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…

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

 

A Whole New World

 

My business/PR mentor and friend Peter offered some advice on his website’s blog that got me thinking. Whilst I may be quoting him incorrectly, and I hope I’m not, he basically said that having a business and personal identity, particularly on Twitter was not on. No matter what, your information will be found out and therefore trying to create two separate identities is futile.

I thought about this in light of who I am in all spheres of my life; in work, at church, at the gym or at home. In all areas of life I am Michelle and I can’t be any one but me. I may choose to not share all information with everyone, and in business situations choose my words and my actions to suit the situation, but inherently I cannot be any one but me. I put my own twist on who I am.

I think often, especially as Christians, we can try and cover up one side of who we are when we’re not in church or around our friends who share similar beliefs. But like the fact that I cannot hide my sunkissed skin after I get back from holidays I cannot hide the light of Christ that shines (hopefully) through me.

So with that in mind I am (as hinted in my last post) changing it up a bit. Michelle, the Christian, the daughter, the friend, the PR girl, the writer, the singer, the soon-to-be-Masters student and expat again will all be found in one place. I’ll be changing my Twitter; combining my accounts, and making this blog  more structured. I’ll also be introducing my website and blog for my business (which is more of a place to find my business than to find out about me).

Hopefully you’ll come along on all of the journey but watch out for the following:

Mondays will be all about my life in Stockholm as a post-grad student and freelancer…

Wednesdays will focus on what’s going on spiritually, what I have learned and lessons to share…

Fridays, please join me as I train for the Stockholm marathon and reach my fitness goals of a journey that started years ago.

 

So here goes nothing…

Because everyone needs a bit of Disney

 

xxx michelle

Walking through an Open Door…

Stockholm, Sweden; my new home. I’m still getting my mind wrapped around the fact that I’m leaving the only home I have known my entire adult life. I’m leaving the comfort of a huge group of friends, my primary language and a full time job. In September I will be a student again, pursuing my Masters of Science in Consumer and Business Marketing and because that’s not enough for me, freelancing. In some ways this feels like a bit of a life break but realistically this is an opportunity to grow, challenge myself and live the life that God put on my heart.

I’ll be the first one to tell you that life doesn’t always work out how you thought it might. It’s not always going to take you down a path of least resistance or open every door with a golden key. Life is not about ease of access to opportunity or going about life existing. As Christians life is about showing the world that there is hope and life beyond what we see now and that we are so loved by a God who wants to give us life abundantly. And frankly, sometimes those lessons are best learned through plans gone wonky, broken hearts and tear stained paths. It’s in how we deal with those moments that show the world that defeat is not in our vocabulary and that no matter what…we will come out fighting.

Pre-relationship I wrote a list of things that I was dreaming about. Those things have never changed, the only thing that changed is that in my foreseeable future I won’t be doing them with someone. So, I took some steps to see if some doors opened and one big one did. I have had it on my heart that one day I would go back to school to give myself a stronger foundation, so that all those dreams and ventures that are on my heart, may eventually come to fruition (in some form).

Many years ago I sat down with a friend who told me she was moving to Africa to volunteer in a baby’s home. Setting aside some of the bigger desires of heart she took a leave of absence and went. What she told me next, comforts me now. She said that over the years she had been prepared for this move without even knowing it. It was little changes in her heart, experiences, people she met etc that allowed her heart to be open to such a big move. Now, as I look back over the past seven years living in London I can see that I have been prepared for this move too. It’s so beautiful to see how God intricately weaves his thread through our lives not missing one stitch as he designs a gorgeous canvas. note: that girl lived so faithfully and now not only has amazing life experiences, but all those desires she put on hold are coming true now with a little princess on the way with her husband she met whilst on her grand adventure.

So here is to next steps, future plans and great adventures. Over the next few weeks I’ll be changing the format of this blog a bit. I will reveal more, but I envision set days I post on, with specific themes on each day. I hope you’ll join me as my journey continues…because frankly…The Best is Yet to Come…