Sunday, February 07, 2016

Looking inward and outward

This is the time of year when many people are writing about personality tests and goals/calling. I have had a really fun time participating and rediscovering things about my personality. It is fun along the way to predict how the kids and Andy would score as well. Honestly though, it is often hard for me to take those tests without feeling a pang of remorse and discontentment.

My personality in a nutshell:
Myers-Briggs- ESFJ (The Supporter)
Enneagram- Type 2 "The Helper"
Marc Accetta's color test- Yellow

I truly envy the introverted women who homeschool or stay at home full time with their children. They seem to draw so much energy from being at home for large stretches of time. I am definitely extroverted. And that is the part of my personality that feels the most out of place in my current calling. My detail-oriented, organized, "feel all the feelings" traits are A-Okay. But my extroverted need to deeply connect with friends is struggling. I could never imagining thinking, "Yes! I am at home in my pajamas for the third day in a row!" Unless it is the week after Christmas, that would not cross my mind.

New plaque in the school room: "In life we should leave our children two things Roots and Wings"
I have found that in my stage of life right now, I am extremely busy serving the children and Andy. He travels often and the main way that I serve him is by keeping things running smoothly while he is gone, and being understanding and patient when he comes home tired, needing to recover. These sweet children not only depend on me for their education, but for meals, transportation to ALL THE PLACES, and advise, etc. My youngest is the only other extrovert in the family and her needs are a full time job.

I find that by this time in the year, I am exhausted. Although I am seeing people at the gymnastics classes, youth group drop-offs, co-op drop-offs, etc. I am not really connecting with many friends the way I need to. And it actually exhausts me. All the running around, cooking, cleaning, educating, parenting, wifely stuff is my joy. I have no greater earthly joy than seeing my family walk with the Lord and grow. But I am missing friend connections that came so easily when I worked full time at school.

Math- First hour of the day after coffee and devotion
It would be so lovely to not feel this way, but alas, I am who God created me to be! I love all the responsibilities. They fill my day and use every bit of my energy. And yet, some days they leave me lonely. (And some of this may be due to Andy's work travel, which has always been hard. And I struggle in winter around this time every year, but especially when I am homeschooling.)

I absolutely know it will pass. This is where being 40 has its perks. I know it is only temporary. I see God's provision coming in ways that will meet these needs that are so small, yet so BIG. I see what he is orchestrating for next school year to serve Lydia Joy and me so well. I remember that summer is just around the corner, and I am so excited already for our pool days to start where we hang out almost every day with loads of friends. My cup will run over like it did this past summer, I know it. I see my children doing very well. The boys are in 7th and 9th grade- SUPER HARD YEARS, and they are thriving. Too much texting- but hey, life's not perfect. And Lydia Joy is a beam of sunshine. And of course, my husband continues to be adorable and my favorite person on earth.

Jogging at the park on a cold, gray day
Although I am reminding myself it is just a season, I am praying about little changes for next school year. I found out about women's discipleship groups at church. Sign me up. Lydie will be re-enrolled at school. She is simply too dependent on day-to-day community to thrive long-term at home. I have no idea where she gets it from! Ahem. Maybe I should be on the sub list so that I can be at her school with our precious community there from time to time. Either way, this will free me up to meet someone for coffee, volunteer at her school, or meet with other parents, etc. The boys will require very little help from me next year. They are so driven, independent, and capable. I am going to teach at their co-op- art and history- next year. Looking forward to being on staff with a very fun group of teachers there!

Head banging to the vbs music in the car while we were waiting on Jackson. We live *and party* in the car. :)

For now, I think I MUST date my husband more. Period. And, I need to renew my Y membership. I tried to cut it in order to boost our budget. But Zumba makes me happy and fit. It makes me a better wife and mom, for sure. And I need to organize more fun nights with friends. I can do these things now and finish the school year well.
So I guess my mantra is to hang in there! I had dinner last night with friends, in fact, and it was a boost. I think a more extroverted-friendly schedule is on the way! And winter doesn't last forever!  I hope every women out there will take the time to think about her personality/gifts and listen closely. We were made with a purpose and it serves everyone around us well to be honest and wide-eyed about who we are and how we spend our days. Sometimes we don't get to pick exactly what are daily circumstances are. Or we pick, and we have to shift things around to serve the needs of our family. But we can listen closely when we are feeling distressed, assess who we are and how we were made, and make small changes to take care of ourselves. These are self-serving and OTHER-serving tasks, and our families and communities will benefit from a little self-examination!
Art project from a cold day indoors- Epsom salt votives.

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