I haven’t blogged from a personal space in awhile; for some reason I just haven’t been writing about what’s going on in my heart and what I’m learning. Going back to school has me writing in a different style and focus, and I’ve really enjoyed that. But writing straight from the heart, and bringing others into the journey I’m on is what really grabs my heart. I want more of that.
Life has been very busy and very full the last 6 months. I’ve done two semesters of university, and I’ve started working part time. And I still have a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old, of course. I am doing all the things, just like you probably are.
But I’m still not feeling like it’s enough, and yet it’s all way too much at the same time.
When I started school back in June, 10 years after beginning my degree at 18 years old, I felt so incredibly excited to have a goal for my education and my career. I don’t think I’ve had that kind of drive since well before I got married and had kids. I was really doing something. But then somehow that zest trickled off and I started to feel very, very behind.
“Everyone else my age already has their Bachelors. Everyone else my age is already doing a Master’s degree or is in their chosen career. What am I even doing?” was the narrative playing in my head.
School still didn’t seem like enough, so I started working. And adding more courses to my school load. And more and more and more and more in all areas of my life. More volunteering. More friends. More hobbies.
And yet I felt emptier and emptier and emptier.
I still love school. I love all the “extras” I’m doing too. So why isn’t anything filling me up? Why does everything feel like it’s not enough, but also like it’s so much, it’s too much?
Our current culture is very focused on results, on personal change, on having a goal and getting it DONE. I’m very driven in this way as well, at times. That energy is so necessary and can be really helpful. But what is even more needed when we are investing in things that take a lifetime – raising children, establishing a career in a field that means so much to you, building a marriage, living out the Sermon on the Mount – is a much more long term approach and a contentment with where we currently are.
I turn 30 in a few months. As much as aging seems to be a thing women are supposed to dread, it’s something I’ve always celebrated. It may seem easy for me to have that attitude. I have a husband, the two kids, a house, etc. At 30, I’m doing fine, right? But the attitude around my birthday has always been less about “have I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish by this milestone” and more about, “am I fully living the age I am turning? am I totally awake to life at 28, 29, 30?”
That second mindset is much less goal focused. Our culture would say that at 30 I’m pretty successful, based on what I’ve accomplished. And I too used to think 30 would be such an incredible age to be because I would feel settled, accomplished, grown up. Now I’m realizing that that is also a goal oriented mindset. I don’t have to feel a certain way by a certain age. I don’t ever have to feel “accomplished”. I don’t even have to be accomplished!
I can just be on the journey.
That shift in mindset is what can bring joy to the process of reaching our goals, instead of feeling zero joy as we strive and claw towards what we think we need to have in order to feel joy. Outwardly, the things we do might stay the same. I’ll continue to do school and all the other things in my life that I want and need to do. But maybe the panic and fear and all the extra pressure (and yes, extra commitments) will fall away. Maybe I’ll be able to enjoy the journey instead of feeling sick to my stomach every time someone asks me “so how much longer til you’re done your program?”. (Spoiler: it’s a 4 year program and I’m taking it very part time. You do the math lol.)
As the newness of spring inches closer, and 30 is right around the corner, I think what my heart has needed is a reminder to be imperfect and to be on the journey. I will always be goal oriented, and our culture will always value accomplishments, but I don’t have to suffocate under the pressure of feeling like I’m not doing enough, I’m not far enough. I can rest in the journey, in the becoming, in the process.
I titled this blog post ‘Grace for the journey’ not ‘Grace for the destination’ because I have been overemphasizing the destination, not the journey. Even in my faith. Part of the weariness and lack of satisfaction in my heart lately has been caused by feeling like a failure because I am very much still on the journey.
I’m still broken. I’m still healing. I’m still learning. I’m still evolving. I’m still still still…
And that’s ok. I have to remind myself that it is ok to be still on the journey. God’s grace isn’t just for the moment of salvation, or for overcoming sin. The process of sanctification (the process of being made holy) is about grace. Grace is what sanctifies, ultimately. It’s not about just being better. I think God has more joy and grace for the journey then I can even comprehend, and if I can spend more time sitting in that grace, maybe I’ll be less frustrated and unsatisfied with where I am in life, in school, in my faith, in my heart, in Christ.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” Luke 16:10
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
As my mom used to tell me, “You’re a human being Brittany, not a human doing.”