Escape Life or Invest In It?

Sometimes the days run together and I feel overwhelmed. I see pictures of couples headed to the beach and I’m reminded of my secret hope. When we got married we honeymooned in Estes Park. Not the honeymoon destination of dreams, really. But we had a good time and in the back of my mind I secretly thought, I’ll get him to a beach on our 10th Anniversary.


Photo by Shannon Etherton

Well, 10 years came and went and last month we celebrated that 10th Anniversary. We talked about a variety of ways to celebrate and then together we made a decision. It would be nice to escape our life, but right now we’d rather invest in it. I recently heard author Michael Hyatt say that rather than escaping his life, he wanted to create a life he didn’t want to escape from. Brilliant.

Right now, right where we are, we want to grow as people, together. Aaron and I are both highly dedicated to our individual work and we desire to feel more a part of what the other person is doing. We really want to feel like partners. And really, what better way to realign our goals and support one another than to seek out a growth getaway together?

We didn’t intend to go to Nashville together, initially. But when my original workshop was postponed from September to October (read about the Emergency Cancellation here) we decided to turn my disappointment into an opportunity for both of us, so we headed to Nashville for our 10th Anniversary Growth Getaway.

(Did I just coin a new term?! Probably not…)


We went to a small business workshop led by New York Times bestselling author, Donald Miller. We soaked in his mastery of the framework of story and how to utilize it to communicate in a variety of business related ways.


We had dinner at the new home of some old friends.


We visited Belmont College where I went to school for my freshman and sophomore years of college. He probably got tired of my amazement at how much the campus changed in 15 years, but it was really fun to show him around.


And the last night a couple of tickets opened up right before the show of the Grand Ole Opry so we could soak in the Nashville vibe.

All of our time together at the conference and seeing the sights of Nashville gave us a number of gifts that we brought home with us.

Benefits of a Growth Getaway

  1. Common Experience. I was fully planning to go to Nashville by myself, but it was so nice to create those memories with my partner.
  2. Common Language. The workshop gave us a common set of terms and ways of thinking that make it easier for us to communicate what we want to say to one another.
  3. Intentional Conversations. We had time to talk! Woohoo! But the best part was that we were able to be intentional about discussing and applying the things we learned at the workshop.
  4. Intentional Living. Our growth getaway gave us the opportunity to come home and live out the things we discussed.
  5. Partnership. Since Nashville we have felt more aligned in our mutual purpose and more actively supportive of each others’ personal endeavors.

Not every getaway will be a growth getaway for us, (someday I’ll get him to a beach!) but this year it was just what we needed.

Are you interested in a growth getaway? Watch for Born For This registration, opening soon!


CLICK HERE to receive a free 15 minute-read eBook from the creators of Born For This.

3 Dangers eBook

Stretch Into Who You Are-Like It’s Your Job

Purpose and calling may not always have a measurable reward. Stay at home parents know exactly what I’m talking about. The day-to-day humdrum of life keeps beating and they keep-on keepin’-on withoutsweetness financial reward or recognition for their often extraordinary efforts to fend off tantrums, sickness and boredom. Some of the most important jobs are not paid.

Over a year ago I desired to spend time on a curriculum on friendship that I’ve been developing for forever. Aaron and I looked at our schedule and decided that I would spend time working on it while our youngest was in preschool. Expending time and energy on it felt self-indulgent until I started thinking of writing as a part-time “job.” We decided to devote job-like time to it because it was that important to us. I wasn’t getting paid to do it, but thinking of it as my job to read, think, write and teach was freeing! It was like stretching out in a big soft bed after having been cooped up in a box – a little bit of pain, a lot of relief.

I don’t know if we really had a choice about how much time I could spend on this sort of thing while the kids were tiny. Though I’m sure I could have, I’m not going to say I should have done it a different way or that anyone who feels boxed up doesn’t have to maintain their responsibilities. I don’t want to turn stretching into running away from responsibilities for me or you. I don’t want to neglect my kids when I’m with them or prioritize writing over my family.

But I do want to prioritize it. I do want to take a hard look at the week and our commitments with my husband and come up with ways that we can each find time to stretch into who we are. The fact is that I am a better mom, wife and friend when I stretch out into these other parts of me.  Most of the time I have more energy, focus and momentum to carry out my responsibilities. And when that happens, my perspective sees beyond the tantrum or barking dogs and I interact knowing that hard moment will pass.

Things that feel self-indulgent might actually help me fulfill my calling as a family girl and a writer.

When my husband and I work together to consider how we want to spend our time, we become mutually invested in each other’s growth and purpose in life.

     Sometimes that means we don’t get what we think we want coming into the conversation because through open discussion we realize we want something else even more – time together, sanity for our partner or maybe just rest. Great team-building conversations are open like that. They aren’t demanding, they seek the best for everyone. Of course, not all of our conversations are like that! But when they are, great things happen for both of us and we strengthen our team.

Tackle It Together: Discussion ideas to explore with someone you love.

1 – What “you” sort of thing would you do if you had more time or energy? How would it help you stretch into who you are so you can offer more of YOU to the world?

2 – What box are you cooped up in? Where is there room to stretch while still maintaining your responsibilities/prioritites? What could you cut so you can add something more important to you? (Sometimes saying “yes” means saying “no” to something wonderful!) What things could you set aside for now or for the evening or for the week?

3 – If you live or work with your loved-one, how can you work together to accomplish other tasks or provide specialized time or encouragement for you to each stretch into who you are? (Maybe it’s 30 minutes, maybe it’s a whole weekend! What works this week, in this stage of life?)

I hope we can look at those we love and with all our hearts be able to say: Stretch into you like it’s your job (even if it’s a very-part-time job). 

like it's your job

What would you do more of if you could call it your job? Let me know in the comments here or on Facebook.