A few weeks ago I wrote a post that created quite a stir. You can find it here: The Battle Cry of a Stay-At-Home Mom. And since then I have received numerous emails, Facebook messages, and Twitter comments that echo the cry of my heart in that post. It has been so encouraging! But there have also been many who can relate deeply with feeling empty, lifeless, hopeless, and “stuck” in life. Some have even gone further, seeking my advise for how to “escape the drudgery” of life and find joy again.
I have been thinking hard on these questions. They are near and dear to my heart. And I want to share some of the thoughts I’ve been tossing around. But I’ll be honest, I cannot do that without sharing my personal faith in Jesus. And so I am hoping that those of you who don’t believe in God or Jesus will bear with me and listen to my story. I’d sincerely love to hear yours.
What good is being whole on the outside when you are broken on the inside?
How faith gave me purpose:
I grew up in a very outdoor/active family. We camped all summer long, windsurfed, water skied, hiked and biked. In the winter we skied. I spent a chunk of my high school and college years competing in freestyle moguls. I was immersed in this world. I loved this world. And I still do. But inside I felt unsure and restless. I was still looking for that “something” that brought meaning to all of it.
So in my experience, no amount of “perfect circumstances” or “living true to yourself” can bring happiness and peace without Jesus in your life.
Lies, Rules, and Legalistic Living Sap your Joy…
Looking back it seems so…stupid. But I really had these thoughts! As I questioned them – Does the bible say I have to stay home all the time? Does the bible condemn skiing? NO. Are their financial or physical restraints holding us back? NO. – I was able to break down the lie and fill it with something true…and inherently something that brought freedom to be who I am. See Jesus accepts you as you are – there is freedom in knowing you don’t have to “perform” to get his acceptance.
My life had become consumed with “do” and “don’t.” Instead of loving, enjoying, and truly living.
Finding who I am:
After three years of babies and nursing and sleepless nights I told my husband, “I don’t even know who I am anymore. I don’t have hobbies. I don’t have passions. I am a caretaker….who isn’t paid.” Yes. I actually said that. And I felt that…very keenly.One night, after drilling the kids through chores, and teeth brushing, and toy clean-up, we threw ourselves on the couch. The lights were dim and after a few moment of blessed quietness I asked, “When our kids grow up do we want them to have lives like ours?” Ah….there was only silence. And then remorse. And regret. See inside I knew the answer. My heart was screaming it. No! I’d tell them, “quite your job, moving somewhere you are inspired, climb some mountains, ski some crazy lines, run through the forest, drink good beer, watch a lot of sunsets!” I’d grab their shoulders, shake them and say, “START LIVING!”
And suddenly a little bit of the old me emerged. Because inherent in me and my expression of life, is being outdoors and exploring the world. I started asking , “Why not?” If you could just drop everything and being irresponsible for a day what would you do? Why not actually do it?! If you could grab your husband by the hand and conquer a mountain, which one would it be? And while we are talking about it…why not just do it?!
The Spirit gives life. – John 6:63