Sometimes I look at what I've accomplished (or haven't accomplished is more like it) since I've been off work (almost three years now!), and I get a little frustrated with myself. Surely I should have more to show for all this 'leisure' time, shouldn't I? If you would have asked me a couple of years ago, I would have expected to have a perfectly organized/clean house, amazing gardens, completed scrapbooks, and a ton of published articles or maybe a book by now. For the most part none of these things happened.
Most days the house is MUCH better than it used to be, we eat real meals, and the grass is actually a little greener. I have a few rejection letters to show that I wrote a little bit, but not nearly as many as I should have if I'd been writing/submitting the way I expected to. And scrapbooks? I've organized some photos, but haven't made any progress on the 8 - 10 scrapbooks I have in various stages of completion! This lack of accomplishment really had me bummed for a while...I didn't feel very successful in this new role.
But God is showing me some very important things. It's not the 'things' that get done that are so important. In this time I have learned a lot about myself, my family, and my God. Some of these things I knew before but didn't really admit, like the fact that I'm not very good at completing the really cool things I start. So much so that I will actually take on more things so I have a good excuse not to finish the old ones!
There are several 'things' I have accomplished, but in reality it's the fact that I'm available to my family that has made the biggest difference. While I love them immensely, in the past I think I saw them as distractions to the work I thought was supposed to get done...the housecleaning, memory preserving, and service opportunities. I know now that my family IS the place I am to serve. I can sit and watch a movie with Christopher when he wants to cuddle (heaven forbid he just sit on my lap without a good reason!), to sit with the girls when they don't really have anything important to do or say...for a while (it always pops up after a period of time, but I never waited long enough before), and to just be available to pick them up, cart them around, or be here when they are sick. I can't imagine how we would have made it through the last six months if I were working 60 hour weeks and travelling every other week!
My perceptions of 'success' are being turned upside down, or maybe rightside up. God is telling me that this year is to be one of decluttering (life and home) and finding peace among the busyness. I'm learning to be still, and I'm starting to like it!
They say that the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans! He knows what the future holds for me, and he will get me prepared in advance. I want to just trust Him because I know He knows best -- and that is what real success looks like.