For those of you who don't get my newsletter (or do get it but would like to comment on it) here's my musings for January from the Connecting with Keri newsletter. (If you like what you read and would like to subscribe, go to http://www.keriwyattkent.com/ and look for my newsletter info.) I'd love to hear your comments or feedback.
Now comes the hard part of winter, when the holidays are over. Here in the Midwest, it’s been cold and snowy for a month or two, but the season is just getting revved up. We’ve had ice storms, snow storms. We’re supposed to get a January thaw this weekend, although I know winter will return with a vengeance. It’s never really over around here until well into April.
I’ve enjoyed the holidays, and spending time with my family. I love just hanging out watching movies, reading Christmas books, visiting the city to look at the lights, or even shopping with my kids. I love the leisurely pace of our lives when they don’t have to get up for school and don’t have to be driven places on a schedule.
Yet there is part of me that longs to reclaim my computer and the quiet space of my home. I am ready for my darling children to go back to school, so I can work without Alvin and the Chipmunks singing “Bad Day” in the background (as it is right now. Again. Sigh.)
While the weather may be hard, this time of year presents a great opportunity to examine our lives, to see where, perhaps, we hope to go next; to align ourselves with God and His purpose.I finished a book manuscript in early December, and a few weeks later, my wonderful agent called with news of yet another book contract.
As a writer, I’m only employed for certain as long as I’ve got another project—this one will take me at least six months. To finish a manuscript and have another project right away is an amazing blessing. I’m grateful. Along with writing, I’ll travel to five states in the next four months for the other half of my job, speaking and teaching at retreats. My work provides meaning, purpose, joy and income. As much as I enjoyed a holiday break, I’m anxious to get back to work.
Perhaps this week, you too are getting back into your normal routine. Back to work, whether that work is caring for young children, adding value to your company, instructing others or engaging in creative endeavors. Whatever “normal routine” is for you, here’s something to consider: how do you go back to normal without falling into the same old rut?
There is no denying that being home with small children is hard work. But I’ve seen many women make it into an all-consuming career. The danger in that is that moms lose themselves, because they forget that parenting young children is a job for a season, not a lifetime. They don’t remember who they are, apart from the role of mom. It also backfires for the kids who can’t help but conclude that they are the center of the universe.
I really think that it’s important for moms to have something other than their children to occupy their thoughts, to give them meaning and purpose. Getting a job, volunteering for a cause that matters to you, taking a class (or maybe even teaching one) can help you hang onto your self during the parenting years.
I have several friends in various stages of the “empty nest” season. Some find themselves floundering—what are they now, if not a hands-on parent? Others are busy “re-inventing” themselves. Which is, I suppose, a healthy step, but one that makes me wonder: what if, somewhere along the way, they had kept a piece of themselves alive by nurturing their own God-given talents? We often find our purpose hidden in our passions. If we’ve spent some time seeking God’s purpose for our lives (beyond the important calling of caring for our family) perhaps we will find that an empty nest would not require complete re-invention, just a minor adjustment.
If you are a parent, do you have something to occupy your energy other than your kids? Something that fills you, invigorates you, challenges you? Something you think God is calling you to do, that fits with your purpose? Whether it is serving at church or on your school PTA, or even just a part-time job to give you a break from the kids and a little spending money to boot?
Whether you are a parent or not, January is a great time to think about how you spend your days, about your purpose and calling. It’s a great time to begin to explore some options. What work is God calling you to do in this season? As you “get back to normal,” take some time to consider whether you want to make some adjustments, set some goals, or perhaps make a fresh start altogether.