Monday, June 11, 2012

On purpose. And success.

What's your purpose? Do you know?

I'm not entirely sure I know mine..

My Bible Study is currently reading Praying for Purpose for Women by Katie Brazelton, so I'm hoping to glean a lot during this time. The chapters are short and concise, and it's intended to be read and prayed about each day. The tough (and good) thing about the book is all of the questions. Each chapter focuses on something in your life to really get you thinking and praying about your life, your time, your purpose.

And it's hard. For example:

What's confused in your life?
What's right and what's wrong in your life?
How do you define success?

This last question really had me thinking. Obviously, much of the world defines success by wealth. How big your house is, what car you drive, what labels you wear, how big your bank account is.

This has never been my view, although I would be lying through my teeth if I didn't say having a fat wallet sounded pretty nice and comfy. Duh.

For me, success is so personal and honestly, dependent on the time in your life.

I remember a few years ago, when I was laid off and unemployed for a summer, I really struggled with this. Oh, sure, I enjoyed having my days free, perusing thrift stores, working on projects around the house and just taking it easy overall. But one day in particular, I just couldn't wrap my mind around what it was I was supposed to be doing, and it had me in tears. I was sending out my resume, applying for jobs, and yes, keeping busy at home. But for what? To what end? My home wasn't any cleaner. Dinners were not any more elaborate. I certainly wasn't suddenly winning any wife of the year awards. I enjoyed painting rooms in our home and doing project after project, but who, besides me, was enjoying it? I think my hubby likes things I do around the house just fine, but I don't think anything was blowing his socks off or anything. 

And now? I feel like it's, is my husband happy? is my baby happy and healthy? am I being a good wife/mother/daughter/friend? am I spending enough time in prayer? have I had some time alone to do something I enjoy?

None of those things has to do with "work", you might notice. I still work part time (from home), but frankly, I no longer feel much like an employee. Maybe that has to do with being at home.. not having to drive to and from the office, having flexibility in my schedule, clocking in in my yoga pants.

Or maybe it has to do with being a mom. I feel like my life and purpose took a very clear and decided turn when I had Evie. I punched out for maternity leave, and frankly, could have never looked back. I always enjoyed my job, but it was never this amazing, fulfilling career that I couldn't step away from. In some ways I'm thankful for that. Yes, it would have been nice to have a big, successful, high-paying career, like many women do before kids, but I think that would have made it a little bit harder to walk away from.

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I knew I would love it and was so excited for that time in my life. And it's wonderful. But full disclosure- I get why some moms go back to work, even if they don't financially have to. Crying babies are hard. Babies that won't sleep are hard. Tantrums are hard. Cleaning up mess after mess after mess all the livelong day is hard.

Don't get me wrong- I absolutely love it. Not every single minute of every single day, but I do love being home with my girl and wouldn't trade it for the world. But it's becoming more and more clear to me that I need that time alone in order to be a good mom. To be successful as a mom. An outlet to be alone, quite, creative. I used to be a little embarrassed/sheepish when I told people that my mother in law watched Evie for a few hours, twice a week. I don't work the entire time she's gone, but have time to get things done at home as well. In peace. And frankly, I need that. I feel rejuvenated, relaxed, and ready to see my girl and play with her and love on her. Are we blessed to have this set-up? You bet. Should I feel bad about it? I don't really think so. If I'm striving to be the best mom and wife I can be, knowing I need some alone time and taking Grandma up on her offer to help is a win-win.

But back to the question- what's my purpose? Is it simply to be a good mom? To teach my daughter about Jesus and loving people and being thankful for all that we've been given and to be kind and respectful? 

In short, no. I don't think that's my only purpose. A big one, right now? Yes. But I think there's more. And I'm hoping to find out what it is.

So what do you think your purpose is right now? Do you know? Have you been successful at your purpose? I'm so curious to know what others see their purpose and success as.


  1. thanks for this post---i am feeling a little lost these days.....and in a funk. I loved readying this--and yes being a mom is the best job--but i do agree that you need to have those outs and me time to stay true to you, and have other things that also define you as a person.:)

  2. I know this is weird, but knowing my purpose in life has never bothered me. And I truly think that's kind of odd. I worry and think a lot of things, and even I find it strange that I don't wonder about this.

    I think I'm here for a lot of little reasons, not necessarily one grandiose reason. I think that when I die it'll be revealed to me and it will all come together. Maybe it's because my mom needed me when my dad died, maybe it's because my child will have the cure to cancer (not likely, but hey!) or maybe it's something so simple that my presence kept someone from doing something that would have risked their life. I guess time will tell.

    I love reading about your journey, though. Definitely a post for pondering.

  3. I am kind of in agreement with Katie in that I haven't ever really pondered my purpose and maybe it's because I know that I'm not someone who will be known for anything or really DO anything. Not to say this in a fishing for compliments way on how great I am, but, like you, I have always known I would be a mom & my husband & I planned on me staying home so I never invested in a career so we wouldn't become (inadvertently) dependent on it. But even though I know I won't be known for anything (except my inability to cook or my black thumb), I really believe I can still change the landscape that surrounds me just by being kind to those around me and acting like the child of God I am blessed to be. It's like those insurance commercials where the small acts of kindness get passed on and on and on. It may be naive, but I like to think that my acts of kindness can have a little ripple effect forcing happiness and positivity that just maybe makes things a little better for someone else. The blessings all come back around. Case in point, when my dad died, Katie was a huge source of comfort and strength for me for a long time. Just the thought that "hey, you've got Katie who has been there and she has survived and I can (and did) go to her with so many feelings and unanswerable questions" carried me a long way. So you never know who you help, or when.

    And, honey, being a mom is HARD!! Sure we can go to work in our pajamas and we get hugs and that is great.....but trying to reason with a 2 year old that tells you to go away while kicking you in the shins at the grocery store? Not so fun. What's worse, is that NOBODY TALKS ABOUT IT!!!! So annoying! Thus, making the mom guilt even worse because then you just assume every other mom is doing it and putting all their great mom-ness on Pinterest leaving the normal people feeling like crap. Alex & I BOTH do much better when he goes t o mother's day out a couple days a week (which you should totally look in to if you haven't And Alex loves it too). As moms, and women, we need to encourage one another to be the best mom we can be in whatever terms that means without judgement fear or getting the stink eye in public. Ok, sorry....stepping off my soapbox. This was long. My bad. But great post. :)

    And, by the way, I'd bet that you are doing a great job balancing mom/wife/daughter/friend. Evie is such a doll!!!


  4. life is a balancing act for sure! And everything you said is so normal!I think the best thing about life can be some of those things we look forward to once we're finished with our work load ..etc...and diversity in our day for a person like myself is so needful, sometimes too much repetition of the same ol same ol drives me nuts...(like "ground hog day" movie). :-)

  5. great comments from "happy wife" all do need to encourage one another cause parenting is the hardest but most rewarding job there is!!!

  6. Purpose is hard. I think most don't truly know their purpose because life is a journey. It's what we do, who we are and how we live on that journey that defines our purpose in the end. I believe it's all the little things we do...loving Him, loving others, our giving, our true hearts that God looks at, not necessarily if we had an ah-ha moment of purpose.

    I have never been a fan of the book, 'Purpose Driven Life' I think people clung to that book in droves trying to figure out how they would find their purpose. I don't think it's that easy. I think it's different for everyone. Some may have a giant purpose, and some may not one revealed. Look at Jesus. He waited 33 years to be used in his ultimate purpose, but what mattered was what he did in that time in-between. Look at how many lives were changed through the ministry of his life on earth. Most people can't wait to know their purpose and impact on this world. They are dying to get to where God wants make their mark on this world, but I think what matters is what you do with that in-between time and in the wait that truly defines who you are and how God will use you. Many of us are not yet ready to be used how we are supposed to be. In the wait we learn, grow and are prepared for what He has for us. That's how I see it. My purpose for today is probably not the same as my purpose in five years.

    I definitely agree with Janie! I wish more moms would talk about the difficulties of motherhood. Blogs and facebook paint this picture perfect world that makes moms feel inadequate. Some days I have to call Dallas and let him know that I am losing my mind. Some days we go to the gym so they can go to childcare and I can read a book in the cafe:). It's hard, and sometimes I feel like a failure. All we can do is our best, and there is no shame in needing some alone time.

  7. I just wrote about this on my new coaching blog today! Purpose is one of the biggest questions we'll have as humans, I believe. I think that purpose is SO multifaceted. I can't say anything on the mom front, but I feel blessed to FINALLY be living my authentic path. It hasn't been easy though and I had many days like you explained above, but the trip has been worth it. Give it to God and follow your soul. Let me know if you ever want to chat!


I ♥ your comments! Strange or lovely or somewhere in between, lay 'em on me!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...