I was scared.
I didn’t know if I could make it work. I felt guilty for even wanting a different life than everyone else. Who am I to think I’m special, after all?
But dreams of a different life have haunted me far longer than I remember.
The image was vague, to be sure, and dressed in different clothes at different times. I’ve always been obsessed with purpose; I looked everywhere, in education, ministry, and 9-5s.
I found bits and pieces in different roles and lifestyles. That mostly looked like a lot of long hours for little-to-no pay in ministry and volunteer settings. Each time I started something new, I’d be filled with joy and think, this is it.
It never took long, though, for me to realize something was missing, that it wasn’t really what I’d been seeking.
Two continents, four states, and countless moves later, I landed in a city of creatives and entrepreneurs. I fell hard for Nashville and, a year later, the handsome photographer I would build a life with. We had fun from the beginning, but by the third date, we were asking pointed questions about goals, finances, and gender roles.
It turns out, some of those questions were what I needed to bring my sense of purpose into focus. See, I had always thought about vocation as something you find: you find your calling, stumble upon what you were made for. Until I met my husband, I hadn’t thought much about building a life.
We talked about kids, supporting ourselves, and the life we imagined. That life doesn’t include the breakneck pace I’d always kept; it’s peaceful, steady, and full of joy. It’s also one of time together, enjoying one another and our (future) family.
Still, we believe there are things we’re called to say and do and share outside of our home. Motherhood is a high calling in and of itself; we happen to believe I’m also called as a writer, to share honest and hard words to make the way easier for others.
So we set a goal: within two years from our wedding day, I would be able to work from home, focusing on writing and building the life we want.
But as we began our marriage and started building our life, that pace seemed even more frantic. My 2-hour commute wore on my body and soul. I dealt with intense sciatica, daily migraines, and increased depression and anxiety. And I barely saw my handsome photographer; he shot long weddings on the weekends while I worked during the week.
I was overwhelmed and discouraged, feeling stuck and ready to look for a new job closer to home, even if it meant getting further away from our goals. We prayed and tried to figure it out, but nothing seemed right.
Until the perfect opportunity presented itself.
My employer wanted to get more involved in digital marketing (blogging, social media, and email marketing). My heart leaped: I can do that! I’d forgotten all about the goal I’d written in a journal to work from home. But I recognized this was something I could do remotely, so we started scheming and dreaming.
And I was terrified. Why should I get such an incredible chance? I backpedaled and waffled and thought it would never happen. But at some point,
I choose to take the leap!
So I carefully prepared my presentation, lined out ROI and how it would increase revenue for the company. I described a new position that would perfectly fit my skill set. And I was honest, sharing some of the challenges with me continuing to work so far from home.
It took a few months, but we developed the new position and, eventually, my employer became my client. And my husband and I met our goal of me working from home 13 months early!
Today, we are location-independent, focused on building other aspects of this life, becoming debt free (including our home!), investing in our marriage, and practicing self-care. We’re looking forward to some extensive traveling (both before kids and as a family).
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” - Henry David Thoreau
It may take some time to figure out what that dream life is. It might look similar to mine or completely different. You may want to be a neurosurgeon or a homeschool mom or a missionary in Calcutta. It doesn’t matter.
Pursue the dreams God has placed in your heart. Build the life you’ve imagined, the one that’s right for you and your family.
Sarah Robinson has a thing for redemption and finding hope in the darkest places. Check out Beautiful Inbetween for honest stories about faith, mental health, and cultivating joy. She made this Manifesto just for you