The school year is officially underway! My kids are all back in school, and I can feel Routine waking from her fun (yet seemingly) short summer slumber. She is easing back into our lives like as if she never left. As this season approached, I began making a mental list of the things I would like to do on a regular basis again—as well as reworked the logistics of things that were already happening in the summer, but now need to be at different times. As the mom of the house, it is easy to put everyone else’s schedule and needs in place and then wedge my hopes and dreams in the cracks of what’s left over. I actually bought into the lie that this was noble. I felt extremely guilty when I didn’t follow this sacred protocol. Like I was somehow betraying my fellow tribesman, my Christian Mamas. This leads me to share with you one of the biggest lessons I learned last year:
I am worth it. (And I don’t love my family less for following my passion).
Here is a lot of how last year played out for me. I saw the long hours stretch in front of me and thought, “Wow! I can write and clean house and visit with friends, and still have time to pursue ministry opportunities and be at peace and fully present when the kids get off the bus etc., etc., etc.”
The dream seemed so real and so doable. Except the first few weeks I thought “Well, self care obviously (coffee date with a friend scheduled every few days because I have several I haven’t seen since school let out). Then let’s catch up on this house—sheesh! these kids are pigs still for being gone 7 and a half hours a day! Now, oh gosh, soccer keeps us really busy, it is too hard to establish a routine now. I mean my evenings are crazy with these practices…blah, blah, blah.”
I could keep going but I think you get the point. It was one thing after another and before I realized, the year was nearly over and I hadn’t even given a small percentage of my time developing myself. This had happened little by little over the course of the last few years and I did just enough for myself to feel like I was getting attention, but the big things—the things that make me come alive—I put those off and now I realize it was out of fear.
Fear of not succeeding (and then I will have wasted time that could have been spent on family needs).
Fear of being judged for spending “too much” time on my projects (too much being a subjective thing that I am not sure could be literally defined).
Fear of putting myself out there (this is akin to not succeeding, but is more about being found out as having no talent as opposed to not hitting a particular mark).
So I stopped writing regularly for the “sake of my family” and hid under self protection. I am not hiding any more. I am not hoping to squeeze in a writing session sometime this week. I am also no longer going after success, approval or a following. I am writing for God—the very one who placed this desire in my heart. In reading Girl, Wash Your Face (Rachel Hollis) she says something to the effect that no-one else will want your dream as badly as you do. This wasn’t brand new information, but when I read that I instantly knew that a piece of my hangup was that I wanted my husband and my tribe to carry my dream for me at times. That is never going to happen. Sure they are supportive and they will encourage me, but if I am expecting them to carry my vision for me, it is DOA. Once I stopped looking at them to create the motivation to pursue my dream, I have had fresh vision. I have to be the one that mans this ship and runs wild after my dream. (and I say that with the assumption that I am first seeking God’s wisdom and His vision for me). When/if my husband or family has a qualm with what I am doing, I expect them to share that with me. I can’t be super proactive and hamper my efforts to appease them. We need to work together to strike a balance. But doing it without their input and before they have voiced concerns is a false humility and rooted in excuses.
Getting to this place has been freeing in ways I never expected. Now I can turn to God and let Him lead me to the next place of revelation. For me, I think I hear Him say to schedule the writing time and go with it…even if I am “not feeling it”. Furthermore, when I am not feeling it, I can lean in and unpack that a little bit, because there is a chance that little “not feeling it” could be a small fox coming to spoil the vine (bible reference…Solomon 2:15). I am a feeler and sometimes the enemy uses them to pull me—ever so slightly—away from what God wants for me. Taking a moment to pause and acknowledge the feeling takes most of its power away. Being willing to be honest with myself takes the rest away.
I am not sure what it is for you, but you have something that makes you come alive inside. Do you give it space in your life? Do you struggle to find it worthy of your consistent time? Why?