Not too long ago I told my husband {David} that I feel like I am withering away. The me that I was before I knew him and the me that he met has slowly disappeared. I have become someone I don’t recognize. I have become someone I don’t like all that much.

When I say I don’t like the me I’ve become, I am addressing specific parts of me: a waning confidence, a waning creativity, a waning sense of self outside of the title, mama. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mama to these two sweet girls. I love that they challenge me to grow. I love that they remind me that joy is all around me. I love that they bring a delight to my days along with the chaos and the noise. I love that they remind me to be thankful and to choose grace, for them and for me.

But I don’t love that I am defined only by my role of mama.

I realize that I allowed myself slowly to fade into a shadow of myself. From the moment David and I moved to Kentucky it started to happen. I left a circle of amazing and close friends and writers. I left a small group Bible study that grounded me in Jesus and provided fellowship that was built on intimate relationships and absolute vulnerability. I left behind the confident independence of living on my own.

And I thrive in those settings.

I am not entirely an extravert, but I am enough of an extravert that the lack of close friendships drains my energy. I am enough of an extravert that time spent alone all day long leaves me longing for something more. I am enough of an extravert that without time enough for pursuing the desires of my heart, I can feel restless and even resentful.

We are designed for relationship, and as an extravert, this need is even greater for me. And having been somewhat isolated for many years, surrounded by mainly acquaintances {except for our time in Lexington, Kentucky when we developed friendships that remain in tact, at least on line and through Christmas cards and letters}, I have lacked an important need in my life.

We are all designed with passions and dreams and desires in our hearts. Things that make us feel alive. And when these things are ignored or pushed aside for too long, it can cause us to feel less than who we are. Less than who we want to be. Less than who were are designed to be.

It can be too easy sometimes to lose ourselves in the needs of others, especially those of our children or those of our spouse. The irony becomes that in trying to be a good mama to our children or a good spouse to our spouse, if we spend all our time meeting the needs of others, we become less the mama or the wife we want to be. Because self care is important. Because time for oneself is important. Because our needs matter and they need to be met.

And for me, that includes time to just be. Time to read. Time to pray. Time to recharge. Time to write.

In fact, over the past six days, as I have participated in NaNoWriMo {National Novel Writing Month} I feel more like the me I used to be. I have taken time for me. I have taken time for my passion and my desire. I have taken time to meet my needs and to connect with other writers online.

Of course writing 50,000 words in 30 days is time consuming and exhausting and emotionally draining. But it is also energizing and challenging and, well, fun.

And it’s also something more. It’s something that has connected me to David on a creative level. That is something I’ve missed. That is a need that has been unmet for too long. Because I am writing a whole novel in such a short period, my writing is raw and unedited. One of the mantras of #NaNoWriMo is to write forward; no rewriting or editing. My internal critic has been sent on a month-long vacation.

So I share it with David. Because he is encouraging. And because he gets it. Because he understands my need to write, to create. My need for him.

Obviously, sharing something so raw may invite unwanted criticism {albeit from well-intentioned folks} that can easily shut down the writing process. So other than a small group of other #NaNoWriMo participants, David is the only person with whom I am comfortable sharing each day’s writing and talking about where the story may be going.

He is also making it possible for me to write every day.

He is also encouraging me when I feel too stuck to write.

He is also an excited reader.

And me, well I am feeling a whole lot more like the me I was designed to be. I am no longer withering. I am growing. I am thriving where I have been planted.  And that feels amazing.


2 thoughts on “Taking Time to Thrive

    1. We are definitely learning, Mike. And we’ve gotten even better recently. Thank you so much for taking time to read and comment. I really appreciate you coming by.

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