I believe we crave vision. It gnaws our souls and nudges our consciousness at all hours. I believe we crave it more than anything else. Right next to our thirst for love, relationships, and a tribe.
I have a crazy vision of writing full time. Inspiring, encouraging, women to dig deep under the mountains of laundry, exasperation, Legos, and work deadlines to embrace her core identity as God’s daughter — a warrior, a kingdom woman no less.
Right now my table is covered in mac and cheese. two week old flowers, word pictures scattered on napkins and pieces of paper and I’m staring at a world map I bought three years ago. Stretched out on a tan canvas, the earth laid flat in a whimsy green with the words, “Let’s Get Lost” scribbled on top.
Three years ago, I had just gotten back to the states after 24 days in the Philippines, touching down in Hawaii for 24 hours and a short layover in Tokyo before getting my nail beds filled with dirt and concrete as my team and I built house and rebuilt a church.
After I got back to the states, I walked down the aisle for our vow renewal. 15 years married and we wanted to say, I do, again with the wedding of our dreams. I remember being surrounded by friends and family, the sparkle and the shine of my dress catching the light, crystal lights, and my husband’s eyes as he held my hand leading me up the steps to the stage.
I thought I had a clear vision then, to build an amazing life filled with our kids, work and friends. I wanted all the good things life offered but I fell prey to the pressure of it all.
Let’s get lost and discover the world, let’s make remarkable legacy our careers. At the time I was a journalist relishing my opportunity to be a voice in our community. I loved the importance my badge held at press conferences and interviews. As I dove deeper into my career, I was promoted to launch our first high gloss magazine. Work became all of me. It pushed out my first dream and spider-webbed it’s way over every area of my life.
My budding career that demanded all of me. Three years brought new parenting and marriage challenges too. More than I could bear. The pressure mounted.
Numb is the best way to describe those years.
The weight of the years settled on me. It felt wrong to admit that I felt dark and hollow–only a shell of who I once was.
Life became one car pool lane, one interivew, one dinner to the next.
I blamed work, my kids, and my husband for my unhappiness.
At night I’d close my eyes remembering what it felt like when life was celebrated with friends gathered in our backyard or quiet moments on our porch swing. Cool summer air breathing on my skin. We would talk in hushed tones of our dreams while the kids caught fireflies.
I wanted my joy back
I wanted my passion back.
I wanted my dreams back.
I wanted my soul back.
Everything flat lined. Even my time alone with God.
Barely a pulse, all I could do was I sit there. I never opened my Bible or picked up my pen. All I could do was question.
We had put our house on the market and I spent my days painting, purging and packing. Somehow the emptier the house became, the more I could hear his voice.
You’re being sifted, refined. But I have prayed for you so that when you turn back, you will strengthen others.
I had succumbed to all that is good, all that is great in our lives but if we aren’t careful, it can become too much of a good thing, to the point of being so unhealthy.
We fill our lives with all these good things that parallel our vision, good things, like babies, celebrations, friends, soccer, swim lessons, accolades. But if we aren’t careful the pressure of carrying all these good things blinds and blocks our way.
But that’s the thing, if I wanted my vision back, the purpose of my life, I had to go to the One who weaved it into my spirit in the beginning; like Ann VosKamp says “When you go into heart failure — Sometimes, you can feel like you’re suddenly falling off a cliff—- and you’re really just falling into the arms of God.”
And then I heard him whisper, Do you trust me enough to let me remove the things that have taken my place?
Now days when I see that canvas, I remember that no matter how much I let lost, weary, or weighed down, he will come for me. The moment I said yes, he came for me.
Finally in the big grand picture, I see the world and I see me in it. A woman who’s starting over in her 30’s, looking perhaps a bit more worn that she wished but full of strength, hope, and the capacity to refine my days to align with the bigger picture. Strength to turn to my sisters and lift them up in the current of life. I now see a woman who has been through enough to know the value of the little things and that having it all or balancing it was a delusion.
When I step back, I see the lesson learned from being worn and weary. I see that my identity isn’t in the name of motherhood, marriage, or career. It rests squarely on who I am with God and in God. That’s how I got my life back, my passion, my dreams, and my joy.
When I talk to other women, I see the wearniess on their shoulders, the hollowness in their souls and the thirst in their eyes.
I hear them say:
I want my joy back
I want my passion back.
I want my dreams back.
I want my soul back.
I want my life back.
And then I ask them about the vision he gave them, I prod them to ask the ultimate question, “If this happens, what will you do? If that happens, will you trust him?” And then I point to my canvas and I tell them.
“You have have lost your way, but he will come for you, all you have to do is ask.”