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I gotta be me

I have this thing about red ink. (The editing kind, not the bank account kind … though that certainly could be discussed.)

I love to write, but I really love to edit. I love to take what someone else has skillfully (or not so skillfully) crafted, iron it out, spice it up, fix the errors, and voila! create a masterpiece.

I’m freakishly weird. I know.

When we lived in Iowa, I was given the opportunity to direct two Broadway-style musicals. I had never really done anything like that before, but I was quite the Drama Queen as a child and a teenager (and, admittedly, even a young adult), and I had a little bit of speech and drama under my belt, so I got the job. It was one of the best, most fulfilling experiences of my life. I loved it! I loved watching our (extremely talented) performers rehearse their scenes while I took notes and gave them suggestions to make it better. I loved crafting the movement and the intonation and the feeling that the story portrayed. Directing was a sublime form of editing.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to edit the family Advent devotional booklet that our church is publishing. We have a team of writers who took some predetermined topics and wrote a short lesson, but as it turned out, you can’t employ five different writers with five different writing styles and expect a cohesive piece of work. So our communications pastor ended up doing most of the writing, and I did the editing.

Over the course of a few days, he would write and send, write and send, write and send. And I would edit and send, edit and send, edit and send. In the middle of it, our deadline was pushed up two days. It was stressful and demanding and mentally taxing … and I loved every second of it. Using the gifts God has given me for a determined purpose was simply invigorating.

I’ve been a mom for almost ten years. I love being a mom. I knew early in my young adulthood that I wanted to be a mom. I never had any huge career ambitions – mainly, I think, because I was too immature to know what I wanted to do and how to go get it. After I graduated from college, I had a couple of jobs that paid our bills while Michael was in medical school, and I did get to do a little bit of writing and editing, but it was nothing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And then I became a mom and … well, you know how that goes.

I don’t ever feel like I’ve lost myself – most of the time, anyway. As challenging as parenthood can be, it is still incredibly rewarding. I’m able to find a balance by making time for myself and the things I love to do, and Michael has always been wonderfully supportive in making that time for me when I don’t make it for myself. He is so affirming of the person I am – even the person outside of being a mom.

Lately, though, I’m discovering me. I’m learning more and more about how God designed me, what He has wired me to do, where my passions lie. And I am positively giddy about having such an incredible opportunity to actually use those gifts!

Here’s my point, moms: we gotta be who we were made to be. We are each a part of the body, each with unique talents, and each with the capacity to contribute. We have to find out who we are and how God wants us to use our gifts. I love the theme of the “Life is Good” product line: Do you what you love, and love what you do. Yes, being a mom is one of the most important jobs we’ll ever have, but it is not the sum of who we are.

My sister-in-law has decided to give up the last month of her maternity leave and return to her job early. She is an amazingly talented interior designer for an architecture firm, and she loves her job. She has really missed working. Does wanting to return to her career make her any less of a mom? Absolutely not! She is a wonderful mom, but is she also a wonderful designer. She has been given this gift, and to not use it would be denying who she is. I don’t fault her in the least.

Am I thankful to stay at home with my kids? Undeniably. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I’m still me. I’m not only a mom. I am a person with specific gifts to contribute to the world around me, and given the chance to use those gifts, I will simultaneously give with my talents and receive incredible fulfillment – because this is what I was meant to do and who I was meant to be.

Freakishly weirdness and all.

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7 thoughts on “I gotta be me

  1. I have a few comments:1. Good thing you aren’t a teacher (at least not MY teacher) who loves using her red pen! ;)2. I am so proud of you and your self confidence in your gifts. I am happy for you that you are finding another way to put them to good use in your ministry! 3. You know I am searching for a way to make the puzzle of motherhood and me all fit together. I know I will and I am happy to have you as my friend throughout my journey! Thank you for your love and support! You are always an inspiration to me!BTW-I am going to try again to do my blog! We’ll see…Love ya!Gretch

  2. I’m sitting here clapping for you (quietly as my little one just went down for a nap). That giddy feeling is something not everyone is able to feel and when you find it in “work” that is something (I feel) that cannot be ignored! This post comes at a time in my life when I’ll be pursuing what I know is “ME” this spring. Going back to nursing school. Yikes…I’m terrified and excited all at the same time. I hope you keep your passion up! (Interested in editing school papers? Kidding..sort of)

  3. I just read this! You are so wonderful, Jenn. Thank you so much for your support. As you know it is such a difficult decision with so many mixed feelings as I am learning much of motherhood is. It means so much that you feel that way.

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