So, what was it that made such a drastic change in how I live my life? Why did my contentment skyrocket? What got the ball rolling was a burning desire to act on my priorities. I loved being a wife to my man, but I had no time or energy for him. I loved being a mom, but I wasn’t available to listen, assist, and guide. I wanted meaningful relationships with friends, but felt guilty about spending time with them. I loved studying the Bible, but was too tired to bother. And I knew I should be in shape, but there were too many things in front of working out.
I knew exactly what my priorities were, but I wasn’t living them out. God, my man, my children, my church ministry, my relatives and my friends were all important to me and I knew their order in my life. But instead, I was living like this: work, church ministry, my relatives, my children, God, friends, my man. My work was not even in my priorities, and it was the thing I was spending the most time doing! It’s not that I think work is unimportant, or that I’m spoiled or lazy. Work is an extension of a person’s interests, strengths, and skills, and is used to meet the needs of a community. I proudly come from a blue-collar family that prides itself on its work ethic. I’ve worked for everything I have, including Army veteran status, a B.A. in psychology and a Master’s degree in teaching. And being a first born child, I roll my eyes at the thought of being spoiled. Responsibility is a badge I earned early in life.
My full-time work became a way to earn my worth, fuel my pride, receive praise from supervisors and peers, tie up my strengths and skills, achieve a status, wear a martyr pin, and make money. Because my motives for teaching were not pure, my weaknesses were amplified. Anxiety, loneliness, obsessiveness, fear of not being liked, difficulty with sustained focus attention, and confrontation issues were multiplied and fed a cycle of negativity.
I could have consulted God’s Word, prayed, and listened to wise counsel before pursuing a job in education. Instead, I coveted the life of a teacher, filled a void of worthlessness, thrived on pleasing people, and neglected to use my abilities on the very people I was blessed to live with.
You may be thinking that all this sounds kind of harsh. But, it’s just the hard truth. I do not feel condemned or have an Eeyore complex. Instead, I thank the Lord everyday for turning my life around. Having a strong inclination to reorder my time, my focus, and my activities was the first step to bringing joy and order into my life.