I’ve been getting some new traffic and comments on my blog, and I’m always humbled by the comments I receive. I also receive questions from time to time. Most of the time I just respond to those questions directly to the commenter/asker, but I know not everyone puruses the comment section. So, I’ll try to answer most of the questions I’ve received lately in this post (unless they are of a personal nature to either I or the commenter). Here are the latest questions I’ve received with the corresponding answers. Now, these are just my answers. They are by no means “expert” by any stretch of the imagination. They are just what I’ve found true in my life.
— How do you move with purpose/intention/motivation? I too have days (weekends/holidays) of loneliness. Unlike you, I struggle to find motivation to work around my house. Why clean today, when I can clean tomorrow? Why run that errand now? I can do it later? Why get out of bed now? I can do that later too. Sometimes I feel as though (to borrow the term) I am “chasing away boredom” when I move toward activities I enjoy.
These are good questions, and I promise you that I’m not trying to evade answering them by saying that what gives YOU purpose, intention, and motivation will be different from what gives me purpose, intention and motivation. This is something I have struggled with for years; however, because I have now entered a new season that has forced me to look head-on into my life’s purpose here is what I am learning…
You have to learn to work with the hand you’ve been dealt…you have to come to a place of acceptance. This is paramount to living your life with purpose. If you run from what is happening/has happened to you…or from what hasn’t happened…you will not find purpose, intention and motivation. Once you come to the place of acceptance then you can start working on this. Aceeptance is a process. I came to the point of acceptance of my childlessness a couple of years ago. That was good timing , because then I was dealt another life-altering situation that required has required me to go on the journey which is accepting another reality in which I have no control.
In summary, you have to find your own life outside of your identity as a childless woman. Are you a wife, a daughter, an aunt, an employee etc. etc.? I can guarantee you are something. You are probably many things. With that said from my personal beliefs and faith I am first and foremost a daughter of God. My identity is first and foremost in Christ. I honestly, don’t know how anyone gets through this life without faith in God. I can honestly say that after the last four years I would be six feet under if it had not been for God and His strength to get me through.
As far as motivation that is personal too. If you don’t feel like cleaning, doing errands, or even getting out of bed one day, and you are not forced by circumstances to do these things then DON’T DO THEM. I find that a day of low motivation is usually followed by a day of higher motivation. I had that experience this weekend. I felt like doing nothing on Saturday, but by Sunday I was a whirlwind of energy. If low motivation is a chronic problem for you then you might need to get counseling or a life coach to help you find motivation for everyday living. Someone once said, “The problem with life is that it’s so DAILY.” That is so true. We’d love every day to be an adventure of fun/new experiences, but the reality is most days are full of routine and mundaneness, but you can find joy in the mundane if you look hard enough. I find that doing something for others is a kick start to get me out of bed and/or off the couch. Also, I have to work. Work is a big motivator for me because I like having a roof over my head and food on my table.
Pssst…moving towards activities you enjoy IS chasing away boredom. That’s the point, so don’t second-guess doing what you enjoy. As the old ad campaign says, “Just do it!”
— Is there an answer to meeting needs of kidless families in the church? I was so lonely and trying so hard to connect in the church. We finally started our own small group. It attracted more young marrieds than intended, even though we carefully worded the description. People read past that and expected it to be for young marrieds.
I won’t lie to you…meeting /finding childless families in church is hard, because we tend to be isolating by nature to protect oureselves since we are in the minority…that is if we don’t give up on church altogether which many of us sadly do. Since my post about church and the childless is now a couple of years old I have gained a whole new perspective on it. Church is filled with families, but I think if you look really hard you will find people who are lonely and in need of a friend. I go to a very large church, and the key to finding social connection in church is to connect to something even if the people are not in your exact life situation. Find a bible study/small group/activity group and just join or start/continue one and just minister to whomever shows up. No, there are no guarantees that you’re going to find childless couples/people, but you might find a friend in an unexpected place. In church and life in general I started making friends with folks whether or not they had kids or not. This came after significant healing, but I finally got tired of isolating myself because I couldn’t find the perfect childless friend(s). When I got to that point my social life changed dramatically. I now have several friends with children (mostly grown children now–but one with a 2 year old), and lo and behold, in the process I also have developed friendships with two childless women. Sometimes when you quit looking so hard you find blessings in unexpected places and sometimes find what you were looking for in the first place.
— I am divided in how to construct my use of time. I used to be full force on a career. Listening to wisdom of others, I didn’t want life to pass me by and have “only” my career and spouse at the end of my life. I eased up on the career, but now find myself trying to figure out how to use my time. Bored. Lonely. My path is shaped by God’s hand, I know. I also believe I am responsible for my choices. Not sure what this “freedom” and excess of time is supposed to be for. Or how to commit 100% to the mundane without munchkins or being super-involved in work.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with focusing on one’s career if you are able to balance the rest of your life–big family or no family. I say that being someone who never aspired to a career. I only wanted to be a wife and mother. For years I lamented the fact that I had to work, but yet I’ve done it so long now that I think I would be lost without it. Sure, I’d like to work three days a week instead of five, but reality is it’s not going happen anytime soon if ever before I retire (if I retire–with the economy who knows?).
First, seek God. I’m sure you have gifts and talents that could help someone…volunteer, find a social hobby. If working fulfills you then find a lower-stress part time job you enjoy and go back to work on a limited basis. Again, only you know what is right for you, but don’t think having a career as second best because for you it might be for the best. I think looking back at the end of your life if you’ve played the cards that God has dealt you to the best of your ability you’ll have no regrets. If you don’t do something you know God is telling you to do then you will have regrets. God has withheld children for a reason. That is not your responsibility or a reason to have regrets. Quit regretting what is out of your control my friend! It will only make you miserable. I know.
— What would you tell yourself 5 to 10 years ago? I want to live well and react wisely along this path. What hindsight have you gained?
Wow, if you only knew what a loaded question that is. Let me compose myself a bit…
Okay…here goes…if I could go back 5 to 10 years I would invest more in my relationships instead of focusing on what I didn’t have. I would not let bitterness and jealousy take over my life to where I did serious damage to relationships that may or may not ever be healed. I would enjoy the blessings I had in my life. I would love more and wholeheartedly. I would embrace life for what it is instead of what it’s not. I would live AUTHENTICALLLY in each day like I’m doing my best to do now. The hard truth is that you can’t go back and undo the past. You can only go forward. Apologize to those who you have hurt along the way, and accept their forgiveness if they’re willing to give it. If they’re not then go forward anyway with or without that relationship. Only you can choose how you live your life. No one can make you happy. Your happiness in fullfillment in life comes from only two things God and how you choose to live your life.
(Sorry…that question made me preach to myself, but I hope you got some kind of answer out of it).
Wow, these were great questions that covered a lot of ground, but if you have more please send them on! I’ll be happy to answer the best I can!
Blessings to you today!