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.

Trust is easy when you know you’re not going to fall

 

It’s so easy to trust when things are comfortable. 

When you have more than enough money in the bank…it’s easy to trust.

When you have a boyfriend who wants to hold your hand and whispers about your future…it’s easy to trust.

When you have a steady and fabulous job you love…it’s easy to trust.

When your kids are behaving well…it’s easy to trust.

When every day is bright and the sun warms your skin…it’s easy to trust.

When you are getting good grades in school…it’s easy to trust.

When you can see the path you need to take it’s easy to trust.

BUT…what about when…

Your wife just came home and said she is leaving you…

Your job is not safe because of economic circumstances…

What if your child has been diagnosed with a serious disease…

or what if you simply made some bad choices with serious consequences??

I started thinking about these things as the pastor was talking about tithing on Sunday. I’m an absolute believer in tithing and offering back to God what is His. However, I have to admit that since leaving full time job, moving out of London, starting my own company and basically going “okay, God, you put me here…take care of me” it’s not been as easy to offer that which is already His back to Him. Of course I have but I have had to go back and look at my heart reasons for doing it in the first place.

But this post isn’t about tithing (though important) it’s about the trust I put in God when the outcome isn’t clear or even what I hoped for or the future isn’t certain.

Moving to London was an easy transition in comparison to Stockholm. Though life here is absolutely wonderful, the perfectionist in me thinks I should have been fluent in Swedish two weeks ago, the girl who loves people wants best friends right away, the shopper/traveler wants to know how she will get more income and the planner in me wants to know far too many answers about the future to even start writing here.

But through this process what I am learning (maybe I should have called this post “Two months in,what I have learned) is that in this season in particular, my job is to not only trust the creator of the world, the one who goes before me, the one who loves me, the one who has and will never leave me or forsake me, the one who has planned my life since the world began, the one who knows how many hairs I have on my head (even if I spontaneously cut it on a Monday afternoon)…if that wasn’t enough of a task…and enough reason to trust, my job is to live today so that when I meet a new person I’m prepared. When the next client comes along, I am prepared. When I’m finished my MSc, I’m prepared. When the next opportunity to travel (probably a wedding, it seems to be the trend) comes along, I’m prepared.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

proverbs 3:5

so, like me…do you have trouble trusting? I’m not sure we ever get to a place where we always trust but I do want to get to a place that instead of trying to solve whatever problem I’m facing, the first thing I do is remind myself who is in control…

It’s Back to the Basics

I went to a party last night and since it’s customary to take your shoes off when you go into a home here in Sweden I did…and my immediate reaction was “I’m so sorry my feet look terrible and unkept” (sorry mom…)

It’s not that I am a princess who must get manicures and pedicures all the time but quite honestly there are a few things in life that I enjoy doing to make my somewhat hectic life more centred. Admittedly some of these things are very first-world and I could get some flack for calling them basics. So here is your warning: these may not all be basics for everyone but hear my heart and know that life is definitely not “all about me”…

You know those moments where you just want to go crawl into bed and hide for days? Or maybe it is the days that nothing you put on fits right or feels good? Maybe yesterday every time someone even tried to say hello you got overly frustrated and irritated? Maybe just because your boyfriend didn’t call, you cried? Or when the baby just would not fall asleep at 3am, for  2 hours and you felt like you don’t even know why you decided to become a mother or a father. Maybe you feel like your wife hasn’t stopped nagging you for days? Or has your roommate NEVER cleaned up?

These are just a few of what I feel like are evidence of a mind and body that is not taking care of itself. Let’s face it, most of the time when things are not going right around us it’s because of what is happening IN us. I have an amazing friend who often gets my rants when any of the applicable above have happened to me. She is one of the people I have allowed to speak completely freely into my life…and knows everything about me. My favourite reminder from her is always her first question after I have finished my rant, “Chelles, so are you keeping up the basics?”

And…after a momentary pause and a quick evaluation the answer is usually a quite, soft “no”.

When we think of the basics we usually think food and water. Yes, these are the very basics but everyone has their own basics which need to be sorted in order to live a full and healthy life. I have figured out what mine are…some of them are must-must basics and others are every few weeks rather than weekly (like manicures/pedicures) or even hourly but these things in my life mean that I can be the best I can be and fulfil the purpose I have here for others.

So here are mine…and in no particularly order of importance…all have their own place

  • read my bible, listen to worship music, pray: connect to God constantly
  • exercise regularly
  • get a lot of fresh air
  • coffee
  • drink lots and lots of water
  • limit the amount of sugar I ingest (which is almost zero now)
  • eat regularly and unprocessed
  • get my nails and hair done
  • keep warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot (this affects me)
  • get enough, proper sleep (so it doesn’t just mean time but I always make sure my bed is clean, with lots of pillows and blankets. It’s my oasis)
  • talk to my friends regularly
  • connect with my family regularly

These are my basics…you’ll have your own (although a lot of these will overlap). We’re all different and I encourage you to find out your strengths and weaknesses (for example; I’m an extrovert, so I get energy from being around people, HOWEVER, I am also an only child and very much know my limitations when it comes to how much alone time I need (it’s more than most think))

Take some time and remember that you need to be the best you can be so it’s okay to understand how you tick. You’ll be better off to your friends, roommates, husbands, wives, kids, boss…we want to live strong and excellent lives so please, invest in the basics.

And if you need a few suggestions for a busy season I found this blog which will give you 55 ways to maintain your sanity…

xxM

 

Wounded part two…

When someone you care about hurts you, you can hold on to anger, resentment and thoughts of revenge — or embrace forgiveness and move forward. 

…this includes yourself…

There’s a point where you just need to let go.  A very wise person told me that one day you’ll look back and see how far you have come but there may always be moments where you feel so broken…and that is okay. I had felt broken lately. It’s probably the moving to a new place, new language, new friends, new church etc…etc…but part of it, I know that this is a season of healing that is taking place…

I wrote an email a few months ago which I never sent and I will never send. This email allowed me to say everything I wanted to say, everything that needed to be said but that I was never given the chance to do. With no filter I wrote and wrote and wrote until I had forgiven…and a few days ago it was time to write another email.

This time I wrote the email to me…and I want to share a bit here…

But most of all…

 I forgive me. I forgive me for blaming myself for falling in love. I forgive me for not showing wisdom in the situation and not listening to the Holy Spirit when I knew there was something wrong. I forgive me for every second that I blamed myself for the end and for not being good enough. I forgive the nights that I looked at myself and hated myself for not being everything you needed. I can’t be. I’m not. I could only love like I knew how and to the best of my ability. I forgive myself for thinking that because you didn’t talk to me it meant that I had done something wrong. I forgive myself for all the thoughts I had in anger, in regret, in disappointment, in fear.  

I forgive myself for the energy I spent wanting you back the way things were, for now I see that in fact, the way things were was great but wasn’t completely you. I forgive myself for the times I didn’t explain to you that I was upset not at you but at me. I forgive myself for hating my body, my emotions, my entire being. I forgive myself for the fact that I didn’t love myself enough to tell you how I really felt or love myself enough to understand that just because you didn’t want me enough to fight that i’m still MORE than enough. I forgive myself for telling myself I could not cry. I forgive myself for all the years of not trusting people. I forgive myself for hating who I am in moments where I felt tired, or sick or anxious. 

I forgive me. 

Unforgiveness can destroy a person. I think we often forget “us” in the equation. I have had to forgive a lot of people in my life and I have definitely had to be forgiven way too many times to count, but what I have realised most recently is that there are things in life that I had to forgive myself for. There were moments, thoughts and actions (or lack of action) that I needed to put in the past and say to me “It’s okay, you have moved on.”

This journey of healing is not easy but it’s so worth it.

Maybe you haven’t forgiven yourself for something you did in the past, or perhaps it wasn’t something you did but something that you thought. Maybe you hate your body and have told it lies. Maybe you didn’t think you had value…whatever it is…maybe it’s time to write yourself a letter or stand in front of the mirror and say “I forgive you.”

Remember there is no condemnation in Christ…whatever your past was, you are free from it. Let’s move forward together.

with love

M

*no images used in this post are my own, I claim no ownership.

Rollercoasters and Imagination…

 

The very last place that I expected to be on the Queen’s Jubilee weekend was sailing down a giant slide on a carpet with a guy I’d met a month earlier…in Sweden. Instead I thought I’d be…well…elsewhere…

My Jubilee weekend was spent avoiding rain storms, watching a marathon, meeting new friends, relaxing and running around like a 15 year old girl being talked into riding the scariest roller coaster of my life (I still think I hate you for that Simon!)…and although this weekend was literally worlds apart from what I thought I would be doing 5 months earlier, it was really one of the best weekends I had in a long time.

Sitting alone, watching the rain pour down yesterday, I sipped a cup of coffee and quietly thanked God that His ways are far better than mine. Does that mean that a part of me still misses what I had, yes, of course…but it also means that when you abide in Him, He really does abide in you. God cares about every little detail. No, maybe He didn’t plan this exact path but He sure allowed me to feel safe, at peace and genuinely content with where I am now. I’m so thankful that we serve a God who is interested in every aspect of our lives. He rejoices in our happy moments and comforts us when we are sad.

And as I sit at my desk, knowing that my life is about to change yet again I can wait, in peace, in rest, in the comfort that even if I expect the next season to look a certain way, that even if it doesn’t, it will be the best I ever had. And in those moments I will sing, rejoice and thank God that He knows WAY more than I will ever know…

Because… (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).

 

Live the life you imagined





Note: a couple weeks ago I wrote a blog about taking the next four months and not planning. Turns out I really suck at not planning. And this isn’t even an exaggeration. I think I lasted all of two hours…what I have come to realise since then is that it’s not really about the planning but about setting your heart to something, it’s a heart attitude. I am still determined to make no life-changing decisions until July; however I am beginning to understand what God has been working on with this whole “no planning” thing…
I have made a decision, or rather re-determined to be me…
God has made YOU uniquely and wonderfully made. He hasseen every moment of your life, since the beginning of time. He has put desiresin your heart and given you talents that are particular to you, in your verybeing.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  
Psalm 139:13-16

A few months ago I sat on my bed with a dear friend, where we talked about howcircumstances in our lives, situations, and hurtful moments somewhat changed the way we lived our lives. In particularly we discussed how our very creative sides had been repressed and that we were not using all of who we were to live our daily lives. Then we spoke about how certain people and situations had re-introduced that aspect of our lives and that God was healing us so that we were no longer afraid to be the women that He had created us to be.
How often have you not taken a step because of fear or because someone else put pressure on you? How often did something feel so right, but then maybe circumstances of life got you down and you allowed all the pressure around you to stop that which was so good? When was the last time you sat quietly, stilled your heart and went “Yes, there is a lot of pressure andI’m not sure how this is going to play out but I know I have to do this?”
Look at David. He was a small man who many around him thought that he could never defeat Goliath. His skills, that which made him uniquely David,were in the end what helped defeat the Giant.
I’m not making an argument for God’s will for your life. I believe that His will is to live for Him and to show others His love. I believe that the way you live your life, the partner you chose, the career, the activities and passions you pursue are a vehicle for how you show God’s love to others.
Sometimes we get so caught up in how the world thinks we should be or how others perceive our actions. Or simply in not wanting to hurt othersthat we sacrifice that which might be the best for our future. Recently I was listening to Priscilla Shirer speak about decisions. She said that when faced with a choice it’s often the one that seems the most difficult that is the one that the devil is stopping you from making because it will likely put you on the path that God wants you on.
God has a great plan for your life and remember that you’re living His plan now. Each day, each moment is preparation for what He already has in your future. No one can take that from you. You were formed uniquely and put on earth for this time and place so that you would seek Him and fulfil your purpose (more on that later).
So go, live for today with eternity in mind, start living that life you imagine. Start today because a year from now, you will wish you had.