A few months ago I started becoming less than content with my life. It starts with scrolling frenetically through Facebook, reading everyone’s posts about great vacations they’re on, new babies, new relationships, who’s selling what, down to angry political rants and shocking headlines and videos of things nobody wants to see, but you can’t take your eyes away because of morbid curiosity. Emotions take a roller coaster ride ranging from happy tears to jealousy to anger to frustration to nostalgia to horror. I shut off my phone feeling sick and anxious over what I can’t control, and then angry with myself for wasting so much precious time focusing on what other people have written. I’m left feeling torn for wanting to shut down my account so that I simply cut out that temptation, but wanting to keep it alive so that I can keep in touch with my family and friends from afar. Why do I allow myself to get so sucked in? I put so much pressure on myself to be more creative, to write more, to read more, to sew more, to bake more, and sell more simply to present it to the world and say, “Look what I did!”
We all want a purpose. We all want affirmation that our lives mean something to someone. Yet social media IS NOT going to give that to us. We will never have meaning and contentment without real human interaction. I found a fantastic quote out of a really unlikely source. A few weeks ago, my husband and I were watching something on tv, and a bizarre commercial came on. A robot was speaking about creating food for people because she loved us. I was both intrigued and confused. The commercial was for a meal replacement powder called Soylent. So, I googled it, and came across an article in The Hustle from September 8, 2015 titled “Soylent: What Happened When I Went 30 Days Without Food.” The author, Josh Helton, went surprisingly philosophical after Day 22 when he realized that meal times were when he connected with his wife. He had stopped making meals and eating real food with his wife during this experiment, and their relationship suffered. This paragraph really hit me as truth:
So much of our culture pressures us to live a life of legend. I’ve felt it myself time and time again. I want to be remembered. But by whom? I think our underlying motivation for our ceaseless work effort is to be remembered for something great, but typically it’s centered on being great to people we aren’t that close to. In my opinion, what matters in the end is not if we are famous to the world but with our families.
As a stay at home momma now for over ten months, I do start getting restless and wonder what more I can do with my life. I want to write a book (or five). I want to open a bakery. I want to make clothes. I want to be as creative as Joanna Gaines. I want to become a physician’s assistant and work in oncology. I want to be a speaker like Beth Moore. I want to draw and paint. I become so overwhelmed by how much I want to accomplish that I don’t know where to start and then nothing gets done. Getting sucked into watching what others are doing is both counter-productive and deflating. It’s so easy to talk yourself out of doing something because you feel like someone else can do it better. This irrational jealousy of other peoples’ talents and/or good fortune robs us of our own creativity and joy. Those dreams and gifts bubbling up inside you are meant to be used. These gifts WILL be recognized. Most likely not with the populous at large, but with the people in your life that actually matter. Trust that each season of life has a purpose, and the platform you have currently is enough. Right now, my purpose is to raise our baby girl in a home full of peace, love, and joy and to use my gifts and talents for my family and friends with whom we are physically sharing life.
I wish I could say I feel completely content with where I am now. I know my identity is found in the arms of my Father, and not based on what I do. That I am His child and His love is deeper than any love I can fathom. We are on this earth for the singular purpose of being God’s love incarnate, the light in this world. We don’t have to be everything to everyone. We just have to be physically and emotionally present for the people in our lives. As in the story of the little boy on the beach making a difference in the life of each starfish he throws back into the ocean, I need to take my focus off of what I’m not accomplishing or who I’m not impressing, and focus on the people in front of me, live and in person.