My insomnia is always the worst on nights where my brain has been on auto pilot all day. Shockingly, raising little people uses all of your energy but only about half of your brain power. The other half of mine sits idle until they are all in bed and my husband is peacefully snoozing. I’m supposed to start my “sleep hygiene” that my doctor has prescribed, which involves a lot of thinking about walking down beaches and none of writing blogs on my phone. I picture the beach and then somehow my computer is there and I’m hammering out words about life and God and I kiss my aimed at 7 hours of rest goodbye.
Last night I was thinking about how when I was much younger and a new believer there was one question that people asked me all the time, what are you passionate about? Which is Christian speak for what do you love that you think you’re good at? Even before I knew Jesus I knew my answer, it was easy… writing. I loved writing. It was my retreat from a world that didn’t seem to always understand me or a family that was so wonderful they kind of annoyed me. Then a little later down the road after God wrecked my life in the best way I knew working with high schoolers was a part of the ministry I wanted to have from my pain. Somewhere along the way though I had enough people tell me that if God gave me gifts and talents and things I cared about then he would use them… and we would all live happily ever after. So I kind of assigned him this unofficial promise. No more floods and I only have to do things that i’m good at and come naturally. Thanks God…sounds great!
A few years into writing I got my break, a book deal, and it seemed that God would hold up to his unofficial covenant with me. My passions and reality aligned and six months after my book hit the shelf I gave birth to another great passion I didn’t even know I had. My first born. My daughter. The journey I didn’t know I needed until I started walking it. For a split second I had it all, the writing career I wanted, the family I adored, and God was checking all my boxes. Then 18 months later I was holding our son in a similar delivery room and I knew this was going to harder. Things had to slow down a little. Then 18 months later I was pregnant with our third and I had a war within me. Give up the “passions” God had planted in me for a season and do this raising of babies well or forge a path I felt like God was not leading me down.
My dreams, passions, and accomplishments were like big red balloons I carried with me everywhere I went and when the world didn’t approve of the tiny people at my feet I could point up and say, “but look what I’m holding? I have this too! I still matter!” After our third was born though my hands weren’t just full, my house, heart, and mind were too. I had to let something go.
I chose to let go and trust God, say no, and be OK that all I was producing was babies and that meant my insomnia would ramp up hard at night when my brain could dream about the passions God planted in me and the things I still wanted to do. As our pastor says, “no for now not forever.” I think as Christians sometimes we like to put faith tag lines on life to help us cope. We have put passions and work as synonymous parts of the Christian life and then tell budding college students to hold out for the dream job that meets all your criteria. This is great but sometimes work is just work, life is hard, and reality isn’t as fulfilling as the fantasy grown up world you created in college. I have come to learn that just like Jesus sacrificed for the end goal he calls his followers to do much of the same. We don’t make sacrifices based on whether we will get something in the end we make sacrifices because we know that what we are giving up isn’t as important as what we are chasing. The common ask no matter where you are seems to be, lay down your life and have faith that you aren’t forgotten in those in between seasons where obedience doesn’t match desires.
I didn’t know I had a passion for motherhood until God gave me Claire and moments after her first breath she was in my arms and I just knew I’d never be the same. So I put one thing on hold to fully embrace the other. I didn’t know I would turn things down I wanted for something that seemed so insignificant to the world. I can’t help but think though that this journey has lead me closer to God that living my dreams ever did. Dreams only require a dreamer but sacrifice well that requires a Savior. I need the savior more than the dream.
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are[e] being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18