“So, What Do You Do?” When You Don’t Have an Answer
—Grace & Truth Linkup

What Do You Do?

“So, what do you? Where do you work?”

These are typical questions we ask new people we meet. I understand it. I’ve asked these questions of others.

I just don’t know how to answer these questions myself.

When my daughters were in the house, the answer was easy: I homeschool. People knew what it meant, that I was purposed, that my time was occupied with family.

But in 2007 Morgan graduated from our homeschool and left for Auburn University. I was down to one student. Then in 2012, Jenna also graduated and moved to Auburn. Jeff and I were left at home as empty-nesters.

Now what? How was I to answer the questions: What do you do? Where do you work?

I didn’t know.

When You Can’t Nail It Down

I knew I was happy still being at home. I was still involved in the lives of my daughters, driving back and forth to Auburn to visit. I was involved with church. I became even more involved in my community to volunteer here and there. In 2018 I became a grandmother and was regularly involved with our new two granddaughters. I was learning new things about myself, about others, and about God.

And then this pandemic struck, and all my volunteer activities disappeared.

And once again, I was mostly at home. Still happy at home, granted. (Being an introvert is a handy quality during a pandemic!)

But once again I was left with no direct answer to the questions: What do you do? Where do you work?

The truth is I do lots of little things, here and there, online and in person. I can’t nail it down to a one-word title or to an office address.

This is what I know:

I know I am here by God’s choice. I know I am here for a purpose. I know God delights in WHO I am, more than in WHAT I do or WHERE I do it.

If that’s good enough for God, it’s enough for me.

That’s the only answer I need.

God delights more in who you are

Featured Post

When I read Patti’s post last week, I understood. I get what she was saying about being an empty-nester.

“While other empty nest women may be returning to college or embarking on a second career, it’s okay that I’m not. All of us have different callings—there is no single right way to live out these post-raising children years.”

I definitely agree. And her conclusion? I doubly agree.

“We women need to extend grace to one another and not condemn each other for doing something different than we ourselves do—after all, different doesn’t mean wrong!”

Whether empty-nester or college student, married or single, paid employee or not, I encourage you to read Patti’s post, too, at PatriciaGardner.com. She’s a new blogger in our community. Give her a hearty welcome. I look forward to hearing more from her.

Read her post here:

Different Doesn’t Mean Wrong

Thanks for sharing, Patti! Here’s a button for your blog.

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16 thoughts on ““So, What Do You Do?” When You Don’t Have an Answer
—Grace & Truth Linkup

  1. Joanne Viola

    Both your post, and Patti’s are wonderful. Like you, I am quite happy being home and giving my time in the places I choose. Knowing it is where God has called me has filled me with both purpose and joy. You are right – that is enough for me!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you’ve found contentment where you are also, Joanne. Knowing that you are still influencing little lives must also add to that contentment. I wish I lived closer to my granddaughters but I am grateful that I am free to drive back and forth to visit them often.

  2. Patti

    Thanks for featuring my post, Lisa! It really means a lot to be able to share that message with a broader audience. Not just with regard to my choice to continue being a homemaker, but in so many other things, my soapbox saying in life has become “different doesn’t mean wrong.” For years, I’ve been made to feel wrong when I do something differently from what someone else thinks I should. So, I try to live by that saying, and I’m finding I need to remember to extend it to others as well. Now that my kids are adults and may do things different than I did, I remember my saying and bite my tongue!! My kids graduated from our homeschool in 2008 and 2010, so you and I were on the homeschool journey at the same time. Very wonderful years for me!

    Thank you again for your kindness.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We used to have a Sesame Street book we read to our girls when they were young that being different is okay. I think it’s a message we need to hear repeated our whole lives, no matter our age! Too often we tag “different” as wrong or dangerous, but sometimes different is right and healthy!

      I know what you’re saying about having to bite your tongue when you see your kids making different choices. 🙂 We’ve had to do that a few times too. Now it makes me wonder how often my own parents did that with me! I’m sure I was unaware of it at the time, but I appreciate the effort they must have made to let me carve my own path. Now it’s my turn to do the same for my kids.

      I look forward to more of what you’ll share in your posts ahead!

  3. Donna

    Lisa, I love your post! It hits home for many women, whether empty nesters or not. I also homeschooled my three children K-12 and saw them off to college. I struggled when my youngest left for college, major “identity crisis”. I had allowed what I “did” to become my identity rather than finding my identity in Christ. It took some hard nights of wrestling, but I no longer struggle with who I am or what I do. I am who God says I am and I am here to do my Father’s work, whatever He chooses that may be. Thank you for your transparency.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think our situation is probably far more common than we realize. I know many parents who struggle when their kids head off to college, but I think it is a double hit to our identity when we’ve been homeschooling them as well. Yes, our identity never really rested in that anyway though; it rests in Christ. I’m thankful for the assurance that being his children is at the core of who we are. Thanks, Donna!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I remember back to the days when I worked as an accountant; it never really felt like my identity. Perhaps if I’d really loved my job, it would have made a difference back then. But thankfully I loved staying at home once we had kids and I’m grateful that I had that opportunity to stay home. I realize that some would do it if they could, but they don’t have the choice.

  4. Laurie

    I agree with you, Lisa. I don’t think you have to be able to explain yourself in one word. For years, I could answer “teacher” to that question but now, just like you, I do a little of this and a little of that, and I am HAPPY! I am who God says I am and very satisfied!

  5. Debbie Wilson

    Lisa, I think since the fall we all long to know that who we are and what we do matters. Perhaps job titles are modern fig leaves, but Christ provides something immensely better, the righteousness of Christ, belonging as a child of God, and the security of an eternal home.

  6. Bettie G

    Thank you for featuring Patti’s post this week, and for your thoughts on it also! I am finding that it is an ongoing conversation that I am having with the Lord, and just when I think I have it figured out, the egg basket tumbles again. I am grateful for His vision and His perspective that is always so true! Thanks for all of the encouragement that you offer to us here. Blessings to you this week!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Bettie. I think it’s often particularly hard for those who have physical illnesses; it really complicates life’s choices. I admire how you keep your strong faith in the midst of your trials. It can’t be easy. I appreciate the grace you show to those of us who often blunder in our understanding of the pain you must experience.

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