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What to do when you're feeling lost

I Feel Lost No Direction Help

Feeling directionless, and somewhat lost at any stage of your life isn’t something to be ashamed of. In fact it’s quite natural and I’m sure many of us have experienced it at one point or another.

Things in your life might seem from the outside like they are hunky-dory, or people are telling you that you’re at a stage that you should be excited about. You may have achieved the things you set out to do. You may have the house with the picket fence, and the husband or partner you prayed for. The degree under your belt or a flourishing business. Perhaps a beautiful family with children or grandchildren if you were so blessed, a lovely pet or two. Life is ok, not perfect, but ok. So why do you feel so lost?

On paper you have your needs met, maybe you’re in your dream career (and yes, that includes being a SAHM or Housewife), and people are still praying or dreaming about what you have now - but you’re just missing something. Worse still, that something isn’t something you can actually name, or put your finger on.

It’s frustrating, and you may even feel ashamed to admit it, but you’re coasting along and everything seems fine on the surface but deep down there is a feeling bubbling away of just feeling lost. Like a ship without a rudder. Or you are treading water, not moving forward, you’re not sure where “forward” even is…

Why do I feel so lost?

I myself have been going through this feeling over the past few months, and I had somewhat of a revelation about it in the last few weeks, which is why I’m writing this to share with you today - and it’s that feeling lost is not actually a sign of weakness, but of impending, positive change!

In order to figure this out, I did what I always do, and looked back so that I can look forward… My most recent period of feeling like this was just after becoming a Mum over a decade ago. At the time, I felt like the rug of the world had been taken out from under me, and that I neither knew myself, or what I wanted anymore. Nor how the puzzle of life fit together. However out of that period of deep uncertainty I found faith, and wrote this, and this. All of those things came from the experience of deep discomfort.

Was life perfect in that time? No… I still had work to do on my personal growth. There were a few setbacks, but the discomfort at the beginning of that period was a catalyst that propelled me forward!

Prior to that it was during my late teenage years when childhood had finally been left behind and the responsibilities of life were now squarely sat upon my shoulders. That’s a time when most of us feel uncertain and lost, am I right?

...and in this season, we have just marked nearly twelve months of a whirlwind year of such monumental change. The foundations of everything I ever felt secure about has been through one heck of a storm. The excitement of our international move and the busyness of it all has waned into a feeling of “so what now”?

Feeling Directionless

It is deep discomfort that has driven me to this point. Feeling lost has been an almost daily emotion.

I moved out of the country I had known my whole life, left behind good friends and family, and I know it sounds dramatic, but in a way I left behind my identity (as it was at the time) too! I will be very honest with you, some dramatic changes in my personal life were the jump start I personally needed to say yes to adventure. I felt like I had been put into a box, with expectations placed upon me by others who were only ever in a parasocial relationship with me. The blog posts I write, and the pictures I share does not mean you truly know me. The same is true of anyone on social media. Just because you have a knack of creating content that appears “nice”, it doesn’t reflect what’s going on behind the screen - myself included! Moving has been a fresh start, I’m still not sure about what lies ahead.

I’ve realised that the last decade has been focused on building something with The Darling Academy, but certain roads and choices have had potholes, or dead ends. Perhaps the fair-weather scenic route was a mistake. I very nearly walked away from it when we moved. It felt uncomfortable and like I didn’t know what I wanted from it, or myself. Deep in my gut I know that this is intended to be a ministry of encouragement above all else, but somewhere along the line I’ve been distracted from its main purpose. I got lost.

Perhaps I just needed to pull over and look at the road map? I have been in unfamiliar territory before, feeling lost. Instead of mindlessly keeping the pedal down, simply putting the breaks on, getting out, taking a good look around, and planning a route out is what’s actually needed sometimes, eh?

Especially when I’ve been through this before, I know from prior experience, that what’s to come is far better than even I can imagine.

I’ve been clinging to Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I feel anxious just even writing that all down, and admitting to you how I have been feeling. Yet I absolutely know that I’m not the only woman/wife/mother/person to ever feel this way. What I have realised after struggling with it all for the past six months or so, is this…


Feeling lost is a sign that your life is changing, and you are growing!

Feeling uncomfortable with the way things are, means that things need to change! In the past I would usually either bury my feelings in unhealthy habits, or destructive behaviour - but landing in a new country where we’ve pretty much needed to start from scratch and I have felt quite alone, I realise I have also been given the opportunity to sit with my feelings for once and not ignore or mask them.

Discomfort is a chance to grow.

Personal Growth As A Housewife

I’ve cried out to God a lot in the past year, asking him to explain the gut-wrenching and uncomfortable pruning he has done in my life and I am coming to realise after a lot of heartache that it was needed.

You might not know it yet, but this could be a season in your life that wants you to transform for one reason or another. Nothing ever grows without shedding something. Caterpillars cannot grow into butterflies without becoming a gooey mess for a while and shedding a cocoon. That cocoon sheltered them for a while, but it must ultimately be left behind. It’s not meant to house the caterpillar nor butterfly forever. It is an essential stage, but not the end result.

Trees and flowers bloom, flourish, and die back in winter to await the buds of next year.

Children needs lots of sleep, nurturing, nourishment, and rest in order to grow. Not to mention correction and leadership in order to mature.

Why do we think that this type of transformation just stops, and is not relevant for us now? We are never done with growing.

Side note: an app that I have on my phone just pinged and it says this: “My challenges sculpt me, not just preparing me for sunlight that follows the storm, but also moulding my spirit for uncharted joys ahead”.

How’s that for timing, or “coincidence” (which I don’t believe in, by the way)?

Lesson one…


You’ll never have all the answers in life

We all seek the answers, we buy the self-help books, listen to the inspirational podcasts, or Ted Talks. We seek advice, we seek approval. We think that others have it all together and we don’t. We also look at others and think they don’t have it all together and judge the mess they’re in.

This is what I know for sure; no one, not one single person, is an expert in the fullness of life! Because it never comes to any sort of total perfect fruition on this earthly plane! Sure we may ripen and mature, but hitting certain road-markers of success like getting married, having children, buying a house, starting a business, or otherwise, doesn’t mean you’ve arrived. We will all experience joy and sorrow, loss and achievement. We’ll have good days and bad. Don’t shy away from the sad times, learn from them!

No One Has It Altogether

Of course, you can do really impressive things like study medicine, or qualify in engineering but it won’t guarantee you more than a good job or salary. The Doctor may flourish in their General Practice but their marriage could be in tatters. A mastermind Engineer is perhaps socially awkward. The attentive Mother has a child that has fallen prey to a drug addiction. On the surface they might look like they have it all together (because they’ve chosen to project that image outward), but everyone is going through something at some point. Nothing is ever perfect all the time, and we needn’t let that discourage us. Life is a journey, and it has bumps in the road. Feeling lost or unsettled won’t last forever.

The very first step in learning how to get out of the rut or funk you’re feeling, is realising that you will likely, always be in one in some form or another!

That’s not meant to read as a doomsaying prediction, or sound morose, but it is realistic! A perfect life does not exist, but one that learns to be content with the “unknowing” of it all is possible. To sound cliché, we need to enjoy the journey more, even when it feels slow and boring and you just don’t know where you’re headed!

Giving ourselves enough grace to know we won’t have all our ducks in a row at any one time helps us to live happier lives.

Please don’t get me wrong, as much as I write these thoughts down and share them with you, it doesn’t mean that I have all the answers either. I’m no expert in life, but I do feel strongly that my personal story can be a lesson or guidance for others.


Learn to sit with your feelings and learn from them

Feeling lost can so often be an indicator that you need to address your feelings and emotions. It’s almost a signal from your soul saying “I’ve stopped you in your tracks so you can take some time to heal and work through an issue”.

Hiding your feelings for too long, or burying your head in the sand only allows your negative feelings or emotions to fester and rot. You may have grown up with the belief that feelings should be hidden, or that it’s shameful to admit when you’re anything less than perfect.

In our modern world of “image is everything”, admitting how you are truly feeling to your friends and family, let alone yourself, might not feel like an option. I understand this all too well. Sometimes when we cry out for help it’s met with a stone-wall, or worse, can be mocked or diminished by someone who thinks you’re being silly about something, are being ungrateful for your life, or you just need to “get over it”. Often this kind of attitude can come from those we love the most and who we thought would be there for us, so I’d like to encourage you in something…

Please realise that no other human can fix you. They can help of course, but you must do the work yourself and sometimes that means sitting with your feelings and allowing yourself to feel the full spectrum of them. No other person in the world has lived the life you have lived, or can understand the nuance of the hows and whys of your feelings. Only you, darling, have access to your innermost world.

Learn To Sit With Your Emotions

You need invest in yourself. That doesn’t mean new clothes, home goods, or manicures, you can’t simply patch things up on the outside… this is a renovation not a decorating project. Sometimes new foundations might even need to be laid, or require a knock-down rebuild!

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27 NLT

I have found that quiet time with a devotional, or spirit-led book helps me to bring up any quashed emotions or feelings. Often watching a movie helps me to cry it out! Initially I’ll cry about the subject of the movie, but from that well of tears I can also bring up what I’m truly feeling. When that happens, give it time and space to work itself out! Crying is actually good for you and promotes wellbeing.

The resources that have always helped me have of course been the Bible, and often this book by Sarah Ban Breathnach, even books like Chicken Soup for the Soul, this book on the Amish, and wholesome television shows like Call the Midwife, and All Creatures Great and Small. What all of these things have in common is that while they deal with issues, there is almost always a resolution that helps you focus on the bigger picture - and that is hope, love, faith, kindness, and grace. Especially among the ugliness of life and when things rock our lives or set us off-course.

Don’t be afraid of emotion, it’s healthy and human. We were created to have emotions! They keep us safe and help us navigate life. More harm can be done from hiding emotions than actually feeling them.


Remember what it is you love about life, even the little things

During periods of feeling a bit lost, I have found that I have inadvertently veered away from the things that fill my cup and make me happy. Some of these things can feel insignificant and “little”, such as taking time out of a busy schedule to bury myself in a good book, or spending time in nature.

My husband is really good at noticing that when I am in a funk, the best medicine is a drive into the countryside to look at farmhouses and small farms, a visit to a nice little garden centre, or popping into a vintage or secondhand shop just for a browse!

Vintage domestic history is a passion of mine, and just going to an antiques centre to look at old mixing bowls and worn wooden spoons can light up my life again. I imagine the lives these things have touched, who was the woman who served-up casseroles in this old Pyrex dish? Whose hands used this spoon? It centres me again. I know some may laugh at this, but this is what inspires me!

I also love old TV shows and movies, especially from and set in the 1940s-1960s. On my off days I have found that treating myself to an old episode of The Darling Buds of May (partly for whom this blog was named), or Call the Midwife, sets the worlds to rights again. Old souls need this kind of medicine sometimes, and it’s not a selfish indulgence when it makes you feel brighter.

Sometimes I feel terribly guilty for just reading or watching the TV in the afternoon, but I’ve found a sweet spot in my day that is just before Arlo gets home from school and I need to “kick into gear” again for the late afternoon and evening shift of homemaking. I feel this is a better option than trying to fill my cup in ways that aren’t healthy. Or worse, not paying attention to how I’m feeling at all and attempting to quash it!

Housewife Hobbies

Yesterday I made quick pickles for the fun of it. A little task, an unnecessary one, but still a good activity. It was 30 minutes of something light and mindful… my husband came in and saw what I was making and he was happy about it too. I turned my hands to something just for fun for a little while that put a smile on all our faces. We all need to remember to do more of that, not just the practical stuff like pairing socks.

So what inspires you? If you sit and reflect on it, and indulge it then it may reveal that you’ve been ignoring a part of you that makes you feel happy.


Seek community and make the effort to spend time with others

They won’t be perfect people, and they can’t fix you, but loneliness is the worst feeling. It too can make us feel lost. I also know, and have experienced the feeling of being in a room full of people and still feeling lonely, but please don’t let that put you off from spending time in the company of others.

As I have aged, and the biggest lesson the last 12 months has taught me, is that the friendships you see in the movies do not come as standard. It’s rare to find more than one or two close friends over the course of a lifetime. They do exist, and some are lucky to be blessed with them, but for the majority of us, just having a pleasant set of friends will be our lot, and that’s ok!!!

Finding Your Village As A Mother

It’s actually quite easy to make friends, but harder to keep them long term. They’re almost as intense and sometimes as fleeting as romantic relationships in a way. You might enjoy seeing someone for a while, you can have a lot of fun together, but commitment works both ways, and things also don’t work out some of the time! I’m a fiercely loyal friend, and have even made enemies of others by standing up for my friends… but my problem is that I expect everyone else to measure-up to my own standard. I expected from them what I gave of myself. In time I usually get burned because my own level of support is never returned. It’s a hard lesson - and one that left me feeling lost and like something was wrong with me for a while!

I believe that most women are hard-wired to want community and a “village” with which to raise their families and live among, and in this modern age it is really hard to achieve that. As it’s not easy to come by, it can leave us feeling a bit lost and alone - which is no mean feat in a world absolutely full to the brim with 8 billion people and counting!

However, because it’s hard to find community, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying.

Take baby steps and do it in a safe place if putting yourself out there makes you feel uncomfortable. Invite someone round for tea, or suggest your husband invite a colleague and their spouse round for a dinner party. Join a book club at your local library, or maybe a sewing or knitting circle. Take up a course in something you’re interested in and just be among people, a friendship may blossom from it, or not. Just being around others can really be a tonic sometimes, even if you’re not “sociable” or all that confident. It’s ok to be the quiet one, or the listener. It’s ok to be a wallflower, but it’s not healthy to stay cooped up, especially when you’re feeling a bit lost or low.

My friend Jules shared the “tree people” analogy with me a while back, and it really puts a lot into perspective about meeting people and making friends. It’s something I’m also taking to heart as I meet new people in a new country…

People are like the different parts of a tree. Leaf people enter your life for only a season. Their attachment to you is only meant for a little while. They’ll flutter and fall away once things get windy or cold, sometimes they were only there to draw on your strength and take what they needed. Branch people can stay for quite some time, and connect with you through multiple seasons, they can weather a few blustery days with you. However, when there is added weight or a real storm they can break and will readily fall away too. Root people are there for the long haul, and can handle the weight of life with you and through every storm. They are strong enough themselves, and they might even be hidden from view most of the time, but even though they’re not on show and often beneath the surface they are always a great support. They are the type of friendships that sustain you. You’ll have hundreds of leaves, and quite a few branches of all strengths in your lifetime, but least of all roots. Take care of those ones, as they take care of you.

Often people feel lost because they might feel lonely, or misunderstood. They may have even been hurt by other people. I’d like to encourage you today by saying that many of us have been there! It’s a common affliction affecting those with feelings who love to give.

Nothing can shelter you from hurt, because the ability to feel hurt only proves that you have been willing to love and to care!

If you’re feeling lost because you are feeling lonely, remember the leaf, branch, and root people. Not every person you meet will be there for every season of your life, but love them for what they are all the same.

Every part of the tree deserves to be appreciated for what it is.


Perhaps the real problem is actually overwhelm?

Like a deer in the headlights, sometimes feeling lost is because you are stunned! Too much on your plate, and not knowing what to do next can put you in a state of FREEZE! Thinking, “if I just empty out all the thoughts and avoid making a decision, or taking a step forward, perhaps the issue will go away”.

If this sounds like you, then what can you edit out of your day? Let me share with you a little lesson I learned only just this week…

I hadn’t heard from my friend Robyn in a while. I know she leads a busy life so I sent her a couple of updates via WhatsApp here and there but gave her the space to live her life and get back to me when she could. It turns out she had taken on a freelance project and realised she simply had a lot on her plate! This was in addition to her usual routine of caring for her son who is Arlo’s age, and a toddler, a husband, running a household, and taking care of a new puppy. Something had to give.

She took the very wise decision of editing things out of her life for a little while which allowed her the space and time to concentrate on the matter at hand, knowing that her friends would be there when she got back. There was no announcement, or fanfare, she simply shut her mobile in a drawer, eliminating all screen-time and got on with the task at hand for a couple of weeks.

A Housewifes Priorities

I learned all of this after the fact when she sent me a “catch up Podcast” (you know, those super long voice notes you send back and forth to your close friends). I was so impressed! This gal is so in tune with herself and her needs, and what’s on her plate. She had the confidence to shift things around as necessary to make life work better for her, rather than letting it happen to her. She also had the confidence in knowing who would be around once she emerged at the other side.

So what can we learn from Robyn?

Personally, I am learning to become aware of when my social battery is getting low and to say no to spending time with people. Sometimes even my own family! If I need a day to myself, I’ll take it without guilt. As housewives we are always in the service of others, but if we don’t know how to take care of ourselves also, it will trickle down and everyone will be miserable. You could also simply be doing too much. What can you say no to? What can you let go of in order to create a little calm in not only your home environment, but also your heart and mind again?


Are you feeling lost because you’re doing too much? Perhaps go back to the first step and spend some quiet time, allowing yourself the space to think and concentrate on what it is that is making you feel a bit out of sorts. It’s a journey you see, one that might not always resolve itself quickly, but it is one that requires a step forward, and then another step forward after that.

With love,

Alena x

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