Sunday, January 11, 2015

A new year.

Oh hi there.
Is it funny that my last post, 3 months ago, was about writing every day in October?
It might not be funny, but at the very least, it's ironic.

On one hand, I've missed writing. Articulating the thoughts mulling around all day as I listen to my toddler verbally vomit every thought that comes to mind. (Wonder where she gets that from.)
Sharing thoughts with people I don't usually get a chance to connect with.
Spelling things out that I'm too shy to say in person.
Getting to share something that wouldn't necessarily come up were we to sit down one on one.
Plus, I like to have a record for record's sake. I've always been a journaler. I love looking back years later and remembering - what were we doing? how were we feeling? Let's be honest, we tend to reminisce with either an ultra negative, or ultra positive filter. Mine leans towards the ultra positive. Take for example, child birth. [Didn't see me going there did you?] My husband and I have an ongoing joke that I forget childbirth is hard. I'm always like, "oh it wasn't that bad."
He's like, "yes, it was. You were in a lot of pain. There were a lot of tears. A lot. And I had to leave the room. And then I came back. And we didn't eat. And we were tired. And you've blocked it out you crazy lady."
And I'm all like, "whhhattt? No, it was fine. Okay maybe it was slightly difficult."

But that's a different story.

Back to writing.
So here I am again. A new year. I love a new year - a fresh start, a chance to evaluate, to resolve, to think.

Speaking of which, why the break? It's been a mix of two things, that are maybe really one thing.

Purpose + parenting

Sometime in between when Emma was born and now, I had to do some evaluating. A lot of people had said jumping from one to two kiddos was hard. And it didn't initially feel hard in the sense that I expected - I still felt able to keep everyone fed & clothed, and I even figured out how to get to walmart with 2 under 2. #winning

But the thing that I did notice was, a surprising redefining of purpose. Suddenly, my day couldn't just be about my plan and my agenda. With one little tot running around, I could kinda easily (though it didn't feel like it at the time), drag my kid around with me, keep her relatively entertained, while I did a lot of what I wanted.

Once Emma was born, there truly just wasn't enough time or energy in my day to do everything I was used to doing. At first, I figured we'd 'adjust' and 'get the hang of it' and life as we had known it would resume. So, I waited. Through the summer, and the fall, thinking that any day now, I would magically have more time for myself and what I wanted.

Meanwhile, I'm reading through My Utmost for His Highest, and good old Oswald Chambers hits me over the head like a ton of bricks: "If you seek great things for yourself - God has called me for this and that; you are putting a barrier to God's use of you. As long as you have a personal interest in your own character, or any set ambition, you cannot get through into identification with God's interest. You can only get there by losing for ever any idea of yourself, and by letting God take you right out into His purpose for the world... I have to learn that the aim in life is God's, not mine... When I stop telling God what I want, He can catch me up for what he wants without let or hindrance."

As I read this, the Lord whispered in a voice as clear as a voice can be without being audible, "my life is not my own."

Almost instantly, life with 2 seemed to make sense.
My life is not my own.
There may or may not have been a brief period of internal, figurative kicking and screaming. But honestly, it was short-lived. In a way, this realization was the cure for so much frustration.

Any previous illusion that my life was my own was, well, just that, an illusion.
But now, it had been clearly spoken to me - my life was and is not my own. [By the way, this falls under the category of I-heard-it-100-times-in-church-before-but-one-day-it-made-sense-to-me-in-a-new-and-personal-way.]

I could stop being frustrated on days when I didn't get time for what I wanted.
I could stop being annoyed if my kids' naps interfered with my to-do list.
I could stop being annoyed if my toddler was a toddler, and I don't know, wanted my attention every time I sat down to write an email, or took every ounce of my energy when I'd been up with a sick baby, or spilled her oatmeal 3 times in one meal. [Oatmeal is so hard to clean up, by the way.]

And so, we've adjusted.
Or rather, I've adjusted.
Isn't it funny that often when you want everyone else around you to change and get with your own program, God is like, "nope, I'm going to change you and get you on my program."

Now, maybe you're tracking with me or maybe you're thinking, "why the heck are you telling me this and what the heck does it have to do with writing on this blog?"

The other, more practical, side of this whole my life is not my own business is - on a day to day basis, what am I going to spend my very limited "free" time on. Maybe a better way to ask the question is: How does my daily life fit into God's purpose?

That question led to some other questions:
Am I fully present with my children when they're awake? (Or do I prioritize my iPhone?)
Do I have mental energy to engage in conversation with my husband after our kids go to bed?
Do I put others first?
Am I investing in the community of people around me?
And, as it relates more specifically to blogging, does writing fit into what God has asked of me and called me to right now?

And, in these questions, I've kinda come full circle on this post. Back to a combination of purpose + parenting.

While waiting for answers and direction, I needed a break from writing. A break to allow more time to listen. To redirect. To learn how to love and parent and attend to my children. How to love and engage my husband and our family and friends. To learn how to turn off and unplug and rest again. And to see if there was any time left over for writing. To wait and see if it fits in my new purpose - the purpose of a life that isn't my own. The purpose that is the general laying down of your own life as you take up God's agenda.

And not that I have figured out all those things by any means, but I do feel like I'm in a place of renewal. Of having adjusted and gotten some of those questions answered in a way that allows me to write. And maybe sometime I'll share the answers. Or maybe not. But in the meantime, I'm hoping 2015 brings more time for doing a few things well.

Including writing.
But my life is not my own, so, we'll see.

Happy New Year, friends.