Clint once asked me if I felt like I lost some of myself when I married him. I told him no. I have never felt like being his wife cost me a piece of myself. I did, however, feel like I lost part of myself when we had kids. Maybe ‘lost’ is the wrong word. I guess I still have this part of myself—I just don’t know what to do with it. I’ve polled many mothers about this, usually beginning the conversation by casually asking if they have any passions outside of their family. What I found surprised me. Some women truly do not have ambitions or dreams that wage war with homemaking. There is no balancing act necessary in their lives because there’s only one side to their scale: family. Do I think there’s anything wrong with this? Not at all. In some ways, I envy them. But I cannot relate.
I have many dreams that have absolutely nothing to do with my children, or my husband for that matter. Mostly they are dreams that awoke in my childhood when I first discovered I had one life and I could do absolutely anything with it. Let me give you an example. I have always wanted to be a writer…not a blogger, but a novelist. As soon as I could string sentences together, I created worlds with my words—some of them ridiculous, some of them sacred, all of them amateur.
So, this Christmas I asked for a book—On Writing by Stephen King. Like any aspiring author, I have lost myself in it, inadvertently peppering my husband with more Stephen King trivia than he ever cared to know. The book is the Holy Grail of writing, with all the secrets your English teacher never told you. But there is just one problem—I can’t do it. The regimen King advises to become a truly successful author is impossible to uphold with my lot in life. I would have to sacrifice my family, a sacrifice I’m not willing to make. And so I sit here, on the eve of the New Year, trying to put it all together in my mind. As a busy wife and mom, how do you maintain godly priorities and not lose personal ambitions?
In the end, I think it comes down to choices. Nobody lies on her death bed regretting all the choices someone else made. The choices that impact our lives the most are the ones we make for ourselves. They are a direct reflection of our values. So I have to ask myself, what do I truly value? I love it when I’m writing and I start to smile because it usually means I’m arriving at a conclusion. I know what I value. And honestly, I value it more than all the accolades of the finest author in America.
Now is not the time to become the next Stephen King. Now is the time to raise my kids. Now is the time to snuggle on the sofa and laugh with my husband. And when I have some free moments, I’ll probably spend them writing. Maybe I’ll squirrel away a novel, although I’ll never do it in three months as King suggests, and my characters will likely grow stale as they sit forgotten in my laptop. But I know this—I won’t be lying on my death bed regretting the characters I neglected.
Do I think it’s wrong to have ambitions outside of your family? No! I think it’s wonderful. I think it reminds you that God made you a unique individual. I think having passions and thoughts and feelings of your own helps you bring a lot to the table for your family. Do I think these independent ambitions should be central? No. I think they should be surrendered, sometimes even sacrificed when push comes to shove. Why? Because none of us is superwoman. We can’t have it all in every season of life. We have to make choices. And the more intentional you are when it comes to making choices, the better they’ll be.
So that woman inside of you that longs to grab an espresso, lock the door, and write til your eyeballs burn…or run a marathon, or become a doctor, or create your own line of homemade doggie treats–be at peace with her. Don’t pack her up and kick her to the curb. Pray about her. Find ways to explore her. But don’t let her run the show. And when necessary, remind her how richly God has blessed you. Then tell her to be quiet so you can do the dishes.
You May Also Like: