Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Community in the Home

I work from home, almost all the time. I sit at my computer and navigate my current manuscripts, book proposals and my blog. I take phone calls from coaching friends, and connect with potential clients via email or phone. I'm at home all the time...did I mention that already?
And here's the thing, I like being here.

There was a time a few years back when being here at home was the very last thing in the world I wanted to do. I couldn't stand being here in my own home and so I was always on the go. Telling myself there were errands to run when there really weren't any. I volunteered all the time at church and at school and filled up my days with shopping, lunching and being anyplace else but here. It was extreme and I felt empty all the time. I had no connection with myself, with my family or even with God. Everything about my life was wrong, felt wrong and made me sad and so I self medicated with a false sense of community that existed outside the walls of my home and I was miserable.

The turning point came one summer as I prepared to begin Lay Counseling training at church. My husband became ill and I had to step out of all my other leadership and volunteer duties to focus on him and my children. Now, don't you think that's where God intended for me to be all along? I used to think if only I had paid attention to the things happening here that maybe we wouldn't have gotten so far off track. When I was forced to stay home and deal with the issues at hand, I was angry and didn't like it very much. But at the same time, if I didn't face the issues that were alive and well within the four walls of my very own home, how could I ever expect to be an encouragement and support to those in the outside world. My heart was to encourage and be a help to others but the only way I was ever going to do that was to clean my own house and deal with my own stuff. And no one I know really ever likes to do that. It's usually only when push comes to shove or we find ourselves dangling on the edge of a cliff that we will finally stop avoiding and start engaging.

I'm one of those people that really thrives in being around others. I like socializing and connecting. I love listening to people talk about their own lives, their challenges and how they overcame them. I love my friends and being with them fills me up, it's something that I've come to understand is a part of me. Like you need air to breathe or water to drink, I need people. I like them. But the danger for me is to keep a careful balance with this need I have for community, otherwise it can overwhelm the balance of my days and I'll find myself running all over again like I was before.

And so here's what I do now. I know I have this innate sense about me to connect and create community with others. Instead of running all over town and volunteering for every single thing, I now choose carefully the activities I do outside of my home because, guess what? When I stopped avoiding and started engaging issues with my husband, issues with my parenting, issues with my relationships, I started to see that my real community started with the man I married and the two children I've been blessed with. My friends are important to me and I love my work but community for me begins at home.

I like being here at home now and have learned to navigate a careful balance of working several days a week while keeping a day or two open for errands, lunches with friends and bible study. It's a balance that I'm committed to keeping because when I don't I find that I miss these new connections I have with my husband and with my kids. Yes, it takes effort but it's worth it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Encouraging, thanks for sharing!