As I've been thinking the last few days about what freedom means to me one of the themes that has come up is letting go of other's expectations. It's so easy for me to look around for validation, direction, and security rather than trust myself and look to the voice of God within me. This is something that I'm continually working on. Sometimes I'm in a good place with it - feeling confident in myself and the choices I'm making, and other times I feel completely lost and begin second guessing my own intuition. It's in that second place that I often get stuck, and fear begins to creep in. Questions like: Am I being selfish? Will they still like me if I don't do it their way? and the zinger always: Is it in the best interest of the kids? These thoughts plague me until I feel defeated again.
I am right in the middle of a phase in my life that no one warned me about. I like to call it the "pre-pre empty nest" phase.
I was so excited when Ella started first grade. That year I just knew I would have time to explore hobbies, do projects and finally get all my photos in order. In reality I found myself faced with an empty house and too many options as to how to spend my time. Additionally all the things I'd been doing (grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, scheduling) were still there and still took up a good chunk of my day. Yes, I had a little more free time - but not the hours and hours I'd dreamt about. And so the past few years have been an adjustment to this new season the "pre-pre empty nest" and it's been very interesting. My kids are becoming more independent, the aprons strings are being loosened and that is healthy and good. I am thinking more again about what I want to be when I grow up and that is also healthy and good and admittedly a little bit scary.
And so I am in process. Always in process. I am doing my best to let go of the expectations I may consciously or unconsciously put on others. I am practicing really knowing myself and listening to that small, still voice within. Trusting and letting go of fear. I feel hopeful about what the future might bring. Learning new things, meeting new people, traveling my path - these are sounding less scary and more interesting and exciting than ever.
Oh, and I'm also going to try and write more here about that whole "pre-pre empty nest" thing....
Wishing you freedom from unhealthy expectations of yourself and others today!