When You're Not Sure You Want the Life You Have (DBS) - Sarah Mae
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When You’re Not Sure You Want the Life You Have (DBS)

desperatebook1-196x300“One of the most potentially destructive forces in a woman’s life is when she begins to look for fulfillment in something or someone else.” –Sally Clarkson, Desperate

Today we’re talking about Chapter 8 of Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe. In this chapter, Sally and I talk about the temptation to escape our circumstances. Sometimes the escape is about getting away from the mundane, sometimes it’s about avoiding our responsibilities because we’re so overwhelmed, sometimes we are just desperate for a break, and sometimes it’s about running away because the life we’re living isn’t what we thought it would be, and now we’re not sure we want it.

I think it’s important to know, to ask yourself where the desire for escape is coming from. Is it coming from a place of desperation, where you can’t get any help or a break and you’re just going to break if you don’t get out for a bit? That’s normal, and in my opinion, we all need a break from time to time to refresh our souls. But maybe you want to escape because you’re trying to escape your life; no matter how many breaks you get, they’re never enough, because the truth is, you’re aching deep down for something else. This kind of escape is killer, because it ties your soul into knots of guilt, confusion, shame, regret, and covetousness. Listen, I’m not down on you if you’re experiencing this kind of escape, I have felt those things and been in that place, but what I know about that place is that it is empty and unfulfilling and ultimately will make you miserable, because that longing that is slowly coursing through your spirit is a longing for something you can’t get here on earth.

I know it hurts, and maybe you’re playing Taylor Swift songs on repeat, dreaming of another life, or you think if only you had married someone else or if you lived somewhere else, you’d be okay.

Or maybe you’re just dying for some attention. Maybe you want to be understood.

Friend, those longings in your soul, they’re there for a reason, and they aren’t going to be met by anything or anyone on this ball of dirt (although relationships are super important – we were made needing community!). Those longings, that tension, is there to remind us that there is a place that we’ll be one day that will fill every empty space in your being. Mark Buchanan in his powerful book, Unseen Things, says:

“On earth, everything falls short of some hoped-for ideal…in response, we can become so cynical that we poison ourselves, so self-indulgent that we devour ourselves, so despairing that we collapse into ourselves. In fact, self-pity and self-indulgence, boredom, and despair, envy and greed-such are only yearning gone sour…a once-burning zeal dwindles to a dry itch, and everything becomes a frantic attempt to get passion back, or a plodding resignation to its death…God made us this way. He made us to yearn-to always be hungry for something we can’t get, to always be missing something we can’t find, to always be disappointed with what we receive, to always have an insatiable emptiness that no thing can fill and an untamable restlessness that no discover can still…It’s not the wanting that corrupts us. What corrupts us is the wanting that’s misplaced, set on the wrong thing.”

Now please don’t get me wrong here, I do think God gives us glimpses of heaven here on earth, and I think He puts desires in our hearts that He means to use here for His glory and even, dare I say, our pleasure. But the ultimate longing and ache will go unmet, for now.

After asking yourself and talking with God about why you’re feeling the need to escape, and if it is healthy or unhealthy, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to accept the portion God has given you. When I went to Colorado to visit Sally, I was in a pretty dark place. At the end  of our time together, she gave me a tea cup and said, “This is your portion. You can choose to throw it away or smash it on the floor, or you can accept it and let God fill it, and see the beauty in it.”

Sidenote: While I am talking about accepting our circumstances, I’m not advocating accepting circumstances where abuse is involved. God is for freedom of the captives, so if you’re not free, find someone you trust to help you.

I am choosing, sometimes minute-by-minute, sometimes rather clumsily, to accept my portion, and to be thankful for it. And when the longings rise up, I’m thanking God for those as well, because it means something magnificent is waiting for me when my feet leave the dirt.

Your Turn!

  • Do you struggle with longing for another life?
  • When do you most feel like escaping?
  • How can you show your sweet babies how much you love them and are thankful for them today?


I’m finally adding a link-up for all of you who have written posts about Desperate and want to join in the conversation with more words than a comment holds (sorry it’s taken me so long to get on the link-up train!). Please link directly to your post and not just your blog. Happy linking!

“When I finished reading this book, I immediately told Aileen that she would find it rich and encouraging…I very much enjoyed reading Desperate and am convinced that it will bless and encourage any mother who reads it.” –Tim Challies, Challies.com

You can read the whole review here and you can purchase Desperate by going here.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/katemariecraig Kate Craig

    I have a pretty great life, I don’t struggle with wanting different circumstances, I struggle with wanting to be different myself. With wishing everything about me could change! With feeling like I don’t deserve the life I have. I’m learning that the problem with all that is the I’s and me’s. I have a quote from Beth Moore’s Insecurity taped in my Bible and I read it everyday, “The woman I want to be feels too good about God to wonder why she doesn’t feel better about herself.”

    • CCMMD

      You hit the nail on the head for me. Thank you for the wonderful Beth Moore quote as well!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000344492653 Lori Tintes Hartmann

    Most of the time I feel deep down in my soul I am exactly where I am suppose to be. When my mind is set on God and His design for my life I am able to get through the toughest of days. Yet, there are days like today, that the lonliness runs so deep and wide inside me that I question the path I have chosen. You see, we are raising our 2 grandchildren as our own. What started as finding the man that I had waited my whole life for and had plans to go out and live life and follow our dreams together with, turned into us “helping” his daughter by taking in her 2 children right after the youngest was born 3 weeks after our wedding. My youngest of 5 was a senior in high school. My time as a mom that needed to be “there” in that way was coming to a close and I was looking forward to a new chapter of my life with this amazing man.
    What started out as “helping” turned into us having custody and raising them as our own. They are now 6 and 7 years old. I couldn’t even begin to tell you the hell we went through in the early years. We emptied our savings and instead of going on a honeymoon we dealt with severe behavior issues and loved these little’s through healing their wounds. No regrets. They are so worth it. They are happy, healthy and well adjusted little’s. Through this process of becoming a mommy again, the friends I had either disappeared or try to understand and offer support but I have very little contact with them. While they work, take weekend get aways, shop, go out for coffee or to a movie, I am doing the mommy things. I had to give up my job to do “this” new mommy gig. I am isolated and desperate for mommy friends but don’t really have any.
    Some days I feel so unqualified for this job as mom, mommy, wife and grandma. At the start of this year we had a family crisis and we are still trying to recover and heal from it. An uncle came to visit and did the unspeakable, the unfathomable to my little boy and my 5 year old grandson. So now we deal with the aftermath of evils visit. My eldest daughter lost her baby a few weeks ago, after her and her husband have been trying for 4 years. She was devastated. Because I am doing this mommy gig and dealing with a little boy who is hurting because of a much loved uncle, I couldn’t fly the 2000 miles to be with her. My youngest daughters father of her 2 children(4 months & 5 years) is in prison with plans to marry as soon as he get out. So I babysit so she can work and I am her only support system. . I have a neck & skull injury that gives me constant pain and thyroid issues & adrenal exhaustion. I am doing everything I can do live a healthy happy life yet I sit here with my 4 month old granddaughter on my lap and think about running away.
    I am desperate as hell and it feels like I am losing my voice some days which I suppose is why I am vomiting all of this in a comment on your post. Sorry! Like just shut the hell up and do what you have to do. It could be worse. I look at my crazy imperfect beautiful life and I seriously feel so horrible for wanting to leave it. I want a friend that calls me. I want a friend that asks me to do something fun. Yet I want I so desire time alone that doesn’t include cleaning, baking, cooking, laundry…ect..I want to do what other 50 year old women are doing. Yet I chose this. And I would choose it again because of their wellbeing and happiness. Their sweet smiles and l love you past heaven and back’s and their being happy are everything to me. I am desperate to be stronger so that I can keep all of this together.

    • http://twitter.com/MyMommyWorld Erin Myers

      Oh, I’m so sorry Lori! Praying for you today 🙂

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000344492653 Lori Tintes Hartmann

        Thank you Erin.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Sister, I wish so badly that could I come over with a salted caramel mocha for you, play a game with those sweet grandkids, and then talk with you, listen to you, pray over you, and be an advocate for you. You are a hero, even if you don’t feel like it, you are. You are brave, and you have given yourself, and don’t think for a minute God doesn’t see it or that He won’t reward it.
      Friend, have you called pressed charges against the uncle?
      Praying, praying, praying for you and your lovies today.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000344492653 Lori Tintes Hartmann

        Thank you for the prayers and encouragement. Yes the police were called right away and he is in jail. Bail was set very high so he won’t be going anywhere. We will have court starting in March. I am taking my boy to counseling once a week.

        • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

          You have no idea how much I wish I lived near you right now, just to hold your hand and support you. How I wish.

    • Kim Saint

      Please know I am praying for & like SarahMae, oh I wish I could be there for you in the physical realm. But I know a mighty God who can move mountains and calm the raging seas. , I feel certain your life’s dedication to these precious children will not be in vain. Especially if you’re raising them in Bibical truth. Just think you have the power to stop a generational cycle of self destruction. Please everyone who is reading these comments, lift up this sister in prayer.

    • Guest

      Praying for you! As a Momma with two little boys (3.5 and 27months) I am just awestruck by all that you are doing for your family. It may not seem like you were in the right place at the right time, but I absolutely think God made you available to be able to help your familes and these dear children. I would so love to cook you a month full of meals if you lived nearby and just give you a rest. You are truly caring for “the least of these” and God will not let you down. “His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me”. I have CLUNG to these words more times than I can tell you…being very familiar with that longing in my soul Sarah talks about. Part of the problem was not having help and being away from family. I hope you can gather some support and physical help with your situation so your health can be maintained as well. You are not alone and you are Super Grammy in my eyes! Hugs to you-

  • Jennifer Sikora

    Thank you so much for posting this today. I really needed to hear it because I am at that place where I am not sure I want this life I have (my work life). I love my personal life, but I am really tiring of my work life and miss just being a wife and mother and homeschool teacher to my family. I miss writing just to write and sharing what God has laid on my heart. Thank you for this and I am seriously going right now to buy your book. I want to read it.

  • Melanie

    I love that quote from Mark Buchanan! My husband have talked about that before, how we are so blessed, but sometimes still looking for more, and that’s exactly it–looking for something not found on this earth!

    Thanks for the encouragement that most moms feel like escaping at times for various reasons. For me it falls more into the first 3 reasons listed, getting away from the mundane, getting away b/c I feel overwhelmed, and just really needing a break. 🙂 Really enjoying your book!


    I am new to your blog – it is just what I have been looking for! Thank you so much for sharing your talent!


    I am new to your blog – it is just what I have been looking for! Thank you so much for sharing your talent!

  • liz

    This sounds like a great book for me right now.

  • alicia

    Hello Sarah Mae! I love this. You are my new imaginary best friend. I wonder if we might expand this message a bit? I wonder if there are mommas out there who have tasted the sweet presence of Jesus in their lives? While it is an amazing thing to look ahead to the ultimate fulfillment of the Eternal promise of live everlasting, I kind of think that our eternity with Him begins the moment we ask Him to fill that ever empty space in our lives–that space we so crave to fill with things of this world. You are right, they leave us lacking!!
    But, as I am certain, you have experienced, that filling of Him in our lives provides such a relief to the desperate-ness we were created with.
    Thanks so much for writing this and for so vulnerably sharing your life with us.
    From, a momma of 4 wee ones, in the trenches with you!

  • Stacie

    Thank you. So much. My longings have been strong lately…coming from the void that only God can fill. Thank you for this clear reminder! I was not made for this place, and someday I will be whole (in body and spirit)!

  • Cynthia

    I mostly just allow the Internet to suck my time away. I can justify that I am blessing friends and family, but what am I doing to bless the little souls right under my roof?

  • Christine

    I am new to your blog, but so grateful I found it. I have 3 littles, ages 4, almost 3, and 1. They are delightful and a true gift to me. I have a wonderful husband and a great church, yet I still feel the longing that you wrote about. Sometimes I let myself wallow and wonder why I can’t feel settled. Then I open my Bible or I read a blog like yours and I remember that the longing is not wrong; God gave it to me after all. But the way that I allow the longing to control my emotions is wrong. Sadness is not a proper response to what I’m experiencing (at least, not the sadness that I let myself stew in!). I think that when I feel that unsettled feeling, that is my call to action! Whether it is to give in to a time of prayer, to open my Bible, or just to bake something special with the kids, I think that God has allowed us to feel unfulfilled while here on earth so that we will keep striving to find His will for our time here.
    Thanks again for your wisdom and vulnerability.

  • http://sheppsnsk.org/blog/category/kims-prayer/ kjshepp

    I couldn’t get the link-up link to work 🙁 it said “server error”; thought you might want to know

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