What I Learned From My Year Off, Part 2: Counting the Cost - Sarah Mae
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What I Learned From My Year Off, Part 2: Counting the Cost


Being with my little people is my favorite

I’m a jumper.

I get an idea, and I’m all, “Yes! Right now, I’m going to do this!” And then life happens, and I don’t. Or I do, and life happens, and oh shoot I shouldn’t have done that. 

I have failed so many times do this one very wise, very practical thing: count the cost.

I remember calling Sally up a couple of years ago with one of my brilliant ideas and telling her we should go for it and we should start right away. Sally, in her wise and gracious and mothering way said, “Have you counted the cost? I have to think about.

What? Count the cost? But it’s a great idea, and someone needs to do it!

We never did it, whatever it was. I don’t even remember.

Then I had a friend of mine challenge me by saying, “Why do you always have to fill your plate as soon as you take something off it?” Huh. Good question.

It was these two women that started the pondering over the decisions I made and my inability to just be.

Right before I took my year off, I was going to start a new website. My husband and I made plans, bought domains, and dreamed together. During this time I was also stressed with all I was doing. I was writing a book, homeschooling, helping with a conference, blogging, and…I don’t even remember. But because I was no longer the owner of the conference, I thought, I can do this whole new thing! The problem was, the reason I stopped doing the conference was because it was too much and my life was being sucked away from me. So what did I do? Add something new that would have been almost as stressful and life-draining!

I didn’t do the site. I decided to go slower when it came to making decisions.

And then, in January, I decided to take a whole year off to think and pray and get some things straight. Which, by the way, was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

During that year, the lesson about counting the cost was further ingrained in my heart.

Counting the Cost is Wise and Practical

I only had one thing to do that was required of me and was outside my home: finish my book.

I had walked away from everything else: blogging, helping with the conference, and speaking. But I had to finish the book that the gracious folks at Tyndale had contracted me to write nearly THREE YEARS AGO. No pressure. And let me tell you, writing a book takes so much of me, on top of the fact that I’m a slow as molasses writer when it comes to writing books. Also, there’s the ADD thing. 50,000 words on the same topic? I think not. I write too slowly and my mind moves on before I’ve given myself to the depth.

But I’m learning and growing in this area, sticking with something in order to go deeper with it.

Let’s just say that the second half of this past year was very stressful as I was working to finish the never-ending, completely evolving elusive book. December was particularly difficult because I pretty much rewrote the whole thing in a month. I thought I was going to die.

Why am I telling you this? Because I have learned so much about my capacity, what gives me life and what drains it, and the importance of knowing how to be a women of integrity. All of this has to do with counting the cost.

At this point in my life, I don’t have a super capacity. I must choose carefully where I spend my time and give my energy. I have to know what gives me life and what takes it away. I need to count the cost to see if going forward makes sense for who I am, my family, and my time. It is for this reason that I will not write another book unless two things happen: 1.) God fills my well with a story that I am to share and have the depth needed to share it (integrity in writing), and 2.) I have the time and capacity to write it well. At this point, after my newest one releases in August, don’t count on me putting out another 50,000 word book for a few (or more) years. eBooks I’m good with. Long books, not so much.

Caveat: I am extremely thankful and excited to share with you all the book that I have written, that is truly from the well God has filled. I believe so much in the message, and I’m praying you will be encouraged and inspired to keep on in this life as you taste and see the goodness of the Lord right where you are. 

I have also learned that I love blogging; it gives me life! When I blog for the joy of it and to encourage others, it fills my soul. I also love encouraging women through the use of video; my communication style is really speaking because you can hear my voice and tone and see my expressions and I just love that. This is the color in me that God gave and it is a joy to live it out.

But I also have these precious people in my home that get to come first. I have my husband who is my partner and we choose our life together. It isn’t about me or him, it’s about us. So we move forward together. And then there is my children, my precious little souls who I have the responsibility of raising and teaching and discipling. Motherhood is a heavy, beautiful, intricate gift and it requires much of me. Oh yes, if I can’t be there for my children to minister to them first, what’s the point? I will have no integrity to teach. So I’ll count the cost before saying yes to outside opportunities (Jesus, help me for I am prone to wander). I’ll weigh everything, alongside my husband, in order to discern what is good and wise. We will count the cost.

And then there’s the neighborhood that God put me in. The people here matter to me. I want to invest where I am.

All this to say, is that I have some plans, some slowly thought-over, counting the cost plans that I will share with you in another post (as this one is getting to be too long already).

But know this, I have learned some painful lessons by not counting the cost, and Lord willing, I won’t make those mistakes again.

Love, SM

What I’ve Learned From My Year Off:

Part 1: We Are Not the Providers, God Is

Part 2: Counting the Cost is Wise and Practical

Part 3: I Am Still Me

Part 4: If You Are Burned Out, You Will Not Be As Effective in the Kingdom

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  • http://www.nursegonenatural.com/ Becca @ Nurse gone Natural

    Again, so very timely. I can’t wait to read more about what God has been doing in your life and what direction you will be going in the furute. Glad to see you back as well. You have been such an inspiration in my starting my own blog.

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

      Thanks for joining me!

  • Annie

    Reeeallllyyy glad I am reading your posts tonight. I am just feeling a little bit out of sorts with all the new year resolutions and goals for the year. I LOVE getting new ideas and not necessarily following through, I’m good at that also…..but I also have a husband, kids, homeschooling, MOPS…and other things. So I’m busy….and trying to be un-busy and careful about what I say yes to, but at the same time wanting so badly to go out and do something great, or be a great blogger, make more money, whatever will make me feel important. I’m kind of wondering if it’s just ok to at least take as much time as I need to get some grounding and see what God is saying. Again, thank you!!

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

      Take some time and get some clarity, yes. Sometimes getting quiet and small is really helpful, and then being able to offer all your dreams right back to God and trust Him with them. He cares for you and your dreams.

  • http://www.GodCenteredMom.com Heather MacFadyen

    Fabulous lessons Sarah Mae! love reading all you’ve been learning and learning with you. Have you ever taken the StrengthsFinders test? I’m thinking you may be an “activator”. It can be a very good thing. But as you have pointed out, has some tricky parts to it. Thankful for all your gifts & color!

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

      Thanks, Heather! 🙂 I have taken it but I have to look back at my results. I think ideation was one?

  • http://www.savvyhomemaking.com/ Julie Filter

    Lol, so much of this and your first post were like seeing myself in the mirror, but like 5 years from now. The Lord is already convicting me in these areas with my own ambition and heart to fulfill this calling He’s put on my heart for years. Blogging has been a real blessing, but I also want to write and speak and teach and, and, and…. I have six kids and homeschool as well, AND we are in a season of unemployment as the Lord has seen fit to move us from our “safety net” job into the world of self-employment and following our hearts’ callings that He has designed within both my husband and myself. It is an exciting, all be it stressful season. I have had the imagery of Sarai and Abram being led into the dessert out of Egypt while Yahweh took them to the promised land. I look forward to getting through this tough and educational season into its next. Shalom!

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

      Listen listen listen! 🙂 Saying a prayer for you right now!

      • http://www.savvyhomemaking.com/ Julie Filter

        Thanks for the encouragement! We surely could use all we can get. It’s disheartening how so many consider “jumping ship” from the “secure” job to follow after Him is “irresponsible” and reckless. But, we have never been more blessed and connected as family, whether or not we are experiencing tough days. It’s the tough stuff that drives us to Him! Love your stuff! You’re an inspiration!

  • Rachel Petty

    Thank you for your honesty about your capacity right now. I think so often, as moms, we do not count the cost… we don’t see cost to our decisions, but they are everywhere. Glad to have you back!

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

      Thanks! And yes, they are everywhere!

  • Sarah Garcia

    Your blog is like a balm to my chapped soul. Please continue to listen and to follow God’s direction!

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

      I will do my best!

  • Allie Zirkle

    Love your honesty. Been your cheer leader from the beginning. Love the growth! xo

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

      Thank you so much friend!

  • http://www.littlenaturalcottage.com/ Natural Cottage Mama

    Sarah, I’ve followed your blog (and bumped into you a few times in blogging circles) for the past several years. Your “year off” had a big impact on me. I don’t have the pressures of professional writing that you do, but even as a small time blogger (and pastor’s wife and homeschooling mama with littles) is SO easy to get sucked into the crazy cycle! Your “year off” announcement came right at the time when I was doing some deep soul searching and prioritizing in my life… I will confess that it played at least a small part in my ability to let go of some things and keep my life as a wife and mom on track. 🙂
    I must say, I’ve always appreciated your transparency. And I’m glad you’re back to blogging! Keep sharing your heart… we are listening.

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

      It is SO easy to get sucked in! I have to constantly watch myself as I am SO prone to do. Thanks for listening in!

  • Stephanie M.

    This really speaks to me. Not too long ago I found myself taking on too much, and more than one people have lovingly confronted me and asked if maybe I was spreading myself too thin. The consequences I am facing are painful as I feel that I have let many people down. While my heart seemed to be in the right place, I failed to count the cost. You capture this so well and in your post I find guidance. We are in an exciting new season, but every decision and move must be surrendered to the Lord and prayed over. The costs must be considered. Thank you Sarah for sharing and thank you for the encouragement. I look forward to reading more of your writing. I absolutely loved your book, Desperate.

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

      Oh Stephanie, I have felt that weight and it is so painful. The upside is that when something is that painful we, Lord willing, learn from it and move forward with wisdom and grace. I am so glad I could offer some encouragement.

  • john

    Hello, my name is Miss faith, I’m from USA. I want to inform you all that there is a spell caster that is genuine and real. I never really believed in any of these things but when I was losing Garvin, I needed help and somewhere to turn badly. I found consultant.odia spells and i ordered a LOVE SPELL. Several days later, my phone rang. Garvin was his old self again and wanted to come back to me! Not only come back, the spell caster opened him up to how much I loved and needed him. Spell Casting isn’t brainwashing, but they opened his eyes to how much we have to share together. I recommend anyone who is in my old situation to try it. It will bring you a wonderful surprises as well as your lover back to you. The way things were meant to be.” you can contact the spell caster on ogbonispelitemple@hotmail.com he’s very nice and great. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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