Finding Success and Fulfillment at Home

I got married very young, like two months out of high school young. I had my first baby fifteen months into my marriage and another child two years later. In those early years, I found great joy, fulfillment and accomplishment in caring for my home and rearing my young children. Sure, I had some dreams and aspirations, like going to school and maybe recording my songs someday, but they weren’t consuming dreams. But as my marriage began to fail, I found myself desiring success outside of my home and family at greater levels. I can see in hindsight that as the depth of failure in my marriage grew, the depth of desire for worldly success and acknowledgement grew proportionally.

Now here’s the interesting thing. Though I deeply wanted this external success, I couldn’t seem to achieve it. How could I? I’d failed in the most important aspect of my life. I’d failed in foundational matters, so how could I possibly succeed in worldly matter? Of course, I didn’t realize this then. It was all subconscious. I carried this subconscious sabotage into my second marriage, which is successful by the way, but in the beginning, was SO incredibly difficult that if felt like it was doomed for failure too. I compensated the way I always had, but focusing on external goals. After all, I couldn’t control my home situation, so why not seek for success elsewhere? The more I focused on this external success, the more I tried to force it, the more confused I became about my purpose and the less I actually achieved. Until my body broke down due to the stress and I was forced to discover what was going on.

No success can compensate for failure in the home, but it can sure placate it. If we can’t succeed at home, we might as well succeed somewhere, right? At least, that’s what my subconscious thought. Cause if I wasn’t a success somewhere, I was a FAILURE everywhere. And that’s hard to live with. And when that failure comes in an area so dear to you (like your family and home), it’s excruciating to face. So you compensate, and turn your head to focus on other things. Salvation through distraction, right? Wrong. In my experience, distraction doesn’t heal or save. It complicates, compounds, and confuses.

So, what’s a girl to do? What’s a mom, whose family (or marriage) is “failing” to do? Well, first, get really quiet and allow space in your life to discover how you might be compensating for that “failure”. And I use quotes around the word failure because it’s not really a failure. Failure is a perception. LESSON, or CHALLENGE are better words. They invite growth rather than compensation and counterfeits.

Once you clue in to your particular mode of compensation, find a healthier way to cope. It may be as simple as reframing things in your mind. For me, it wasn’t that achieving success in the world was bad, it’s that it was a counterfeit to what I really wanted—happiness in my home life. Ignoring that fact, blocked any path to healing it. You can’t heal what you won’t acknowledge. There are always things I can do to invite happiness into my home, even if others chose to reject it, or try to destroy it. Happiness is a state of mind, a perspective, a gift we give ourselves. I’m not talking about lying to yourself about what’s really going on, if things are hard. I’m talking about acknowledging the truth, and then finding healthy ways to deal with the problem, while feeding your own soul. Do things that make you happy, but do them BECAUSE they make you happy, not to distract yourself. Let the energy flow. Stay healthy. Invite God into this process. Let Him guide you, and you will be shown the path of endurance, as well as the way out.