Conflict of Passions

Are you struggling between two heart desires? Believe me, I have been there, done that and it’s not much fun.

For me, it began almost three years ago. You’ll remember many posts from me on the subject of my women’s fiction writing, and how easily I could lose myself in it–letting the children and housework fall apart around me. What a struggle to find balance, in fact, balance was so elusive, I finally quit fiction writing altogether. I just couldn’t reconcile the two passions–homeschooling and a writing career. I know better women than me can juggle these things…and maybe someday I’ll be able to, but not now.

At first letting go was terribly depressing. I hung onto my writing projects like a toddler on the verge of losing his blankie…I’d never had a passion outside my children and husband before. Sounds pathetic, but remember I married right out of high school, and my family has been my world. And I’ve been so fulfilled that I never felt anything was missing. Discovering the books within me, though, tapped a brand-spanking-new-and-exciting dimension of ME…a falling in love experience…a happy realization that God gifted me with this crazy love of words for a reason! Wow. Anyway. I lost myself in this dream for a year…devouring books on the writing craft and going to writing conferences and learning from other pros and wannabes. Pure bliss…that continually battled my family for my time until I realized that I had to cut back. And cutting back didn’t work. Giving it up altogether finally made the difference.

My point is, I’m not missing the fiction writing at all these days. I’m not even all that concerned when a week goes by without blogging. We’re ramped up about homeschooling and spending time with friends and church activities…right now the solitary and immersive lifestyle of writing isn’t possible! I don’t want it to be possible. I want my life to be about homeschooling and enjoying these girls while they’re little and being a 30-something stay-at-home mom is my ultimate joie de vivre!

How did I end up letting go of my writing dreams? Well, honestly, I haven’t let go of them. I feel a real peace that those are future chapters in my life, ones I anticipate and gladly put off for a more convenient time…possibly not until my kids are raised! I begged and pleaded with the Lord about it, especially because I got to the point where I would have gladly put the girls in public school just so I could have a full day of unfettered writing time. I began resenting my family’s needs and that was what finally opened my eyes to my wrong priorities. Wrong for *me* because God has emphatically called us into this homeschooling lifestyle.

Asking God to realign my desires with His really meant turning OFF my passion for writing. Please, I’m not preaching at anyone, this is *my* story–I’m not cut out to balance two passions. Not as whole-hog as I am about my “babies” (both real and imagined!)!

Anyway, I just realized today how God’s given me back my satisfaction with this season of life. And it’s a pretty blessed arrival, deserving of documentation at my site!

Anyone relate?

17 thoughts on “Conflict of Passions”

  1. Hmmm…perhaps what you’ve written about is what I struggle with in my heart. As you know I love endurance events, it’s a structured way for me to stay healthy and have overall mental stability, all while raising money for a good cause :). However, it’s been increasingly hard to manage training with my new family. Homework is inevitable and takes precedence, which often leaves little time for training. I know that sounds selfish. I’m not convinced yet that I can’t do both, but am just struggling at the moment to find time for both. With our new schedule (not waking up at 4am) it only leaves time in the evening for training ( I love sleeping in so I’m not complaining). Most of which I read about step family stuff says it’s important to keep a balance so I continue to work on it!

    Colleen’s last blog post..fantastic Friday: Taco Mac

  2. It’s not an easy thing to grapple with. I’ve always struggled because I feel the Lord has given me a few talents with things I’d like to do, but they’re not all in the same areas.

    I really struggled in college to figure out where God wanted me– and I’m sure that I’m not where I will be.

    The important thing is to focus on His lead, doing His will. Then you will have the peace that I read between the lines here.

  3. Colleen, I know what you’re going through, and I do hope that you find a way to keep training and running marathons. I very much see why you’d struggle with finding the balance, esp as a newlywed with two brand new children right off the bat! There’s just too many wonderful opportunities in this life, aren’t there? I guess we can just be grateful for that, and hope for contentment if we’re not meant to have them ALL! Speaking of wanting to stay in shape…I lost 29 pounds this summer and now that school has resumed I’ve lost my easy access (free time) to the exercise equipment! Horrors! So good luck, I really relate with having to decided how important it is to me…

    MIn, I wish we could all know as young children what God wants us to do with our futures! But I guess the learning process is part of the training, huh. Good advice in your comment!

  4. Thanks, Mary. I know that I’ll keep training and running marathons, but perhaps the intensity or regularity might change. We all need our hobbies, even the kiddos! And 29 pounds, wow that’s great! I’ve heard that you just need 20 minutes of cardio a day to keep the pounds off with a balanced diet! Maybe you can incorporate exercise into the daily lessons!?!

  5. You’re absolutely right! And my daughters have mentioned wanting to do PE, but we’ve been spending such long hours fitting in all their subjects that I’m wondering when and how!? Things will probably even out soon…as we get in the routine again…

    I’ve been amazed at how little I have had to do lately to maintain this weight! My total gym is a good taskmaster!

  6. I’m intrigued by home schooling, and after this week wish I could school AR at home! It’s great to have freedom in the subjects you teach, but fear I’d have to know everything – eak! Keep up the great work!

  7. I agree that it would be daunting to take on older elementary students with no previous experience under your belt! I’m so glad we started homeschooling our oldest when she was a preschooler. We sure learned together and got *most* of the barrels jumped over before we got to the more intensive parts of educating!

    What I appreciate about you, is your optimism about homeschooling! It’s a blessing to be able to share interests, even when we’re not actively pursuing the same things! Thanks for your encouragement!

  8. I think part of my interest in homeschooling stems from having a mom as a teacher growing up, and always in the back of my mind wondering if how I’d like teaching. I truly enjoy the flexibility in what you teach! Although I do agree that it would be hard to take our kids out of school at this point. Never know what the future holds for future kiddos though!

    Colleen’s last blog post..fantastic Friday: Taco Mac

  9. I know how you feel, I put my other passions on hold while I am blessed enough to have my children still little. When they grow up, that is when my other passions will emerge again. I am happy to do it, because our children one day will be grown and a lot further away. I feel that being a mother is my number one job. Hugs. Juli

  10. Maintaining my blog will be my creative outlet until my children are old enough that me writing SERIOUSLY won’t be taking away from them. Until then, this will do.

    Beck’s last blog post..Monday AGAIN

  11. I guess thats kind of how I felt when I first started at home. I missed being online for 3 hours a day. I missed it like an addict craves his drug of choice. I grieved it. The only time I could get online was at my mom’s house. Man, when I did get to my mom’s house I would spend all day. I wasn’t visiting with her or my dad. Hubby started giving me a real hard time about it. Now I spend maybe an hour. And I’m so thankful to be at home.

    Bethanie’s last blog post..weight

  12. Colleen, future kiddos?!? That’d be awesome! Both the having kids part, and the possibility of homeschooling them!

    Totally agree with you, Juli! All too soon they will be grown up! My oldest is almost 11! :( How’d that happen!?!?!

    It is amazing how quickly we get hooked to our time online, Bethanie. I always notice it when we have computer problems, for instance. I’ve even resorted to checking it at the library with three kids (when my youngest was under 2! pretty desperate!) when we went without internet access for several months a while ago. Just like with TV, it became something I wondered why I wasted so much time on! Going on a “fast” of these types of things is a good lesson in “time-saving”! It really opened my eyes!

  13. Mary,
    This post is so beautiful, it almost made me cry. You’re called to be a mom, but no doubt about it, you’re gifted as a writer. I bet your writing will be richer for the choices you’re making now. I’m glad you’re still blogging!

  14. Sorry I’ve been away so long, but I’m so glad you found peace. I found that peace when I put my oldest back in school and though I still write, I’m not obsessed about it like I used to be and things are falling into place at home and career wise. Now my desire to blog has diminished and that’s a good thing because it was the last big thing taking away time from my family.

    I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those mom’s who just focuses on her family (though I wish I could be content in that way) but I’ve learned to stop fighting the God given drive in me. He made me this way and will equip me to do it all!

    Gina’s last blog post..Loosing Steam!

  15. You have been a busy lady, Gina, getting agented and moving and homeschooling! I’m not surprised I haven’t seen you for a while, but I’ll take you whenever you can stop by!

    I think we all have to go through that initial obsession about writing…we are writer-hearts by all accounts, and that’s just part of the process. I’m glad I went through it, b/c I am secretly thrilled about that whole experience and the fact that if I live another 15 years, it is definitely going to be a daily part of my lifestyle. Rather than not knowing what I’m going to want to do with myself once the kids are grown…

    I’ve had to be content that I’m NOT able to juggle as many hats as other moms seem to and that’s okay. For now, I do this that God has given me to do. And I try to do well at it! Who knows what tomorrow holds?

    I’m so glad for your friendship and input, knowing we’ve both hit the same walls and care about the same things. I’m so happy for where God is taking your writing!

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