This is how a mid-life crisis begins. You wake up one morning and realize you already are what you are going to be when you grow up. I had a morning like this. Yesterday, actually. We’ve had nothing but rain for days and days and days, which can turn any girl’s mood blue, particularly if she’s been stuck inside with lots of children who are bored out of their minds and whiny. But my “blue mood” deteriorated into “crazy mood” pretty rapidly. The thought occurred to me that by the time I have raised these kids, I will be too old to do anything else with my life. This is it. I’m a mom. And then a Granny (hopefully, but not too soon, you know, like 15 years from now…) Chances are, I won’t get to “be” anything fabulous. It is just too late. Too late.
Now, I know some of you (Grannies, in particular) are shaking your head at me. You would tell me that my job is important, that nothing is better than being a Mom and then a Granny. That it is important work with eternal value. And I agree. Totally. But there is still some spark in me that wants to do more. I don’t want my gravestone to read “She did more loads of laundry than any other woman on planet Earth. Ever.”
See, the problem is this age-old search for significance. And I believe God designed us this way for a reason… But I feel like, at 37, I am still trying to find my reason. I have moved on from dreams of being a Pop Star (to the relief of my mother) or a princess (to the relief of my husband) and now I just have this dull ache that longs to do something meaningful with my days, not instead of mothering, but in addition to… And I have been praying about what that “something” is. The frustrating part is for the last several months, the only answer that God whispers to me is “create margin in your life”. In other words, “Do Less”. What??I don’t like that answer so much.
So I am doing less. I am saying no to stuff that I would normally say yes to. And it feels weird, and liberating… But I still don’t know what I am creating all this margin for. And to be painfully honest, I am bored out of my mind. I don’t do “waiting” very well, apparently.
My little kids start 5 day pre-k this fall. And I keep having this disturbing vision of aimlessly wandering aisles at Target, killing time until car line. And it scares me. Almost as much as the thought of doing housework and watching daytime tv from 8 til 2. I cannot bear the thought.
The verses I read this morning were from Galatians 6…”Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
I love that. “Your creative best”. But I have to look at the work I’ve already been given. And embrace it. Not keep looking for the next thing and the next thing… I have to do this work and do my creative best at it. And I might still get to do something else cool, only God knows… But this is what He has given me for now. If I am bored with this, then I am not doing my creative best. A friend posted this quote on Facebook yesterday and it resonates… “You’ll find boredom where there is the absence of a good idea.” So the responsibility is mine… The joy is there to be found… It just sometimes requires some creativity and ingenuity to uncover…
I share this because I know I can’t be the only one feeling like a used up has-been. Or never-was. Or whatever. And I think that word from Galatians was a much needed kick in the pants for me. And maybe for you, too… Who are you? What have you already been given? What are you doing with that? And if we do our creative best with that, won’t He give us more to be creative with? I believe so. I am counting on it.