I homeschooled my kids for about 19 years. I loved being home. Boredom was never a problem for me. I really don't understand people who ask, "How can you stand to be home with your kids all day! That would drive me nuts!" Sure, every day wasn't wonderful, but I genuinely loved being around my kids, who are some of the most interesting and engaging people I know. Now that they're grown and just recently left home (all three of them in a 2 month period of time!) I have no regrets. They've grown into really great people. I'm really proud of them. I, on the other hand, didn't turn out so well.
When my daughter was about 13 it became financially imperative for me to go to work. We had to have a second income in the family. It was fine with my daughter, and my sons were already in college and working. My husband was retired and would be home with my daughter. So, I got a job. In a deli. Really stressful.
If you've ever scrolled AAAALLLL the way down to the bottom of my blog page you would see the results of a personality test I took a while back. According to that test I am 100% introverted. I think that means I live in a closet. =0) Their analysis is pretty right on. They describe me as a:
Confidant-Yes, people do seem to like to tell me their troubles. I'm good at listening without interrupting and nodding while making symapthetic noises.
Visionary-If that means I daydream a lot...you bet!
Intrapersonal-A nice way to say I think about myself too much.
Naturalist-Does that mean I like to go on nature walks? I do!
But, even without the test I would have known most of these things. After all, I'm "intrapersonal". I've been thinking about what I think about for many years. *smirk* Anyway, back to the serious stuff...
You know, oftentimes we don't know just how far we've sunk until a big change takes place in our lives and we're forced to see the truth. Like the proverbial frog in the frying pan, things heat up so slowly we don't notice we're being cooked until it's too late.
Without giving you a blow-by-blow description of my entire life, let me suffice it to say, my life has been a lot like many of yours. A happy childhood, my parents divorced, got remarried, I graduated from high school, married and became a step-mom, had three children, homeschooled them, etc. Nobody did anything terrible to me. Everyone tried their best. But despite all of that, some of us oversensitive types find we've developed the habit of insulating ourselves from the world. With all of the uncertainty in life, we're looking for a place where we feel safe. For some of us this leads to extreme introversion. But the Lord is good. He put us here to be interpersonal. To interact and develop relationships so we can effect those around us for His glory. So...
How to do that with someone who is well entrenched at home; happily hiding from the world? In my case, He pulled me kicking and screaming out into public life. It was emotionally excruciating. I didn't want to join the real world. I wanted to stay in my cocoon where nothing could hurt me! But Jesus knows that our safe cocoon is only an illusion. Just like the butterfly, we're meant to crawl out of that cocoon and fly away. To be a blessing to the world; a lamp shining on a stand. It's the enemy who wants to keep us under wraps.
My extraction from hermithood probably felt similar to the experience of a snail being pulled from its shell, with all the sucking and ripping noises that operation would entail. I spent a long period of time feeling as if my heart had been ripped out every time I had to go to work. I cried. I complained. When I came home I would practically curl up in a fetal position in my favorite chair and suck my thumb. Practically. All I could think about was that I was home at last and I never wanted to leave again. I had such tunnel vision that I couldn't see that there was anything else in the world besides the way I felt inside. (Any psychologists out there? Pulling out the white jackets yet?)
Very slowly, over a period of almost six years now, the Lord has led me through to healing in this area. What I thought was torture was actually God rescuing me from the lies of the enemy that had bound me up in fear. Fear of people.
To flash back a bit, when my kids were small and I had just begun homeschooling (which I think was definitely God's leading, and I have no regrets for it) we lived just ten miles from the North Dakota border. This was in the '80's and we heard stories of children being taken from homeschooling parents in North Dakota. Talk about fear inducing! I was so scared of school authorities and what "they" might do to "us". Even when we moved to a school district where the school was very supportive of us (where we've been most of our homeschooling lives) this fear continued. I developed an "us" and "them" mentality which sort of took in every non-homeschooler. Fear. It's not of God, and the enemy can cripple us completely if we let this deadly cancer of fear eat away at us without fighting back. Satan is the enemy, not other people.
Well, that's the lesson Jesus has been teaching me during my whole pilgrimage into the outside world. Not only is the fear of man subsiding; He's teaching me to see my coworkers and those I serve each day as people who need encouragement and who are valuable to Him. They aren't the enemy at all. They're the ones He loves and who He died for. He's endeavoring to overcome a lifetime of self-centeredness. It's not an easy task. And He's not finished yet!
Now I come home, put my feet up and have a cup of tea. After a rest break (which I need after standing up all day) I get up and get about the business of doing something to participate in the life of my home. Doing dishes and laundry, cooking and baking are things I enjoy because now they are a treat. I still feel a slight wisp of ennui at the thought of going to work, but it's worlds away from what I used to experience. Besides, going to work just makes me appreciate home all the more.
What it all boils down to is this: Jesus is my Home. And He is always with me. As this is revealed to me more and more, I become more open to what Jesus has for me to do and where He asks me to go. Not there yet, but that's the goal.
The virtual tour... - My sons, Jordan and Josh, were wanting to see my new place so I took a bunch of photos to give them a virtual tour. Hopefully they will load quickly today....
5 hours ago