I’ve always loved books. As a child, I can remember walking into my school library and becoming intoxicated by the smell of books on every corner. I liked the weight of a novel in my hands and the feeling of pages flipping past my fingers. When I dreamed about my life, my childhood dreams were always about writing books. That was all I wanted.
By middle school, I wanted boys. I wanted them to want me too. I wrote in journals about the various boys I liked and had a shoe-box under my bed with all the notes I’d received. I still loved reading books, but not more than I loved receiving those notes. If you had asked me at twelve what my dreams were, I would have still told you that I dreamed of books, but that wouldn’t have been the complete truth. When you want something badly, you focus your energy on it. You spend your free time trying to propel yourself to reach those goals. I spent my energy learning how to apply eyeshadow, and saved all my allowance to buy denim that made my butt look good. My dreams of books had faded, and I was always shotgun in someone’s truck.
I like to think I was driven, but in truth, I think I was more often distracted. I was the girl who always had a boyfriend. I didn’t have a string of boys that I ran through, but I did have rather long-term relationships. I am embarrassed to admit this, but my entire life from the time I turned 14 until the time I was 22 can be chronicled by a series of three boyfriends. Want to know how I decided which college I was going too? I tell people it was because I got a track scholarship, but the truth is I only applied to one school — the one my boyfriend was attending. My mother warned me not to choose my education based on a romance, but she didn’t understand. I loved him.
We broke up before the fall semester had even ended. For the first time since I was 14 years old, I was single, and to be honest, I didn’t quite know who I was. I transferred schools at the end of the year, and I decided I was going to find myself. That lasted a few months, and before I knew it I was dating again, and then I got engaged. I remember telling my ex-fiance I wanted to be a Professor, but he told me that going to school for that many years would take too long, and he wanted to have a family. I broke up with him two months before my wedding. That same summer, I got my very first publishing contract. I felt like I was dying inside, and yet here I’d received this email saying my childhood dreams were going to come true. I could write books. I could allow my fingers to feel the strum of pages I had written. I took it as a sign from the universe that there was more to life than him.
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I have a husband. I love him dearly. He is honestly my soul mate, and I’m pretty sure God chose him to partner through life with me. That said, my husband doesn’t make me who I am. He betters me, but he doesn’t make me. I’ve come to a place in my life where I believe there has to be more to life than him. It takes a romantic and caring woman to live life for someone else. But I also think it takes a driven, secure, and confident woman to live life for herself.
Remember what your dreams are, and chase after them for you. You are Gods only shot at you. When He made you, He built you with the ability to grab ahold of whatever is rooted deep inside of you, and change the world with it. You are not just a person; you are a plan. It’s a wonderful thing to find love. But it is a life-giving thing to find purpose.
Whether you are married, or single, a mother or a daughter, I hope you don’t ever lose what it is about you that makes you different from everyone else. You are not just a person, you are a plan. Let your partners make you better, but don’t let them make you, you.
There is more to life than him.
Dr. Heather Thompson Day is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Andrews University. She is the author of five Christian books, including Life After Eden, and writer for The Spilled Milk Club. Facebook her, or check her out on Twitter.