In the last three months, I have turned 40, taken a trip of a lifetime with my husband, found a house perfect for our needs, prepared to sell our house (see #getrealwednesdays to imagine that undertaking), sold our house and moved (for hopefully the last time in my adult life). I. Am. Tired. I. Am. Worn. And, needless to say, I am crazy.
The dust is beginning to settle, and like all ENFPs, I am in need of some reflection (thus the blogging). I need to make sense of life and how I am living it. Many times, we wake up years later to see that we just ran along a conveyor belt that someone else set up–our family, our boss, culture, our parent’s expectations, our expectations, our kid’s needs, our desire for status… I do not want to live a life without a distinct purpose, yet I make daily decisions often to survive that are not in line with my heart’s purpose. Daily decisions are what make up weeks and months and years, and that, in turn, makes a Life. You see my quandry and, perhaps, yours.
Life with littles is kicking my tail. I love them…I prayed for them for so long in the midst of infertility…and I don’t want to simply survive in their presence. (Yet, the fact is that I have been stopped no less than 10 times in these first three paragraphs to let them in and out the door, and I am not sure what my name is.)
I have stated before that I really lived life backwards. I feel like we had the empty nest in marriage before the kids because we went through many years of infertility. In that time, I really wrestled with who I was, explored my giftings, and did some things that scared me. Before we got pregnant, I had engaged with God and was quite content. I had MANY hours to study, to pray, to weep, to talk, to worship, to dream. I know a lot of women who only wake up to that in their mid 50s after raising their children, and many never do. I am thankful for those years, and in some ways, they make these harder. I have these expectations for myself of what I can do in life. I “can” do a lot of things. I know my gifts and my potential. But the reality of life, in this season, shows me time and time again that I should only do very few. EVERY Fall I battle, and EVERY Fall I trip.
Last fall I helped to teach a class on “How to Study the Bible.” I can think of no more important skill to guide the trajectory of life. It was only 8 weeks. It was important. It was a small way that I could use my gifts to contribute. And, then, at the end, I fell with mono–and for two months, I was rendered useless to my family. And, I still have stirrings of Mono within my system.
The temptation to volunteer for things outside the parenting sphere is high for me because I am better at those things than I am at parenting. Yep, I said it. Yet, for this season, I don’t think my plate can handle too much more (I am still learning the Mono lesson).
This morning, in my time with God, I was given a picture of my temptation and heart in life right now. I see a conveyor belt of people going by much faster than my life is going. They are growing their businesses faster than me. They are volunteering for more things than me and ministering to people in meaningful ways. They are “known” more than me. They have more friends and more social life than me. They brush their hair more than me (no joke). They exercise more than me, which at this point doesn’t take much. They are growing spiritually more than me. They are blogging more than me. In this picture, I am on the other side of the glass with my life with littles and chronic illness in our family, etc. My plate is full, but as I stop to look at the passing crowd, it can feel “less than” in every single way. Know what happens when I look through that glass at the conveyor belt? I stop the important work that I am doing. I let my mind fill with thoughts that slow me where I am supposed to be. Know the greatest way I see that conveyor belt? I think you know…you found me by looking through the glass yourself. Social media. It is not the devil. It is not evil. However, with my propensities to compare and to want to be a part of the social life, it can surely help in rendering me useless. It can slow me in the life that I am called to in the here and now. Everyday I know that this season is fleeting. I think of my children as adults every single day. I am a thinker…and it can drive me mad:). So, what business do I have concerning myself with the speed of others’ lives?
My friend, Cindy, is the greatest example to me living life with balance. She knows she cannot handle getting on social media a lot. She knows that her plate needs to be small. She is counter cultural in many ways–not like blue jean jumper counter cultural or “commune” counter cultural, but old fashioned ways of communicating and scheduling counter cultural. She can feel less than, but she is not. She is fuller in her heart and life than 99.99999% of the people I know.
The other day, in the first time I spent with God in a long time (how’s that for a pastor’s wife), God impressed a word upon my heart. Purpose. For what purpose am I doing each thing in my life, each moment in my life? Asking that question began to change up my idle thoughts and time. This began to frame to me what God asks us to do–Love Him with everything (heart, soul, mind and strength) and love our neighbor as ourselves. Looking at that conveyor belt does not drive Purpose to me…it gets Purpose way out of focus. It confuses me. For now, I have a slower existence. My name may not make the paper. I may not receive accolades. I may not have the greatest idea or a blog that goes viral. However, I am reminded that “for such a time as this,” I take captive my mind to do that which He purposes in me. Not perfect…limping and frazzled at times…asking for help and forgiveness, but exactly where I need to be.