When I grow up

Is anybody else struggling with who they wanna be when they grow up?

My kids are adults now. They live independently. Successfully. Without me. Which is as it’s supposed to be. If I did my job right, and I think I did, they are well equipped to live as responsible decent human beings. I continue to pray that they love God and follow Him as they did in their youth.

But I’m left with wondering what I should do next. Now that I’ve raised my kids, it’s time to find what’s on the agenda for me.

Most women my age – early in empty nesting – have gone back to work. Some have gone back to school. Many, including myself, are volunteering.

I’m excited about a new ministry that I am starting – a chapter of Fresh Hope at our church, which is a peer-led support group for folks who struggle with mental illness, and their loved ones. This is a ministry that I’m really excited about, and have dreamed of for years. It’s finally happening! Our training as facilitators is almost complete, and we’ll start meeting as a group at the beginning of January.

I’m quitting my job – again – right before Christmas – and will dedicate myself to this new ministry. But I wonder what I’ll do with my extra time, and am looking into becoming a peer support specialist. The training I’ve found doesn’t quite fit into my otherwise-free schedule, so I’ll explore continuing education as an option.

I’m also thinking about writing a book, which is something I think many bloggers consider. But I have a friend who has recommended a program that helped him publish his book, so it’s worth more review.

I considered all of these concerns in a previous blog post, so I’m not surprised that they are still issues I’m resolving. I probably need to discuss all of this with my therapist, since it seems to be a recurring theme!

But I think I’ve made her mad, or at least, I’ve introduced conflict into our relationship. That’s not a bad thing – just an issue to be addressed. I need to be honest with her as I consider my life and depression and all that it entails. She pointed out at our last appointment that I’m going to have my depression “in my face” if I write a book about it. That, along with the mental health support group, puts my depression front and center, and she cautioned me about balancing that with health so as not to be waylaid by it. Good point.

But I need some help navigating my next steps. I need clarification. I need her to say back to me what I’m saying, since I can’t seem to hear myself. What is it I want to do? What steps do I take to make “it” happen? What other commitments can I make that are healthy and feed my long-term goals? I need her to help me figure this out.

And if you have any insights, I’m listening! Please include your thoughts in the comments below!

My “Why”

Watch this first (it’s short):

Michael Jr. Comedy – Know Your Why

My “why” – to reduce the stigma of depression, especially in Christian circles.

My “what” – to lead a support group for Christians struggling with depression; to blog about depression within and for the Christian community; who knows what other “whats” I have!

Lord God, let me follow your leading in my pursuit of this passion.

(Thank you, http://www.freshhope.us, for the link to this significant video.)

On Purpose

I started this blog post on June 5, 2016, but the theme is still running through my life consistently! The topic – my purpose.

My therapist pointed out to me years ago that I speak to myself in questions, so this post will be full of those. If you have any answers, please share in the comment section below!

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Draft written 1.5 years ago:

Yesterday, the lesson was about my purpose, and God got my attention from 2 different devotionals and a conversation. What is my purpose? I’m asking myself that anyway, again now while I’m in between houses, and trying to find things to do to fill up my days. I met a woman a few nights ago who talked about her job in a way that showed passion and purpose. At the same time, I’m asking myself about writing this book – am I supposed to be using my time to do that? And how does my bent – the way I need daily interaction with people – how does that play into my purpose? What am I supposed to do with myself? Should I be looking for a job? Should I be volunteering? If so, where should I focus my energies? Once again, I ask myself what do I want to be when I grow up? Where do my previous work experiences lend themselves? To families, I think. To mentoring or some kind of teaching. But what does that look like around here? In this place in VA? Do I find a job to “tide me over?” What if I don’t want to, what if that doesn’t feel right? Do I do it anyway, as a way to meet people? (thoughts inspired by Edie Wadsworth’s blog post, Jennifer Lee’s blog post, Holy Experience devotional, daily devotional from YouVersion, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

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So here I am today, still asking the same question – what is my purpose in this, the second half of my life? I know the Westminster Shorter Catechism – “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” But as a Christ follower, I can claim this already, What I mean is, what am I supposed to do with myself, with my time? Where do I put my energies?

I lived the first half of my marriage as “Mom.”  And I know that I will always be Mom. Therapists will tell you that this is not your identity, it’s simply a role. But after 26 years of it, it sure feels like identity. And now, with both kids grown, there’s a loss of this identity as it doesn’t take the time it used to!

I was recently asked what do I dream of doing? Problem is, I don’t really have a dream. I’m not sure that I ever had one, or even know how to.

Yesterday, I read a short book by David Ramos called What the Bible Says about Purpose, and I completed the shorter questionnaire, 5 Questions that Create Clarity. I put in writing some things I already know:

  • I need to be in some kind of leadership.
  • I need to be doing something with helping others.
  • I need to be connecting with people.
  • I’d like to still live in Florida, or alternatively, closer to my children.
  • I’d like to travel.
  • My closest friends live far away, though new friendships here are slowly developing.
  • I’m still not committed to a church body.
  • I might like to write a book. I’d certainly like to be more consistent in blogging.
  • I miss public speaking.

So how does all of this help me? I’m not sure, other than it gives me lots to pray about, and lots to process.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17, NIV (emphasis mine)