exhausted, maybe even bitter.
5. Delight in your true priorities. If they genuinely are important, plan time for them! Rejoice in them! Glorify God in them! (In other words, if your family is a priority, spend time with them. If your health is a priority, make wise choices. If God—your Creator and Lord—is truly a priority, put Him first!)
But sometimes … I wear a lot more hats than God ever intends for me. Maybe you do too.
A couple of years ago, I took on more and more, all the while insisting that I could “handle it.” Long story, short—my collapsing health proved I couldn’t.
A woman I deeply respect says: “Jesus only did what the Father told Him to do.” Maybe she gets that from John 5:30. Jesus said, “I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me.”
More likely, she was quoting John 17:4: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”
I never get the impression that Jesus wore too many hats.
Sure, He was busy. There were times He even chose to “escape” the crowds, the people who had their own agenda for His life. Even Jesus needed to rest. But He was purposeful, intentional, passionate about doing the Father’s will.
That’s what I want my life to look like. When I wear my hats, I want to be sure they fit. I want to be sure they are God-designed for me.
When I was overwhelmed by the hats I wore a few years ago, I knew some of them had to go. There were tough decisions to make. I wept over one of them. But they were decisions based in right priorities, wisdom, and a desire to obey God.
HATS OFF to you if you are living out your God-given priorities with obedience and joy! But don’t assume you’re “in balance” because the hats aren’t falling … yet.
It’s good to do an occasional hat-check.
Do you need to ask God for help in balancing your hats? Do you need to ask Him if there are any hats He’d like you to remove?