I am the queen of unfinished projects, and I have a tub full of unused yarn hiding in my basement to prove it. No, I’m not 80, I used to crochet baby blankets for my friends’ new additions. Creating something from nothing was exciting, so I thought, Wouldn’t a bigger accomplishment mean even more pride and enjoyment? But after about the fifth granny square, I gave up. The seemingly never-ending process had snuffed out my spark. If we aren’t careful, big dreams can create big shadows on what could’ve been a beautiful process.
I’ve felt this in two critical areas of life: motherhood and my career.
When I quit teaching full-time to stay home with my kids, I had big goals. I wrote a schedule for our days much like the lesson plans I used with my 8th graders. Each minute would be meaningful and perfectly executed. Funny thing, I learned that kids aren’t robots.
Instead of the constant smiles and snuggles I imagined, they cried when I turned off their allotted PBS television time, disliked the five options I gave them for breakfast, and had an orange poop explosion on the floor at Kohl’s department store.
Slowly, my spark for motherhood faded. My dreams of perfectly happy days at home shadowed the reality of the long, hard days of trying to meet the needs of three little people. Instead of loving all the precious moments of motherhood, I found myself worn out and focusing on the fact that I couldn’t make motherhood what I wanted it to be.
My spark rekindled as I began to write again. I couldn’t wait to open my computer and blog my thoughts. And people actually read them! It was like a hit of adrenaline shocking my passion back to life. I wrote a book, sent off the manuscripts and waited for my publishing dreams to come true. But letters and emails came back ringing the same tune. “Contact us when you have a bigger platform.”
My heart felt discouraged. Readership can take decades to accumulate. Why would God give me the gift of writing and encouraging if he didn’t want me to use it to my maximum potential?
I believe he does want to use our gifts in big ways, but his plans for us aren’t just about the end result – there’s value in the process.
When motherhood is overwhelming and dreams seem impossible, there’s a Bible verse that helps me keep pressing forward: 1Thessalonians 1:3 says, Our work is produced by faith, labor is prompted by love, and endurance is inspired by hope in Jesus.
The things that make life worth living require hard work and heart. If faith produces work, love prompts labor and Jesus inspires endurance – then we need all three elements to keep us going when our passions start to fade in the process.
When my spirit feels crushed, changing my mindset to hope fills me up. Now, having faith that God put motherhood and writing in my life for a reason helps me keep going when days are full of diapers and deadlines. And instead of setting unattainable goals like perfect days with my kids or being a best-selling author tomorrow, I’m finding my value in how I love rather than what I accomplish. Most importantly, as I let go of my limitations and trust that God is empowering me in the process, I wake up excited to see what today will bring.
I wonder where you are about ready to give up and what’s making you feel like it’s not worth the fight anymore. Let’s make a choice, you and I, to stay passionate and hopeful as we work toward our goals, knowing that every day of our journey is purposeful.
Andrea Chatelain is a Midwest mom and ESL teacher by day, and writer for www.afruitfulwoman.com and www.whollyloved.com by night. She is passionate about meeting women in their struggles and loving them forward.