You've undoubtedly heard the saying that water takes the path of least resistance. Over the years I've learned that other things also follow that pattern; men, children, clutter, things like that. Recently, though, I had a startling realization; mothers also tend to follow the path of least resistance, or at least this one does.
Now, don't get me wrong. My children will let you know without a doubt that I am not a pushover when it comes to issues of discipline or character development. A few of them will tell you how mean I can be. While by no means perfect, I most certainly strive to give my children what they need, just simply what they want because it is easier. But, in certain areas, I have chosen the path of least resistance and only in hindsight do I see the consequences.
From my earliest childhood, my dream was to be a nurse. Yes, I know, that is very typical and traditional, but it was my dream. My other dream was to go to Africa or India and take care of orphans and peole who needed medical care. I wanted to save the world, one bandaid at a time. Somewhere along the way, I met Mr. Incredible (no, not the super hero, but a real super guy), fell in love and started having babies. After my oldest daughter was born, I went back to nursing, but only for a few months. It was just too difficult to have someone else telling me what my daughter was doing; I didn't want to miss out on her milestones just to do something with the letters behind my name, no matter how hard I worked for them. So, I quit. Since then, I've let go of many aspects of my dream; not only am I staying home and out of the hospital, my nursing license is long-since expired, and the only hope I have of going to Africa is to visit friends who are ministering there. Not only that, but my second career as a spiritual life coach is on hold indefinitely while I focus on ministering to my family. The path of least resistance was to let go of dreams, then just stop dreaming.
Over the course of years that I've been focusing on letting go of dreams, God has fulfilled some dreams I didn't realize I had. I am beginning to enjoy the opportunity (instead of the burden) of making my house a home, creating a safe haven for my family and others that is more than just a place to eat and sleep. Having children was never on my list of things to do before I die, but I would miss out on SO much in life without my blessings, and they are blessings! My oldest daughter dreams of writing (rather like Anne of Green Gables, in many ways), but I never really did. It is only in hindsight that I realize how very much I enjoy writing, and how many opportunities I have to do so (we publish a monthly newsletter and send a weekly e-mail update for people who invest in our non-profit organization). As a result of opportunities to speak to different groups, I've discovered God has gifted me and given me a desire to do more public speaking; again, one He has already been filling. Today I was invited to a meeting of the parents' association where my girls go to school. Though feeling very much like a third wheel (and not unlike a child sitting at the grow-ups' table), questioning why I even came, it went well. In the end, several others in attendance said they really appreciated me coming and felt like I contributed a great deal to the meeting. It was a totally new experience, in a completely unknown territory, but it was fun!
I've taken the path of least resistance, pursuing and then letting go of my dreams. I'm only beginning to realize that though the territory is unknown and the dreams not yet dreamed, I can enjoy and embrace the dreams God has for me. (For more information on a personal relationship with God, visit http://www.greatcom.org/laws/englishkgp/default.htm.) Only God knows what the future holds, but He is beginning to open my eyes to the fact that He truly loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life; one that doesn't include just sacrifice. It looks different than I expected, but it isn't quite as bleak as it first appeared. The lesson I'm learning, though, is that it requires much more effort from me to embrace new hopes and dreams, to explore new territory and take on new challenges. This mom is no longer going to settle for the path of least resistance.