Torn Between Two Dreams [Motherhood vs. Career]

It’s so cold outside, you can feel it in your bones. My knitted scarf isn’t doing much to keep me warm. I drive to work, and a few minutes later, run upstairs for a piping hot blueberry green tea. Winter mornings are not my favorite thing in the world, but they hold their own moments of serenity and beauty. I find little things I am grateful for – like the warm comfort of a morning coffee or tea, and a cozy office in which to work each day.

Life is simple, routine, beautiful. I find myself in a rhythm of hard work and hard rest. Sometimes this rhythm gets disrupted by peppered thoughts of an upcoming fork in the road for me. I can sense it – I’m going to need wisdom and direction for a big decision here soon. I brace my heart for the change. “Lord, speak to me. Show me.”

These moments in life are familiar to me. It seems I’ve had many of them close together in the lat 5 years. I guess it’s understandable as the 20’s are such a wild decade full of change left and right. Still, it’s been at least a year since I’ve felt the looming sense that my life is about to be majorly affected by a choice that I make. And I feel that I need some brushing up on how to do this.

I’ve been here before. It seemed to get easier in my early twenties, as I kept facing these moments almost one after the other. I grew into a familiarity with my heart’s response to times like these. First, fear. Then, resolve to trust. Then, much communication with God for guidance, help, vision. And each time, He came near. The help was there, and I made it out alive.

Now, I feel that I am torn between two dreams very dear to me. I can’t imagine losing one of them at the expense of the other. I face a tug-of-war in my heart over the next phase of my life.

To pursue my passion for my career, or to be a mother.

Both are dreams that I’ve had for a long time. Both are so desirable to me. Both are callings that I know I have.

The question is, which one am I supposed to do next? I feel that whatever dream I choose now, I will lose the other. This is why my heart is so torn and terrified.

Some might ask, why not both?

I have always been a wholehearted person. I cannot stand not being fully invested. I hate the thought of not giving my all. I don’t want to be split, 50% to my children, and 50% to my work. And I’m not sure if I’m made of 200%. I don’t doubt that some can do this, I’m just not sure if I can.

I know that each of these dreams of mine will require much energy, time, effort, and hard work. Each one is going to ask me to give my all, for many years.

That is why I feel so torn. How do I want to spend the next 20 years? Which one of my two passions do I want to invest everything in for the next 20 years? And which one do I want to lose?

I cannot bear the thought.

I’m no stranger to dreams dying, but that doesn’t make this easier.

So here I am, in a tug-of-war with my heart and emotions.

Ultimately, I know He will direct my steps. Still, I feel that I have the freedom to make a choice based on what I feel deep in my heart. This may be what terrifies me. If I had no choice in the matter, I could come to grasps with putting a dream on the shelf to give everything to the one assigned to me. But the freedom I have exists, and it will alter the entire direction of my life.

What if I choose one, and then a few years into it, wish I had chosen the other?

This is the battle in my mind.

So, I keep waking up and going to work every day, doing what’s in front of me right now. All the while knowing that very soon, I’m going to have to choose a direction.

It’s not going to be easy.

I already feel the anxiety.

But I have to cling to the promise that He is my shepherd, and He is good.

He already sees the end from the beginning.

Whatever I spend the next 20 years doing, it won’t be in vain. It will be done with purpose, because He infuses each step I take and each movement of my hands with purpose. This is all going somewhere, and His plan is good.

So I open my hands and posture my heart to receive whatever He gives: “Lord, your will – not mine – be done.”

And if I find that I cannot bear the loss of a dream, if I find someday my heart overwhelmed, then I will do it again. I will surrender again. I will give Him my whole life, again. And He will show me His faithfulness.

I walk outside into the cold air, and I feel it – the warmth of His closeness to me. He has never failed. This I know for sure.

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