When I first made the decision to leave my job and stay home with my kids I did not receive support from my circle of friends. They had all returned to work after their babies were born and could not understand how I could make the choice I made. Their comments were sometimes hurtful and made me feel insecure about my decision.
At social gatherings they would share stories of business trips and promotions, while I sat lost in my own thoughts…would Zack be the White Power Ranger for Halloween or the green one? Their lives seemed exciting, and busy….very busy. I wanted what they had. I wanted to be busy, so I joined things, baby sitting coops, and play groups. Then later, little league and travel soccer. I was room mom at school, volunteered for bake sales and plant sales. I ran Vacation Bible School during the summers, and taught Sunday School. All in an effort to be busy.
When people would ask “How are you?” I could respond “I’m busy!” It’s what gave me value, a sense of self worth. And yet, I was losing myself in this flurry of activity. Now that my kids are older and much more independent, I find I am not busy. With far too much time on my hands, I turned to alcohol. Every night, 5:00, I had something to do. At that hour, I was busy.
Recognizing that by doing that I was not going to grow or find my true purpose for this next phase of life I made an agreement with God. I know He has a plan for my life, but I also know He can’t use me for His purposes until I surrender to Him. So I did. I gave up my drinking, my other God, my idol. I gave Him this year and my life. Or so I thought…
Giving up cocktail hour forced me to face the fact that I had too much time on my hands. I was bored. So once again, I went in search of activities. I started to blog, I initiated game time with the family, started playing soccer and learned how to work my iPod. And once again, “I’m busy.” And I’m no closer to finding myself or my purpose.
Why is downtime such a frightening prospect for me? Why do I use anything from a trip to Starbucks to a soccer game to avoid being alone? Am I afraid to hear from God? Even a cursory glance at the stories of the Bible tells me that God asks great things of His people. He asks them to do things they would rather not do. But how does one say no to God’s calling? I guess by keeping so busy I never have the opportunity to hear Him ask.