Confessions of a Ball Hog

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UPDATE: 221 girls in Gulu have now been sponsored! Only 29 more to go. Thank you so much for rallying with us!

“I was forced to be blatantly honest with my SheLoves family about All. The. Feelings I was experiencing.”
ballhogTwo weeks ago, I wrote about (finally) saying YES to a big, hairy dream God had placed in my heart: raising $10,000 to provide desperately needed sanitary pads, hygiene products and life skills training to a school of 250 young women in Uganda.

Here’s the Coles notes version: God tells Megan to raise money for Keep a Girl in School. Megan tries to get out of it. God’s not down with that. Story concludes with Megan heroically telling God, “I’ve got this.” Cut to Megan standing on a dramatic cliff, her superhero cape fluttering in the wind.

Yup, that’s pretty much accurate.

So I threw myself into this big hairy dream with Chervelle, a divine friend of mine. We began organizing a fitness-themed fundraiser: Sweating For Sisterhood. For two months, this project consumed my existence. My son began to think Elmo was his new mom and the laptop, his new (very demanding) sibling. My husband begrudgingly became accustomed to living with a wife masquerading as a very cranky Energizer Bunny. Meanwhile, I drained every grocery store within a ten mile radius of Cookie Crunch Dairy Milks.

sweatOctober 16 arrived—the day of the event and launch of my blog post. I was dead-on-my-feet but my superhero cape was still firmly in place. I was ready for God to open the floodgates. Why wouldn’t God? I had said “Yes,” after all. Now it was God’s turn to make it all happen.

The event was gorgeous and moving and everything we wanted it to be. Except for one teensy thing.

People.

There weren’t nearly enough people to raise $10,000. I am forever and a day indebted to every woman who came out. But I knew it wouldn’t be enough to reach our goal. A solid drop in the bucket perhaps.

But still, only a drop.

For the next several days I wallowed—Anne Shirley style—in the depths of despair. I was so confused. I had done what was asked of me. So where was my spiritual epiphany? Where were all the warm fuzzies? To quote Michael Scott, “Where’s my Oprah moment?”

Worse than this embarrassing pity party, I was angry. I was angry at God for not holding up God’s (presumed) end of the bargain. For choosing me when He knew I would fail. I was angry at all the well-meaning people who asked,“Oh, how did your thing go?” I had to curb myself from yelling, “If you had BEEN at my thing, you would know!”

Most of all, I was angry with myself. For not being enough. For falling short.

sweating2I was forced to be blatantly honest with my SheLoves family about All.The.Feelings I was experiencing. You see, Idelette wanted me to write a follow up post on the event. I had to admit that unless she wanted a post filled with tears, rage, and a sappy ode to a chocolate bar, I was not the girl for the job. Wisely, she decided to write the post.

Of course, Idelette’s piece was stunning. Donations began to pour in. Which was bizarrely difficult for me. I couldn’t help but compare. I couldn’t help but ask God why He didn’t just ask someone else to do it, since I obviously wasn’t enough.

I was careening into another woe-is-me spiral, when this message popped into my mailbox from a very intuitive friend:

Want to know something true? (And I hope I’m not being too presumptuous.) You are no less of a help to the girls at that school for not writing a blog today. You are doing what’s been asked of you and that is fantastic! The rest is in God’s hands.

Way to let others pick up a few legs of the relay instead of being the ball hog. No one likes those people.

That note brought me my longed-after epiphany, though not the fuzzy one I was expecting: I am a ball hog. False responsibility is just what I do. Once I say, “I’ve got this,” no one else gets to say it. No one else gets to be burdened with my burden. It’s my burden. It’s also an exhausting way to go about life.

God didn’t give me that ball so I could carry it until I collapsed.

He gave it to me for the kick-off.

You see, God knew I would kick it hard. Hard and far enough to land right in front of the next person God had earmarked.

On Friday, Tina picked up the ball from Idelette and wrote a jaw-dropping-amazing post.

And when those inevitable feelings of insecurity and false responsibility came creeping back up, I had to remind myself to stop hogging the ball and look around.

And I saw something that changed everything.

I saw YOU.

I saw this sisterhood. Rising up. Standing on each others’ shoulders.

Women and men (whoop whoop!) from all over the world, uniting. Coming alongside these precious girls who need an army. Not one or two Energizer Bunnies with a hero complex. A big, crazy, God-loving army.

I watched as donations came in from Germany and the Netherlands. From Canada and Djibouti and Dubai and South Africa and our sisters in the United States. And I realized that I don’t “got this” at all. Me and my sad, wrinkled, balled-up cape don’t have this.

We’ve got this.

And WE have done something incredible. Something beautiful. Something that is leaving a holy mark on this messy world.

To date, we have 186 girls sponsored and counting! One-hundred-and-eighty-six little world-changers-to-be who will be able to move forward with their education. That’s $7,456 raised in 14 measly days!

Look what WE have done. Look what God has done.

If you missed out, there’s still time to pitch in for the final stretch. Our goal is to sponsor 250 young women. It only takes $40 to keep a girl in school for a full year.

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So thank you. From the absolute depths of my heart. For picking up the ball. For picking me up off the floor. For standing with a big hairy dream.

We’ve got this.

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Megan Gahan
After over a decade in the fitness industry, Megan now spends her days chasing two pint-sized tornadoes disguised as little boys. By night, she is a writer and editor for SheLoves. A proper Canadian, Megan can often be found in the woods or at Tim Hortons. She writes at megangahan.com.
Megan Gahan
Megan Gahan

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Megan Gahan
  • Bev Murrill

    Yeah, we can all identify! It’s called … GROWING UP! How awesome that you are doing it SO YOUNG! I mean, we’ve all seen the ladies out there in their 40’s, 50’s… 70’s who STILL think it’s all up to them. They make our lives miserable! Truth is… they never did grow up… but YOU DID! and I did.. (hopefully – although I’ve been known to relapse at times)

    AND something else worth saying Meg is that it was your post that got me! I’ve been thinking about this very thing for a while and HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING but try to raise awareness of it… BUT YOU WENT OUT AND DARN-WELL DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT! And so it was what you said that got me to respond.

    What Idelette said made me cognizant of the fact that I needed to do something more than just personally support… and what Teen said kicked me up the backside and said ‘for goodness sake, what are you bloomin’ waiting for’ but it was your post that got me started… and for that… I thank you!

    I will be VERY surprised if it stops at 250. I have a whole conference of women in the UK next January (and I won’t even be here) who are going to be profiling it… TWO FIFTY!!! that’s NUTHIN! I will be back in Aus by then and still talking about it … and I’m not the only one. YOu can’t stop something like this until it’s finished. Wait and see how big your snowball gets, girl!

    Now, will that make you share your desert with me?

    • Megan Gahan

      Bev you are a powerhouse of a woman! And I am completely in awe of it! I can’t tell you how thankful I am to you for rising up in such a profound way – when I was fetal on the floor no less. Your words are the most beautiful blessing I could have received today. Thank you. Love you. And yes, maaaaayyyybe we can share a dessert now!

      • Bev Murrill

        I’d like something with fairtrade chocolate… maybe a little mousse with Cointreau and cream…

        …or a chocolate/beetroot brownie with clotted cream, strawberries and some Baileys for good measure…

        Ready when you are! ;+}}}

        • Haha! I LOVE you Bev!!! I echo everything you just said. There was something about the imagery of Megan with the empty flower pot that did my heart in.

          • Bev Murrill

            I love you too Teen… you are very cool! One of these days I’m gonna share home made soup with you and Kup … and then go onto Megs for dessert! One of these days…

          • Kupa and I LOVE soup. We could live on crusty bread and a bowl of soup. Yes please! One of these days…

            Sooner than later I hope.

          • Bev Murrill

            yeah I know that about the soup… he and I have chatted that through already… chuckle… x

          • Megan Gahan

            I want in for the soup too! I am a major soup person. And, well, the crusty bread also. That just goes without saying.

    • cjdeboer

      what she said. xo
      I’m so happy we have your voice on here Bev!)

      • Bev Murrill

        ;+}} SO glad to have found y’all…. I love love love this group.

        • I’m with Claire! That’s what I was thinking this morning when I read your comment. (Your and Anne-marie’s and how you two were the first to comment.) It just feels like a big gift to see your voice here.

          • Bev Murrill

            ahhh…. fanx guys…

  • Anne-Marie

    Megan you’ve been a great example to me of getting out there. BRAVE! And even more brave to post honestly abt the process. Personally I’m grateful for the chance to have great conversations w young people in my life – esp my sons. Thanx!

    • Megan Gahan

      I have felt anything but brave Anne-Marie! But thank you! For standing with me in my messy honesty . . . I so value you and your love & support. More than I can say

      • Anne-Marie

        :). XO

    • Anne-Marie, your presence here just makes me so grateful. Thank you for being so faithful + wise + kind + nurturing + creative + full of such rich, deep thoughts.

      Thank you for sharing life with us.

      • Anne-Marie

        Thank you! Such a blessing to be w/ such lovely hearts.

  • Nicole Joshua

    Woohoo! 186 girls and counting! So thankful for your determination and humility and vulnerability… thankful that you invited us into this work with you. And I can definitely relate to being a ball hog. Just yesterday I had an anxiety attack, and now, since reading your post, I am realising that the source of the anxiety was my saviour complex 🙁 So, again, thank you for your honesty in writing this post. I am now going to pass the balls that I have been hogging so that I can thrive and be effective with what God has entrusted to me.

    • Megan Gahan

      As someone who has struggled with anxiety and panic attacks, I completely relate to where you’re at Nicole. I am so humbled this piece spoke to you. Your honesty is an example to me, and I am so thankful to you for sharing. Now go pass off that ball my dear!

  • Stefanie

    “God didn’t give me that ball so I could carry it until I collapsed. He gave it to me for the kick-off.”
    I so love this post and your courageous honesty, Megan. Without the kick-off, nothing can follow. I imagine the vibrations from that first inspired kick as a buzzing undercurrent carrying this entire movement. We are all riding on your beautiful kick-off! THANK YOU!

    • Megan Gahan

      Such a gorgeous interpretation about the buzzing undercurrent Stefanie. Thank you for sharing that and for standing with me. I am so incredibly grateful

  • Erin Wilson

    Another (recovering) ball hog raising her hand so you don’t feel alone 🙂 So, so grateful for your yes. So grateful for letting us all into the sandbox. So grateful for humility that smells like Love.

    • Megan Gahan

      Fellow ball hoggers unite! Thank you so much Erin . . oh goodness, and your line about humility that smells like love? I LOVE THAT ! Thank you so much for the love.

      • I’m with Megan! –>”Humility that smells of LOVE!!!” You have a way with words Erin.

    • I love the picture of the sandbox!!!! Ditto to all of this.

    • Erin says it best… loved your post Megan. Loved your raw honestly about how hard this is, and how we need to be in the sandbox together, and we need to be okay with the various parts we play. It’s all the truth, and it needed to be said. You’re dong great – and now WE’RE doing great and soon our sisters in Gulu will be, too!

      • Megan Gahan

        Wow Kelly, that is such a compliment coming from you. I’ve admired YOUR raw honesty for some time, and I can’t tell you how much it means to have your voice contributing to making this a safe space. So that we can ALL be brave! Thank you

  • cjdeboer

    Megan I love you!!! You have been amazing throughout this whole process and I so appreciate walking the journey with you. Yes, we have this together but YOU initiated it – you planted the seed. And that’s because you’re a super duper ball hog!!! xoxox

    • Megan Gahan

      Well that seed wouldn’t have gone anywhere without a certain someone *cough cough* calling me out in a major way! Thank you for managing to give me a kick in the most unassuming, loving way possible. It just might be your spiritual gift! Love you so much

  • As you know, Kupa and I were in a long distance relationship for over a year before we were married. So, a LOT of our heart-to-heart conversations in those early months were over Skype and the phone.

    One day Kupa blurted out, “You never pass the ball!”

    I was so confused. Apparently he was waiting for a pause in the conversation to respond but I just kept yammering on.

    What I then explained to him was that the gaps and silences in our conversations were so uncomfortable, especially with the added disadvantage of not being able to see facial expressions. I couldn’t tell if he was bored or awkward so I kept talking. I was not trying to monopolize the conversation. I just had NO IDEA he was waiting for me to shutup.

    All this to say, I think standing with a big dream is UNCOMFORTABLE. The moment I heard static on the other side of the line my brain spun out of control. I thought: I’m irrelevant, or uninspired or boring. And so I filled all the gaps and essentially hogged the ball in our conversations.

    The silence made me feel vulnerable. Standing in silence is VULNERABLE. Pausing and waiting for God to show up is excruciating. Setting the plates for the dinner guests hoping they come is part of the LEAP as well.

    Standing in the holy discomfort is something we are all learning. Your story is ALL of our stories.

    I love you,
    Teen

    • Megan Gahan

      How do you come up with this stuff woman? You are exactly right. It’s the silence – the crickets as Heather termed it – that makes stepping out soooo uncomfortable. You feel like you’re all out there. So you take the ball and run for it, faaaaar away from everyone else. And from the rejection you KNOW is inevitably coming. Of course, you’ve taught me a thing or two about leaps (hello SheLoves marathon?). And even though you poured all your sweat and tears into that project, you were still selfless enough to come alongside and pour once again into this one. And I’m sooooo beyond grateful and beyond honored to have you standing ‘with’. Love you friend.

    • Shakirah Hill

      Tina,

      “The silence made me feel vulnerable. Standing in silence is VULNERABLE. Pausing and waiting for God to show up is excruciating. Setting the plates for the dinner guests hoping they come is part of the LEAP as well.”

      This pretty much sums up how I feel in this season of my life.

      Thank you for writing that so eloquently.

      • Aww Shakirah!

        I’m so glad that resonated with you. You are not alone friend.

        Big bear hugs,
        Teen

  • Way to go, Meg! I love how you OWNED the ball. You took ownership and you led our team through this … It’s stunning to me how everyone has shown up for the game. Some helped organize the game, some brought oranges, many brought friends, everyone cheered and rallied.

    Your post makes me laugh and cry. What I am seeing is that we are working out this sisterhood thing and our responsibility (and JOY) in making the world a bit more equal; definitely more connected. With the donations coming in from all around the world, it made me feel so connected with every person who gave from his or her heart. It’s been amazing to see. Plus: it’s been SUCH a learning experience.

    To use Erin’s words, thank you for making room in the sandbox.

    • Megan Gahan

      I will second that learning experience! Goodness, it really has been. I love your emphasis on ‘own’ as you know that is my one word for the year! Thank you for not only saying ‘Yes’ to me using SheLoves as a platform, but for digging in and getting dirty and rallying friends and writing a gorgeous post and bringing oranges and a boat load of positivity (when I REALLY needed a boat load of positivity). You were my big picture when I needed it most. Love you so much.

  • Saskia Wishart

    I just love all the love being shared in the comments here AND as I am definitely a ball hog with a hero complex who is learning the concept of carrying one-another’s burdens and in not just hogging them to myself, I SO relate and have felt allllllllll the feelings!

    Thanks for this honesty, I love watching what happened here –the good bad and the bloody t this process.

    Sending lots of love and hugs and all that stuff you way Megan!!

    Xx

    • Saskia Wishart

      Ignore all the typos here – multi-tasking is not my strongest point!

      • Megan Gahan

        I smiled at the “good, bad and bloody process”! That is the truth my dear! Thank you for being here. I imagine that in the work you do, it’s terribly difficult to not hog the ball all the time. Love and hugs and all that stuff to you to Saskia darling.

  • Musu

    I’m filing this under leadership! I’ll read it every time I catch myself expertly hogging a ball

    • Megan Gahan

      Ha! Musu, I figured you had this thing down. You never seem stressed enough to be a ball hog! You always seem so cool and collected to me. But maybe you secretly are! Much love my dear 🙂

  • fiona lynne

    Oh how I love this and love you! For your honesty and your willingness to share the struggle and let us relate (oh how I relate). It’s such an honour to stand with you in this dream, to see the baton being passed. It was your YES to God that started it all off and what a beautiful thing it has become. I’m so grateful for that yes. You are inspiring to me.

    • Megan Gahan

      What a beautiful thing to say Fiona. Thank you so much. The feeling is quite mutual.

  • I realized I had the mirror/opposite reaction to your first post. I thought, “Wow, Megan is such an activist! She’s got this! These SheLoves sisters are really going to show up and make this happen.”
    And then I went about my day, and kept thinking, “I”m so excited to see how everyone else is showing up!”
    When I saw Idelette’s post, I realized I’d DROPPED the ball. I kept thinking the “activists” were somewhere “over there”. That I need to stand up and participate, to be part of the sisterhood. I decided to be more intentional with my response. I want to do more next time.
    I definitely can be a ball hog in my own way, but reading your post, I realized I often don’t stand up in the first place because I’m afraid of hearing crickets. I’m afraid no one will follow me. But I don’t think that’s a reason not to stand. We cultivate relationships and build influence, and then we use it, use our platform and our privilege to give others a chance to have influence, too. We keep pushing the ball forward.
    The truth is we all need to stand, we all need to rally, we all need to do the work given to us. Thank you for standing up first, and for depending on others to keep the ball rolling. May these gifts be multiplied, and our own hearts filled with courage to live out the ACTIVE in activist–while throwing ourselves at God’s feet, who does the work for us.

    • Megan Gahan

      Yes, the crickets! That’s what scares me to most too. Heather I just love your wisdom. I feel like you just wrote most of a post up there. Thank you for your honesty my Wednesday friend. And yes, may these gifts me multiplied indeed 🙂 xxx

  • pastordt

    Honey, it takes one to know one. GREAT that you’re learning this now. REALLY embarrassing when you’re in your 50s and have to take 7 months off of work due to BALL HOG BURNOUT. Love this piece, love your heart, honored to support these girls in Africa. Thanks for all of it.

    • Megan Gahan

      I feel like this ball hogging is the kind of thing I’ll have to learn over and over! But it gives me great comfort to know there’s a whole clan of us out there! Thank you for supporting these amazing young women in Africa, and for supporting me in every. single. post. I so appreciate you. xxx

  • Amy Hunt

    This is your worship, Megan. To confess. And to see. Both of these require an insane amount of sacrifice . . . of what you want, of comfort.

    This is all so much bigger and wider than you an even imagine. It’s not the what you or they or we have done. It’s this. May you not underestimate His glory in the here.

    • Megan Gahan

      Thank you so much Amy. I never thought of it as worship, but I absolutely love that. So appreciate you sharing with me.

  • Alyssa Becker

    This is beautiful Meg. I, too, struggle with this. Wanting to keep something to myself – to let me be the hero. I struggle to share the limelight, or to let go, or to not be in control. The courage you showed here in stating in has allowed me to take ownership of the same struggle. Thank you for your continued openness and honestly. You are amazing.

    • Megan Gahan

      Wow, that is a lot of love my friend! Thank you. Thank you for standing with me, for encouraging me to keep speaking out, and for accepting me in a way that makes me feel totally free to be honest. You’re pretty amazing yourself 🙂 xxx

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