As a young mother, I did not have the time to dream of the future. The notion of thinking about tomorrow was overwhelmed in daily responsibilities. There was always something more important, something or someone whose needs surpassed my own. To desire to be fulfilled was a selfish thing. It was more important to survive, then to thrive.
There are seasons when it is ok to live with a survival mentality, when it is important to care for another’s needs above your own needs. However, is it a sustaining approach to life? Can you maintain the look that everything is, ok? Can you continue to pretend that you are satisfied? When do you say it is ok to expect, ‘something more’ out of life? How do you find that something more, that does not lead to the negative aspects in Reba McEntire’s song, “Is There Life Out There”?
There are many stages of life besides early mothering that lead to simply surviving. You could be married, single or a widow. Caring for children or caring for parents. Whatever stage of life you are in you do not have to settle for just getting by. God has plans for you.
What are the signs that you are staying too long in this harmful way of life?
• Lack of learning new knowledge.
• There are little visible acts of self-care or excessive outward self-care.
• Responsibilities are done out of obligation.
• The main relationships in your life are troubled. (Marriage) (God) (Children)
• Resentment for your spouse or other women who do not have it as hard as you.
• Your appearance is neglected.
• Acting out of character, usually by stopping activities you normally would enjoy.
• Questioning the choices you made in life.
• Little care is given to spiritual growth.
Here are a few reasons it is harmful to continue in this survival mentality.
• It prohibits spiritual growth.
• It places maturity at a standstill.
• It can lead to depression.
• It could lead to ill treatment or abuse of the person or persons in your care.
Here are 3 ways to begin to escape the trap of survival.
1. Learn something new
This point may seem trite and maybe even make some people mad. It makes me mad. I get a little attitude and think things like, “is that all people think women can do bake cakes and scrapbook.” Nevertheless, for now we will all put aside our attitudes, me included, and look at the bigger picture. I believe in you that you can do bigger and better things, but sometimes we need to start somewhere. What’s wrong with a hobby anyway? This step is like jumper cables to bring life back to a lifeless heart.
Look for something new to learn. It can be a craft, or hobby. Think of photography, cake decorating, scrapbooking, or website design. It can be anything that stimulates your creativity, and if its fun that is even better.
2. Get out of isolation
Look for ways to step out of your comfort zone and get out among people. Go to the park. Join a Bible study. Ask someone from church out to lunch or over for supper. Do something you would have enjoyed before this time in your life. Call a friend or do something to serve someone else.
3. Look to the future
This point is sometimes difficult, especially when your day is filled with so many responsibilities. It is hard to look past today and see the horizon of tomorrow. It is even harder to have the courage to reach out with hope for the future.
Do not be afraid dream and think of your future. Talk to God about what he has available for you. Trust him for strength for today; while you trust him for enthusiasm for tomorrow.
What stage of life are you in today? What dream do you have for tomorrow? Comment below or shoot me and email. I would love to hear from you.