The alarm clock was cheerily singing away. I was hiding under my covers. My hand slipped out to turn it off, then quickly buried under the blanket again. I did NOT want to get up. I was exhausted. Not the typical "I'm a mom, my kids wear me out" tired. I was tired of life.
My job was draining me; my middle child's special needs were a constant source of worry, not to mention requiring a level of patience normally reserved for saints; my daughter was still recovering from a traumatic experience over the summer and I was concerned for her emotional welfare; my to-do list was overwhelming me, etc. Even my creative hobbies felt like too much work. The load on my shoulders felt unmanageable.
I needed a break.
I was so desperate for a little time to clear my head, I scheduled myself a vacation day. I sent the kids off to school, the husband off to work, and I went back home. I didn't do anything terribly special that day, but I allowed my mind to wander. I thought about all the things I was stressing over, and how hopeless it all felt, and suddenly it hit me. I knew exactly what my problem was.
It was fear.
There is so much in our world to be afraid of. In the last month, I had read that Earth is running out of food and clean water, children are dying in refuge camps, and people in our own backyards are being shot while innocently going about their daily lives. My own community had recently been rocked by the suicide of a local teenager. On top of that was all my fears for my children, and for the struggling families I serve in my full-time job. It was all starting to be too much.
Fear can take many forms. Sometimes it looks like anger. Sometimes we mistake it for sadness. Fear can make even the simplest task look like a mountain. Fear quietly steals our hopes, our dreams, our very happiness. We don't even see it happening. We think it's stress, or exhaustion, or anger over a particular situation. But underneath, it is a fear that something awful could happen and we can't stop it.
Perhaps the biggest fear of all is one that we don't really say out loud. The fear that this could be all your life ever is. The fear that when you look back on your life, all you will see is a pile of dishes and bills and laundry, and nothing else. Sure, you raised happy and healthy kids, and that's great, but you didn't do anything for yourself. Don't get me wrong, if one day you are lucky enough to see your children grow into fabulous adults who are kind people and productive citizens, then you should be very proud of that. That is a wonderful legacy to leave behind. But what about you? I don't think any one of us wants to die without realizing any of our dreams beyond having kids. Without exploring what else we could do.
Having and raising kids is a miracle, yes, but that is not all you were put on this earth to do. For one, we are meant to enjoy raising them, not be a walking mess dragging ourselves from one task to another. Part of enjoying the journey is to see yourself as a complete person, with creative endeavors and hobbies and dreams of your own. But chasing those endeavors and dreams means being brave. Brave enough to face the fear that is holding you back. Fear of looking inside yourself. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection.
Facing the reality of what I was afraid of allowed me to let go of those fears, and start embracing my life again. What about you? What would your life be like if you were living fully, without fear? Comment below or send me an email. I'd love to hear about it.
It's nice to meet you! Welcome to my blog. My name is Amy, and my husband and I have three lively kids. We are so happy to share our journey with you. Come along as we learn to embrace the messiness of life, and maybe chase a dream or two along the way.