It seems as if I've entered a new era of life. This is the 5th year of marriage to my husband, the 3rd year of parenthood, my 4th year of freelancing, and the 13th year of owning my faith. I'm not new anymore. Not a new mom or a new Christian or newly married or a new photographer.
With newness comes excitement and motivation and when the newness wears off, the other things do too. I feel like I've entered a different era of life - one in which there is an enormous temptation to become flat, discouraged, listless. There's one thing in life that I truly fear; it's not spiders or snakes or even speaking in public, but becoming flat, discouraged, listless, and falling into the rut of status quo.
I'm currently reading Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, and these words jumped off the page:
"Identifying the metanarrative [of Scripture] does not happen effortlessly — it's a study skill that requires time and practice to acquire."
She's writing about personal study of the Bible, but I could instantly see where this thought could be applied to the other areas of my life:
- Enjoying an intimate camaraderie in marriage does not happen effortlessly — it's a skill that requires time and practice.
- Balancing grace with truth in patient parenting does not happen effortlessly — it's a skill that requires time and practice.
- Skill and success as a freelance business owner does not happen effortlessly — it's a skill that requires time and practice.
Just as Jen Wilkin encourages in her book to practice the spiritual discipline of sound Bible study with our eyes on the a deeper goal than feeling good and feeling excited about the task, there are other disciplines I can set my mind to that will help fight off the natural human tendency toward apathy and status quo living. Discipline is hard without the motivation and delight when a task is new. It's helpful for me to remember in this new (old) era that it's normal to have seasons of excitement and seasons of steady practice. There will be days that sleep seems like a waste of time and days when there's nothing I'd rather do than crawl back in bed.
So I suppose the one thing in my life that feels new is this new era in which nothing is new. :) It's an era of discipline and practice, and although the excitement doesn't feel as rich, I think the result will be a steadfastness that may not be possible any other way. Yes, of course I love the vibrancy of new things — that's why I rearrange my furniture every few months or so! But I love the goals of balanced parenting, a strong marriage, and a deeply rooted faith.
And those fruits are well worth the work of long, hard, patient, often-boring practice.
Do you share my dread of apathy and listlessness? What have you found that works to power through and keep climbing when motivation and newness wears off?