For the first half of 2013, I was wrapped up in the seminary world, writing papers, reading books, dialoguing about the church and ministry. Tunnel vision was set. The goal was ahead of me. All of my being was poured into finishing.
After graduation, in a way, I experienced a sense of
loss, a loss of purpose. How could my life possibly have meaning without
seminary in it? I had always been a stay-at-home mom as well as a student. How was I going to survive if I lost one half of my identity? What in the world was I going to do with all that free time?
Of course, this sounds ridiculous from the outside, but the focus was so
consuming for such an extended period of time, that the fear seemed entirely legitimate. I lost many a good night's sleep over this.
However, after spending four years devoting almost
all my time (and energy) to studying Scripture and teaching others, I
took a break and gave attention to normal pursuits. For the past six months, I have learned about gardening, finances, minimalism, baking, saving, photography, and interestingly, the piano. I've learned about blogging and small businesses. I've taken a class on public speaking. I've also been blessed with the opportunity to serve and volunteer in a number of ways. I've taken over the majority of the household responsibilities of laundry, doing dishes, cleaning, and meal planning. I take a walk outside most days.
That sounded quite triumphant. The switch did not flip that easily.
In a counseling class this summer, Dr. Tim Lane posed this question. "When was the last time you did something that you did not want to do, but you did it anyway, because you knew it was the will of God?"
Immediately, all my efforts of seeking the Lord in finding contentment in homemaking raced through my mind. I don't ever want to clean the house, but I pray and the Lord gives me strength to pick up the next toy. I don't want to figure out where all our money is being spent, but I pray and the Lord grants me patience to proceed.
Oh, I thought (feeling kind of miserable), there are a million times a day this has happened lately. A million and one even. But, it all feels so useless in the grand scheme of things.
Dr. Lane looked us straight in the eye and said, "You can be confident the kingdom of God is advancing."
Every time you say no to your own selfish desires, to your own agenda, and say yes to
the will of the Lord, you are growing in grace, regardless of who is around to see.
It has been wonderful to
realize for myself, not just in theory, that the work of the kingdom looks
different at different stages of life and that's ok. Making my bed for
my husband has become a holy endeavor, a way to serve and love Jesus. Faithfully washing, folding, and
putting clothes away has given me a chance to grow in my trust of the Lord. Taking care of my home and family, welcoming people in, giving of our resources, is kingdom work!
I am hopeful that I will be able to utilize my seminary degree in a formal setting someday. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm praying that 2014 would include some additional training, in the direction of Biblical Counseling.
But for now, as cliche as it sounds, 2013 was a
year of discovering joy in the mundane, purpose in the everyday,
contentment in the simple. The Lord has been so gracious.
For this lesson, I am grateful.
Lesson Learned: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-11 "Now concerning brotherly love ... we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you."
This post is linked up to a collection of other wisdom, end of the year posts. Find those posts HERE!