Perspective is everything...
Have you ever really wrestled with a decision? I mean wrestled, like to the point that if feels like you've physically engaged in that mental process? I have - it's exhausting. I'm not sure about you, but I HATE when decisions are not final. When things linger and final decisions aren't made, I don't function well.
Since I was pregnant with Brock, I've been planning on quitting my job at some point to be "a stay at home mom". Some women dread this title. I have created big dreams and hopes around this title. I mean come on - trips to the zoo, trips to museums, coffee dates with other mommy friends, crafts with my boys in the afternoon, swimming in the pool twice a day... It would be complete and utter utopia. I wouldn't have to worry about the "pile" (I teach online, so it's really a "virtual pile") of papers to grade, or phone calls that have to be made. I could just relax.
It has been interesting balancing the "work-at-home" game. I do fight feelings of guilt when I am working and I hear my boys with a sitter in another room. I also am not able to devote endless amounts of time to doing my job "perfectly" or outperforming everyone I know. You see, I'm that girl. I'm the one who isn't happy with "meeting expectations", I feel like I need to exceed them...ALL THE TIME. It's a cancer of the brain, I've decided, that leads us to believe that is even attainable let alone sustainable.
We are financially at a point where it wouldn't be awful for me to quit. However, it would mean the end of some of our annual trips, could mean no private schooling for the kids (which is important for us), it would mean I'd have to curb my generosity to several ministries that are important to me. And...bye-bye any luxuries that are still remaining in my beauty routine. (Yes, I still have one. Yes, I know it's not obvious.)
So, we set a date for when I would give notice. I started a daily count down. But I wasn't settled. Something wasn't sitting right for me. I couldn't get this thought out of my mind that perhaps the real issue wasn't that I didn't have time to do all the things I wanted or that my job was keeping me from being the mom my kids needed, but the real issue was my attitude. Perhaps I had attached some expectations of being a SAHM to that title that didn't fit. Perhaps, I was just hoping it would alleviate some of the fatigue that accompanies the life we live with three rambunctious boys.
I asked a friend who is a little farther down the marriage and motherhood journey than I am for some wisdom. Her response was exactly what I needed. "It's possible God is asking you to do something crazy. But, the ability to earn an income like you do while still being with your kids is a huge blessing and one I wish I had." She was able to simplify my pros and cons into one sentence that made me feel small minded and ungrateful.
There are families who struggle to make ends meet who don't have the ability to bring in a second income the way that I do. Perhaps, this job isn't the thing standing between me accomplishing my goals, but rather the means by which I will accomplish them. I excused myself to the restroom and took a moment to apologize to the Lord. I know what it's like to struggle financially. I also know what it's like to be in a position to be a blessing to others financially. How ungreatful can I be that I would basically say, "No thanks. I don't want the added stress."?
So, the last month or so has been a time for me to look at my time here in my office, sitting at my computer, chatting with students, lecturing middle schoolers about World History and American History, and grading papers with a renewed view. A view that sees this time as my contribution to my children's education. My contribution to our retirement fund. My way of contributing to our family's healthcare costs. My contribution to the missionaries, ministries and non-profits that I'm passionate about and for. This is my opportunity - one that not many have.
There's so much stigma among SAHMs of women who work. There's so much stigma among Working Moms for women who are SAHMs. I don't meet many WAHMs. But I'm thankful to know a few. I'm also thankful to be one of them. And the reality is - I get to do trips to the zoo, coffee/playdates, swimming in our pool. And no, I'm not winning employee of the year. However, I am, I believe, being obedient to what I was called.
What amazes me is after my little chat with Jesus in the bathroom of an Indian Restaurant, I had such a peace. That discontent that wouldn't let our decision for me to quit to settle, was suddenly settled. I actually felt joy about it. Strange. This hope of quitting suddenly turned into an abundant joy for the opportunity to work.
I'm not sure what God is calling you to. I'm positive it is totally different than what he has called me to do. Listen to Him. Ask someone wise who has traveled the road a little longer with success to speak into your life. And, keep talking to Jesus until you find that peace. That assurance that you are walking in His will. In His will is such a fantastic place to be!