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Day 10 – Balancing Act

ple, but there is still some degree of contact with people in my “day job.” I fondly remember all of the days when I was working with personnel issues and how I had to be very neutral and safe in all of my interactions with people. I needed to be a safe place where an employee could come and discuss concerns or issues related to their work. This was a role I enjoyed, but I also hated having to be the only one who always played by the rules. Decidedly, some of the rules don’t make sense. But, I’m basically a compliant person, so it has always been a natural thing for me to do what is supposed to be done rather than what everyone else is doing.

After I left my job as the Volunteer Management/Human Resources Officer for the Great Lakes Service Area of the American Red Cross, I decided that I wanted to get back to writing. I had been suppressing my creative side for many years and now that I had made the decision to stay home and try to grow my family, I needed something to fill my time while I was waiting for things to fall into place. I dusted off some old notebooks and started to go back over a few stories I had written years earlier. Eventually, all of those experiences as an HR Manager proved to be great fodder for character development and plots that made me chuckle. It was as though I had developed my very own alter-ego in my character, Rona Shively. Everything that I hadn’t been able to say as an HR Director, I was now able to express through the sassy and sarcastic mouth of Rona. She was everything I had needed to allow myself to be. Once I started writing, it was as though everything began to come into balance. I had leaned on the compliant and pleasant side of my personality for a long time (no comments from the peanut gallery on that one) and now, I was free to say what was on my mind and to call it like I saw it. Instead of being everyone else’s safe place, I now found my safety in the mind and heart of Rona Shively.

Over a ten-year period, I shared experiences and emotions through the Rona Shively books that were a composite of my imagination and my interactions with others. I took painful experiences such as multiple miscarriages and filtered them through Rona and allowed her to speak on my behalf. I let her show the world what it was like to experience great grief and frustration. I conveyed my inner monologue through this character and along the way, I reconciled the two halves of the person I’d never allowed myself to be.

I never did get to grow my family. After the birth of my daughter, who is the absolute joy of my life, I suffered four miscarriages bringing my total to five. At that point, I told my then husband that I didn’t want to keep trying. It was obvious that the road God wanted me to take didn’t include being a super-mom with a house full of children. But, I’m so grateful that my life has been made full by the wonderful daughter that God gave me. And I’m happy to have found some balance as I worked through the disappointment and anger and frustration and fear of not being able to step into a role that wasn’t necessarily meant for me.

When I stepped away from the career track that I had been on as an HR Manager, I had no idea what I was doing. I only knew that I wanted to feel the same love and excitement that I had felt when I first held my daughter as many times as I could possibly feel it. When that didn’t materialize, I suffered through great anxiety and depression about who I was and what my contribution to this world could be if I couldn’t be more of what I already was. Through many years of struggling, I finally grew to embrace what God had put in my arms. I didn’t have to be a mother three times over in order to be great at it. And I didn’t always have to be the one who sheltered everyone else. God lets us grow into our roles slowly most of the time. He watches over us and He guides us and sometimes, kicking and screaming, He pulls us to our destiny. Before we know it, what felt like a mistake becomes the biggest and most logical step we could have taken. Thank God, I sought that balance and pursued it through all of the pain. Now more than ever, I know He’s got me and this journey we are on is far from over.

47 Days of Self-Care is a blogging project that is being published between three different blogs owned by Author & Publisher, Rebecca Benston. Over these 47 days, she hopes to share thoughts and resources for better self-care. You can view related posts at Higher Ground for Life, at the Leading the Follower blog, and on the Higher Ground Books & Media blog.

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