A month ago, I read Max Lucado’s Cure for the Common Life. As I read, I knew I was supposed to be reading it at this moment in my life. His book focuses on encouraging others to find your passions, the things that you love doing, and to find a way to make those things fit with what you are good at doing–and doing it to the glory of God.
It’s been just a little over a year now that I stopped working. I’m still adjusting in many ways. I had worked in the same agency for over 8 years; an agency I felt (and feel) passionately about. I was certified as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) after graduating with my master’s in social work. I was attending play therapy conferences and talking with other professionals in the field.
I knew, though, once I had children, that this wasn’t my calling. It had been up to that point. But things were changing, and Will and I prayed regularly about what God had for me once I became a mother. Now I’ve been a SAHM, that ever so common acronym for stay-at-home-mom, for the last 12 months, and it has been a bit like floating down a lazy river interspersed with Level 5 rapids. And I’m more a Level 2 kind of girl; you know, small rapids, smoother waters…that doesn’t sound much like motherhood though! *I feel the need to note here that I have an absolute commitment to go white-water rafting someday and would love to work my way up in level to beyond a 2, because how fun would that be?!?* Anyway… I think staying home with my kids is a lazy river experience due to the fact that it is where I am supposed to be right now. I enjoy it. It’s relaxing and refreshing, in the sense that it is where I fit. I belong. Yet, spending each waking moment with an almost 3 year old and a 1 year old is certainly more like those extreme rapids- in fact, in most ways, it is the toughest job I have done.
For me, this life change has been a paradox, as is likely quite evident in my attempts to describe it.
And, while I will be one of the first people to stand up and tell you how incredibly amazing and fulfilling it is to be able to stay home with my kids, I would not be so eager to stand up and admit that I questioned if what I was doing was “enough”. Much of the world seems to be filled with people that need to be “busy” to feel that they are doing enough, to show that they are being productive. There is so much value placed on being involved in a variety of activities, of balancing a plethora of responsibilities, that I began to wonder if I was slacking off in some way by just focusing on being a wife and mother. Due to the ages of my kids, I wasn’t shuttling them from one activity to another, nor was I engaging in volunteer work or other activities I hope to be involved in down the road. I was oftentimes plagued by a sense of insecurity in my new role, and I kept asking God to show me what I was supposed to do.
Twice, the opportunity arose for me to go back to work as a therapist part-time. The first time, I had met with the therapist leaving to review cases, Will and I had worked out how to balance my part-time schedule with his full-time one, and literally, a day before I was due to start, a therapist was found. I was relieved. While I do miss being a therapist at times, the money would definitely have been helpful, and I was absolutely willing to help the agency out because of my love for it, deep down, I really didn’t want to do it.
A few months later, the opportunity arose again for some part-time work. And again, after agreeing to do it and working out the details, an application came in that revealed a therapist that seemed perfect for the job. Again, RELIEF.
So, those two circumstances should have told me something. You’d think I’d realize that God was there saying, “My beloved daughter, you are NOT supposed to be working right now.” And it wasn’t even a whisper in the wind I was missing here. I think it was more a megaphone God moment. I think, though, that my perceptions, or the world’s perceptions, or maybe it was my perceptions OF the world ‘s perceptions, were allowing me to drown out God’s response to my regular question of “Show me what I am supposed to do?”…
On a certain level, I did get that I was not supposed to be working. But then I would wonder if I was missing out on other things I should be doing. I began to play the “compare myself to others” game that I play all too well at times. I looked around at friends and acquaintances that were starting photography businesses, or were involved in projects they were passionate about. I began to wonder what skills and talents I possessed. This was all new to me outside of academia and the workplace, as over the years, I had become familiar with the gifts God gave me in those arenas. But I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself in my new role. Now, clearly, I still had the same gifts God had given me, so the question shouldn’t have been so much “what gifts?” but rather “how do I use them now”?
I have really enjoyed what I have read of Max Lucado, so when I came across his book Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot at the library, I decided it looked interesting and checked it out. I don’t remember now what exactly it was that he said, but as I read, all of a sudden something clicked for me. I had been living in my sweet spot and had been so focused on the “sweet spots” of others, or what I felt mine should look like, that I had completely missed it. Not only that, but I was blessed with the opportunity to take things at a slower pace (despite the motherhood rapids) at this point in my life, and I know that God wants me to enjoy THIS moment with my kids that will be gone all too soon.
As for getting involved with other activities, I know I have plenty of time for that, especially as my kids grow older. After going,going, going at such a fast pace and working so much before having children, I think that I’ve been experiencing that weird feeling you get when you get off a fast ride. You know, that feeling where you feel like are still moving?
Anyway, I’ve found my sweet spot. I love kids. I especially love my kids. I love to learn and to teach, I love to read and sing and create things and bake and take care of those I love. I love the amazing calling that motherhood is and for all you moms out there, don’t think for one minute, not one minute, that that calling is less than. It is honestly one of the highest callings there is. Whether you work or stay at home full-time, as a parent, you are investing in eternity because you are investing in the souls of your children. The fact that I am so blessed to be allowed to take part in such an investment is mind-blowing.
Yes, I’ve found my sweet spot.