Jenni M Photography – I am not enough

   Why is it that getting what I want is never satisfying?

 

I remember the days when I would tell my husband, with tears in my eyes and defeat in my heart, that I wanted to stay home with our babies more than anything.  I had a wonderful job in management at our local hospital in Alaska.  I had worked SO hard to get it!  But then I had my first child (now 10 years old) and it all changed.  I eventually resigned and found a new part time job.  It was a lot easier to be gone only 4 hours a day instead of 8-10, but I still longed for the day that I didn’t have to leave him at all.  Ultimately, we moved from Alaska to Alabama to find the financial simplicity that would allow for me to stay home with our kids, and continue to grow our family.

I lasted a whole 2 years…  At the end of the 2 years I was BOARD!  I loved my kids to pieces (I had just had our 3rd child) and I realized I needed an outlet.  Something creative, but that would also incorporate my love of business.  My husband bought me my first DSLR for my birthday that year, and it couldn’t have filled my creative needs more completely.  I have been on this photography journey for 5 years now, and you know what?  I love it more than I ever dreamed I would.  When I started, I remember thinking “I just want to document my kids, and make a little spending money on the side.  That’s it.”  But as I achieved goals, new ones formed, and as I reached those, I found new ones yet again.

I have come to the realization that I won’t ever “arrive”.  I literally have accomplished everything I could have ever dreamed of at the beginning.  I have grown in ways I didn’t know were possible and to be honest, many times, I am humbled by how successful in this business I have been.

 

But I want more.

I have for the past 2 years been very intentional about preparing JMP so that when I am “ready” to devote more time and have more to give, I can just DO IT!

But as I am typing this, I can hear my 14-month-old breathing quietly as she sleeps.  It’s not time yet.  She is our last baby and as much as I want all of the good things that are on the horizon for Jenni M Photography, I REFUSE to rush through the last moments of her babyhood.

I am struggling though.  Desperately trying to keep my motivation bridled, so it doesn’t turn in to discontentment.  Internally reminding myself to appreciate the value of now and not focus on what is to come.  Reminding myself that achieving my goals won’t make me happy, only entertained.  I know I won’t be satisfied once I get there.  A new goal will form and I will be reaching yet again.

 

But it is really hard.

 

When the kids are making messes, and I feel like I am just a maid.

When they are fighting and all I want to do is hide in my room and lock the door.

When I didn’t get the memo that today is “only talk in a whiny voice” day.

When I have to shower with only one hand because the other must keep the door closed so my baby won’t join me with all of her clothes on.

When I can’t go to the bathroom without at least 3 children coming in to “tell me something”.

When I haven’t sat down at my computer for almost a week and have to do a marathon editing session until the wee hours of the morning to meet my deadlines.

 

I am maxed out.

 

I am on the edge of what I can juggle, and it is making me anxious about my kids getting older to ease some of the pressure.  BUT, in the same moment, I don’t want them to grow up.  I want them to stay little forever.

I hate that my goals for the future are pulling me towards discontented with my present!

I am a mom of 5 kids (that I adore when they aren’t fighting with each other) and I home school them.  My #1 struggle, is finding time to work.  Work on laundry, dishes (my nemesis), cleaning the house, keeping my kids slobbery at bay, editing, marketing, social media management, furthering my creative education, creating content, mentoring, creating workshops and even blogging from time to time.  I just about always have a baby on my lap, and I am swatting her hands away more than I am actually typing.  We also just moved out to our 17 acres of land where we will soon, be adding a bunch of chickens, a dog, and building our dream home to the list.

Nothing about my life is efficient.  I struggle every day with feeling like I am not being productive.

I am constantly in search of balance.  In theory, I should be able to set my alarm, get up, have some personal devotion time, work out, kids wake up, we eat, start school, finish school, have some play time, eat lunch, have quiet time (naps or reading) while I get some work done, run some errands, start dinner, hubby gets home, eat, family time, kids to bed, work a little more, go to sleep.

Let me tell you something.  Balance with kids isn’t possible.  You take whatever sliver of time they give you to work with.  Sometimes it’s a blissful hour with no one bothering you, but more often, you go 3 days without any time other than when you are sitting on the toilet trying to post something to Instagram with a baby simultaneously trying to dig through the trash.

“There is this beautiful thing called imperfect progress.

Slow steps of progress wrapped in grace.”

– Lysa Terkeurst –

I have learned that I am a whole lot better at achieving balance in my goals than in my life.  I’m not sure it’s even possible to tell you the truth.  Everyone talks about balance like it is something that is attainable, but either I am not wired that way, or it isn’t a reasonable goal.  What I have had to come to grips with, is that I can do, what I can do.  That’s it!  Most of the time that doesn’t line up with the timeline I want, but as long as I can make time to work towards my goals, (even if it’s just a little bit) it’s better than nothing.

I was sitting in church yesterday, and received a big dose of perspective.  So often in this culture of “pursue your dreams” and “self-care” I lose sight of the fact that it isn’t about me and what I want.  My purpose on this earth is not defined by what I think my dreams and goals are.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,

but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

– Proverbs 19:21 –

Why is it so easy to lose sight of this truth?  It is His job to lead.  When I look back and see how far He has brought us, and how much He has blessed, and when He has protected, and the abundance He as provided, why in the world do I doubt his plans and timing?

My head and heart say to trust, but my anxiousness says that I don’t.

So I sit here typing…  Full of goals.  Homeschooling five kids on a farm with a husband who works hard for us every day and a photography business that I love.  This season of life I am in requires so much, and there is very little left over.

My advice?  Well…  All I know is that when I feel the pressure rising and that horrible mix of panic and frustration well up, it has helped me to take a little walk down memory lane.  To recognize and track my progress and His provision.  Because if I am being really honest with my self, the truth is that reaching my goals wont make me happy.  Neither will being recognized, winning the next photography competition, exploring my creative depths or even making a lot of money.  In my experience, happiness only comes when I have contentment in my heart.

 

I am NOT enough!

I can only do, what I can do, and strive for contentment while I wait.

He must provide the rest.