I had a clear purpose and undeniable passion for my chosen vocation before having kids. Now, after being a mom for 5 years, I wonder where my passion and purpose went. Maybe it just looks different. And maybe that’s okay.
The summer after high school, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I quickly developed deep connections in my church and became deeply invested in the ministry of that congregation. As I grew in my relationship with Jesus during those young adult years, my passion to serve Him grew. My purpose became clear: to serve on staff at my local church. My passion for it was unwavering.
All I wanted was to pursue my passion. Once I had discovered it, it became a huge part of my identity.
I had the honor of fulfilling that passion for 10 years as a staff member at three different, amazing churches. Each job was such a glorious surprise and so incredibly gratifying. I felt more like myself, more at home in who I was, more centered and sure of my identity in those years than I ever thought possible.
This was absolutely what I was made for, and I was actually doing it. Then, in 2011, I became a mom.
I’m certainly not the first woman to struggle with the transition to motherhood from a paid position she loved. When you feel you’ve already found your calling, it’s hard to make a shift to something completely different. Of course, motherhood is a wonderful gift, such a blessing, a different type of calling, blah, blah, blah, but let’s be real, okay? It is not the same as what came before.
I think that’s one of the biggest hurdles in making the transition to motherhood: letting go of before.
I don’t know if it’s our culture or a product of The Fall or what, but for some reason, once we find our passion, we want to keep it forever. Like it’s the only one we will ever get. And for SOME reason, allowing motherhood, specifically, to be the catalyst for change in your passion or purpose feels like you are “losing yourself.”
It’s funny because we expect change to come at other times. When I was a kid I wanted to be one thing, which changed in high school, which changed again as an adult. These changes are acceptable. They make sense to us.
These life changes aren’t a loss of identity, but a development of it.
As life goes on, as we have more experiences, we are changed from childhood to teen years to adulthood. Of course, our passions would be different. But for some reason, when it comes to motherhood, we feel a deep sense of loss of what we once pursued.
“I used to love XYZ. What happened to that girl?”
We feel like those desires were stolen from us somehow like suddenly we have NO purpose, NO passion. All we have is butt wiping and puke cleaning and soul-sucking child rearing.
There is a common answer I hear. That THIS is your purpose now. THIS should be your passion. The butt wiping and puke cleaning and child-rearing. THIS. Right here. Accept it and love it and find the same gratification and satisfaction you once found elsewhere right HERE, in motherhood.
Um. Imma let you finish, but I have to disagree.
Motherhood doesn’t have to be your passion for you to do it well. You don’t have to love this to be a good mom.
Let me be clear, motherhood MAY be SOMEONE’S passion. It might even be yours. This may be what God made you for, the fulfillment of all your gifts and talents and experiences. Or maybe not. But we can’t assign that “call” to every mother ever. It’s not that simple.
Obedience in completing the task set before you to the best of your ability does not require passion for that task. Your “passion” can lie elsewhere.
Here’s what I’ve learned about finding my passion and purpose “again” as a mom:
1.I didn’t “lose” my passion or purpose after becoming a mom.
I didn’t misplace it. It wasn’t stolen from me. I didn’t relinquish it or throw it away or give it up forever. I need to view motherhood as another season of my development, much like high school or college. It’s just another form of education, another opportunity for growth and change.
Motherhood isn’t a temporary, possibly annoying, detour from the identity I will return to when I’m done raising kids. It is an essential part of who I am becoming and what I will choose to pursue in the future.
2. There is nothing wrong with letting motherhood change you.
It’s funny to me that we expect college to change us. We expect studying abroad to shape who we are. We expect a missions trip to be life-altering. But motherhood? Not so much. In fact, “mom” is used as kind of an insult.
- “I don’t want mom hair.”
- “Ugh. These look like mom jeans.”
- “You are such a MOM.”
No wonder we bristle at the idea of letting motherhood change us! Being a “mom” is portrayed as everything boring and bland and undesirable. It’s not young or exciting or adventurous or fascinating. It’s vanilla. It’s suburban. It’s ordinary.
It’s also refining and challenging. It’s both heart-breaking and soul-filling at the same time. It’s is the ultimate potter’s wheel, a smashing of the old form to be remade in a new shape.
Motherhood may not be as glamorous as backpacking across Europe or serving in 3rd world orphanages, but that doesn’t make the life-changes it creates inherently LAME.
3. Finding our passion and purpose should be about dusting off something old. It should be discovering something new.
I was so passionate about working on staff at our church before Will was born. I had absolutely no doubt that THAT was my purpose. Maybe it will be again one day, but I know this: it won’t look the same. I can’t go back to the exact same passion and desires of years gone by. I’m different now. I’ve been changed by my experiences and circumstances.
If I were to be on staff at a church again, it would be different, and that’s okay. I don’t want to dust off the old passion and purpose and try to make it fit who I am today. That would be like grabbing jeans from high school and trying to jam myself in there. Bad idea.
I CAN find my passion and purpose again, but I need to allow for the fact that things will look different than they once did. It might be the passion I had before, just upgraded, in new packaging. Or it might be something altogether new!
Maybe finding my passion and purpose “again,” isn’t about finding something I once had, a specific thing I lost, but more about going on ANOTHER journey of discovery. Embarking on a search for the NEXT passion and purpose God has in store. Only this time, I have my super rad mom skillz to help me along the way. #nbd