On giving your life away
Back in college, I went on coffee dates with girlfriends like a million times a week. We’d laugh hard and loud, completely unaware of other patrons. And we’d share some sort of pumpkin bread or pastry because, you know, diets. And we’d cry and work through life together.
I used to make really thoughtful, time-consuming, crafty gifts for my boyfriend-turned-husband.
I met weekly with a group of fun, spunky teenage girls who were curious about life and Jesus and how the two go together.
I had time to attend all kinds of social justice events, concerts, worship and prayer nights.
I sang at coffee shops, bars, pubs, wineries and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning with friends, family and a few kind fans.
I spent my summers with youth groups, working at camps and visiting other countries for mission/humanitarian trips.
I spent many-a-quiet morning waking up early with a cozy cup of coffee, studying scripture and just talking to God about absolutely everything. For as long as I wanted.
I went to workout classes and trained for half-marathons. Ok, I only did that once. [Shout-out to all the baby-mamas who can’t imagine running even a half-minute without peeing your pants. I’m standing with you in solidarity. #chestbump #ornot #thatmightmakemepeetoo]
Honestly, sometimes I miss those days. The carefree, I-can-do-anything mentality. The energy that never ran out. The "thanks" and appreciation for all the "good stuff" I did. The seemingly endless amount of free time...
Life now looks hardly similar. I have a career in marketing. I meal prep, grocery shop and cook for my family. I feed the newborn. I play with the toddler. I do lots of laundry. I clean up messes (although my husband would argue that I make them). I wipe kids’ booties all day ‘er day. And then I put it on repeat. [All with help from the hubs, of course.]
I sometimes make it through half of a workout video at home.
I spend my summers… doing the same thing I do when it’s not summer.
Time with Jesus looks a lot more like all-day-long conversations than a dedicated quiet hour.
I often look back at the college years and think – That's when I was giving my life away. That’s when I was really committed to Jesus and was doing what I should be doing. That’s when I was serving others and loving people well.
And yes - that time was precious and sacred and beautiful.
But it was a season of life. And seasons serve their purposes and then they change.
I was telling a friend recently that sometimes I don't feel like I'm doing anything important... I feel like I'm always saying 'no' to volunteer or church commitments, I'm not meeting regularly with gals or helping anyone walk through life... She stopped me and said "you could be mentoring a hundred women, and if your own husband and children are forgotten and left behind because of it, what good is that?"
The truth is - right now, giving my life away looks an awful lot like poop. Cleaning lots and lots of poop from tiny humans’ hineys.
But this time is precious. Because I also get to hold my sweet boys and sing to them before bed and they like it. I get all up in their grills and squish their tiny cheeks against mine and they don't resist. I make goofy faces and noises at them and they think I’m the cat's pajamas.
And one day, when I’m working through hard “life stuff” with teenagers and feeling like I’m failing miserably, I’ll look back at this stage of life with longing and nostalgia too. Wishing I could solve a problem as simple as a diaper blow-out.
I think giving your life away has a lot to do with being "all-in." Being present and fully embracing whatever you're smack-dab in the middle of, rather than wishing time away.
So, it matters. Whatever stage you find yourself in, however different “giving your life away” looks from what you pictured… what you're doing matters and it counts.
To my sisters who are still wishing, hoping and begging God for tiny hineys to clean – I’m wishing, hoping and praying with you.