A Challenge for the Future


Lately I have been struggling with what it looks like to be a working mom, a blogger, an etsy shop owner, a wife and a friend. It has become glaringly apparent that if I try to do it all, I do nothing well. Some of my favorite bloggers have started movements towards recognizing the best things in life, letting go of the trivial, such as Sarah Tucker's 1000 Gifts, or Jessi and Haley's Giving Up on Good. I love these posts. I have hundreds of things to be thankful for; if I made a list, perhaps even a thousand. There is a lot of good in my life, surely there may be some good things cluttering the way for great things. But what does that look like? How do you decipher the good from the great?

In the midst of it all, sometimes I just feel trapped.
Do you feel trapped?

Stuck doing the things you have to do, not able to do the things you want to do? I feel stuck at work. I have a good job, in fact, it is a great job, but I still feel stuck. Through praying about this over the last few weeks, God has been infinitely clear with me. My attitude, or my focus, needs to shift before I can start making changes, before I can start cutting things away. Let me give you a few examples of where my attitude needs to change.

While working, I have approached money with a sense of entitlement, feeding myself lines such as:

"I deserve this starbucks, because I worked so hard today."
rather than waiting until I got home to make coffee or have a glass of water

"Since I need to look the part, I need a new suit/pumps/blouse/necklace/fill in the blank"
rather than looking to how I can optimize my wardrobe to find new outfits with what I have

You see, I have to work to continue to pay off my student loans and to be able to afford rent or a mortgage some day. But instead of more aggressively preparing for the future, I am throwing away the money I am earning.

When thinking about the reality that Behr spends the majority of his weekdays in daycare, I often sell myself a sob story:
"Behr is stuck inside all day when it is beautiful out."
rather than focus on the fact that he is an extrovert and loves his daycare

"Behr spends his whole day with strangers."
the women who work at Behr's daycare are not strangers, they are wonderful women who I have come to call friends.
I am blessed that Behr is in such a great center, where his teachers love him so much.


So when I say I feel stuck, what I should be saying is that I am building walls around me with my negative attitude. And so, I am beginning to change my focus. As I prayed about what this looks like and how I can motivate myself, some catch phrases bounced around my head. Eventually this one started to resonate, "Invest in tomorrow without sacrificing today." It is inspiring. It is a concept that I can relate to, that I can get behind, that can motivate me to complain less, to save more, to embrace today without feeling guilty. And so, I am kicking off summer with this challenge to myself.

Instead of quitting my day job and having student loans linger over me, I am going to invest in my future. I am also going to allow myself the flexibility to make this truly work. I am going to try to walk the balance. It will not be perfect, and it certainly won't always be pretty, but it will be purposeful. While I am not sure what all of this is going to look like, I do know it will be a theme threaded throughout my blog over the next few months. Even if I am working a full time office job, I am going to cherish this summer with my family and I look forward to sharing it with you. And maybe, I might even start giving up the good along the way.

11 comments:

  1. This was exactly the kick in the pants I needed today. Wise words, woman. And thanks for the reminder.

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  2. You are an amazing woman/blogger/mother and you're really someone I look up to. You do so many amazing things, I'm just so in awe of you, and I'm SO excited that we're doing something fun together :)

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  3. One of your best posts! Love you :) and love reading your blog!

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  4. i totally feel this. i feel very stuck by my student loans but i haven't aggressively tried to pay more off. i also sometimes just feel stuck and not being able to enjoy things in the present.

    i have gotten better at this though. i don't need new clothes for every occasion. instead, i buy things i really LOVE that i WANT to wear again and again. (this has been a real money saver even though sometimes these items are more expensive.)

    i also decided that somedays, i don't want to do the lanudry or cook dinner or clean or blog. i just want to sit and snuggle with my dog and spend time with my husband. and the world is still here the next day...

    GREAT post!

    http://lachapstickfanatique.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much Morgan! Sounds like you have a pretty good perspective on things. And I totally agree that buying more expensive, quality, well fit pieces you love can save money, especially for a shopaholic like me!

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  5. Good for you paying down your loans! I especially like how you look at it as investing in your future.

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  6. Shannon, I LOVE this post. I think we think very similarly...I need to feel driven while at the same time, I'm not very good at grace for myself. I think the Soul Detox reading has been so good and you have clearly taken away some awesome thoughts from it. I admire that! I have also had to learn to lighten up on myself...like, do I really love that, or do I want to be trendy? And then thinking...well ok, so what if I want to be trendy sometimes, that's ok...right? I think as Christians especially we balance convictions of our choices with a sense of guilt, which isn't from God. All we can do is our best and pray that it is continually maturing I suppose. I'm going to read this post again now... :)

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    1. Soul Detox has been such a good reminder of what a few minutes spent in the Word can do to change my attitude, guard my heart, and shift my thoughts. I have been so blessed by this study. Glad you are enjoying it too!

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  7. I found you via Tiny Twig, and I love your heart on this post. I think we can focus so much on the negative, that we lose sight of everything else. I hope you have a wonderful summer.=)

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