Alexandra Kuykendall is one of those rare women who can feel like the closest friend, even if you've never met here in person. That's the power of Alex's words, and the resonance of her heart. I first became acquainted with Alex through her work on staff at MOPS, and later through her terrific memoir The Artist's Daughter. It's a joy to have her on the blog today, sharing from her brand new book, Loving My Actual Life. Her publisher is giving away three copies, in celebrate of the release. See details on the giveaway below.
Why I Needed to Begin Loving My Actual Life
By Alexandra Kuykendall
I was living day after day crammed full with no foreseeable end to the crazy making. Ever. With a three-year old as our caboose child, it could be roughly fifteen more years of this kind of crazy making. I was operating in perma-exhaustion, which, I’m sure you can imagine, made me a sweet and lovely person.
When I started speaking to people in bullet points rather than complete sentences in order to maximize efficiency, I knew I wasn’t living as I should. And yet when I considered all of the elements of my life, all of the things that took up time and attention, I recognized they were all good things. My family, for sure. My work offered me an outlet and greater purpose, not to mention income. My church kept me grounded. My friends offered sanity. My kids’ activities were limited because believe it or not I truly was trying to have some semblance of control over our family schedule. On their own, all good things, but compounded they became more than 24-hours worth of commitments. It was simply impossible for one woman to do all of the things I was attempting. I was not living a sustainable life.
I knew something drastic was in order. A recalibrating of my days. Of my time. So I could appreciate this one life that I’ve been given. (Oh yeah, and I turned 40 this year too, which means I’m due for a midlife crisis of sorts.) And when I looked around at my friends as we sped by each other in the school pick-up line I felt as though I was not alone in this plate-spinning life. Right now.
My friends Rob and Erica just took a year off and moved their family of five to Argentina for 12 months. I watched on Facebook as they tried new foods, made new friends and took adventures that felt daring and reminiscent of my globetrotting childhood. And yet I knew that wasn’t the type of drastic move that would be a reality, or really even a desire, for our family. There must be a way to create a fresh start right here, I thought. To love the life I actually have and not one I fantasize about because it’s an escape from my reality. Could I make small tweaks in order to be more present?
But how does one fully savor the right here when there seem to be barriers in the way? The “if onlys” and the “whens.” If only I had more money or more time I could … When I have this in place then … I couldn’t wait for the perfect life to arrive to enjoy it. I could wish my current circumstances away for days on end, but the major things were unlikely to change. I needed to work with what I had right in front of me. I needed to learn to love my actual life.
I needed a reordering, a restart, a recalibration of my days.
Missing Out On My Life
I was afraid if I stepped away from some work opportunities, I would be missing out somehow. And that’s when it hit me, I was already missing out on my life. I was stretched so thin I wasn’t enjoying any of it. And then God spoke. Okay, I didn’t hear a Charlton Heston-like voice, but I did feel that heart nudge that I know to be a holy whisper, that said We can do better here. After all, Jesus is the one who says, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” I was weary for sure and it’s as if he was saying, “Just stop for a minute and let’s re-evaluate. And while we do that why don’t you take a load off?”
What I know of God, (from my past foibles and what it says in the Scriptures), he is in charge of second chances. In fact it’s kind of his specialty. So even though my weariness was predominantly self-created, I knew I wasn’t a lost cause. I knew he would be gentle with this weary woman. “Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.” Yes, I could unabashedly recognize I needed a change and knew God would be gracious and patient with me in the process.
So my fresh start starts right here.
I don’t need a New Year’s resolution or nine months of perfect timing to get it started (because we all know that will NEVER happen.) I need to start relishing my life today. One intentional moment, day, month at a time.
This is an excerpt from Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me released in May by Baker Books.
Alexandra Kuykendall spends her days washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. All while trying to sneak in chunks of time to work on various writing projects. She is the author of The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir and Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me.
Alex lives in the shadows of downtown Denver with her husband Derek and their four daughters. Connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.
 Matthew 11:28
 Ephesians 2:8 (The Msg)
BakerBooks is graciously giving away copies of Loving My Actual Life to three of you! Entering is easy. Any of the following will qualify as entries. Each action will result in an entry. Simply let me know which actions you've taken, and your name will be entered once for each action.
1 - In the comments, let us know how you relish the life you've been given.
2 - Share this post on Facebook. Let me know in the comments if you did.
3 - Share this post on Twitter. Let me know in the comments if you did.
4 - Follow Alexandra on Facebook by clicking here. Let me know in the comments if you did. (If you already follow her, let me know. It counts as an entry.)
I will calculate the numbers of each person's entries, and randomly select three winners. Entries close Friday at noon.
Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Jessica Bolyard. Her words are light for anyone feeling lost in the dark today. "So whatever beauty you’re seeking, press on through the mess. If the beautiful thing you’re pursuing is a restored marriage, trudge through the hard work of forgiveness to get there. If you’re seeking community and fellowship, make your way through the hard stuff of vulnerability to find it." Find Jessica here.
To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. :) xo Jennifer