Life by Design – So many questions

I have spent the better part of my adult years around network marketers. You know, the people who are always saying bigger is better and life needs to be maxed out in every way? The people who push you to dream bigger, to push yourself, to live the life of fantasies…

This weekend really started me thinking. If you have read any of my other posts, you probably know that I am a firm believer that every person on this planet can do whatever they set their mind to. If they want it bad enough. I am also a believer that there is excessive abundance in the world and it’s there for the taking. And I believe that things, high-quality, nice things, can be very fulfilling in their own manner.

But in all the years I have spent around network marketing, there was one tiny little problem. I could never make myself want “it”. I could never push myself to the next level. I could never picture owning the fancy cars/house/etc. And I felt bad every time I realized that it just wasn’t what I wanted. I thought everyone was supposed to want more, to push themselves more. I felt like I was unambitious and lacking inspiration because I didn’t want fancy. I felt like it was an injustice to my family, my mom, my kids to choose a simpler lifestyle.

But every single time I start to ponder my life, I come back to how much I love the simple things. My favorite date I ever went on was a walk. That’s it. It wasn’t a walk on a beach, it wasn’t a walk through a big, glamorous city. It was a walk, right here at home, in my own backyard. A walk that was full of laughter and deep discussion and real, heart-filled goodness.

My favorite memories with my kids take place in a tiny 800 sq. ft. duplex. Not the massive Victorian show home that I used to live in. It’s those little moments. Reading before bed, playing a board game, letting my son attempt to teach me to play Mario Cart. (I wish I had at least 1 smidgeon of hand/eye coordination, but I don’t). Its the moments where my daughter has come over when I am on the couch and said “Can I snuggle you?”

And when I spend time with friends? I always prefer a quiet cup of coffee with interesting conversation over a night on the town in a chic dress. I want to know them, at a heart level. I want to see things from their perspective. I want to delve into the recesses of their minds and uncover the beauty that lies within.

Please don’t take this wrong. I am not judging you if you want to be rich and have a Ferrari or a 20,000 sq. ft. house. More power to you. If those things bring you joy, then by all means, go out and chase that! Please!!! You won’t be happy unless you are in pursuit of something that matters to you.

I am just saying that I have FINALLY come to the realization that those things do not matter TO ME.

I spent years chasing. Always chasing. Money, relationship, status. I wanted it all. I wanted people to look at me and say “that woman has it all together.” I wanted the power suit, the high heels, the glam hair and the lifestyle to go along with it all. I wanted to be seen. To be noticed. To be respected and admired. I wanted to be a shining example of independence and assertiveness.

And none of those things are bad. Not one. They are actually all pretty awesome things.

But in light of recent events in my life, I am really starting to ponder what really matters to me. What makes me tick? What makes my world spin? What makes time stop for me?

And that has led to more questions. Like, what if I just want a slow, simple life? What if I find happiness in the peace that exists in the in-between? What if I am never rich or famous, but just a normal, everyday person? What if I choose to be content where I am today?

Everything around me is screaming. You need to hustle. You need to improve. Be more.  Strive for bigger things. You need more stuff. You need to look better/be better/have more than the Joneses. You need to compete. Claw your way to the top. Be more productive. Sleep less. Have a huge impact. Make your life count.

But what if that isn’t what I need to be doing? What if, by striving for more, I am missing the blessings I already have? What if all the competition just makes me feel stressed and worn out? What if it steals my joy? What if running after things means I am leaving my peace behind?

Why can’t I just be enough?

What if I am only a mom? A sister? A daughter? A friend?

And what if I focused, really focused on making the people in my immediate world aware of the fact that they are loved. Deeply and fervently and passionately cared for and held in high regard. What if I used my energy to bring out the best in them? What if I made sure they felt wanted, appreciated, necessary? What if I made them feel chosen and valuable?

What if I never build a huge children’s home with horses and archery classes? What if, instead, I focus on our local Dream Center, providing food and childcare and fun times to the people right here in my own neighborhood?

What if I never give a Ted Talk about domestic violence and the impact it has on people? What if, instead, I just meet random people one on one, and I use my experiences as a survivor to instill belief in them and help them escape a terrible situation? Is that enough?

What if I don’t want to have a six-figure business or a high status job in the community? What if I just want to write? Not writing for money, but to make an impact. To change the one person’s perception who actually reads what I have written. To inspire one other person to listen to their own heart instead of the world around them. What if I find that individuals matter more than a following and helping one person is enough for me?

What if I never end up having a physique competitor body, but I accept the healthy, strong body that I have? What if I don’t give up the occasional treat because it is something I enjoy? What if I am happy with my three or four days of working out every week?

What if my house never looks like a catalog? What if I minimize my possessions and have a lot of empty space? What if I pare everything down to only the bare necessities? What if I am okay with just maintaining order and making real food as much as I can?  What if my home is just simple, but safe?

What if I am a mom who isn’t good at comforting my kids when they cry because I don’t know what that looks like? What if I never attend a PTA meeting or help with a school event? What if I don’t come up with a plan every summer or throw the best birthday parties? What if I am the mom who needs time for myself, even when they are with me sometimes? What if I want someone to put me first sometimes? What if I am just the mom whose hugs are stiff and unnatural but my cuddles are often? What if I don’t keep a rigorous schedule and I let them watch a little too much TV or play on their games a little too long once in a while? What if I am just an average mom who can never live up to my own expectations, let alone yours?

What if some people find me way too religious or uptight, while others find me too free-spirited and open? What if I never publicly proclaim my faith, but share in small spaces and genuine conversations? What if I talk about my doubts, my insecurities, my questions? What if I am not interested in changing society as a whole, but rather changing myself to be the best me for the people in my immediate circle?

What if I just can’t keep up? What if I need to sleep more than a normal person and being sick takes the air out of my lungs when I am walking down the hallway some days? What if I can’t run on two hours of sleep when I have a project to do? What if I don’t have boundless energy and stamina? What if I need solitude, serenity and an abundance of rest to stay healthy and happy?

And what if…

What if I decided that who I am is already enough? What if I decide that when I die, I will never regret the decision to just BE? What if I embrace my limitations? What if I stop beating myself up over the things I can’t do and focus on the things I am already doing that matter? What if  just make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same.

What would happen if I accepted that all I want is a slow, simple life? Beautiful on its own and bursting with love, peace and happiness. What if I finally chose to follow the command in the Bible that says “Be still”?

Because that is what I am in the process of doing.

And I think it is enough.

About Shannon Joy

I am a single mama with two incredible munchkins. I confuse most people and the deeper you delve into the rabbit hole, the more lost you will become. I play a lot, work a lot, learn a lot, volunteer a lot and tend to do a lot... I love my life. The past few years have been an incredible journey, full of ups and downs. Thankfully, I have made the choice to see challenges as opportunities and it makes me so much stronger than I ever thought possible. I love to write and paint and feel that being creative is my God-given talent. I am so excited to share my life and experiences with you. Although I am a diamond in the rough, I known that I am being chiseled and hewn by experiences and grace and perseverance. I love comments and feedback, so please send a little love when you can. I will always try to respond personally and in a timely fashion.
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