Own Your Life

bwmic

Yesterday I was listening to a friend air her concerns about the guy she was seeing. “Do I really like him though? Do I want to make this official?” she asked. We laughed as I told her she is too old for commitment issues (I shoot from the hip), but I did have empathy.

My friend wanted me, or anyone, to tell her the answers regarding her love life. And all I could tell her was “only you can answer these questions because this is your life”. She probably knows the answers already, but doesn’t realise it because her mind is swimming with a million other anxious and afraid thoughts. On top of that are the host of well-meaning voices that have told her what to do, making a lot of noise.

I know what it’s like, because for a long time I spent every day in her shoes.

Continue reading

Advertisements

When Is Running Away the Right Thing?

running 2

Running away has a negative connotation. We’re often advised to face an issue, deal with it and go through it, rather than escape it. Enduring hard times and seeing things through promotes good character, yes? I believe in this and all the reasoning behind it, but naturally, at my core, I’m a bit of a runner. I’m a little too familiar with giving up and calling it quits.

There are a number of situations where that’s cost me. For example, I wish I never threw the towel in with learning instruments when I was younger, or sticking with languages at school. It was all too hard, so I made seemingly valid excuses and broke up with German and French, and cello, piano and flute. I regret that.

But is it always bad?

Continue reading

Living According to Your Potential

potential

Every single day, we make decisions large and small. From what to eat for lunch (I take this one pretty seriously) to whether we should take a job offer and how to spend our money. Then there are hard ones. The ones where our wants and needs are scales apart, and when we ignore the rules of should and shouldn’t. 

At 23 years old, I’m arriving at a point where I can no longer make stupid decisions and get away with it. Well, technically I can, but it’s only affecting me. I’m still young, but my choices matter and I’m old enough to know right from wrong. I’m not 18 anymore and I actually need to take responsibility for myself.

These days I’m finding that when I stuff up, I know better and I know that I know better. Bad decisions usually come from my overpowering impulsive side instead of my wise and measured side. When I use my head, I’m smart.

But I’m human, so I have a heart which likes to pipe up every now and then (as it should). Then there’s sin which often gets the better of me, and the result is a situation where I let myself and maybe others down. So I make excuses to numb my conscience and soothe the condemning voice of my guilt. Recently as I was going through these same motions, a small and captivating whisper commanded my attention;

You are called to greatness,
and you need to make decisions as such.

There is no arrogance in that epiphany. I’m not going to save the world or become the next Prime Minister. Those words simply consist of faith, grace and hope, because I am indeed called to greatness and so are you.

There’s only a few things I am positively certain about in this life, but one of them is that you and I were both created by God to be kind, intelligent and successful human beings. All within our own individuality, none of us being exactly like another. While doing so, He knew full well it would be very hard for us to be as complete as He created us to be, for the fact that we live in a fallen world with sin on our doorstop from the moment we are born.

In a word, we all have great potential within us. I believe that in heaven we will fulfill that potential because that’s where we will flourish in all our God-given glory. No sickness or sadness or pain. Just the way God intended earth and humanity to be before the fall of Adam and Eve.

Now, I think I’m on my way to being the woman God created me to be, but I’m not there yet. I think I please God a lot of the time, but I know I’m not anywhere near fulfilling my potential. You know why? Because I continue to make choices, often in the moment, that are not leading me to fulfill my call of greatness. They stunt me, leaving me feeling unworthy to keep moving. But I am, because God says I am.

I don’t mean greatness like we are all going to be rich, famous and make a huge impact on the world. Let us not limit greatness to be only one thing. Greatness is reaching your potential, and that is not an easy feat, but it’s absolutely possible. We just need to make choices that align with this goal.

I often compare myself to other people, and think “X would never have done this”. But there’s no point in that, because other than comparisons being entirely discouraging and unhelpful, we should only be measuring against ourselves. Who we are and who we want to be. Where we are and where we want to be.

Imagine if we all made everyday, seemingly unimportant, choices with this framework in our mind. How great would we each become in our own individuality? I’m willing to put it to the test and find out.

Do you find it hard to make choices according to your potential too? What are could you make better choices? Do you believe that you are called to greatness? 

Living the Questions

questions

Probably one of the greatest struggles humans face is not knowing the future. It’s obviously a good thing because all hell would break lose if we did. If you ever saw an episode of the short lived TV show “Flash Forward”, then you will know that seeing the future did not help the characters, it created more problems for them. They faced the dilemma of whether to accept their “fate” or fight it, and some even tried to make it come true. It was absolutely shambolic.

We don’t know the future for a reason but that doesn’t make it any easier to make big decisions based on an unknown future. I know I have struggled with this a lot in the past five years. Recently things have started falling into place, but not without much prayer, discussion and research. Mixed in were many moments of dejection and frustration, while I was struggling with big decisions like “what should I do for a career?” and even heart wrenching ones like “should I marry this person?”

One of my favourite people to talk life, dreams and careers with is my wonderful friend Candace. She lives big and she lives real, and she often reminds me of her favourite quote by Rainer Maria Rilke;

“Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

This has changed the way I see and do life. I like answers, we all do. We like to have it all figured out and know what is next, but the beauty is in the not knowing and who we become in the process. Sometimes waiting is the best thing for us and it fosters virtues like faithfulness, patience and trust.

Questions are such a big part of our lives, for we can only see what is in front of us. The more time we are spending trying to answer them ourselves in all of our limited knowledge, the less time we have to learn. There is something to discover in every stage we are in, whether we want to be there or not.

I dare you; stare your questions in the face. Don’t be afraid of them or angry at them, but make them feel at home. Set them up on your couch with a cup of tea, a digestive biscuit and a smile. Sit yourself across from them and make conversation. Be kind to them. You don’t know how long they will be around, but I can tell you one thing for sure; they definitely have the answers you need. They just aren’t very forthcoming, but you will be surprised what some gentle coaxing will do.

The good news is that the questions won’t stick around forever (not the same ones anyway). Despite how treacherous it feels, we do come out the other side eventually. Stronger and wiser, hopefully! We all have questions, big and small, but we don’t need to have the answers. For perhaps the greatest beauty of life is that we can only live one day at a time.

So quit planning and resenting the lack of answers. Don’t rush or rebuke the process. Instead, try to embrace it and live in those moments, even if they involve tears. You will be okay. Before you know it, you will be living in the answer.

What questions are you grappling with right now? 

That Gut Feeling

When something is meant to be, you can’t go against it.

You know the feeling, where your heart burns because it’s the truest thing you’ve ever known? Maybe it’s also the riskiest thing you’ve ever thought, and it has the potential to go terribly wrong. That’s even better. And you can’t help but go and do it, because you just know. It’s the greatest and worst feeling in the world!

But you must listen to your instincts, even if you don’t want to. Because really, deep down, you do want to. You want to know why you feel this strongly and if there’s anything in it. Well, as the old cliché goes, you won’t know until you try. But usually those really strong feelings are right. They don’t come around often but it’s a pretty big deal when they do. From my experience, anyway…

It was end of 2007 and I had just finished high school in my hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. My heart was set on moving to London after I had been talking with a family about becoming their nanny in the new year. But (there’s always a but), I had no money, no visa or passport and I was meant to be starting work in the UK in a mere 4 weeks time. Plus, moving across the world seemed a little drastic, right? In circumstance, everything was going against me. But God had spoken and I listened, because I knew in my Spirit it was the right thing. In my eyes I had no other choice.

Everyone doubted and questioned that I had heard right, including my supportive mum who had always trusted me in the past. But He had said I would get the British passport that I was barely liable for, and I knew that I would. I just knew. Partly because God is faithful to His promises, and because there was a fire in my gut that couldn’t be extinguished. I simply had to go.

Then my future employer apologetically asked me if we could move my starting date back a few months, as things had changed for them in London. Little did she know that this was perfect for me! It meant I could save some money and it bought me more time to wait on that much coveted British passport I had been promised.

Yes I was scared of moving so far away to effectively no one. I had a one way flight and no back-up money. If it didn’t work out, I was screwed. But thankfully I did have a job to start and a house to live in. That was more than enough, because the ferocity of my desire to travel and my faith in my conviction outweighed all fear.

Obviously I got the passport, and moving to London is the best thing I’ve ever done. It will always be high on the list of my big life decisions, because it was purposed and the timing was absolutely perfect. God knew what was coming and he took me out of my home-town and my only known reality, so that I could flourish as a young woman.

These words do not justify what I went through before coming here, and this ‘knowing’ business may have been an experience unique to me, though I have a feeling it isn’t. I suspect you know this fire I speak of, either because you’ve been there or you’re there now.

I trusted God and I trusted myself. If there’s a fire in your belly to take a big step, probably with large repercussions (in either direction), I encourage you to trust in what your heart’s telling you. Only you can make these big changes in your life and only you really know what’s right. Don’t be told by anyone.

God is in you, He has given you free choice and He has given you those very real human instincts. Pray to him, submit to Him, trust Him with all your plans.

Then…. Listen to the fire.

Have you ever felt something really strongly and followed your instincts? Share your story in the comments!

That Gut Feeling

When something is meant to be, you can’t go against it.

You know the feeling, where your heart burns because it’s the truest thing you’ve ever known? Maybe it’s also the riskiest thing you’ve ever thought, and it has the potential to go terribly wrong. That’s even better. And you can’t help but go and do it, because you just know. It’s the greatest and worst feeling in the world!

But you must listen to your instincts, even if you don’t want to. Because really, deep down, you do want to. You want to know why you feel this strongly and if there’s anything in it. Well, as the old cliché goes, you won’t know until you try. But usually those really strong feelings are right. They don’t come around often but it’s a pretty big deal when they do. From my experience, anyway…

It was end of 2007 and I had just finished high school in my hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. My heart was set on moving to London after I had been talking with a family about becoming their nanny in the new year. But (there’s always a but), I had no money, no visa or passport and I was meant to be starting work in the UK in a mere 4 weeks time. Plus, moving across the world seemed a little drastic, right? In circumstance, everything was going against me. But God had spoken and I listened, because I knew in my Spirit it was the right thing. In my eyes I had no other choice.

Everyone doubted and questioned that I had heard right, including my supportive mum who had always trusted me in the past. But He had said I would get the British passport that I was barely liable for, and I knew that I would. I just knew. Partly because God is faithful to His promises, and because there was a fire in my gut that couldn’t be extinguished. I simply had to go.

Then my future employer apologetically asked me if we could move my starting date back a few months, as things had changed for them in London. Little did she know that this was perfect for me! It meant I could save some money and it bought me more time to wait on that much coveted British passport I had been promised.

Yes I was scared of moving so far away to effectively no one. I had a one way flight and no back-up money. If it didn’t work out, I was screwed. But thankfully I did have a job to start and a house to live in. That was more than enough, because the ferocity of my desire to travel and my faith in my conviction outweighed all fear.

Obviously I got the passport, and moving to London is the best thing I’ve ever done. It will always be high on the list of my big life decisions, because it was purposed and the timing was absolutely perfect. God knew what was coming and he took me out of my home-town and my only known reality, so that I could flourish as a young woman.

These words do not justify what I went through before coming here, and this ‘knowing’ business may have been an experience unique to me, though I have a feeling it isn’t. I suspect you know this fire I speak of, either because you’ve been there or you’re there now.

I trusted God and I trusted myself. If there’s a fire in your belly to take a big step, probably with large repercussions (in either direction), I encourage you to trust in what your heart’s telling you. Only you can make these big changes in your life and only you really know what’s right. Don’t be told by anyone.

God is in you, He has given you free choice and He has given you those very real human instincts. Pray to him, submit to Him, trust Him with all your plans.

Then…. Listen to the fire.

Have you ever felt something really strongly and followed your instincts? Share your story in the comments!