My Calling is So Uncomfortable

Yesterday, I was able to spend some down time with a few of my former students. I’m sponsoring one of them for Confirmation this year, and we had a short retreat day at their parish; so a good amount of my other kids were there, too. Yesterday compelled me to finish a post that’s been sitting in my drafts folder ever since I substitute taught a few weeks ago. Yesterday, I realized that some of my thoughts may be your thoughts, too, and that you might appreciate some solidarity. Yesterday, then, I decided to finish this post that I formerly deemed insignificant (and may be! who knows? you do!).

A little bit ago, I wrote this post about how, throughout our lives, God brings from one good calling to another. Sometimes, we have to leave a good mission behind to embark on an even better one. I’ve been experiencing this reality as I’ve made the transition from being a teacher to a mom, a mom who stays home. Like I mentioned in the post, it’s been a rough transition, but an awesome one, and I’m more than grateful to be where I am now. Wouldn’t trade it, n0t one bit.

But I noticed something, while I was substitute teaching for a couple of days, that at first made me uneasy: being in the classroom is so comfortable for me. It was like riding a bike, y’all. I just settled back in and it was comfortable. I knew what I was doing, I was confident, and I was worry-free. I loved every minute of it.

I felt a knot in my stomach, then, when I thought about my current call: motherhood. Because motherhood? It’s uncomfortable for me.

calling-uncomfortable

When it comes to being a mom, I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m not always confident, and I worry. A lot.

I began to dive into this concept of motherhood being uncomfortable, and I searched for exact reasons why this calling stretches me. It’s uncomfortable because it’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done. We are responsible for molding and shaping a human life, a human soul. Dwelling on the enormity of that can be overwhelming. It’s uncomfortable because it requires an entirely different skill set than I naturally have. I’m an only child, so I didn’t grow up with younger siblings or with nieces and nephews. Babies aren’t in my blood stream. I’m on a constant learning curve and, while much of motherhood comes natural (thanks, instincts!), there are so many domestic attributes that I lack (seriously, Dave can sew better than I can). It’s uncomfortable because I don’t get to see immediate fruits. Hopefully one day, when George is grown and crushing his own mission, I’ll be able to smile and see how these seemingly insignificant days shaped the marvelous person he is. But for now, I don’t get much instant gratification.

As I reflected upon why this new calling of motherhood is uncomfortable for me, a quote from Pope Benedict XVI came to mind: “… you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.

When I look back on my life, my greatest moments of growth and victory were in the midst of circumstances that were uncomfortable. The greatness in my life has been born of situations that were bigger than anything I’d ever done, that required an entirely different skill set than I had previously, and that lacked the gratification of seeing instant results.

Why, then, would this be any different?

It is good that motherhood is uncomfortable for me because it’s teaching me about virtue in a new way. It is good because it forces me to rely even more desperately on the Lord and His grace. It is good because it’s making me grow as a person, wife, and mom. It is good because it is teaching me to set my own wants and needs aside. It is good because God meets me in the middle of the messiness, in the midst of my learning curve, in the confounds of my cluelessness. It is good because it is exactly where I am meant to be.

As much as I love that which is comfortable, that which is known well by me, I am choosing to wholeheartedly embrace that which is uncomfortable, because it will be my greatness.

Have you ever responded to a calling that was uncomfortable for you? What was the fruit you eventually saw? How did you pursue greatness through the stretching?

Comments

  1. on my first day back at work away from my baby, this is so wonderful for me to read. right now i’m not able to stay home full-time but i’m making it work, and even though part of me likes being at work, for the same reasons you talk about above, i know that my calling is to be a mom full-time as soon as i can make it happen. because motherhood stretches me so much more than project management, in ways that i can’t even put into words. thank you for writing this when i didn’t even know i needed to read it.

  2. I am the youngest of 7 and can totally relate – I was completely unprepared when my son was born! At the time I thought to myself, why would anyone do this again?! My Patrick is 12 now and as you might imagine, he’s such a joy. Everything gets better with time. Each day a little better.

  3. This is just me saying ‘hi!’, but also, I like what you wrote about the calling to greatness vs. (or paralleled to) being comfortable or uncomfortable (I read it late last night … but I get it.)
    So often I tend to think if I am uncomfortable, the world will end and God must think I am so dumb, but … greatness? That sounds … like something I can life with … but I still need help striving for it.
    ps – Still being (kinda) the baby of my family myself … I think mothers in your situation have a lot to pass on to their babies since they’ve spent so much time absorbing, if that makes sense. You can do it!

  4. Even with all the great “mothering skills” (i.e. diapering, bathing, making baby food, etc.) in the world, it does not make a great mother. What makes a great mother is using the skills you DO HAVE all for His greater glory. (That doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn how to do some practical baby things but just knowing how to do those won’t cut it.) I’m seeing every day that I know more than I thought I did about this “mothering” thing. God gave me these particular children because I HAVE the particular skills needed to raise them. I’m still daunted by the task but I try to rest easy when I consider that He gave them to me…and will give me what is needed to raise them and love them. (Or sometimes I can’t fix it and that’s where the lesson in humility and letting go comes in.) And taking the uncomfortable moments and giving them back to Him are really a perfect moment for feeling His grace. You’re spot on. 🙂

  5. I’m getting ready for Baby #1 to be born in about 8 weeks, and while I do plan on going back to work in full time ministry with my parish, I realize that my vocation is going to be very different… and probably uncomfortable at times! Thank you so much for sharing this… It is reminding me that I really have to surrender my plans, my vocation, my dreams and desires to Christ so He can lead me to something even better.

  6. Love this.

    I don’t think I’ve ever really felt “comfortable” with what I have been doing. When I was working, I didn’t feel like I quite fit in. And once I was a mom, I was surprised to feel the exact same feelings! But, I know that I am learning, growing and changing. For the better, of course 🙂

  7. Well said. I have a friend who told me that she realized she was not called to a vocation as a nun because it would be extremely easy for her to sit in a quiet church and pray for long hours of the day. She is now a mom of 4 and is constantly being stretched and pulled out of her comfort zone and that is exactly how she is growing closer to God:)

    • Thank you for writing this Laura! I’ve often felt like wearing the same habit all the time and the same colors and just living wherever I was assigned would take a lot of responsibility off of me, but … I really don’t believe God made me to lack responsibility. I was telling a seminarian about this once and he thought I was crazy that I partially handled that part of my discernment that way. It’s nice to know it happens to other people too. I felt like I would find out you had been talking to me as I read your comment 😉
      🙂

  8. Oh this is great. I am so uncomfortable with my current vocation of working woman. But thank you for reminding me that I need to learn and grow from it! 🙂

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