Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I’ve always loved reading, but have let that love fall to the wayside as I’ve allowed the demands of motherhood take over. I just kept thinking “I don’t have time to read,” when in reality, I wasn’t MAKING time to read. So, this year, I’ve made a little more of an effort to not just START a book, but to finish it. And as a result, I’ve finished more books this year than I can remember reading over the course of any year since my daughter was born (and maybe in all the years combined since then…).
Have all of the books I’ve read been inspirational? Entertaining? Fun? The answer to all of those is No! I’ve tried to read a mix of fiction and nonfiction. To be honest, I LOVE a good fiction book. I can get lost in a novel and tune out the world around me…just ask my husband. But, I know that in order to be well-rounded, I NEED to read nonfiction as well. So I have made that a goal this year, and I feel like I’ve been at least somewhat successful. I have read books that have challenged my thinking, opened my eyes, and made me long for more.
All of that to say, the last 2 nonfiction books that I’ve read (one I’m still reading), have challenged me, quite literally, to dig deeper and stop hiding from the calling God has placed on my life. In one book, Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life With Everything You Have by Annie F. Downs, I was challenged to face my fears – fears of failure, of the unknown, of saying yes (and saying no)…and to do the brave thing–to follow the passion God has placed in my heart.
The second book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa TerKeurst, has challenged me so much already…I’m only on chapter 3! One quote that has stuck with me is: “A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.”
Is my schedule so overwhelmed with stuff that my soul is underwhelmed? Have I put so much on my plate that my soul isn’t fully connected to God, listening for His direction? Have I blocked out His voice so much that I no longer hear His prompting?
Oh, I pray that the answer to these questions is a resounding “NO!!” Yet, I know, many days/weeks/months/years, my honest answer would have to be “Yes.”
These books have really gotten me thinking…what IS the thing that God has called me to? Being a wife and mom are definitely top of my list…but is there something more? My soul tells me there is. What is my something more?
While discussing this with my husband tonight, he said something that really resonated. He told me that sometimes you have to experiment. You have to try new things to see if you really enjoy them. Have you always wanted to learn to knit? Buy some yarn and watch some youtube videos. Ask a friend who knows what they’re doing to teach you. Give it a shot. Hate it? No one said you had to keep doing it!
Then, he told me that he thought I would thrive on mentoring new and expectant moms. Ummmm…wow! When I look back over the dreams that I’ve suppressed over the years, helping families/women has always been at the center of them. But, I’ve never allowed myself to fully experiment with those ideas. Sure, I’ve participated in women’s mentoring programs, I’ve joined mom’s groups, led Bible studies, etc…but every time, I’ve held a piece of myself back. I don’t think it’s been a conscious decision, to be honest, but I do think that I’ve always been afraid to give 100%–afraid that I would fail, that I would lead someone down the wrong path, that I wasn’t good enough. But isn’t that the point…I’m NOT good enough. But God, who places those dreams in our hearts, IS good enough. He uses imperfect people every single day to accomplish His perfect plan. The only thing He requires is that we’re willing to go where He leads, making ourselves available, and listening to His prompting.
So, where does that leave me tonight? Honestly, I’m not really sure. I know that I need to dig into this…maybe even get a mentor of my own. I need to pray, HARD. I need to spend time, daily, reading and studying and allowing God’s word to transform my life. And, I need to open my eyes, ears, & heart, to the promptings of the Holy Spirit…and when He leads me to action, I need to be obedient. Isn’t that what we all need?