I love to write; it’s one of the ways I feel most connected to God. Before my daughter was born, I wrote for several publications. But when she came into the world, my writing life was put on an abrupt hold. I often wondered: Do I have to wait until my children are grown to return to my passions?
As Christian mothers, this question bubbles up often: How do we navigate the years of childrearing with our own desires to create and innovate and learn?
While there’s no one response for every woman, it’s important to ask the right questions as we consider how to steward our passions and live faithfully in our current season. Here are four such questions.
1. In pursuing this passion, do I have the support of my family and church family?
When Hunter Beless was still nursing her second daughter, she considered starting a podcast for women, but she hesitated. “I thought motherhood wasn’t the season to explore my own passions and desires, and I feared not having enough time or energy to do something outside of caring for my husband and children,” she recalls.
Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling that this was something she should pursue. “I prayerfully submitted both the dreaming and planning process to the Lord. After developing my ideas, I began to seek counsel from my husband, mentors, and friends. Things continued to align as I moved forward, which led me to ask, ‘Why not?’ At worst, it offered an opportunity to experiment, play, and create while my kids were sleeping, and at best it had the potential to encourage other women to glorify God.”
With the support of those around her, Hunter started the Journeywomen Podcast, which is growing rapidly and blessing women across the country and world. But it began with submitting her ideas to the Lord and her community, trusting him to guide her in the right direction.
2. What’s the ultimate end of pursuing this passion?
There are countless ways to pursue our passions, but we must always reckon with the centrality of the gospel. Is Christ at the center of this pursuit? Is the good news at the core of why I’m doing this? Whether you work a secular job, volunteer at a nonprofit, join a neighborhood committee, play in a tennis league, or serve in your church, it’s helpful to consider how this pursuit will give you opportunities to live out the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20).
Dianne Jago started the magazine Deeply Rooted because she sensed a need for something other than what she was seeing in “popular Christian women’s ministry, which unfortunately included a lot of misuse and misunderstanding in the interpretation and application of the Scriptures.” She desired to see Christ exalted in media and to point other women to a right handling of the Word. Jago’s passion is anchored in the gospel, and it has borne beautiful fruit in her life and in the lives of readers.
3. Will this help or hinder my relationship with Christ?
We must get gut-level honest about pursuing any passion and ask if it will help or hinder our personal walk with Jesus. Because over and above any external responsibility or role, we’re called to be women who know and love the Lord (Matt. 22:36–38).
Through her podcast, Beless is consistently pointing herself and others to deeper relationship with Christ. Even so, she realized within a few days of starting that “it would take as much time as I was willing to give it.” This prompted Hunter to prioritize time with the Lord and her family. Otherwise, she says, “I have nothing to offer the women coming alongside me through the podcast. But even more importantly, I’m not walking in obedience to Christ, which was my goal with starting this whole thing in the first place.”
So, we must ask: Will this opportunity help me love the Lord more? Or is it going to pull my affections away? If the latter, it’s not worth pursuing.
4. Will this strengthen or weaken our family life and rhythm?
Most of us already live full lives, and many of us will be able to incorporate our passions into our family life (with some flexibility and creativity), which can offer personal encouragement. But we must be willing to re-evaluate what is working—or not working—in every season.
After praying with her husband, Jago recently decided to scale back the operation and number of issues printed at Deeply Rooted to create more sustainable family rhythms. “While I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to encourage women through this publication,” she says, “the opportunity to pour into and steward little lives is one of the greatest treasures I have here on earth.”
Pursuing our passions and even experiencing success doesn’t always mean we should push harder and build higher—like Jago, faithfulness may require pulling back rather than giving in to the expectations of others.
No matter what we’re doing with our days—changing diapers, driving children to school, homeschooling, working at an office, or running a side business—we’re called to be women who abide in Jesus Christ (John 15:4).
If we want to pursue a new (or resurrected) passion, we need to make sure that it will enable us to abide in him, rather than pulling us away from him into busy striving. We don’t need to “hustle” to pursue our passions while simultaneously being a wife and mother. Instead, we can trust that if Christ is guiding our pursuits, he will do so in a way that will draw us and our families closer to himself, which is the ultimate goal for any season of our lives.
Editors’ note: If you’re a fellow mom who wants to grow as a writer, Ann is offering a new, Christ-centered writing course for moms at thewritingmomcourse.com. Use the code TGC to save 10 percent on the cost of the course.