The Risk of an Unknown Future

I read somewhere (probably Pinterest) that “only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”

Basically, you have to move in order to get anywhere.

The thing is, that, like most things in life, this is far easier said than done.

I went home to London last week to spend some time with friends, celebrate Thanksgiving and just get out of Stockholm for a mini break. More than those reasons I went back to make sure that I had made the right decision to leave.

You see, as mentioned in previous posts, London was comfortable for me. I have amazing friends there and I had a good job. I was well connected…I did not have any reason to move on…except that by staying I was stopping God from changing and challenging me. I was stopping myself from growing.

Leaving London meant a lot of risk but with risk came reward.

Even now, as I build my life in Stockholm I have my moments where I wonder about what I left in London, who I left in London and how all that will work out…but in my heart I know that taking a risk, moving somewhere with seven weeks notice was exactly what I had to do. New studies, new friends, new company…

So, I’m wondering what risks you may need to take?

Do you need to ask for a raise?

Do you need to look for a new job?

Do you need to tell your friend what has been bothering you?

Do you need to finally ask that girl out?

Do you need to say yes to that guy who has asked you out and you were not quite sure about?

Do you need to finally make that big move?

I do not know what risk you may need to take…and I really cannot make the decision for you but I do know that nothing will change until you move.

This isn’t the most complicated of posts and the message is not hard to understand. However, the response is the hardest.

Taking risks always involve the possibility of failure, pain or simply an uneasy feeling. Even those that have failed, like past relationships, were worth all the hurt because it not only taught me about myself but about my trust in the one who created me.

Sometimes I think that we do not take risks because we do not think we are enough. We stop ourselves from trying new things or getting out of our comfort zone because our confidence in ourselves is lacking. We look at the decision that is in front of us and think, “What if I am not enough?” For me, it was the fear that I did not have it in me to go back to school and balance a Masters with starting my own company. I didn’t think that I could do it until I stopped and reflected upon what I had done thus far in life. If you have a confidence issue then what are you doing to get a bit of faith in yourself?

Marianne Williamson said that it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us, Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. 

So who are you not realize you are worthy of a beautiful, fulfilled and successful life? Who says you cannot take a risk and go for it…

Leap…

You never know what you’ll find when you land.

On the Subject of Singleness

I am no expert on love or singleness…

But I have been in love and I am single.

So I guess I can say something on the subject.

My lovely friend told me today that her boyfriend and her were back together after a time a part and reflecting on what they both wanted. I was so happy for her as she was glowing and as I sat on the bus riding home I realised that I am in no rush to be with someone and this, this is new.

I am probably going to have to read this post at least once a week because I do have my moments but I thought about life now and I realised that I’m just happy to wait. There is no one in my life that makes me want to give up the life I have. Maybe that’s selfish, but if you listen to Paul he does talk about how an unmarried man or woman can attend to the affairs of the Lord (1 Corinthians 7). I think, after 29 years, I’m finally believing that.

Oh sure, I absolutely want to get married but I also do not want to marry the wrong person.

I live in a country that actually has a word to describe the idea of just enough…mediocrity in another sense of the word. Okay, so not all Swedish people live like this (take for example, all the amazing inventions like Skype that have come out of this country) so I am definitely not putting the Swedes down. However, it’s a great word to describe how a lot of people seem to choose their boyfriends, girlfriends or spouses; they’re just enough.

As it says above, “Yes, I’m single and you’re going to have to be pretty damn amazing to change that.” I always thought that it was a bit rude, a bit cheeky and maybe even a bit prideful. It’s not though, is it?

I have one life one earth.

I have ONE chance to make the biggest difference to as many people as I can.

As a Christian, I have one purpose: to show the love of God to others so they may find Him and His grace, love and relationship.

If I marry the wrong person…am I really honouring that responsibility?

God has put many dreams on my heart. Some of these dreams I have fulfilled, some I’m working on and others, well, I’m not quite ready to do them yet…some of these things I will accomplish on my own, others with business partners and then some with the man that decides, with me, to spend the rest of our lives together.

I don’t want to be the girl who gets to the end of her life and sees the life she could have lead, the impact she could have made, the people who would have met Christ…I personally want to do everything in my power to make the “would, could and should haves” as small a number as possible.

So, if it means waiting a bit longer to get married…then okay.

I can wait.

Pressed upon my heart for many weeks now is this: be here, in the season I am in now, simply taking care of the things that are in my hand now, honoring the now, so that whatever God has for me, all the doors He opens and closes, the steps I need to take, the people I need to meet, that I will be prepared for them because I was faithful in my day to day.

It applies to my marriage as much as it does my career…

I have, in the past, been stuck in a job only because I had to work and took the first thing I found instead of trusting God for the better thing and that simply sucked. I do not want to be stuck in a covenant because I went for the first thing that came along. If it means waiting for that one who needs time, or waiting because I need time…whatever the reasons are that I am not yet running the race with a partner, I would much rather wait than commit myself to a life sentence of “Just okay.”

So…until that time…I’m okay..no, I’m more than okay. I am content with me, with my relationship status and well, frankly, someone is going to have to be pretty damn amazing to change that…

Until then I’ll just keep piling on the blankets to keep warm in my king size bed in a very cold country.

 

The Quickness to Judge

credit: http://something-trendy.tumblr.com/

I showed her my picture. It revealed something that most people here do not know about me. It showed my journey…

I was 16 and lying in my bed, in a hotel room, in South Africa. I was angry, sad, upset…I was hurt.

I had just gotten off the plane on 11 July after having left Vancouver on the 7th. We had travelled a long way and as we sat in the car driving to our hotel in Cape Town my teacher, a woman who should have known better, an adult who should be there to protect the students said something to me that made my teenage heart break.

She looked at me and her words told me I was not good enough to be loved. She said to me that if I ever wanted to get married I needed to lose weight. She said it like I was not good enough.

What she did not know was up until that point I never hated myself. I was raised knowing I was loved and cherished. I also had come to the conclusion, by myself, that I wanted to be healthier. She did know any of this…she simply saw what was in front of her.

Fast forward to last week, a few years later, almost 200lbs lighter, from a size 26(US) to a 14 (and going down…) and I showed my friend my photo from about 1 year before that conversation took place.  Now, my friend adores me and thinks I’m stunning. I have no doubt the value she places on me…but when she said “so, how long did this take you” I snapped back, with all due respect, and told her to never ask someone that.

You see, it doesn’t matter how long it took me to get to where I am now. I have accomplished what I have through discipline, self-control, exercise but most importantly through loving who I was first and foremost, not what my body looked like. How long it took me is not that important, it’s only that I am where I am now and on my journey…that I’m moving forward in my life and becoming a better person for me and for my future.

I seem to have begun a series on judging others without realizing it but this topic is so important to me. We are so quick to judge people based on what we see in their lives now. We may see a person struggling with an eating disorder or perhaps their weakness for images on the internet that are detrimental and degrading. Perhaps we see someone whose marriage is falling apart or who is fighting with his wife. Or maybe we see the girl who is battling anorexia and we keep telling her how great she looks for losing weight but do not understand that she is in fact hurting herself.

I know I can be so quick to judge…I think it’s natural but the bible says that we should not compare ourselves amongst ourselves or that any one else can judge but God himself.

One of the projects I’m part of is called So Worth Loving. We are a lifestyle brand which seeks to ensure that everyone knows their value and through reading the struggles, victories, plights and celebrations of others involved and those who write to us at SWL I have becoming increasingly aware of my tendency to make too quick assumptions, even when I personally know how much they can hurt.

So, today, let’s think before we speak. Let’s be wise with our words. Let’s not assume that which we do not know. Instead, let’s build deep and meaningful relationships with genuine love.

image from: http://sueswink.tumblr.com/post/5670721200

You do not know what God asked her to do…

I know that not everyone understands the life I choose to live. I understand that the choices I have made are not for everyone.

  • I live thousands of miles from my immediate family.
  • I quit my full-time job and went back to school.
  • I moved to a new country that is FARTHER away from my family (even those in Europe).
  • I am 29 and not married (okay, so not completely under my control).

My circumstances are not dissimilar to many of my friends who have chosen to live life in a way that may not seem like the right way to some. Having lived in London for the last few years you do accumulate like-minded friends…

However, I still get a lot of questions, questions that can be perceived as judgmental…

  • Why don’t you live closer to your family?
  • Don’t you want to get married?
  • You’re moving again?
  • Going back to school? Isn’t that a bit risky?
  • When are you coming/going back to Canada?

To which most of the time my internal voice is yelling, kicking, screaming and wanting to come out with some sarcastic remark but I control myself and just smile.

Please do not get me wrong, I know the questions are (mostly) well-meaning and most of the time people are simply curious…but it can still be taxing…

So to everyone who doesn’t understand…please know this…

Not all who wander…are lost.

God said that he knows the plans he has for me. He has plans to prosper me. He will give me a hope and a future.  (Jer 29) He created me. (Genesis) He knows the number of hairs on my head. He is always here for me, whether I go to the depths of the ocean or the far side of the sea. (Psalm) He wants to give me a life abundant and far beyond everything I could ever imagine or dream of or hope for. I am chosen, appointed to bear His fruit (Corithians)

I have been made in His image, to do the work that he planned beforehand…

And my path…is unique to me. I am here for one reason, to show the love of Christ to those who do not yet know Him and the creator of the universe has handcrafted the way that plays out.

And to you…whatever path you are on…it is your path…He has put you exactly where you need to be, as a mother, a father, a brother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an advocate…whether you never leave the 30 mile radius you grew up in, or leave and never look back.

(sidenote: I have had many conversations with people, in all different circumstances, not just like me, who feel judged or accused because of the way they live their lives).

So, I guess my message is two-fold. Whatever path you have taken, continue to seek God and get to know Him. Love Him and love others…and don’t worry about what others think of your decisions because ultimately we are only accountable to Him. He will direct your path.

And to those who question the choices others make…unless they’re harming themselves or others, please be wise in your questioning of their choices…take a minute and think about what you are asking…

 

You may not understand what God has asked them to do…