Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Design Your Life. Design = Passion.

 I am so honored to have Courtney Walsh do a guest blog for Modern Earth Design.  She is an accomplished writer & author, playwright, artist, mother, wife, friend and encourager.  You will be inspired by her perspective on life that will cause you to look deep in yourself and make you want to be the person you were created to be. 

 Design Your Life. Design = Passion
~ Courtney Walsh

We’ve always been those people.

You know the ones. Stable. Solid. Not risk takers.

We don’t play the stock market. We don’t jump out of airplanes. We’ve patterned our life after the norm—marriage, house, kids, church every Sunday…

Yeah, we’re boring.

We got married in 1999 and almost immediately started working at a church where my husband continued to work for eleven years. That’s a long time. He made a good living. I didn’t have to work. We had a beautiful family. We’d recently moved into our forever house.

But something was off.

About a year and a half ago, I started to feel this niggling, this there’s got to be more than this. And it made me feel so guilty. We had so much, how could I ask for more? But the more I examined it, the more I realized it wasn’t more I was seeking. It was different. I wanted a different life.

I wanted a simpler life. I even blogged about my search for simplicity. (Long before we actually had any inkling of change...)
I wanted to have a beautiful life. But I hadn’t stopped to figure out what that meant. To me. I knew what it meant to other people, but what did my beautiful life look like?

I wanted uninterrupted time with my family. I wanted to be free of the sense of obligation that had always accompanied me. I always did what I was “supposed to do.” But for some reason, it stopped feeling like the right thing. I wanted creative energy. I wanted nourishment—body, mind and spirit. I wanted to live an inspired life.

After eleven years, we had gotten complacent, and I think I probably whined about it a lot…until the day it dawned on me that we create the life we want. It’s in our hands—no one else’s—so for me to complain about it made no sense. We started to examine the life we were living. And in doing that, we started asking questions. Big, scary questions without answers…

What if we started looking for a new job?
What if we moved away from Illinois?
What if we had to give up our stable paycheck and our forever home in order to have a better life?
What if we made less money? What if our kids changed schools? What if we went somewhere where we didn’t know a single soul?
Are we strong enough?

See, the truth is, we could’ve stayed where we were. We were doing good things, had great friends, our family was close. The life we were living was all we’d ever known. But sometimes “all you’ve ever known” is the problem. When your life becomes something you don’t really want, there’s really only one option.

Change it.

I’m convinced that if we’d stayed where we were, we never would’ve been challenged (creatively or otherwise) and eventually, I believe it would’ve led to our demise.

In the end, we decided to take the risk. It took nearly a year to figure out what that meant, but eventually, we were led to Colorado where my husband took a different kind of job—one that he’s equally as good at, that challenges him and inspires him. And our entire family came along for the ride. I’m convinced that in many ways, this move saved us. It brought us closer together. We were making grown-up decisions without the input of everyone around us. We’d heard from God and that was what mattered.

But changing your life is kind of like cleaning out a closet. You have to take everything out on the counter and decide what to keep and what to purge. You have to throw away the rotten stuff, the moldy stuff, the stale stuff. And then, little by little, you start putting the rest back in.

Right now, we’re just coming into the stage where we’re “putting the rest back in.” At first, we lived exactly the same way, and we had to stop ourselves and say “No. We’re here for a different life.” We had to constantly remind ourselves that we did all this for a reason. And it would be worth it in the end.

It’s hard to break old habits…and easy to revert back to what you know. But to truly design the life you want, you have to constantly evaluate yourself. What do you want to change? How can you start? Little by little, we’re purging our closet of the moldy stuff and stacking the leftovers neatly inside. Some days it feels like the entire contents of my life are spilled out all over my kitchen, but I know that with a bit of time and energy, I can put it all back together again.

Changing your life doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. It’s a process. But we design the life we want. We decide what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. We decide if we’re going to listen to what everyone else wants us to do or become the person we were designed to be. And sometimes it’s messy. And you want to tuck tail and run the other way. And not look back. But when the closet is purged and the mold is removed and the good stuff is neatly stacked inside… that’s when you can take a deep breath of clean mountain air and say “Yep. This is just what I was looking for.”

You won’t likely find us jumping out of planes or even playing the stock market. We’re still the same stable-minded people. But we trust ourselves more now. We believe that our decisions are God-inspired. And we also realize that together, our family is creating the beautiful life, the simple life, the different life we so desired.

One day at a time.

You can read more about our continuing journey on my blog HERE.


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