Amy Grant sings a song entitled “Hats” in which she describes the harried life of a young mom trying to be all her husband wants her to be. She sings about expending herself in the roles of homemaker, wife, lover, mother, cook, date-night partner, and career woman.
She also references running like crazy through each day and working through the night hounded by a phone that never stops ringing. Half way through the song she sings, “How do I manage to hold onto my sanity?”
While tussling with the truth that she can’t wear all the hats her commitments require, she finally asks her husband, “Can I really be the girl you think you see in me?”
That’s a good question for each of us. “Am I loaded down with too many hats because I’m trying to project an image that’s not really me?”
Amy quotes Scripture in her intense song: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” which is precisely the problem. We want to be someone we can’t possibly be. Sadly, knowing we can’t do it doesn’t stop us from continually trying.
Nate used to say he had difficulty “switching hats” from downtown lawyer to suburban father. Although he had a 40 minute train commute during which he could have worked at changing his hats, what usually happened was he ended up wearing them both, along with several others.
Amy would have nodded with understanding. About her own life she sings, “This may be a dream come true, but when it all comes down, it’s an awful lot to do.” And that’s true for most people in our bustling society. On this second day of a brand new year, though, we can ask, “Which hats does God want me to wear in 2012? And which should I work to remove?”
Tina, a blog commenter, left a perceptive prayer on this site one year ago. It embodies our never-ending human struggle between doing and being: ”Lord, we want your will, whether we want it or not.”
As children of God, we say we’re submitted to his choices but then pull ourselves out from under his leadership to put on an extra hat. With a heavier load, then, we echo Amy: “Why do I have to wear so many things on my head?”
The answer is, “You don’t.”
Like everything else in life, we need to prioritize:
- The Christian hat
- The spousal hat
- The parenting hat
- The work hat
- The ministry hat
- All other hats
After the first few, we can freely say, “Do I have to wear the rest?”
Not that hat removal is without complications. But eliminating unnecessary hats will, as Amy says, allow us to keep our sanity. We might even find time to sing a brand new tune.
“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 42:9a,10a)