**It’s time for Emily Freeman’s quarterly post on ‘What I’m Learning’ (see link here). This gives a delightful pause from the usual faith writing. Today I’m holding the magnifying glass up to a new space in my life – an emptier space – known best as empty nest or retirement. C.S. Lewis said it best….
‘Courage, dear heart’…
Learning requires great frustration. So, I guess I’m frustrated. Or learning. Or, just confused.
I’m in the midst of great life changes – spaces are opening up in my life – wide open spaces of freedom and I’m needing to learn how to give myself permission to own these new spaces. My nest has permanently emptied and I’m feeling it.
I’m also feeling some guilt for just being here.
‘I have free time‘ – I feel a need to whisper these words, they don’t go over well in our over-scheduled world. I have a newfound freedom. More space.
To be honest, part of my empty spaces come from health issues which limit my activities. I don’t think I’m alone in this – many either care for loved ones with health issues or have their own, and this greatly impacts our life spaces. It’s hard to own limitations in life. I want to ignore them, or at least hide them – I feel a great need ‘to produce‘.
I recently saw a young mother pushing her double stroller by me at the store while towing a 3rd child with a weak hand hold trying to maintain her caravan, I felt guilty. Lazy. All I can think is – ‘Who am I pulling along?’ (it sounds sillier written down).
I feel a need to give myself permission to ‘be’ in this spacious place.
It feels rather decadent, like a double-fudge brownie sundae, and I’m wondering if I really deserve it?
Life isn’t fair. Seasons roll in and out of our lives, like the waves on the beach – they don’t heed our readiness, our feelings, our ideas on the matter. They just keep rolling in.
I’ve been the overbooked mama and the working mama. I’ve lived the sleepness nights of infanthood and toddlerhood. Each season in life has its joy and struggles. I need to own my new season and fill it with as much of the good stuff in life as I can cram in it.
When you’re a young mom your shopping cart fills itself with young ones and with necessary supplies; your time is overscheduled, even sleep doesn’t always make it on the agenda. At my life stage my cart is blissfully empty and I must purpose and intent to put good things ‘in’ to my life’s basket.
Freedom is a rare gift, as well as a responsibility.
So, back to what I’m learning in my new ‘space’ in life, I need to give myself permission….
1) to be myself
One small way I do this is I give myself permission to express myself through words and writing – not because I am awesome, but because it brings me joy – it gives voice to my heart and I can do that.
2) to listen…
- to what my life speaks to me
- what creates joy in my life – what depletes the life in me and try to follow the joyful journeys more and give thanks for the good stuff – always. Gratefulness makes for a great life!
- be a listener of God
- set aside time to listen (first, quiet my soul – then He nourishes my soul as I listen). I must know His voice – recognize it, then respond to it. His calls are good and true. He leads me down good paths. Ps 16:11
- be a true listener of others
- allow people freedom and space in my life. A place at our table – to be themselves, to be accepted – to do life together.
3) allow myself room to grow and change
Explore new interests (like Instagramming!) – and try old things, again. I need to let go of the old rules – even the things I’ve told myself – like, ‘I don’t like cleaning!’ It’s time to allow myself wiggle room – room to grow into new ways – perhaps, even cleaner ways.
4) give myself permission to take more time to do things – AKA: slow down
For instance, I’ve had to change my expectations of how I garden, because I recently made the surprising discovery that I don’t have a 20 year old body to garden with! I made this discovery after an ER visit for chest pain, which was actually neck strain from over gardening. New ways. Slower ways.
So, today, I’m giving myself a new growth grid (senior size!) and I’m giving myself permission to grow into the new spaces in my life.
**Lord, Lead me in Your wisdom to fill my life with rare and beautiful treasures. Only the good stuff. Your best for my life– to You be the glory!