For the past few years, I’ve felt pretty comfortable in my skin as a working mom, entrepreneur and homeschooler. But the last year has been…different.
It’s not that I’m unhappy exactly, because my life is pretty amazing and I work really hard at choosing happiness even when things aren’t perfect. But I do feel a little less comfortable in my own skin, like I’m not exactly sure what my purpose, passion or goals are anymore.
Some of the outwork of these feelings has been obvious: the launch of the new Life Your Way, consolidating some of my other sites, sharing more of me here on the blog.
I’m also feeding the non-working mom part of myself (a side that’s been too often neglected): getting a tattoo (or two?), volunteering with Grace & Glory, studying for my role as an Essentials tutor at our Classical Conversations campus next year, and starting piano lessons in the fall.
While I’ve made a lot of progress in reclaiming what Brené Brown calls “wholeheartedness” in my life, I’m still working through the feelings. I’m finding myself doing a lot more navel gazing: seeking input from other people, journaling, and looking for exercises to help me see my life more clearly.
(This feels a bit like a mid-life crisis, but I certainly hope 32 doesn’t represent the middle of my life. Maybe it’s a mid-career crisis instead.)
Because I know through conversations with other people that I’m not alone in these feelings (although the feelings try to make me feel like I am alone…kind of like junior high all over again!), I thought I’d share some of the resources I’m turning to.
It’s an eclectic bunch. Some of these are specifically for entrepreneurs or business settings. Some are for Christians. Some are for women. But I’ve found them all to be really valuable in guiding me through this process:
- Teach Your Life to Be Extraordinary from Lisa Grace Byrne
In this course, Lisa walks participants through exercises to discover their purpose, passion, path of service and priorities. I’m enjoying the exercises, and I found those in the first chapter — defining my purposes as a woman, wife and mother — especially helpful.
- A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman
I loved this book so much that I kept reading passages out loud to my husband in the hopes that he would really get why I was so excited about Emily’s words and the idea of living art. Living out my purpose, my art and the love of Christ in a million little ways? Yes, please.
- Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
The INTJ in me loves Brené’s style even though it’s on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Lisa’s and Emily’s. With research-based data, Brené outlines exactly why vulnerability is so important for living an authentic life. I love that she has all of the facts and research and still shares her personal struggles with living wholeheartedly and how she’s overcoming them.
- Support & Accountability
I was invited to be part of a mastermind group a couple months ago, right as I really began diving into this process. I was considering hiring a life/business coach to work with, but I’ve found that having a place to talk with women who also run businesses and homeschool has been really helpful and encouraging both on the big picture ideas and the nitty gritty day-to-day details.
There are a ton of books/resources still on my list, and I fully expect that this self-reflection will characterize 2014 as a whole and continue into next year as I work my way through them:
- Creating Your Life Plan with Donald Miller
- The Measure of Success by Carolyn McCulley and Nora Shank
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown
- Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson
Making time for these pursuits has been a whole ‘nother issue (as evidenced by the fact that the to-read list is longer than the read list), but one of the best parts of my new morning routine is that it includes time for listening to podcasts as well as for Bible study and self-reflection, including journaling, course work and various other personality tests and worksheets. And one of the benefits of having a baby in the house is that it’s also easier for me to make time to read as I feed or snuggle him, so I’m finding plenty of time to read both fiction and nonfiction, both of which nourish my soul in different ways.
I also think it’s worth saying that while I’ve always been a fan of personality tests and I think self-reflection can be a really important part of living a fulfilling life, I don’t want to be stuck in this place of uncertainty and searching either. That’s why I’ve already done things like arranging my piano lessons for September; all of the self-discovery in the world won’t do me any good if I don’t actually do something with the things I learn along the way!
Have you ever found yourself in a place like this, where you’re trying to figure out who you are and what your purpose is? What did you do to answer those questions?
|Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Life Your Way. She and her husband have four beautiful girls plus one baby boy, and together they live, work and homeschool on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Mandi loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.|