By Christine Field
Have you envied the woman who moves through life with certainty, accomplishing each goal in life through each stage in life with grace and ease? She went to the school of her choice, married the man of her dreams, had the desired number of children, then transitioned effortlessly back into the career she trained for.
My life wasn’t like that. I’ll bet yours wasn’t either. Instead I had lots of questions and took lots of detours over bumpy territory. Decisions were made, children arrived, and the demands of family life dominated. Now, maybe the children are older. Your 24/7 attention is not required. In fact, you’re thinking about what you’ll do next in life.
As women, our lives are like a three-act play. In the first act, we are growing up and getting our own education. The second act, which may be soon ending for you, is the crazy busy time of raising a family. Whether you were a full-time stay-at-home mom (or even a homeschool mom), or if you found ways to balance work and family life, a time of shifting is ahead. What will you do?
A Place of Beginning
Do you ask yourself these questions?
- Should I stay the course and remain at home?
- Is my current job adequate?
- Should I return to a prior career?
- Can I use my prior education in another area?
- Can I afford to _______________?
- Will my family and friends be supportive if I ______________?
- Am I too old to ____________________?
Or maybe your questions are broader:
- I have no idea what to do!
- I don’t know how to figure out what to do.
- What first steps should I take?
If you are struggling to make decisions about what you will do in the third act of your life, that’s okay. This can be an exciting time of discovery! Depending on your underlying circumstances, you may now have the freedom to sculpt how you will invest your time and energy. Does that make you anxious? Remember that some anxiety in the face of change and growth is completely normal. This is a time of life when you can not only grow, but flourish!
For many moms, as the busy years of mothering draw to a close, it is a time of purpose shifting. We have been focused on investing in others. Now we have the time, space, and freedom to invest in ourselves! There are two kinds of freedom now.
We are freed from the constraints of school schedules or homeschool teaching, kid hauling in the mini-van, and preparing kid-friendly food. We can embrace the freedom to make our own schedule, make decisions for ourselves, choose our own food, and drive a vehicle that seats four instead of eight!
The best starting point in this purpose shifting is to start with … yourself. Over many years our interests, priorities, and passions may change. You may have been the room mother extraordinaire, deeply involved with your children’s schools. Maybe you even homeschooled. Perhaps you had the challenge of working in a less-than-satisfying job to help meet expenses. Or maybe you managed to maintain your career, but you are now questioning whether you should be doing something else. Your purpose shifting might be one of these two options:
- From juggling family, work, home … to more energy to pursue your interests!
- From focusing solely on children, home … to something else wonderful!
As you approach the journey with a sense of wonder and excitement, it’s time to ask yourself some thoughtful questions. Search your answers for common themes or feelings.
Question One: How happy are you with your _____? Ask this question about all the arenas of your life as they are now:
- Relationships with kids
- Marriage, if you are married
- Job, if you are currently employed
- Activities outside the home
Question Two: Each day, what things/people/situations bring you joy? When are you most alive?
Write down as much as you can about these areas. Then search your answers for common themes or feelings. At the end of this initial inquiry, you may reach the conclusion that it is your deepest desire to remain exactly where you are in order to be a helper to your husband, to be involved with church and civic activities, or to love your grandchildren. That’s awesome! Being a godly wife, mother, and grandmother is a noble calling. Pursue it with passion and with the peace of mind of knowing that you are where the Lord wants you to be.
If answering these questions leads you to some new things to pursue or some changes to make, you will have taken your first steps to finding your unique place of peace and fulfillment. Maybe you will take in foster kids, return to college, start writing, volunteer more, try a new job. Your life is a unique adventure. Where will it take you?
Christine Field writes for Moms muddling through messy family life and moving on. Learn more and receive two free reports at http://www.realmomlife.com/optin-061615/.