Each of us is faced with thousands of choices every day that define our thoughts, our behavior, and who we are to the world. This fall’s Thrive Conference explores the idea that the choices we make hold power and provide opportunities that influence ourselves, others, and how we see God. Each Tuesday from now until October, we’ll feature one story of someone whose life was changed by the conference or who was faced with a choice and held firmly to the belief that “I Choose.” Today’s story is courtesy of Dawn Zimmerman, who writes about the messages women hear about careers, families, and how to navigate the two.
As a child, my dad would often tell me that I could do anything. I believed it. In college, I imagined having a rewarding career and being a present and loving wife and mom – at the same time.
As I entered the career world, climbed the corporate ladder and started thinking about a family, the message was clear: You have to pick.
I didn’t want to. I had dreamed my whole life about being a mom who devoted her days to her kids, was there for the firsts and was involved in their school. I wanted to be a wife who supported her husband’s dreams along with her own.
But I loved my work. It was not about the worldly success. It gave me an energy that I didn’t get from anything else and I felt like I was making a difference. I couldn’t imagine walking away.
When I became pregnant, the whispers became so loud. From one side, I would feel the pressures of needing to stay home to be a “good mom.” From another side, I would hear about my potential and how I could make an impact in the world outside my home, too. From every angle, I was told to make a choice. So I did.
I want it all.
I remember telling people that. Some couldn’t even hold back their laughter. Others came with a softer touch, trying to coach me on having realistic expectations. I listened. But it didn’t change my commitment. I believed it had to be possible, and I was determined to at least fight for it.
It wasn’t from a spirit of stubbornness (although I have been known to have that). I really felt like God designed me for all of this. I clung to Matthew 19:26, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
Almost eight years later, I can confidently say that women can have it all. All the things we dream of and feel called to – whatever they may be – are within our reach with God’s help. I have built a meaningful business, made time to volunteer, and been there as a mom who builds legos on Monday mornings and rides bikes on Friday afternoons. By making our marriage a priority, my husband and I have grown closer than ever.
I get to be a part of amazing projects that are making our community better. I get to go to work with some life-giving people and see God develop those relationships so masterfully.
It feels like a dream. And in the beginning, I thought it was. I thought it wouldn’t last. But it has.
It’s not because I am a master juggler. I am far from it. It’s because I have committed to living really intentionally – every day. That means waking up with my eyes fixed on God and where he will take that day. I let go of control of the details and press into my purpose and work to make sure my schedule reflects my priorities.
It’s not perfect and it’s far from consistent. Every week looks different and if I had to do this balancing act on my own, everything certainly would fall. But I don’t. I get to look to God, rest in his sovereign plan and depend on his limitless abilities. God’s abundant generosity through it all is overwhelming and leaves me incredibly grateful that I don’t have to choose.
Reflect and Respond:
Where have you believed the world’s view instead of God’s view?
What is something in your life that could be made possible with God?