Living Intentionally

If  I had to choose something to sum up how I want this year to go it would be this...


What brought that on?  Well, several things actually.

1. Four months from today...exactly...I will be 3-0!!  It doesn't really bother me, but it does make me stop and think about my life thus far and how I want the next 30 years to be.  (Actually, I am sort of excited, because I think turning 30 is a really great excuse to plan a party for MYSELF!!  Is it okay to do that? )

2. About 3 months ago I made some tough decisions about what I can and cannot do (keep reading, I will explain).

3. I was reading a blog post from Ali Edwards today and it got me to thinking about the things that I have learned and the things that I still WANT to learn.  It is a long post and talks about how her day is organized, but the really good stuff is towards the end...just scroll down.

Ali has a link to this post by Tara Whitney.  Stop right there...you need to go read this one.  It is pretty short, has a great photo, and it relates to my post.  So, just do it now...I will wait.

See, it didn't take that long.  I just love the message she has here.  That life isn't rushed.  And that is how I so desperately want my life to be.  I know a lot of times I come home from work and it is already pushing 5:30 and I know that if I don't get supper going and get Preston started on his homework, then we aren't going to make bedtime and things will just spiral out of control.

Okay, so that is the reality of my Monday - Thursday, but I would really like it NOT to be that way.  Don't get me wrong, I like my job at the school, I do.  There just has to be some balance between the work life and home life.

Enter the tough decisions I referred to in #2 earlier.  When school started up in August I think my vision of how smooth things would be was far grander that it should have been.  Maybe it was do to reading a few too many blogs of other working/semi-working women who seemed to have it all together.  They could come home from work, help their kids get homework done, cook a healthy, delicious dinner, clean up the kitchen, put the kids to bed, spend time with their husbands and crank out a craft project of some sort all before heading to bed...Really?  Looking back now I can't believe that I actually BELIEVED that was their life.

What I see now is that their kitchen's are dirty, the laundry is piled up, toys are all over the living room floor.  All those "perfect" pictures we see of their houses and projects are staged...FAKE I tell you!  I am sure that on more than one occasion if the camera was to pan out and show us the whole house, we would see all the things that seem normal to us.

So, back to me.  I slowly, and I mean like took about 2 months, realized that I was NOT going to make it if I kept on the same track...something was going to have to give.  Because on top of working four 10 hours days a week, keeping up with all the responsibilities at home I was also booking photo sessions right and left and making aprons like crazy.

You can see where this is going can't you?

I was feeling very unsettled about all of the commitments I had made.  When I was home I was so worried about getting pictures edited and back to clients, or cutting out aprons, or finishing up photo orders that I felt like I was loosing a part of myself.  I absolutely LOVE photography and my sewing machine is like a extension of my body, but these things were taking over my life and I was loosing so many other things that were important to me.
I couldn't remember the last time I had read a book with the kids that was just for fun.  Not part of a homework assignment.  I no longer had a favorite TV show (not that it was a bad thing, but it happened).  I was no longer thinking about my next blog post.  There are very few photos of my kids and our random days.  At the end of the day, I would just be glad that it was over.  How awful that sounds!!

So I prayed and prayed and prayed about what to do.  There just didn't seem to be an easy answer.  I LOVE photography and I LOVE shooting families and giving them a piece of their own history to cherish.  I LOVE that I can make an apron for someone knowing that they will be cooking up something delicious for someone they love while wearing it.  HOW could I possibly give up those things?  It seemed like they were such blessings in my life.  I was making money doing things that really filled me with joy.

I knew for quite awhile what the answer was, but I just didn't WANT that answer so I kept ignoring and praying more.  Sort of like this...

"So, Lord.  I think you may be leading me in a direction that I am not exactly comfortable with.  I really don't want to do what it is you are asking me to do, so how about this?  You give me another answer that I will like and we can all be happy.  K?  Awesome!  Thanks.  P.S. You're the bomb!!"

I really acted like this for about a month.  I tried to keep making things work the way that I wanted them to, but my plans kept running into roadblocks.  I am stubborn.  You know that.  A roadblock or two aren't going to stop me.  Besides, you can move mountains when you have God.  Go ahead, let it out.  I know you want to let out a little laugh here.  It's okay, I understand.

What I thought God might be telling me is that my camera and sewing machine will ALWAYS be here, but my children are going to grow up FAST.  And that I didn't want to look back in twenty years and wish that I had done it all differently.  However, I still wanted to hold on to the money and the "significance" these things were giving me. (This was also about the time we knew that Jeremy was probably going to be ranching full time in a few months, that money would get tight and that we were facing a potential move.)  I just couldn't let go of the thought that we are going to "need" this income soon.

At the time we were reading What Happens When Women Say Yes to God in bible study and I read these statements.

"...there may come a time at some point in your life when you will need to decide between your will and His.  One thing you can be assured of is that God has already worked out all the details of what your obedience will accomplish - and it is good.  We need not fear what our obedience will cause to happen in our life.  We should only fear what our disobedience will cause us to miss.  The sooner this truth resonates in your heart, the quicker you can make peace with a command from God that you don't fully understand.  We tend to want to see the big picture complete with all the details before stepping out in obedience to God.  We long for a cost analysis where we can weigh out what we'd be giving up against what we'd be gaining and then decide if the trade is worth it."

WOWzers!!  It was like she wrote that just to speak directly to  me.  I was doing the cost analysis.  I didn't want to give up the money and the significance,  BUT I wanted to have peace at home and feel like a good mother again.  The sentence that I  underlined above is the one that sealed the deal for me.  It was what made me look back and realize that I didn't want to miss what God had in store for our family because of my disobedience.

Have I missed my photography or sewing?  Not really.  I have been MUCH more relaxed and able to enjoy everyday life.  I made a dress for Cambree.  I made photo books of my kids birthdays from the past few years.  I was able to tackle the laundry and stay on top of it.  I have done several quick little projects around the house.  I am reading to Westynn.  Coming home from work doesn't feel like going to a second job anymore.

I still have a long ways to go to living a completely intentional life, but it feels so good to be going down the right road!!

Now, back to that thirtieth birthday party....


Melanie said...

Bless you! I know EXACTLY how you have felt. .I prayed for about 5 months before I quit my "full-time" job. And you know. .that was my reasoning too. .partially because I knew I could ALWAYS work. .but I would never have that chance to raise my kids again! And you know what else?? God has provided more for us since then than I ever thought possible. .hmmm imagine that, huh?? We are right now studying a Beth Moore series on Esther. .and the homework the other night talked about US missing critical points in our lives by doing what WE want to do. .instead of what God is tugging at us to do. .WOW. .keep studying and praying!!

mom said...

i am a firm believer in stay at home moms....this is what children need more than stuff....when reading this...a thought comes to mind...I could have told you most of this...from cold hard experience and being young and dumb for most of my life....but you may not have listened....so I am so proud and happy you discovered this on your own...you are filled with tons of talent and creativity....ONE chance at childhood is all you get...yours and theirs...embrace it...you blink and they will turn 3-0....Maybe some one will have a party for you....NOT IN THE PARK>>>>

Rhonda said...

Wow, Sara, I really appreciate all you shared here. I too have had a lot of struggle (and still do) about how God wants me to balance family, home, work, projects, etc. I'm glad for your focus on obeying God. :) Very encouraging. Thanks again for sharing, and best wishes!