This is going to sound weird, but ... I hadn't worked a job in over a decade.
Ten years ago my son was born. Fourteen months later my daughter arrived, and I was up to my nose in diapers, bottles, and play dates. A few years later we would homeschool too. Suddenly, I was most certainly a stay-at-home-mom.
Important as being a mom was, I thought there should be more. (I know now that’s not true!)
Every year I’d ask God what important thing I could do, and He’d patiently but relentlessly point me back to my children.
Work would have to wait.
It was hard at first, to lay down all the self-worth that I’d attached to my ability to work. But as I did, I discovered the richness of being here for my children – to watch them learn be kind to each other, witness the moment they understood something new, and to spend a lazy morning together just reading or making pancakes just because we can. I’ve grown character in ways that would have never otherwise been possible, and am deeply grateful for the chance to do life this way.
Then, one day I felt like I had God’s permission to pursue working from home. Finally! I had the go-ahead!
Eeeee! I was eager to start earning money and began writing for magazines and business people, and also edited manuscripts.
I still remember the first forty-dollar payment I received. It was thrilling. I hadn’t held a paycheck in my hand for years, and now I had earned my very own money. I felt like a kid getting my first paycheck all over again. It was awesome.
I insisted on taking the family out for pizza to celebrate – on my dime, thank you very much. It was a proud moment.
The identity crisis that came with leaving work to be at home with my babies was something that hadn’t surprised me. I knew it was normal. Difficult, painful, but normal.
What I didn’t expect was to wrestle with an identity crisis when I returned to work.
Anyone who has read my writing in the last decade knows that I tend to write from my heart, and that the observations I share are generally centered on faith.
When I began writing for pay though, suddenly it became all about the task and the result and the brilliant marketing copy that gets clicks. Writing became a technical means to a profitable end rather than an artful expression of who I am or why anything is the way it is.
The artist in me was dying. And I didn’t know why.
I realize now that I was having a crisis of identity.
How could I be an effective business writer and also an artist? How could I share my faith and heart while also running a business? I didn’t see how they could go together, so I’d chosen put my head down and do the task that made money.
Soon there was no time or space for reverie or observation. Only marketing research and buzzwords and webinars and more research.
Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy my work very much – but my mind raced with lists and tasks, I felt chained to screens, and it was making me feel dead and grey inside.
I would read things I’d written years ago and wish I could be that person again.
Instead, I was disappearing.
Somehow I forgot that the point of my life – of writing - is not to build an audience.
The point is to observe, inspire, and encourage. That is what I live for and what gives me great, deep satisfaction whether it pays or not.
So get ready. I am getting back to my roots. I’m becoming me again.
This blog will not be a place where we talk about five secrets to this and top ten mistakes of that. No. This blog is going to be where I share my heart. I will be real and authentic here. Here, you and I can be friends for real.
Or not. Those who don’t like it can leave. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. No hard feelings.
Because I’m back – real, authentic, and speaking from my heart. Whether it’s popular or not.
Aaaah, that’s better.