Have you ever felt this vague feeling of being lost, or out of place?
Perhaps you have felt that the path you are on may not be headed in the right direction? That you are somehow missing the mark?
I have noticed for most of my life that there seems to be this ever-present, underlying experience with many people that they feel that they should be or perhaps could be, doing something different with their lives.
Perhaps doing something more meaningful?
Perhaps something better than what they’re doing now?
And this often leaves us wondering if what we’re currently doing…is wrong?
I have dealt with this feeling many times throughout my life, leading me to second-guess things like past relationships, jobs and important decisions in other areas of my life.
This past December 28th was the third year anniversary of my mother’s stroke, which eventually took her life on August 4th of the following year. After her stroke, her care became my full-time job. I had to give up my job, investing all of my time and efforts in her care and recovery.
I was left to live off my savings, which I was blessed to have — but nevertheless, after caring for her for three months post-stroke, I made the tough decision to place my mother into a nursing home.
I came up with many reasons for doing this, but basically, at the end of day … I wanted my old life back.
A life that was more comfortable and far less challenging.
A life that included less worry and a disposable income.
There was only one problem though. I was sacrificing what I truly believed, caused by an underlying feeling that I should be living a different life; that I deserved better.
When I had initially decided to care for my mother and not put her in a nursing home, I decided I was going to do it, not because it felt great, or because it would make me happy, but because it’s simply what was needed of me. It’s what God was calling me to do.
But in spite of that, even though it didn’t feel right in my heart, I finally did end up putting my mother into a nursing home.
And a week later, I drove back to that same nursing home and I brought her back home … this time, for good.
I realized during that week that I had made the wrong decision, a decision that was based on feelings and emotions – and fear, a decision that was based on an easy way out.
During the week she was in the nursing home, I thought I would experience a renewed sense of freedom, but in fact, I was never more miserable.
I realized that God had put me into the exact place, at the exact time that I needed to be.
And the answer wasn’t to run from that place.
The answer was to give my all to it.
And through God’s help and wisdom, I realized that the time I was spending caring for my mother, was provided to me by God. And when God gives us a moment, a time in our life to make a difference – it is enough.
Just as it is.
Without any need for improvement.
Without the need for nights out with friends.
Without the need for a safe, comfy job, with a great title.
Without the pressure of expectations of the world (and the people) around me.
If you ever wonder if where you are in your life is where you are supposed to be, ask yourself: who am I living for? For myself? For others? For God?
There is a great acronym
I once heard in a sermon: J.O.Y.
If you want perfect Joy, then set your priorities in this order:
- Jesus first
- Others Next
Remember, the more virtuous response to life is not offering to others only what we feel we are able to give, but instead, breaking past our comfort zones and giving what is needed of us.
I look back on the time I spent caring for my mother, and I realize I was in the exact moment I needed to be. Right where I was needed.
Right where God wanted me to be.