Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Survivor Mode is Extinct in 2013.

When you start out life with an attitude and quite a few things working against you, there's nothing to do but charge ahead and do what it takes to stay alive. And for about ten or so years that was the mode my husband and I worked in...Survivor. Days, weeks, months were wished away as we worked just to pay the bills and awaited the next event to take place. And events always wore off quickly, which left us awaiting the next.

And before you know it, you're ten years down the road with three kids and a schedule of stress wondering how the heck you got to this point and how you are going to survive the remainder of it. Survivor mode has become a trap.

There is a time and place for survivor mode I suppose. It really is what got us through the tough beginning and my husband's years of weird afternoon/night shifts that left him nothing but exhausted and me a single parent working full time. But when my husband was laid off from his job in 2009, we suddenly felt like a complete family with a regular schedule, although that didn't stop survivor mode from pushing us along. With my husband now fully present, I no longer needed to make most of the decisions, but I did. My kids had grown out of those easily controlled little kid stages without my ability to communicate changing with them. My identity and the way I viewed life changed drastically, but the very essence of survivor mode fights against everything I want to stand for. Old habits die hard and everything that survivor mode had previously used to make our lives work, is starting to work against us.

Now, as 2012 comes to a close, I find that the past year or two has been weaning us from our survivalist leanings while also giving us warnings about what will happen if we don't let go. With my dedicated husband, three amazing kids, and a wonderful teaching job, life should be about living, not just merely surviving. From here on out, I want my life to be about the to day enjoyment of what God has so richly blessed me with: my husband and kids, my students and co-workers, and my family and friends. I want my life to be about the living of others...reaching out to those in need, to be a friend, and fully realizing every other person and/or opportunity that comes across my path. No more wishing away time or wishing for a better time. The time is now.

Ecclesiastes says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." Don't miss the seasons of life! Even the hard seasons serve the purpose of making us stronger in some way, although it may mean breaking us down first.

So welcome 2013! Day by day I will walk as one living and bring life where I tread. Two goals are set (one among my little family and one among strangers) to carry me through the year (and beyond). Instead of wondering where I'll stand on them six months from now, I think I'll just take it a day at a time and enjoy the journey. Maybe I'll find something I would've otherwise missed. Actually, I'm counting on it.


  1. Jennine, if there is one thing I have learned in the many years I have been on this earth, you get one shot at life, be happy. If there is one thing I have learned in the last few weeks, in the wake of Sandy Hook, don’t wait.

    When I think of the moments I’ve wasted by wishing away the present, for a handful of unknown, I am washed in regret because my hands are empty.

    It’s funny but whenever my husband faces a dilemma he always says, “I’ll survive.” I have told him over and over again there is more to life than mere survival. You are right to step away from survivor-mode. Don’t wait…live the life you imagine…NOW.

    1. Wry, I'm starting to understand that empty handed regret in even the simplest things. We started painting rooms in our house this month and it's been fun and looks great. And I realized we've lived here almost ten years without doing this because we bought the house with the intention of moving to a bigger house in a few years before we'd ever settled in. All of those years of enjoying what I had washed away by a wish for something bigger that wouldn't have done me any good anyway.

      And oh Sandy Hook. Relationship with family is number one on the list. Living in the now, with love and kindness (believe it or not, I have to work on it. Survival mode makes me short and cranky).

      And I'm shooting for joy over happiness. Joy will appear in the hard times and carry me through. "The joy of the Lord is my strength." Nehemiah 8:10

    2. And Wry, I'm so glad to still hear from you :) You have great insight.

    3. Thanks. That means a lot to me.