Seeking Wholeness

In Walking Brave by Caris Adel4 Comments

What does wholeness look like for me?

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, thanks to the #WholeMama project, but really, I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of months.

I go through cycles of deep engagement and then withdrawal. I come up with great ideas and then don’t follow through. I’m passionate about social justice, but I also like to chill out and watch questionable comedians. I want to read all the things, but I have 5 kids to raise and educate.

The essence of me can be summed up in 7 little phrases/acronyms, (INFJ, 5w4, ASMR, Synesthesia, HSP, PTSD, Rebel) some of which are….quirky, probably a little annoying. And I have these lists of traits and values and ways of being in the world that somehow correspond.

What would it look like to take all of the fragmented parts of myself and make them whole?


I want to be better. To do better. I have high standards and intense ideals, and yet I resist nearly all structures and routines. But years of barely surviving, and 20+ years of trying to dissociate from my life has left me – not with bad habits, necessarily – but with a pattern of living that is not conducive to wholeness.

And now that I am (finally) beginning a transition into a season of thriving – I want to know.

What would a whole, shalom-filled ME look like?

I just finished reading Better Than Before, a book supposedly about how we can build habits. (Really it’s just a book where you watch Gretchen Rubin, who loves habits, try on a few more.) But, at the beginning of the book she has 2 sections that turned out to be really important for me as I try and envision the person I want to be – and figure out how to make that possible. She talks about your tendancy and your distinctions. The distinctions are things about my personality that probably won’t change, and if I can adjust the things I do in my life to go along with them, I will have a greater chance of living the kind of life I want.


Example: When my kids were little, I used to make homemade breakfast every morning, and I enjoyed it. Eventually it was too stressful and I stopped. As I was thinking about my ideal wholeness, I realized I want to do that again. But to do it in a way that is not stressful, I need a quiet kitchen – no kids bursting in, and most importantly, a clean kitchen. Right now we have little counter space, and it’s taken up by appliances, dishes from having no dishwasher and 7 people, food canisters, and assorted junk. It stresses me out to be in my kitchen. Therefore I rarely cook and my kids eat cereal in the mornings.

After looking at the circles above, I realized I need the freedom to cook alone. I need a decluttered kitchen. And when I have that, ta-da, my kids will have a healthier, calmer morning.

Right now I feel guilty for not cooking. For feeling like I should be doing it – and that ‘should’ makes me not want to even try. And so I don’t, because it’s easier not to, and because I’m happier not being stressed about it. But it doesn’t make me whole. It doesn’t fill me with shalom.


Multiply that scenario by practically every aspect of my life, and you end up in survival, not thrival mode. But I want thriving.

In Better Than Before, Rubin talks about how sometimes a fresh start can help spur lifestyle changes, and as I spend this next year mostly parenting alone, culminating in one (last?) major move, I want to get myself in a place where I, and my whole family, has cultivated the changes necessary for a shalom-centered life.

And when we do, I hope my part looks something like this:




Linking up with #WholeMama


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  • Chara

    I resonate with a lot of this. Thank you for sharing. It helped give words for some of the ways I feel, especially, enjoying cooking but avoiding the kitchen because of the stress of mess. 😉

  • Jamie

    Yes to cultivating a shalom-centered life! I’ve been in survival for a while, too. I feel like wholeness is a really slow-build. Molasses movement. But at least movement. Maybe homemade breakfast once a week? (We do cereal most of the time, as well.) :) I hadn’t heard of the term ASMR, but I certainly recognize the description and loved the videos. I was surprised it had a name and surprised that it isn’t everyone’s experience. So many pieces, and layers. I love your personality illustrations. I’m marveling at how you did that. It’s really cool. 😀

  • Lindsey Smallwood

    Ohhhh, I like how you made it a visual – so interesting and helpful to carry in my head. Thanks for this – yay for #wholemama!

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