SHARED: “No Happy Harmony” by Elizabeth C. Corey

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“Both the ethical imperatives I’ve described—“must work” and “must stay at home”—reflect noble desires, the one for talents fully used and the other for the vocation of motherhood. But I worry that both are too often promoted ideologically, prescribed as answers to the anxieties young women naturally feel about what they should do. This problem is especially pressing for those high-achieving college students I have been describing, who cannot imagine doing anything—be it career or motherhood—halfheartedly.” via No Happy Harmony by Elizabeth C. Corey

As you might already know, the topic of motherhood and vocation has been on my mind and heart lately and Dr. Corey’s insight in this article from First Things exposes the root of tension that I feel almost daily.

It’s about a 20 minute read (well, if you’re a slow reader like me) but well worth it…grab a cup of something warm and dive in.

Too Late?

illustration Michelle Rial _Too Late

This illustration by Michelle Rial made me smile because, as I’ve hinted at recently, I deal with this fear a lot.

I’m staring down my email inbox on a Monday morning, organizing my class workload for the week, and wondering if it’s too early to make myself a second espresso (it’s 9:30am, I think not.) This isn’t what I thought my mid-thirties would look like. Being back in freaking college? All the lol’s.

Continue reading “Too Late?”

SHARED: How To Write by Elizabeth Gilbert — via swissmiss

1) Tell your story TO someone. Pick one person you love or admire or want to connect with, and write the whole thing directly to them —like you’re writing a letter. 327 more words

I caught this on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Instagram account last week and loved it so much that I stashed it in my “Saved” tab. So glad to catch it here via swissmiss and be able to share it with y’all.  For the full post: How To Write by Elizabeth Gilbert — swissmiss

when walking by faith prompts the question, “Is this worth it?”

worth it

I look at the clock again. How is it that time already? Where had the last 45 minutes gone? I’m scrambling to finish the task I am doing, one of about a thousand that requires me to do it, my hands and my feet, and not anyone else. My pace quickens as I throw in another load of laundry, picking up items on the way to be distributed to their original places.

Continue reading “when walking by faith prompts the question, “Is this worth it?””

Dorothy Sayers on Work

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Dorothy Sayers on the spiritual, cultural, and ecclesiastical value of work–

“The first is that you cannot do good work if you take your mind off the work to see how the community is taking it – any more than you can make a good drive from the tee if you take your eye off the ball. “Blessed are the single hearted: (for that is the real meaning of the word we translate “the pure in heart”). If your heart is not wholly in the work, the work will not be good – and work that is not good serves neither God nor the community; it only serves mammon.”

For the full essay (preserved online), click here.

 

Jesus: The One and Only

Jesus-one-and-only

The time of year is fast approaching (and is already here) when I feel like I’m floating…direction-less…just kind of going through the motions of what I need to do but without much passion. The creative things that I was buzzing about even 2 months ago have evaporated and I can’t even remember what they were. I was so excited and now…I am floating. I am not unhappy but there is a distinct loss of some spark, something.

Is it summer? Does summer kill my creativity? Does the oppressive heat and thick humidity and constant drone of the a/c suck the life out of the right side of my brain? Another coffee will not kick start it. Believe me, I’ve tried.

I know life comes in seasons blah blah blah (I’m sorry for being so rude and dismissive) but I want to feel more than just some baseline happiness. Is that greedy? I am happy. Am I content? I want passion! I want to be excited about something! I want to wake up with ideas and energy and the desire to hit the ground running. Create something new! And beautiful! And to connect with people who are interesting!

Aaaaand then I feel a crashing guilt that I don’t already feel all those things towards my own children. Why? They are amazing and I love them! But it’s just so. much. work. all. the. time.

The beauty and wonder of motherhood get so very lost in the constant cleaning, serving, delegating, disciplining, feeding, etc. etc. etc.

There are no Big Picture Moments. I feel like I’m drowning in the details of it all (so many feelings!)

I don’t want to be detached. But I also don’t want to vomit my frustrations onto my poor kids. Cue balloon mode.

Pause. Teach me to pray. Lord, you are with me! I know this. It’s hard to remember sometimes. You have placed me in this role, this responsibility, this job, for this season. Help me! Help me to do this work out of Your strength. I don’t have it in me. The strength, the joy, the contentment. I need Yours. I need You to fulfill me. I need You.

Teach me to run to the well, run to You, when I am in this place again. Teach me to drink of You. Be quenched by You. I am thirsty, I am tired. I need You.

Here’s what I’m already thinking so I might as well be honest. I am afraid that motherhood will not satisfy me. Will not be enough.

And this is true. It will never be enough. 

Mothering will never deeply satisfy. There is no vocation, or pursuit, or relationship that can quench that kind of thirst.  Not on that eternal, gut-ache-level as you sit alone in the universe, crying silent prayers to the night sky, desiring something beyond all of this and something that will never disappoint-level. Something more powerful, more perfect. Unlike anything or anyone else. Even motherhood cannot assuage that kind of longing.

And then I read John 1. Theological poetry about a life lived and given over and offered as the Only One that will satisfy. For our sins, for my longings, for our peace with God, for all time.

Lord, only You can do that! Only You will ease that aching place within me. You are the One and Only, Jesus.

 

The Word became flesh
and took up residence among us.
We observed His glory,
the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.

Indeed, we have all received grace after grace
from His fullness,
for the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The One and Only Son—
the One who is at the Father’s side—
He has revealed Him.

(John 1:14,16-18)

The Freedom of “No”

The Freedom of _No_

I was awake again, this time around 2:30am. My (almost) three month old was going through a growth spurt, and combined with a tiny congested nose, he and I were not getting much sleep. As I nursed him back to sleep, my mind played a reel of the work I was able to accomplish from the day and wrestled with the things that were left undone.

The familiar feeling of disappointment combined with a low-grade anxiety started to creep in the shadows of my heart, when a thought popped up out of nowhere.

Saying “No” to some things, means that I’m actually saying a wholehearted “Yes!” to others.

Of course! Why hadn’t I seen it from this perspective before? It was so obvious. It was so freeing!

Saying “No” in the right context, with the purpose to preserve something else precious, is a gift in disguise to us high-achievers. While it might sting like failure in the moment, it can actually be the thing that protects, prolongs, and produces fruit in another area of our lives.

The real challenge here (for myself and maybe for you too?) is to still our hearts, to listen, and to zero-in on the work that the Lord has called us to for this season. What is in front of me right now? Who has He allowed to come alongside of me? While I might have my own ideas about which direction to take my day, my responsibility is to submit all before Him and follow His lead.

“The Good Shepherd”

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
He leads me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
as long as I live.

Ps. 23 (HCSB)

Having the freedom to say “No” to that extra project means that I am saying “Yes” to the ones that I’ve already committed to.

Saying “No” to that social gathering means that I am saying “Yes” to time with my family.

Saying “No” to time wasted in lifeless work or self-centered busyness or mind-numbing entertainment means that I am saying “Yes” to something better!

Even the so-called spiritual or church-y things must go before the throne: is this what you’ve called me to, Lord? Is this contributing to (or taking away from) your purpose for my life?

My prayer is for a clear channel between His heart and mine. That I can discern *in the moment* what is of true importance and what can wait. Good Shepherd, help us to be led by your loving hand, even in our saying “No.”