So thankful for Robynn kicking off this week and our spring series with her post yesterday. To dive into Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission written by Robynn and co-author Sue Eenigenburg is a bit of a dream come true.
Last summer my friend Joann Pittman attended a Pakistani M retreat in Colorado Springs, CO (USA) and I volunteered to pick her up at the airport and drive her to the retreat center and stay for lunch. I’d met Marilyn Gardner online (Joann introduced us) and I was looking forward to meeting her in person, albeit briefly.
Before lunch, Joann was part of a TCK panel and I was happy to attend. Hey, I’m a bit of a geek, so any chance to listen to panels or lectures, is my happy place. The panel was introduced.
Robynn Bliss was on the panel.
I sat up. Wait, I know that name.
Robynn Bliss co-author of a book I have nearly memorized.
And I was supposed to just sit there and listen for what seemed like forever before I could pounce on her?! Poor Robynn. She’s a lovely, normal human being and here I was after the panel ended gushing on about how I had been the Member Care Director for an organization for over 10 years. How I chose a book each year for the Member Care Personnel to use for our professional development and how we used Expectations and Burnout for all our people, men and women. How I have taken their material and created modules around the six different areas (self, sending org, sending fellowships, team, culture, and God) during Orientation to the Field. How meeting her was so unexpected and I was sorry I was coming across as a crazy person. How much their book had influenced and formed my understanding of expectations. How I really am normal, but I am a bit excitable. How some day I dreamed of Velvet Ashes using this book in the book club.
We didn’t get a picture taken, but here I am with Joann and Marilyn. By this point I had food in me and had calmed down.
Today we’re talking about chapters one and two. I liked reading about how this book and research came about. Later this month Sue is going to going to be interviewed by me, what questions would you like to know about this study? I’m curious to hear about how many organizations she was able to survey.
This struck a chord with me, “Many M leaders and caregivers have observed that most people going overseas have very high expectations of what can be accomplished”. I know where you are, what you are doing, and what your senders expect can all mix together to create different pictures for each of us. But let me just say, my picture never looked like the BIG names I’d grown up hearing. As I look back, I realize how out-dated some of my models were.
Hudson Taylor entered a very different China than I did. What to learn from and emulate and what to read as historically interesting and informative?
Oh and the quote from one of the surveys?! “How psychologically wedded some people are to being M’s.” Wow. I know it’s a special call to be in our line of work. But I also know people (both within and without) have placed us on a pedestal. We’ve talked about this before (check out the comments), but what about this struck you afresh in light of expectations?
I appreciate that this book is part research and part rooted in one person’s story. As Robynn shared her story (and that of her family), what struck you? When she ended the chapter this way: “On the way to the airport, I looked out the window and wondered what God was doing. We were broken people leaving. We were a fragile family. I wondered if we’d ever be back again. I think I even wondered if we’d ever be OK again.”
I couldn’t wait to keep reading and learn more of her story.
Robynn shared how taking vacations, not in light of burnout but normal needing of refreshing, was helpful. What have you found to be helpful to have built into daily, monthly, and quarterly schedules to restore you? Your marriage or your family? What have you tried that hasn’t gone so well (for you)?
See you in the comments :),
P.S. Next week chapter 3: Exploring expectations of our roles
Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.
Photo Source : Unsplash