I remember the morning I sat up in my bed and thought, “If something doesn’t change, I’m not going to make it.”
Life had become like water. I couldn’t catch it; it just kept slipping through my fingers. I felt so behind, so robotic, so stuck. Why couldn’t I change? Why couldn’t I get myself together? Why couldn’t I do the things I wanted to do?
I just felt tired and overwhelmed, and many days, defeated.
But that morning in my bed, I decided I wanted to live; I didn’t just want to go through the motions.
And it was that day I purposed to wake up to my own life and choose it. No one was going to do it for me. Whatever it was that clicked in me that morning made me see that I didn’t want to regret my life. I didn’t want to look back one day and see that I missed it.
It’s such a funny thing when you become a mom. You lose yourself to it in the most beautiful way. You give of yourself, you sacrifice, and it’s good and you wouldn’t change it. But then one day you wake up and you think, “Who am I now?” You have to figure out a new normal. You’re you, but you’re different. So this waking up I was doing was more than just getting out of a funk; it was figuring out a new way to live in this mother-self-skin.
“Daily life is very seductive. Weeks go by and we forget who we are.”
Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
I committed to making small changes over a period of several months in order to wake up to my life. I experimented with myself, trying all sorts of things having to do with self-discipline, diet, mothering, spiritual depth, figuring out who I was (and accepting myself), and learning to serve out of who God created me to be. I basically boot-camped my own life. And it helped. It woke me up.
I want to share with you the two initial things that changed the course of my life:
1) I chose to live, and 2) I fought for it.
Choosing to Live
I literally had to say out loud, “I’m going to choose to live my life.”
It was a light bulb moment for me to awaken to the fact that I could choose my life. That God, in His kindness, gave us minds and hearts and guts and bodies to be able to choose how we want to live; He gave us the ability to think and make decisions and act on them. It seems so obvious, right? But life does this thing to you sometimes where you just feel like you have no choice, like you just have to roll where the waves take you.
I know now that’s not entirely true.
We might not be able to change our personalities or our circumstances, but we can make daily decisions that affect our whole life. We can choose to say and believe that we were made for more than a mediocre, just-get-by existence. We are made to live and live fully; a half-dead people cannot be effective in the Kingdom, but a fully-alive people? Watch out. Life calls forth life, and if you are alive, you can call forth life in others.
I am choosing to live because it matters. It matters to God, it matters to my family, and it matters to me. I want to enjoy life, and God, and His people, and the glory all around me. And when I do that, I am in a soul-alive place where I can help others. Yea, it matters.
But you have to choose it or life will pull you under.
Choosing to Fight
Once I chose, I had to face the reality that it wasn’t going to come easy. I was going to have to fight. I had to make plans and begin again and again.
Jesus was my rock.
Friends surrounded me and loved me.
Vision kept me moving.
And when my plans don’t go according to plan, and when my body fails and my hormones course through me and make me crazy, I keep on knowing I’m not alone. I have a vision to live and enjoy and be delighted in and bring God’s Kingdom to bear on this earth in creative ways. So yea, it’s imperfect, but it’s faithful. It’s something. It’s slow and steady, one day at a time. I will live today.
And when I can’t fight, when I’m feeling battle worn, He fights for me. And He will fight for you.
He sees our broken places; He doesn’t forget.
You are not alone, and I am not alone. We are in a sisterhood, together, and together we can make it.
“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
To read more about Sarah Mae’s journey towards choosing to live, check out Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure – Right Where She Is.