Guest Post from Sarah Mae of SarahMae.com
I long to raise my kids well.
I long to travel to the beautiful places in the world.
I long to be a person of depth.
I long to write and speak words that will help people.
These are just a few of my longings. Of course some are stronger than others.
I used to long for two lives.
In one life I was doing what I’m doing now, living in a small town with my husband and beautiful children, doing my best as a wife, mom, homemaker, and fringe-hour writer.
In the other life I was living in Paris or Tuscany, breathing in the beauty of my surroundings every day. I lived in a little apartment and I wrote all day and spent my nights in deep conversation with the locals.
I don’t long for that second life anymore. I now fully and completely enjoy my life. But it took a process to get to where I am now. It took some pain and some eye-opening and some choices.
Many of us have longings and dreams and desires that pull at our hearts, but that our reality doesn’t necessarily make room for. Some of us ache with longing, some of us have deeply unfulfilled longings, and some of us are just tired and don’t know what do with our dreams and longings. Some of us don’t even know what it is we really long for.
I spent the last two years in focused wrestling mode trying to figure out the tangles in my longings, and how to really live and enjoy my life and not feel as though life was rolling over me in waves I couldn’t stop or contain. I was determined to live a satisfied, fully-awake life.
I wrote about my journey and my discoveries in my new book, Longing for Paris, where I share intimate stories, hard-learned lessons, and the delight of bringing my longings into my everyday. But let me take a few moments and share with you some key things that have a made a difference between me just living, and me living satisfied.
Four Steps Toward Living a Satisfied Life
Before I begin, keep these truths tucked in close:
- We will never have it “all-together” this side of heaven
- We can do our best by grace
1. Choose Your Life
The number one thing I did that helped me to get unstuck and live was to choose my life.
No one is going to live my life for me, and no one is going to make the decisions that are healthiest for me. I used to just let the waves of life roll over me as I went along. I always felt like I needed a pause button to catch up on life, and often times I felt as though I was drowning. I also wanted to please others, and I made decisions based on their reactions to my choices instead of what was best for me and my family.
Not anymore. I know now that in order to live and not get sucked under, I need to make choices that align with what I really want and where I see that God is leading me.
Choosing your life, choosing to make wide-awake, healthy decisions for yourself is a game-changer.
2. Embrace Who You Are
The second thing I learned in being satisfied with my life is not just accepting who I am, but embracing who I am.
I am a visionary who likes to sleep in. I love flamingos. I don’t like schedules. I like teaching and encouraging women through speaking, and I’m decent at it. I will never play a musical instrument because my brain doesn’t work that way. I can’t sing worth a darn. I love reading and studying and learning.
You are beautifully made and you have a gift that you can use to serve others. Don’t try and be like someone else because it will lead to a crummy life. Be you. Figure you out. And enjoy yourself.
3. Failures Don’t Have to Define Your Life
We have all botched up in this life. We’ve all made a million mistakes, and we will continue to fail in so many ways throughout our life. BUT, these failures do not have to define us. There is grace and love that covers a multitude of our shortcomings. Even the darkest, ugliest parts of us don’t have to rule us; there is always light waiting to be let in.
You might fail, but you are not a failure. You have purpose and beauty, and even your failures can be used to help others get free.
4. You Can Always, Always Begin Again
“It’s a fresh new day with no mistakes in it.” I love that line from Anne of Green Gables. Because it’s true. Each day we get to begin again. Each day is new and fresh with beginning.
The surest way to live a satisfied life is to be awake, to choose, to let grace cover you, and to begin again each day, knowing you will never have it all together, but you can nonetheless shine.
Here’s to life and beauty and deep satisfaction.
“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”
Sarah Mae is a writer who encourages women to keep on and begin again. She is a wife, mom, homeschool teacher, conference founder, speaker, and piecrust botcher. She makes her home in the beautiful Amish countryside of Pennsylvania, where she often ponders what life would be like if she actually finished all the laundry. You can find her and her books at SarahMae.com.