Coming to the decision to leave my work at a food bank in 2013 was excruciating. It didn’t really make sense at first-I had worked there for 7 years, I was a director, I had just been given a raise. We were making more money together than we ever had as a couple. The problem wasn’t the work, or the passion I had for the work. The problem was the lack of balance in our life. Our daughters, Sophia (6th grade), and Lilly (3rd grade), were fed, clothed, and safe, but our lives were out of control, and they felt that. I often forgot things, commitments, deadlines. I was too tired or too late to bring Sophia to youth group, and I really had no idea how Lilly was doing in school. I just trusted the system, because I had to. Dinnertime was stressful, the two hours round trip commute was becoming unbearable, and the overall stress within the work was taking over every inch of energy I had to give. I started experiencing major food intolerance issues, found myself craving a drink every night just to relax. Sound familiar? I think it’s a fairly normal condition in our society. You know how when you’re running, and running fast, and then you try to stop, but it almost feels like your legs have a mind of their own? I started to feel like our life was running us, instead of us running our life. We had surrendered thinking about what we WANTED, and just continued to run, run, run for some version of what we thought we had to have.
What changed was my mind. I started thinking about intentionality and what that actually means when you apply it to life. In other words, if freedom and time are what I really wanted, what was I doing to make that happen? I had to ask myself, “Did I intend to work this much, commute this long, eat out this many times, spend this much money, drink this much, have so little time for my kids?”
Why was I living like I wanted to run out of time, eat on the run, not exercise, and barely have time with my kids? Because that was the evidence-my truth was in the actions, outcomes, and health of my family.
I read about people who took their passions and their lives and defined that-making small decisions over time to produce the results they wanted to see. I began to pray very hard about what I felt I wanted, and how it would be impossible without God. I asked myself this question: “What would you do if you knew for sure you would not fail?” Oh-this question. It’s so powerful. This led to long conversations with my hubby about trips around the country in an RV, mission trips, about time to savor instead of scurry. The realization that we only had 7 more years before my oldest would be leaving for college. Time suddenly became paramount. And freedom started to sound less like money, and more like time.
So we did it. And by September 2013, I was home. I had no idea what would be next. I cleaned my house, started a photo album for each of my girls, and began going to yoga everyday at the gym. Oh, side note, I also gave up gluten and dairy (different post).
I also began to volunteer in my girls schools. And this is really the beginning of “part 2.” I guess this is where I should warn you. If you are considering making a major change in your life-just know that change prompts change, and change becomes a catalyst for more searching and finding and intentionality. So if you like the way things are, I’d say-don’t make any major changes. 🙂
The nutshell is this. I did not like what I saw in my particular daughter’s experiences at school. This is not a diatribe against public schooling-you’ll never see that on my blog. I deeply respect the teachers that I know and I thank them for the years that we did have in public school. For the most part, our experience was drama-free. But it did begin to shift, and I started to notice. There was a subtle current running through-that everything was permissible, with the exception of Christianity. And another thing-if you were above average, or below average, you weren’t the focus. Just tuck yourself into the middle, and all would be well. Sophia was bored and Lilly was retaining very little. Neither were being fulfilled by the current system.
After discussions with Bob-we decided to pull the girls out of school and homeschool. Gosh, that sounds so undramatic. Here’ s how it REALLY felt:
WHAT??? ARE YOU SERIOUS, GOD? YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT? THOSE PEOPLE ARE FREEKS WHO CANNOT LET GO OF THEIR CHILDREN! I JUST NOW GAINED MY SANITY BACK, AND YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT? DOES THIS MEAN A LIFE OF JEAN SKIRTS AND 5 MORE BABIES? DO I ALSO HAVE TO START MAKING MY OWN BREAD? GROANS, SOUNDS OF PAIN, EYES ROLLING, FEAR MONGERING….
So intentional decision number one was to quit my full-time job to try and gain some control in our life. Intentional decision number two was to pull my kids out of school, and begin to homeschool. This was March of 2014.
There is so much to say about homeschooling, but I’ll leave that for another gaggle of posts.