Out of Place – Casey’s Story
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s the question every little kid is asked no less than 1000 times throughout the years. We’re told, “You can be anything you want to be.” But that be, I found, has standards. Be means success. It means making a difference. It means becoming somebody. Apparently somebodies are adorned with achievements and accolades. As an overachiever, I was ready to make my mark on the world.
I wanted to be an architect. For a short while, at least. I was deterred when I found out about the number of math requirements. Perhaps interior design would be my jam? I loved to rearrange and redecorate my room in high school. Then there was a movie where the female lead designed ads for companies. Her job looked like a glorified professional doodler, of sorts. I would later find out it’s called a “graphic designer” (about a year too late into my undergraduate career, unfortunately). I still want to be that when I grow up. Also, Spanish class was my favorite and I decided I wanted to travel the world. Surely I could turn that into a career? For a long time I wanted to be an actress. Not a celebrity, by any means, but I loved the art of film, storytelling, and character portrayal. Decisions, decisions…
After graduating, I still hadn’t landed on an answer to that question. I figured I’d teach for a few years before deciding what I really wanted to be. I joined an organization for educators that sent me across the country to Los Angeles. If there was anywhere this laid-back, southerner should have felt out of place, it should have been the hustle and bustle of L.A. Instead, I thrived. I fell in love with teaching and I enjoyed exploring a new city. My love for culture, doodling, acting, and even interior design (my classroom was cute, y’all) all came together within the walls of room 1. This is where I belonged.
A new stage of life
I married my beau, Bo, that first year of teaching and six months later we found out we were expecting our first child. What do I want to be? “Mother” had never been my answer to that question. Not that I didn’t want to be a mom, but I always assumed it was a milestone in life that would come alongside whatever I wanted to do professionally. It came as a surprise to me when I decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Remove all titles. Put the diplomas away. Nix the paycheck…and the dress pants. I finally knew what I wanted to be.
I packed up my classroom after year two to be a homemaker. Six weeks after delivering my precious baby boy, we moved back to our community of loved ones in Louisiana. I assumed we’d jump right back into our pre-L.A. life, but things were different now. I was the first of my friends to get married. And the first of my friends to have a kid. While they were going on to graduate school or jumping into their professional careers, I was changing diapers and attempting to maintain a clean-ish home. This new life stage quickly lost its allure. I struggled to build relationships with minimal time to socialize between naps and nursing. I also mourned the loss of my teaching career. I missed working alongside others. I yearned for sleep and productivity, but a colicky baby had other demands. It was difficult for me to find joy and purpose in homemaking. Feeling isolated within the walls of my own home, I never felt more out of place.
And yet, I knew it was right where I needed to be. My life-long mindset of achievement-based fulfillment didn’t go away overnight. I needed to redirect my heart towards God’s purposes. During this time, I joined my first Bible study group. I pored over scripture like never before. As I grew as a mom, my faith matured. Though I yearned to go back to work, my path was clear: God called me to stay home. It was time for me to find peace with that.
When taking a spiritual gifts test, one of the questions was, “Do you find eternal significance in mundane tasks and service?” And then it hit me: I felt out of place because I prided myself on worldly achievement and recognition. You don’t find much of that in spit-up and colic. I found my purpose when I changed my perspective to an eternal one. When I aligned my heart with God’s, I found my place. He sometimes leads us to places that aren’t always sunshine and rainbows, but it doesn’t mean we don’t belong there. Often the journey from becoming to belonging takes time before we find contentment where we are. And who knows? I may be 38, but I’m not quite fully grown yet. There’s no telling where the Lord will lead me, but wherever that may be, I will find fulfillment there.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NLT
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV
If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, this series is for you! Every Monday, we’ll hear from someone who has also struggled to belong. Be sure to subscribe below to get The Scoop so you never miss a post! As a thank you, you’ll receive access to belonging-themed scripture cards and adult coloring pages in the free for you library!
Meet Casey Hilty
Casey Hilty is a Christian speaker, artist, worshipper, and author of Her Children Arise—A Bible Study for Moms. Using both storytelling and visual art, she is passionate about taking mothers on a journey from apathy to awe to fall in love—or back in love—with God and His Word. She leads the Her Children Arise Facebook group to help mothers keep Christ at the center of their hearts and homes. Casey is a content partner for YouVersion, and a member of both hope*writers and L’Acadian Art Guild. You can connect with her on Instagram @caseyhilty, Facebook @caseyhilty1, and at www.caseyhilty.com.
*Feature Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash