Don’t Date Me

Singleness tends to have a stigma, but I’m not afraid to talk of love, as to me love is a friend.. and the friends that I’ve loved have often acknowledged that what we shared was unique and in another life, may have lasted forever.

..and even though I’ve learned to never say never, the common denominator in the stories I treasure most seems to be natural progression. It usually goes:

  1. a chance meeting
  2. lighthearted banter
  3. a deep and meaningful conversation
  4. repeat steps 2-3 for several months
  5. fondness that grows into affection

Of course there’s always the exception, the unlikely candidate (or so I determined the first time I met him). He was loud, talked too much, and thought he knew everything.. but proximity and a little curiosity grew into friendship and friendship into sneaking out of hotels in the middle of the night across Europe to go dancing, sing karaoke and listen to the Riverdance sound track that reminded us both of our mothers.

When I called him today and told him that I’ve released that back then I had actually loved him, he stopped me mid-sentence and said he’d felt the same. It had happened for us on it’s own and after seeing how good it could be, we both now struggled with “going on dates” which feels less than natural. 

The concept of meeting someone you’re physically attracted to and then creating time to spend together in good clothes on your best behaviour in a controlled setting might work for some.. but give me a project to work on with someone, or send us on a trip. Let me see them first thing in the morning or when they’re sleepy. This is real life, honesty, vulnerability.

I had asked God not to bring me anyone until it was “the one”, but having had several beautiful experiences since then full of adventure, romance and healthy boundaries, has taught me a lot and opened my eyes to the healing that has occurred within me – that perhaps could not have come any other way. The idea of losing love used to scare me, but the years and constant miracles keep me grounded and always aware that for everything there is a season.

Deconstructing the box I’d put God into wasn’t easy, but it has been liberating. How could I ever have expected Him to stay within the perimeters I’d created? Walls kept me feeling safe, but just ask the healed version of me now and I’ll tell you I’d take progress over safety any day. 

The best days of my life are ahead of me and the days of feeling as though I need to put my best foot forward in order to attract and impress a potential partner far behind. So no, I’m not afraid to talk of love, as the one I love not only becomes my friend, but starts as one. 

The Protagonist

It was as though for a moment time had stopped, and my mind flashed back to my teenage years where I remember feeling invisible. I knew that life could be a wonderful adventure, but I hadn’t any idea of how to live it.

So, when my 16 year-old niece recently told me she’d concluded that I’m “truly the protagonist” in my own story, I felt those words deeply and wanted to sit in the nostalgia and just remember.

Somehow my world had flipped and as chapter by chapter unfolded, I fell further down the rabbit hole – away from what most would call a “normal life”, and there, in the midst of it all, I started to notice a pattern.

In order to say yes to the miraculous, I had to say no to the expected.

Besides, nobody wants to read a book about an anybody who lived the same as everybody, hoping that it would make them a somebody.

I broke away from my families idea of what “success” looked like. I rejected the “Australian Dream”, and had to take several steps past what my church deemed to be “reasonable faith”, in order to be obedient and to follow where the Ruach HaKodesh (or Holy Spirit) was leading me.

Sometimes it hurt. But settling for less than the wonder and fullness that I was created for was unthinkable.

A few days ago marked the 1-year anniversary of my return to Australia, and with that I was reminded that rejecting the template that my culture expected of me wasn’t easy, but it would have been harder continuing to live life wishing I was someone else.

It can be lonely on this journey, but I believe that a degree of solitude is absolutely necessary in order to become completely reliant on our Heavenly Father and sensitive to his voice.

I used to feel torn between living the life of an anybody with it’s comfort-zones and predictability and between stepping out into the unknown with endless mysteries and miles of uncertainty, but as the years have past and I’ve been blessed enough to experience countless seas parting. Perfect love really did leave it’s mark (1 John 4:18).

So yes, I most definitely AM the protagonist and will remain to be so – as I choose to daily surrender control,  knowing that none of my favourite adventure stories are ever predictable.

2020, I’ll miss you.

In 2020, I visited Ireland, Norway, Spain, Croatia, Serbia and relocated from the UK to Australia where I spent 14 days in blissful hotel quarantine before moving back in with my family, buying a cat and starting a new job.

That’s the tidy version I share with people.

Now, here’s the rest.

In 2020, I had a housemate that made me so uncomfortable, that I’d choose to stay at work until 10pm every night just so that I didn’t have to see him. I quit my job, got out of my lease, said goodbye to all my people, sold a house-full of furniture and relocated back to the country I hoped I’d never have to move back to, all within 2 weeks. I realised that a huge percentage of what I grew up believing was someone else’s interpretation and I therefore had to make some really hard decisions. I had to change my conversation, remember what humidity felt like, and get used to living in my old bedroom, with my old things, that belonged to the old me.

All I knew was that I was different.. and this different didn’t fit the old anymore.

[insert long pause]

But there was no fear this time. I mean, the temptation to freak out was there, but through practicing gratefulness and spending time in worship and in nature, I was actually fine. I knew things weren’t as exciting as they used to be, but I found joy in the little things and can now actually say that I’m content.

In my blog from February titled “The winds of change“, I said “I can’t remember a shorter season of time in my life where I was so dramatically transformed”. That may have been true at the time, but February 2020 Angeline had no idea what was coming!

Unlearning has become my new normal.

I have rediscovered parts of myself that I’d suppressed since childhood since they couldn’t be categorised, and I’m learning that the character of Christ is even more beautiful and full of wonder than I’d ever imagined.

2021 is going to be brilliant for me in all new ways, but I will be able to look back to this year and be at peace, knowing that I learned the most valuable lesson of all.. “to hold nothing too tightly, other than Christ himself”.

So I’ll miss 2020 for the travelling, for the people I left behind, but especially for the growth – that couldn’t have come any other way.

Exposed at a Crossroad

There’s a point in the life of every believer when it seems as though what God is asking of them is too much and way too hard. The new teaching is bizarre and everyone else seems to be walking away.

I was recently asked if I’d be willing to share my favourite Bible verse and why. As I flicked through my bible, that one stood out. The one that I often pass over when sharing openly because it’s raw, real and somehow leaves me feeling exposed.

It comes after a hard teaching of Jesus from the book of John. It begins by explaining how many in the crowd stopped following Jesus from then on, as he had just told them that they needed to eat his flesh and drink his blood.

He then turned to his disciples and said “are you wishing to go away also” and Peter responded “Lord, to whom would we go, you have the words of eternal life”.

Right there. 

That response gets me every time.

I love that Peter is honest. He doesn’t say “we love what you said, hallelujah, we will follow you because all your teachings make sense”. He literally says “who else could we go to?” and I can imagine he said it with a sigh.

When you have walked with Him and shared in the peace that passes understanding, how? How could you leave and where could you possibly go to escape what you have seen and heard?

Once you’ve tasted the miraculous and experienced that oneness, that koinonia, it’s over. Your expectations change, your language is different and the desire of your heart is to find it again and pursue it forever, at any cost.

It becomes the standard by which you then measure all things from that point on, and nothing else compares.

To those who walked away you may appear foolish, as your obedience is a constant reminder to them of that thing they walked away from that made them uncomfortable.

John Pacheco says “people do not change until the emotional pain they’re in becomes greater than their fear of doing something about it”. 

I believe we all must come to that crossroad. 

The one where what God asks of us is too absurd, way too hard and will cost us everything. 

But not to pursue the Lord is way more costly. 

So I praise God for discomfort strong enough to keep me marinating in that hard teaching which when I reflect back on, was always perfectly wrapped up in His embrace. 

Homecoming

A few months ago, I’d prayed for it all to stop. As much as I loved my life, I felt like I needed some time to catch my breath, where no-one was depending on me for anything.

Soon enough, life as I knew it had disappeared and I pulled my Australian passport out, making that early-morning trip to London Heathrow airport one last time.

Upon landing in Australia, I was ushered by the defence force straight into hotel quarantine – which actually felt exactly right. I mean, how could I be expected to go directly from living the dream, back into an ordinary life? This quarantine was the perfect transition. It allowed me 14 uninterrupted days to pray, process and decide what I wanted my life to look like next. I knew I needed to be intentional about not falling back into old ways.

Until I’d moved abroad, I’d never realised what a consumeristic, racist humoured, daily grind culture I’d grown up in. All I knew, was that I didn’t fit the mould of buying an investment property and having a job I hated that makes more money than having a job I love, just to save enough to holiday for 4-week’s a year, and then just do it all over again.

My life in Europe was everything and much MUCH more than I’d ever imagined. My actual experiences made the expectations I’d had, look black and white and it just reconfirmed that God is in the business of giving me his desires and then making my dreams come true. At times, I actually thought I may never come back. My hair, my skin, even my attitude was better over there.

So, if everything in Europe was that amazing, and to me, life in Australia felt nothing but ordinary, why even return?

It’s as simple as “God called me back”.

When I left broken and He made me whole, when losing my mum turned out to be one of my most beautiful moments of worship, and when He has done everything He said he will do, including exceeding my wildest expectations – well, let’s just say that I learned a new way to trust.

Plus, I love not needing to overthink it.

Chandler

As much as I loved that season of adventure, like I said at the start, I’d still felt like I needed some time where no one was depending on me for anything.  Irony is, that now I’m being depended on more than ever before. Not by an organisation or friends, but by Chandler – my new feisty and beautiful Ragdoll kitten.

What I think I need, is never the point. It’s all about surrender and knowing that if like He says “the best is ahead”, then there’s no way I’m not following that voice – wherever it leads.

Even back home.

So watch this space. Great things ahead.

Sister

There have been a few times in my life that I was left without closure and therefore have just had to learn to get on with it.

I’ve experienced different types of losses, but I guess the fact that many happened close together meant that I could grieve them all at once and therefore didn’t necessarily deal with each individually.     

One in particular cut deep, because I lost her piece by piece. I saw the fibres of our connection vanish with her faith until the only topics left on the table had me feeling like I was speaking with a stranger.

In the years of her absence I learned to connect with God in a way that I had depended on her for. I was glad for that, but always felt a deep inner void, knowing that no-one may ever be who she was to me again.

She was my soul-sister. The bond we shared was spiritual. Finding another friend who would warfare with me, lift my head when I was drowning in an ocean, understand me so completely and yet, still look at me with eyes of adoration, was not something I thought I’d easily find again. We had lived together, worshipped together, travelled together and hated the same boys together.

And more than that.. she was nothing like me. We didn’t like the same food, styles of clothing, movies.. even people. We were black and white, hot and cold, up and down – but I loved her because she was my sister. She could be nothing more or less if she tried.

But she was gone and even though I told myself that this space was there for a good reason – I craved that connection.

She tried to come back once or twice but my door was now closed. I looked through the peep hole to see which version of her I would find, but all I saw was a face I loved in the spirit of a stranger – so the door stayed shut.

Until one night I awoke with an urgency to claim her back, to battle and to stand against all those layers of darkness who’d stolen the brightness from her eyes. I didn’t have the energy, but then I remembered the night’s she’d stood with me.

Hope filled my heart for the first time in years – that just maybe, she could be reclaimed. I know praying my own agenda over a situation can be futile, but this wasn’t my idea, it was His, and when it’s His – the answer is aways “Yes and Amen”.

So, I fought with all the memories I could muster up spurring me on to defend the friend I’d thought lost forever.. and day by day I saw no change, yet kept the peep hole opened until a crack appeared and we’d sit back to back against that door trying to fight for a love who’s foundation was invisible.

But something was there, that hadn’t been lost.. and as we slowly, carefully dug it out from beneath the ground, an earthquake erupted and everything changed. She broke, her heart hit the ground, and by her god’s she’d been forsaken.

Yet on the other side of that door I still sat – opened much wider now, but still not entirely. I heard her weep until night became day and days became black and then – in the darkness she remembered.

She remembered the colour that’d once filled her heart. But how to pick up the threads of an old life? It started with a memory, then a word, followed by a risk.

Week by week the colour returned to her face. First with her nose, which didn’t seem like much, but then the cheeks, which seemed promising but she still seemed somewhat like an escapee from Madame Tussaude’s collection – until the day her eyes lit up. It was gradual, and sometimes I can’t quite remember the moment it happened but like that scene when Elsa’s tears melt Anna’s frozen heart – she was thawed.

Not just in body, but in Spirit. The memories took time to come back, but they came. They returned like the wind from a butterflies wings gently stirring the petals of a flower, and the funny thing was, that somehow the memories had changed. Maybe the change came as light rays passed through the new lenses in her eyes that bent the light in an ever so different direction now – one inclined in the direction of her masters heart rather than his hand.

So, now as we sit back to back to get the other’s opinion on the inner workings of our minds, rather than a door – we lean up against our father. Who bridges the gap of the seas that part us, and reminds us that even though “there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother”, we’re pretty darn blessed that He brought us back together.

Danielle, I love you. Thank you for introducing me to Cascada and for being my sister for the last 12 years.

The winds of change

I can’t remember a shorter season of time in my life where I was so dramatically transformed.

For over 18 months I’ve been struggling to make sense of the whirlwind that’s been coursing through my body. It would come and go and I guess I assumed that eventually it wouldn’t come back.. so this last time, I decided to cut back on all the clutter to give my mind the space to stop and actually analyse what I was feeling and what God might be trying to tell me.

My oldest brother could see something different in me over Christmas and I saw it too, although I didn’t quite know what to call it at the time.

I can be pretty stubborn. I often make definitive statements like “I’d never”.. “I hate”.. or “I would only”.. and I’m continually reminded how childish I am when in the end I change my mind.

I suppose that’s why God started working in me long ago as he knew it would take some time for me to come to the place where I’d be open to even having this conversation without vomiting a little in my mouth, but I see it now and have surprised myself with how calm I’ve been able to remain.

What once seemed unthinkable, I now consider and in the close future, might soon even be something I can look forward to – as moving forward inch by inch until my emotion catches up with my conviction is not merely something I should do, but by looking at how God has led me in the past, is rather something I can’t afford not to do.

I can’t remember a shorter season of time in my life where I was so dramatically transformed, but I have a feeling that in 2020, the winds of change have only just begun.

Juicy

With little expectation I pulled my suitcase up the ramp into the quaint airport coffee shop. I knew better by now than to anticipate any particular outcome, so I sat there neutral, simply enjoying the caffeine boost and hoping that my 2am start wouldn’t show up as dark circles on my face.

As we drove, I gazed out the window, taking in all the tall straight Pine trees that looked like the scene out of a movie – and like always, compared the view to the Australian outback I’d left behind.

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Within 5 minutes of my arrival I noticed a family of swans. Being me, I decided to get up close for a better photo, when suddenly the mama swan decided I must have been a threat to her 5 babies and decided to charge at me. I laughed nervously as I ran away, knowing that this wouldn’t be the last they’d see of me this weekend. After all – Instagram.

What followed were very late nights and a connection with an international group (of people, not swans), that left me sleep deprived but not drained, and I kept waiting for something to snap my open heart shut – but it never came.

Meeting new people is not foreign to me – but somehow something was different this time around. It may have been the the fresh Lithuanian air or long walks to the beach, but as each day passed, I noticed that the strain from my long, hot European summer began to melt away.. and glimpses of my pre-loss self had started to resurface – a version of myself that I hadn’t seen in what felt like the longest time.

I’m not sure if it was the sand in my toes or the sunset, but I felt stronger, energised and somehow rejuvenated.. almost like I was younger (I can wish right :P).

Only time will tell if this connection was lasting or only for a season, but as the bite mark from the angry swan fades from my skin, I’m left with the sweet memory that eyes saw past my walls this week and the knowledge that the part of me that had faded with my bereavement might just be making a come back.

Dedicated to The Juicy 10 – may we always stay “juicy” and never forget the joy of a jittery puppy, fear of an angry swan or the adrenaline of chasing a moving bus. 

Let your hair down

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 1.02.14 PMI live in a world where everything is connected.

My personal and professional life are intertwined in a way that I find impossible to untangle.

Trust me, I’ve tried. But when your friends friend isn’t your friend, it can be frustrating. I want to hang out with my friends but am always like “okay, but please don’t bring your friend who isn’t my friend or else I’ll be in work mode and unable to let my hair down all evening”.

So every time I receive an invitation to anything, there’s a level of uncertainly and concern that says “it might be super fun OR horrible”.. and that’s no exaggeration. Usually it IS super fun OR horrible.

It gets complicated when you’re trying to be a chilled version of your introverted self, but are haunted by the need to stay politically correct and always aware of who might be sitting at the next table.

God asked me years ago to paint a picture of my “perfect” future. He then took my brokenness and mixed it together with my dreams and in His kindness and creativity, planted me in the place I’m at now. I’m literally living the life He asked me to describe to Him years ago.

A life that He always knew would hold these very complications.

I haven’t figured out the finer details yet but I do know that I’m doing better than I was a year ago, and much better than I was 3 years ago.

And maybe that’s enough for now.

Maybe progress isn’t about moving from 1-2 out of 10, but more about moving from 1-2 out of 1000. Maybe knowing what I struggle with is just as important as finding the solution.. and just maybe this will be the very thing that I need at this stage in my life to teach me to value the special moments with my people that truly allow me to be myself.

The monument

I recently found a list of my greatest fears – literally the things that my nightmares are made of, and so, I started preparing my “Thank God that none of these horrible things happened to me” prayer – when suddenly I stopped. Stunned.

My eyes moistened as I realised that most of them had actually happened – and recently too!

One after the other, I remembered each moment of grief, pain and loss. From bad decisions to things out of my control – they were all there.

But surprisingly, I’d somehow survived every disappointment and lived through every failure.

Had you asked me at the time of my list-making, I might have told you that I couldn’t have made it through a single one. You see, I don’t do very well with glitches, and that’s mostly because I put a lot of thought into my expectations in the first place, so to fail at something I’d concluded I could do, is very difficult for me to accept.

My anxiety began to rise as my eyes rolled over my shortcomings and I felt small under the burden of my defeat.. but then a new thought arose and as I allowed it to illuminate my mind, I realised that what was once a list of my greatest insufficiency, had now become a memorial. A monument of what with Gods strength, I could make it through.

I no longer see this as “a list of my failures”, but a signpost to remind myself that if He doesn’t save me from it, He’ll pull me through it – which totally sucks at the time, but I know, also makes me stronger, braver and hopefully, a little more faithful.

So I’ll leave you with a quote from my favourite Pastor, Steven Furtick.

“If God always met our expectations, He’d never be able to exceed them.”

 

Bus ride

Somewhere between Old Town, Tallin and a Christmas concert, was a bus ride.

I had psyched myself up for all the introductions that this day would bring, but I wasn’t prepared for this one.

In the midst of my overthinking and possible scenarios in preparation for this trip, life decided to throw a curve ball and surprise me.

Coffee in hand, almost tripping every time the bus turned, I turned to the guy who happened to be standing between my friend and I, and apologised in advance for falling on him. He smiled politely.

After one more apology, we invited him to the concert that we were on the way to attend. He accepted.

I think he was about as surprised as we were that he actually came, and although I was praying “Dear God let him please be normal and have a nice time”.. I’m pretty sure he was thinking “let them be normal and not be a cult”.

Thankfully – I’m pretty sure both wishes came true, and after several hours of conversation and way too much ginger bread – I learned a thing or 2 about myself.

1. Sometimes I’m more Chandler than Monica

2. Risking anxiety to make a new friend is worth it

3. My best case scenarios are nothing compared to what God has in store when I keep an open mind

4. I’m a pretty good wing man – you’re welcome Kroot!

We may never meet again and he may never read this blog, but that makes no difference to me, because somewhere between Old Town, Tallin and a Christmas concert – there was a bus ride.

Got the ‘itch’

Travel, it’s my thing. My own personal reminder that I’m not trapped in a 9-5, picket-fenced life. Yet somehow I’ve discovered that no matter whether my expedition is for a weekend, or 3-months-long, towards the end – I start to itch.

No, not literally. When I know that I need to commit to something for a set period of time – my emotions generally follow, but by the time my voyage is almost over, I subconsciously start to withdraw from my surroundings and begin preparing mentally for journey home.

So I’ve been waiting for a long time for a promise that God made me. It’s been more years than I ever knew I could be patient for, but now as it draws to its close, just like at the end of a tour, I’ve begun to detach from my current reality – knowing that a new one is just around the corner.

Usually, I’m returning home (wherever that may be at the time), which as an introvert, is great as most times this means solitude. But what happens when it’s not about geography?

I believe I’ve begun to disengage from a state of mind.

I’ve allowed myself to pull away from the old, to make way for the new, the better, the promise.

But until the time of its fulfilment – I’m in this strange land between living by faith in the spiritual as though what God has spoken over me is actually a reality, and the physical where what I see looks nothing like what I’ve been promised.

..and even though I’ve received like a million confirmations in different forms over several years, every so often, I still doubt, fear and overthink… okay, fine! I overthink more often than not – but still.. when I pause, it’s always the same. A calming wave of reassurance, that sweeps over me – leading, guiding and continuing to call me forward into uncharted lands.

Each new chapter, different from the last – yet equally as terrifying. But terrifying in a great way. A way that guarantees my comfort zone being smashed to pieces yet replaced with immeasurable blessing. The type of blessing that only comes from change.

Travel. It’s still my thing, but I’ve realised that even more so, is walking forward blindly, following a familiar voice, into an unknown future that’s anything but ordinary.

Greatest story ever told

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Time slowed down, my heartbeat increased and the blood ran to my face as the 2 roads that I’d been switching in-between became clearer and clearer as the Holy Spirit asked me once again to choose. Not like before – but forever.

God recently wanted me to make a change. A decision that would leave me better off in the long run but would mean significant sacrifice now.

Firstly, He reminded me of His faithfulness by coming through on a promise that He’d made me earlier this year, and as I was sitting there in awe of how amazing He is, He asked me to choose Him. Not just for the now, where I found myself in the midst of a spiritual high, but in this area, for the rest of my life.

People say that if they could hear God’s voice and knew exactly what he wanted from them, that they would go for it.. but even though in theory I know what I need to do and make the choice in my head, I still somehow manage to take my sweet time waiting for my actions to catch up.

But this time felt somewhat different. He told me that if I made this choice, not only would it benefit my future, but it would be wrapped in a new promise. I stopped pacing for a second. It wasn’t fair. He was offering me so much. So much undeserved favour. A blessing, a gift, just for choosing the right path that I should have been on in the first place.

I’m not a mushy person. I often cringe at romance, yet I love LOVE the way He smothers me with affection and reminds me of His loving kindness in the same sentence as asking me to do what’s right. His best for me has a pretty bow and there’s never even a trace of fear or punishment in the tone of his voice. He spent so much time winning my heart before He ever addressed my sin.

..and now the moment of truth. The countdown was on and I had moments left to make my choice before I walked onto the stage. I could be 99% surrendered with good intentions or lay it all down, trust Him with the result, and walk into my future in a new light.

“it ignites the light that changes lives”

Song bird

There was once a song I wrote and made a habit of singing as I walked down a particular path that I passed by several times in the day, to remind myself that there’s always a reason to praise.

But I can’t sing it anymore. When I try, I become melancholy and I feel like I’m choking on the words.

I’ve tried so many times but the joy has left my song. Not my life. Just this particular song.

I had thought that over time I’d be able to do the things I’d always done as the pain began to fade – but I’m coming to realise that I may never again be who I once was, and that healing doesn’t mean that I’ll ever look the same, rather it’s the strength to evolve into someone stronger who can sing a new song.

There was once a song I wrote, but I don’t sing it anymore.. and that’s okay.

Just slap me

I’m used to travelling. A lot.

So the fact that I have now been at home for 2 weekends in a row, has me itching for new adventures and somewhat restless.

I sat on my couch watching Netflix all day and it felt like real life was passing me by, and even though I’m living a life greater than I could have ever asked for – I still manage to struggle with change.

It’s such a precious gift wrapped up as a slap in the face.

I love consistency with the option of being spontaneous and I love having a possible plan for every mood I might be in.. although oddly enough, these days I find myself extroverting more than ever before.

Someone I just googled said “progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.

So, knowing it’s all in my head leaves me thinking that I need to spend more time in there, straightening out the spaghetti that’s become more tangled than my hair on a windy day. In other words, I need some more alone time with JC. Not just my daily devotions, that goes without saying, but more time. Time set a side just for spaghetti straightening and female drama resolution.

Quite often, after a conversation, it could be any conversation, I have to text the person to explain what I really meant, because I said so many things that I myself was left confused, so that other poor soul had no hope of understanding what I actually meant.. and sometimes I say things I don’t even mean. It’s actually exhausting.

So in conclusion:

1. Brain is spaghetti

2. Something needs to change

Therefore I’ve chosen to embrace the change once again because I know that my comfort zone is my enemy and to reach significant growth in any area of life, I’m going to need to get into the habit of turning the other cheek in the hope that I’ll eventually learn to look forward to the sting.

To whom it may concern – part 2

We met more than once.

We talked, we laughed – but you didn’t walk away.

I liked the way you lingered and encouraged your attention even though my affections were never fully yours.

You were charmed by my melancholy stare and the way I flicked my hair. Now you’re intrigued, unsure, confused.

I’ve become accustomed to this feeling again. It’s addictive, you’re addictive – but you aren’t mine and I can’t be yours.

So before I break your heart, insert your name and walk away.

I’m not looking for a soulmate.

I’m waiting on a promise.

#amtwwfy

Click here to read “To whom it may concern – part 1”

Happy Valentine’s Day

You know who you are.cats

You’re fluent in Friends quotes and I let you crash on my couch. We go out for breakfast and take road trips on the weekend while blasting Ed Sheeran.

You tell me I’m your best friend and always have time to talk even though the time difference means you’re losing valuable sleep because the topic of “kebabs” can never wait until morning.

You’re my next of kin, not just because you drove me to the hospital when I broke my leg, but because our prayers together every morning and weekly bible studies keep me grounded and give me a sense of community and family that I so often crave.

You’re the one I call when I have news because I know you’ll be happy that I’m happy even though sometimes my choices are absurd and you see past my “crazy” into my good intentions and never hold my dry Australian humour or weird eating habits against me.

You text me for no reason and leave cute notes on my desk. You sit beside me as I work and save me a seat in church, bringing me coffee when I’m in a bad mood and hugging me without me having to ask – because you can see the pain in my eyes that my lips refuse to speak of.

You listen to me vent knowing perfectly well that I’ve been overthinking the problem for the last 3 days, and have already got all the possible answers and solutions in different coloured categories in boxes in my head, but just need to vocalise my thoughts to someone I trust.

You tag me in cat memes that are lame to everyone else but hilarious to us and don’t think I’m weird for not wanting sauce on my pasta but an excessive amount of cheese and raw onion.

You forgive me for leaving you behind to travel the world and always have the house clean upon my return and continue to sound interested even though for most of my stories “you had to be there”.

You give me space when I need to introvert and let me invade yours when I’m in a hyperactive bouncy mood that often includes talking too fast, oversharing in Air Console and personality tests.

You understand that I have OCD and can never simply order something straight off the menu, or casually walk around in my socks and be expected to put my shoes back on without changing them first.

You know that I can be stone hard, cool and collected as well as soft, emotional and playful. I can be the boss and also the little girl who just wants to be cuddled and reassured, and although you can never predict which one of me you’ll get, you still stick around to find out.

You tell me I’m beautiful, tell me I’m special and tell me you’ll never meet anyone else like me. You put your arms around me and let me rest my head against your chest.

You know that I can be unreasonable and too sensitive yet you still respect me, like me, call me, text me, tag me, love me.

You remind me that the promise ahead is greater than the pain behind and that together, we are unstoppable.

You know who you are.

You’re my collective group of best friends from all over the world who together, make me feel like I’ll never need to settle for anything less than this.

Happy Valentine’s Day – I love you all!

Once upon a dream

Suddenly shaken from my daze and dropped into reality, I stood perfectly still as everything else around me seemed to speed up, and although I could see the bubble I created falling apart, I couldn’t move.

As the light penetrated my dorm room, I could hear feet running up and down the corridor with excitement, and I smiled, pulling the covers back up over me, completely unaware that in a matter of moments, one phone call would shatter the illusion and what had been the perfect night, would quickly become anything but a thing of beauty.

Caught somewhere between my heart and my mind, I battled to make some kind of sense out of the chaos, and I shuddered at the sudden knowledge of how serious what had happened really was – and it felt like I’d been caught completely of guard with a slap to the face.

I carried on with the multitude of tasks ahead for the day as tonight was the “big one” and everything had to be perfect, but the flashbacks and knot in my stomach kept me suspended in a state of confusion and anxiety, unable to eat and too busy to introvert into my safe-place of solitude. Eyes on the goal, and with help from the best, I pushed on and got through the night, putting every ounce of energy left into concealing my inner turmoil and keeping my face neutral – and praise God, it was a success..

..well, for most. Trying to explain the obvious to a mind that works differently proved futile. The magnetic pull was strong but I had to choose reason over emotion, and even though my heart cried out – I couldn’t let it win. Not this time. The cost would be too high and the loss too great.

So as the light penetrated my dorm room, I could hear the busses containing a sea of suitcases and sleepy faces, 1 bruised heart and my 2 best friends reversing out of the driveway, I pulled the covers back up over me, feeling left behind, yet knowing that for a moment, I’d been “the most beautiful dream you’d ever been awake for”.

.. but just like all dreams, I had to wake up.

Whoops, I did it again

I saw myself reflected through the eyes of a close friend last night and shuddered at the image before me.

Due to my over-analytical, pattern-seeking nature, I can usually avoid making the same mistake more than once as the shame, guilt and embarrassment are more than enough to whip me into line.. but somehow, this time, I slipped.

It’s not okay.

People say things like “don’t worry, you’re only human, we all mess up”, but no. I can’t accept that. I won’t make excuses this time. I was wrong, I did bad and now I need to face the music.

It’s not even about measuring up to what other people would consider as wrong. I’m measured against the standard God set for me.. not the social norm and I’m sick to my stomach that I had enough pride to think that I was immune to certain types of temptation and can clearly see now, that I needed a reality check to knock me of my high-horse and give me some perspective and an extra dose of humility.

Learning the hard way sucks. I hate it.

And for all those people who ask me how I can spend an hour at 5:30AM each morning doing my devotions – THIS. This is exactly why. Because when I’m too busy or decide to get an extra hour sleep instead of seeking the face of Jesus, these things happen.

So what will I do next time I find myself in the same situation? Bun that (British slang), that was a trick question. There’ll be no next time.

 

BUT!

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..

If you knew you had a choice to make and both options ended you up in the same place, which would you take?

I’m an all-in or all-out kind of person.. but one of the choices, the one that would mean changing things up, opens the door to uncertainty, and how can you step wholeheartedly into something that holds no promise?

The other choice, the smarter one, the wiser one and certainly the safest – I know will take me to my destination with less baggage and probably less drama BUT.

Just BUT. I’ve been through so much that I just want to stomp my feet, raise my voice and scream “BUT!”

Can’t I just play the victim just for once?

Can’t I be the one who gets saved, rather than always being the one who rescues everyone?

Can’t I take the less-wise path this one time without guilt?

I mean, it’s not like I’m talking about sin. It’s grey. GREY!

BUT!

BUT!

BUT!

BUT!

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one..

..well, if you’re actually my friend – ask me yourself 😛

Don’t hug me

I looked up through my tear stained eyes into the crowd of people overflowing into the foyer and immediately felt nervous as many of their faces were unfamiliar to me and the thought of being hugged by strangers caused anxiety as the introvert inside wished I had never left the house.Document2

Standing up there in front of all those who loved her, lump in my throat, trying to hold it together to paint a final picture of the kind of mother she was was difficult and my emotion got the best of me for a few seconds, before I let my mind flash back to my years of acting classes, took a deep breath, and pushed through. Note to self, don’t ever be the MC at a parents funeral.

After the best 12 months of my life – disaster hit and no one would blame me for being angry at God. I mean, several years of being miserable, followed by 1 year of joy and then BAM! I lose my mother. Hardly seems fair.

But the truth is that I’m not angry, nor am I falling apart. I’m in pain of course but God’s grace and promises over my life have given me the strength to push on and grieve in a heathy way this time.

God’s plans haven’t changed because of this plot twist, and if I’ve learned anything in the last 10 years since I left home for the first time to tour in band, it’s that my greatest blessings always flow out of my deepest pain and in the time since my recent move, the lesson that seems to be reoccurring is that the next chapter is going to be great – even when it’s not what I expect.

My grieving isn’t over yet and who knows, perhaps I’m still in shock and it’s going to get a lot worse, but I won’t be crippled by my fear. I refuse to waste another year and choose to move forward and honour my mother by using her death for God’s glory.

I wasn’t sure if I should even post this blog or not as I don’t like people feeling sorry for me and prefer to grieve alone, but I promised transparency and value vulnerability and although I sometimes write in metaphors to keep some level of privacy, this one is different. It’s for her, and she was always open.

God once told me that “Intensity comes with completion [of his promises over my life], but His grace will rise to match it”.. therefore I won’t allow myself to crumble beneath the magnitude of my discomfort but try to stay positive knowing that I don’t need to be strong enough, or brave enough but that He’s got my back – especially when I’m weak.

So it’s been 15 days since I lost my mother, and I know my grieving isn’t over, but I’m going to keep moving forward, not bitter about the years lost but thankful for the 31 years of happy memories I was blessed with.

Back to the future

The most expensive coffee I ever bought - $18From a crowded Chinese airport where I watch the rain wash away my fears along with the dawn, I stop to reflect on the happenings of the past few weeks over my £9 cup of coffee.

After 15 months abroad, I recently decided to go back to Australia for a short period of time. Although the circumstances weren’t great, it was fascinating stepping into the past and seeing the place I left behind through new eyes.

When I first departed, I had one foot in my past and one in my future and although I’ve just had the best year of my life, I haven’t been allowing myself to be truly free. So now for the sake of living life to the fullest and moving forward, I’ve decided that I don’t need to live in a waiting room any longer – afraid to make decisions that might complicate my future.

The bible says “do not fear” 365 times – God’s daily reminder to me that I need to trust him with all the “what if’s” and ridiculous worse case scenario’s my mind can conjure up. Many of my anxieties left along with my brokenness, however fear continues to be a part of my life.

I’ve once again had to practice praising in the dark times and trusting my loved ones to the One who first loved me, while believing that staying where He has placed me, will actually do more good than trying to problem solve on my own or follow the logic of those who think it’s their place to have an opinion.

People will never stop telling me to go home, they will never understand the reasons for my relationship status or why I choose to live out of a suitcase, but I will never stop following His voice because it’s been the single unchanging thing throughout the last 10 years of my life that has over time actually created the sensation of ” being home” and become the only way to still my anxiety and prepare me for the unknown that lies ahead.

People don’t understand me, they never have – but the difference now, is that I know that I don’t need to apologise for asking God for an exciting life or that He blessed me with it.

My path might be a mystery to me, but I know that my story was written before I was even born by a hand that doesn’t make mistakes. I don’t have to be able to see the route to know its amazing, because in the words of Dr Emmett Brown “Where we’re going – we don’t need roads”.

So now that all that’s left of my £9 cup of coffee (which was – actually amazing) is an aftertaste, I thank God for the short amount of time I got to spend with my family, take a deep breath and brace myself, because now I’m going back – back to the future!

Unplugged

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I took this photo during my recent trip to Norway. 

There are few times in my life when the news I received shook me to my core to the point where I knew that from then on, every moment in time would be referred to as “before” or “after” that particular event.

I see patterns. I notice them, I look for them and I try to learn from them. Nothing annoys me more than seeing someone making the same mistake over and over and then complaining that nothing’s changed.

So years ago I resolved to find my patterns, analyse them, and put strategies in place to ensure personal development and growth even when my emotional response is to feel sorry for myself and start sabotaging other ares of my life. I don’t always get it right the first time, or even the second.. but I’m glad to say that usually, after persisting, praying and many tears – I see progress.

The first time I found myself in such a position, I dived into the box set of F.r.i.e.n.d.s, then Greys Anatomy, then Prison Break, then Gossip Girl, and by the time I was ready to face the music, I had pumped so much junk into my mind that I still struggle with just being present and feeling – rather than hiding away in the numbness of distraction.

The next time, I jumped on a plane to Europe and tried a different approach.

I unplugged. I allowed myself to feel the pain.. deeply.. but more than that, with Gods help in recognising my patterns, I was able to come up with a game plan to have a clear and healthy mindset about my circumstances, rather than letting my emotions control me.

So that brings me to today. Another crossroads.

My natural response is emotional instability which makes excuses for bad decisions and over-indulges in order to keep my mind off the pain and honestly, I do still feel the pull. But this time its different. I’m not the only one effected, which means I can’t allow myself the usual pity party.

So rather than trusting my judgement which is most likely skewed in times like these, I decided to go back and find the notes I took the last time I was face-to-face with the impossible, and here’s what I had written:

  1. Overcoming requires me to use everything I’ve learned so far on my journey, including courage, wisdom, trust, endurance and surrender
  2. Unless I believe that God will show up, I’m unlikely to defeat or even fight my fear and doubt
  3. God wants to be known and honoured for who He is and my struggles are an opportunity to make his power and goodness known
  4. Gods plans for my life are in the direction of an overwhelming obstacle. If I go towards it, I will see God intervene on my behalf.

That’s it then. There’s my answer. What a relief that I’ve walked this road before and already know what I have to do. I guess I just needed some reminding.

Wish me luck! Jokes. I don’t do luck, but feel free to keep me in your prayers – I need them!

I love you and I’m sorry

I peer out the window of seat 16F where the view of Ireland is obstructed by the right wing of the plane and I introvert into my iPod as the hostess proceeds with pointing out the emergency exits.

2 more countries scratched off my map this weekend which brings me up to a total of 31% of Europe and my heart thrills at the thought that this number will almost double by the end of the summer.

Yesterday someone asked me if my future held marriage and settling down. My immediate response was “marriage maybe, settling down, no”.

It’s like theres a count down timer on my life, not until death, but until the time when my liberty is stunted. Not in speech or even religion but of a day when my passport is exchanged for a mortgage, children and picket fence.

People tell me that I can have both, but I don’t believe it. I’ve always had to choose. I missed my 21st, the birth of family members, my little brothers 18th, and later this year I’ll miss my dads 60th birthday.

These things pierce my heart when I picture all my favourite people in 1 room, because the truth is, that I could be there but the cost is just too high, and I’m not talking about the money.

I can’t, I just can’t have both. When I look back over the years since I finished school, I don’t count the gatherings but the stamps on my passport as achievements. Maybe my priorities are wrong, but I’m not ready nor have I ever been to head home early.

I wish I could have both. I wish I could feel free at home but home has become following the open doors that lead to everywhere.

I have the perfect family and they deserve the best. They deserve to have us all around the table for Christmas and special occasions but they saw that I was suffocating and my need to fly and graciously released me with their blessing.

So as I sit here in seat 16F where the view of Ireland is obstructed by the right wing of the plane and I introvert into my iPod, a tear for all the missed moments rolls down my cheek and I choose to thank God that although I never choose home over adventure, they still choose me.

I love you all and I’m sorry.

To whom it may concern,

Let us meet only once.

We can talk, we can laugh.

But then please, walk away.

I can’t afford to let my thoughts linger in your direction, because that’s not where I’m heading.

My actions may confuse you as occasionally I get lost in the intrigue and thrill of having taken my eyes off the prize for a moment, but despite my smile and the way I sometimes flick my hair, I know that this isn’t really what I want.

So let us meet only once.

We can talk, we can laugh.

But then please, just walk away.

Sincerely never yours,

Angeline

Click here to read “To whom it may concern – part 2”

..and just sometimes, they love you back.

The feeling of mutual fondness is rare in life, so the fact that I both found and lost it in the last 2 weeks leaves me feeling melancholy yet smiling as I hold my hands up to my cold, damp face.

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You might be thinking “Oh, she’s met the one!”

..but no. It was actually a group of 13-17 year old students from Brazil who stole my heart.

I’m often known for needing countless hours of alone time to recharge after “peopling” too much. But somehow in 15 days, I only retreated once and lived on 5 hours sleep a night because the thought of being with the kids brought me more satisfaction than that of my usual solitude.

Working with young people is nothing new for me, having worked with school and summer camp ministries for years but this time it was different. I wasn’t scraping the barrel and giving from my lack but I somehow found myself recharged and was able to give out of my overflow.

I was so used to service being exhausting because I was always so drained that I had forgotten that there was another way to do it.. one filled with laughter, selfies and finishing each other’s sandwiches.

I’m not saying I didn’t have a moment or 2 when when my best friend and person had to snap me out of an emotional response or overreaction to the unpredictable, but I am completely convinced that my morning devotions (or JC time as I call them) are what kept me grounded.

We said our final goodbyes at the airport and scrambled back onto an almost empty bus and I pondered the farewells that were said and the ones that weren’t, concluding that the success of this mission had nothing to do with me and everything to do with trusting an overwhelming task to an ever capable God.

So as I lift my frozen hands up to my face, breathing air onto my numb fingers, I feel the tingling sensation of warmth returning and smile knowing that with or without my knowledge, God has been doing the same to my heart.

Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!

This time last year I told my mum the whole truth, and we cried together. I had practiced shutting them out for so long, that to finally pull down all the walls was the perfect way to say goodbye.

I used to call myself the Grinch of summer (I’m Australian remember), not because I hated the sun or even Christmas, but because trying to join in the festivities while masking a broken heart took more energy than I ever had to spare.

Now I’ve traded in my sunscreen for a coat and It’s a Wonderful Life can stay on the shelf with all the other things that stole my joy for too long, while the era of Home Alone peeps it’s head out from beneath the irony of being neither home nor alone this Christmas.

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The lessons that 2016 taught me were well worth the frustration, and although I sometimes took the long route, I wouldn’t trade a single tear, as each one that fell to the ground took root and helped me establish a firm unshakable foundation.

So this year, before my usual cynicism could creep in and rob me of my merriment, I reminded myself that I’m not miserable. Not even close. I’m ridiculously happy and content. Maybe not every moment of every day, but every other moment.

Now as I lay on my bed this cool Christmas Eve listening to Pentatonix and waiting for the celebrations to begin, I will whisper a prayer of thanksgiving to God for giving me the most amazing family and for making this year all He said it would be and so much more.

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Dedicated to mum, dad, Christopher, George, Lynda, Evie (Happy Birthday), Dani, Xander, Nio and Christian. You are the greatest gifts God ever gave me. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals (lol), I love you all and keep out of my room! haha xoxo

Want to share in my nostalgia – That’s Christmas to me 

Morning has broken

There’s something so calming and refreshing about sitting in the cool, crisp darkness knowing that the world is asleep and my God is awake.

Basking in the presence of God this week, while He spoke love and blessing over my life reignited a fire in me that had been dwindling in the background for a time as I sadly got too busy for my morning dates with my maker and somehow forgot about the unspeakable joy and promise that sitting at the feet of Jesus could bring.

For a time I was afraid to hope out loud but having been reminded that true love casts out all fear, I can now take hold of my promise once again and allow God to rebuild the bridge from who I am to who He needs me to be to accomplish His plans for my life.

This dream is so big that I constantly need to use every ounce of faith I’ve ever had to develop to wait on it, and risk the criticism and constant doubts of those who I share it with.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. There are countless stories in the Bible of God pushing people to their limits so they could grow and bring Him the glory He deserves in the midst of the most confusing of circumstances. Why should I expect any less now? He is after all still sovereign, still powerful, still God.

I guess the question remains.. do I really, truly trust Him?

When things seem too hard and I don’t understand what He’s doing I’m reminded of that story in John 6:67-68, when Jesus turned to the disciples and said to them “do you want to leave too?” and they replied “Where would we go, you have words of eternal life”.. and that’s exactly how I feel. I’ve come too far to turn back now. I know that I know that I KNOW that I’m on the path He prepared for me and so even when it seems beyond difficult, I know that the only way is to push forward.

So as I sit in the twilight, coffee in hand, blanket on my lap and praise on my lips, I pray for patience and endurance to make it through the final leg of this journey unscathed.. and because God is an artist, He painted me a sunrise.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalms 113:3

Bruised

I recently asked God to give me something that I knew probably wasn’t the best for me, but I asked for it anyway.. because, well, I’m not perfect.. and oddly enough, I received it.

It was literally 2 days before my head and my heart were at war.. and as I complained to God, He reminded me that this was exactly what I had requested. I realised immediately that I really have no idea what I need and in this case even what I want.

I held God at arms length for a little while, just waiting for the “I told you so”, but it never came. What DID come was a constant whisper calling me to Himself and assurance that I hadn’t lost Him or wandered so far that I couldn’t find my way back home. In His complete kindness and faithfulness to me He whispered that He is never surprised by my shortcomings but already has a plan in place of how He is going to get me out of this mess.

Something that shouldn’t surprise me but did, was that although I received what I asked for, I didn’t remain content with it. Like a drug, I craved more and more to the point where I almost spoiled it all together.

I was disappointed in myself and tempted to wallow in self-pity but I really can’t stay down when God speaks promise into my life. His words are convicting, not condemning and always full of hope.

This test isn’t over, I may have to take it again and I’ll have a few bruises, but praise God, this time, no scars.

 

Falling leaves

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..and as the fallen leaves coloured the grass, I knew that this was something beautiful..

Chaos frustrates me and I sometimes struggle with change so when I saw the grand trees around campus dropping their leaves, I sighed and wondered who would clean up the mess. Little did I know that I’d soon be asking the same question about the status of my own life.

Recently, in a moment of weakness, I caved in an area that I hadn’t struggled with in about 10 years. I didn’t see it coming and I wasn’t prepared for it.

I’ve been struggling to find a healthy balance between all the free time I had earlier this year to study and practice self discipline and this place now, which is just as amazing but also includes full-time work and a social life.

I made excuses for not spending enough quality time in my personal devotion and bible study but they were just that – excuses, and for a while they made me feel better.. but you can’t build a meaningful relationship with small talk alone and for me at least, in my relationship with God, that means pouring my heart out and allowing time to stop and listen to what He has to say.

Trying to justify my actions made me feel better for a short time until this week when the fruit of my relationship breakdown with God became apparent.

My first reaction was to try and hide it as I wasn’t sure how to feel.. maybe if people never found out, then I could just pretend it never happened, but after chatting to God about it, He reminded me that living a life of integrity is about who you are when no-one is watching and since I made a commitment to Him long ago to live my life like that, I knew that deception wouldn’t satisfy or bring me the peace that I so desperately craved.

I promised God that He could have all of me.. my victories AND my failures and although I’m afraid to hand over control, I will once again look up to heaven, watch the leaves fall and trust that He can make something beautiful out of this mess.

Cornwall

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As we set out in 4 mini-vans and a luggage truck on Friday morning, we prayed for better weather than what we were leaving behind.

Having repeatedly heard things such as “it’s the best camp of the year” and “it’s the most fun I ever had” I felt the pressure to recreate such an experience.

Pr Dejan Stojkovic’s stories of how he hacked the system to provide the boys dorm with WIFI on multiple occasions when it was thought to be “dangerous” to when he was ambushed with unwanted hugs, force-fed meals, and had the bible read out loud to him by friends when he lost his father had the entire room captivated and brought a real sense of family and community, highlighting the fact that we aren’t here to be fans of Christ who turn up when its’ convenient but rather followers who are 100% sold for Christ – even when the storms come.

God answered our prayers and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun was out and the moon was full and when asking people if they were having fun and how this camp compared to previous Cornwall camps, I received all positive feedback and I wondered how that could be, since we all have different expectations, and I realised that that’s the beauty of this place. It has enough nature for you to get away and spend time in silence and prayer and enough going on that if you want to be with people playing games, sport, or just talking around a campfire, that is possible too.

Although hours of planning went into this trip, I realised that camp wasn’t about what was written on the program but rather what we made it, together, and I can’t speak for everyone but I feel like many left with friends and returned with family.

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And as I watched our small convoy pull away from the campsite, I reflected. What was it that had made this camp memorable? Was it the new connections made, was it the call to action in the thought provoking messages from the speaker or was it that no matter what you were hoping to take from this time away, it was possible?

For me at least, it was all of the above summarised in Acts 2:44 “all the believers were together and had everything in common”.

Living the Dream

“I looked deep into my eyes and saw an ocean of stories. So many in fact, that I couldn’t hold my stare any longer, I had to look away before the page turned and the tears rolled in”

I guess I haven’t looked at myself that closely in a while. I sit up against the mirror as I put on my make-up every morning but these days, instead of being pulled into the darkness, I hear the laughs echoing from the corridor outside my room and as the light shines through my window, I catch a glimpse of the cross and for the first time in a long time I feel genuinely happy.

I wanted to travel, I wanted to grow and I needed to heal and God, still being as faithful as He was the day He parted the Red Sea, hand-picked the perfect place for me to not only get what I needed, but gave me things I didn’t even know I wanted.

The bandage is finally off, and as the sunlight hits my scar it doesn’t hurt as much. I might even stop making reference to it some day soon, and as I learn to forgive on another level (a level I never even knew existed until recently), I can’t help but feel more peaceful and free.

I’m not going to lie, I had forgotten what it felt like to love life!

But now, I grin when I see the chipmunks bouncing along the grass in the early morning hours while I spend time with my maker and the young deer frolicking in the perfectly manicured gardens.

So I welcome the impending change only days away because if my God has called me forward into something, I have confidence that I’ll either love it or learn from it but never regret it.. because it’s exactly where I’m meant to be.

Hello Goodbye

If you were offered something amazing but only once, would you take it? It sounds like a no-brainer, BUT from that moment on, it would become the standard to which all other great things would be measured.

I was recently lucky enough to be faced with this choice and after much deliberation, I decided to go for it. I am slowly learning that I need to be okay with living my life like that because not many things can stand the test of time.

I just completed a 2 week backpacking trip around parts of Europe and in this time I had the opportunity to push myself outside my comfort-zone (some days we had no idea where we would sleep the following night) but somehow I didn’t freak out. Could it be that I’m outgrowing my OCD? Maybe.

But the biggest lesson that I am learning over and over again is that saying “hello” just to say “goodbye” is okay.

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I used to hide from fleeting moments and bury my head in the sand but I’m discovering that that’s all life really is.. a series of fleeting moments strung together, and if you’re lucky as I have been, those memories will leave you with a smile and remind you that you’re a unicorn.

As a girl, I like to dream. I can paint a picture in my mind of the next 20 years within moments which is dangerous because when things don’t work out as imagined, I not only have to grieve what was lost but also what could have been and sometimes that’s even more painful. Being a girl is not a good enough excuse to let my emotion overrule my logic. We all have a choice and I choose to guard my heart. I will take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.

Even so, once I’ve invested time in someone it breaks me a little to let them go BUT I know that I need to learn to live in the moment and for today or else I’ll forever be waiting for the next temporary high which NEVER satisfies or worse, stuck in the painful past.

Picking the flowers without being sad that they are going to die doesn’t come naturally to someone as sentimental as me but I need to try my best to live life to the full. I have wasted too many years looking backwards. This can’t be a choice I just make once either, but one that I have to remake everyday because old habits die hard.

I’m reminded of that verse in Ecclesiastes 3, which says that there is a season for everything and although I no longer have a backpack on my shoulders or have to share a hostel room with 7 strangers, I will choose to embrace today’s journey and depend on His strength to give me the ability not to keep looking back at the pain, but to look up to where my hope is found.

Green Eggs and Ham

I do so like Green Eggs and Ham! Thank you! Thank you, Sam-I-am!
Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 7.24.56 PM

Last night felt like I was in a back-to-front Dr Seuss story as I discovered that certain things I once enjoyed had now lost their appeal.

You could say that they were like childhood friends (hypothetical of course) as I couldn’t be quite sure if I’d still choose them now or if I just hung out with them because they had always been around, but all the same – they were familiar, and when you’re far from home, familiar feels safe.

I can’t put my finger exactly on what it was but I DO know what it wasn’t. It wasn’t lovely, it wasn’t true, it wasn’t of good report and it certainly wasn’t worthy of any praise (Philippians 4:8).

At first I felt a sense of confusion and almost loss, not having realised the moment when things changed within me from the old to the new but as I sat there and allowed my over-analytical mind do its thing, I began to smile and as the sun began to rise, my confusion turned to understanding and loss to joy as the words of the old hymn resonated in my mind:

“turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.. and the things of Earth will grown strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”

It wasn’t the movie, the popcorn or even the company. It was something about the feeling of having eaten “green eggs and ham” too many meals in a row that left me craving something more substantial and I realised that I’d never be able to go back to the old. Not for long anyway. Not now that I knew better.

It won’t kill me or even make me a sinner, but it DOES remind me that there is a better way to live.

Keeping “old friends” around just because they are familiar is only cute for so long. Ignorance can’t be your excuse forever and at some point we all need to make a diffifult choice because if we avoid the gentle promptings, we eventually get sick – or worse still, that feeling becomes the norm and we can all too easily get stuck in that place of indifference.

So I’ll end on the oh so famous words of Dr Seuss:

“I would not like them here or there, I would not like them anywhere! I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam-I-am”

 

Odd ball

It’s exhausting walking into a new place, looking around and thinking “right, there is no-one here who gets me”.

646d0cf891b6d23412192ed7bd7d3686I’m in this weird transitional place knowing that my life is just beginning and not just that, but that it’s going to be awesome because I walked through the door that was hand-picked for me, but being human, I’m still tempted to doubt.

“I remember crying to him saying that I was too old, too tired to start all over again. He held me tightly and whispered that it would all be okay” 

I cant even remember how many times I have started over. Clean slate, new life, new group of friends. I thought that the last group of friends I had would be it. Forever.. and I was so happy with that.

Letting people go is something I really struggle with. It hurts every time. It might be because I am selective with who I share my intimate thoughts, feelings and pain with (in person, because clearly anyone can read my blog :P) so once I have opened up and invested time in someone, I want to keep them around. I know this isn’t possible or even realistic, especially since I want a life of travel, but it makes me wonder if opening up and being totally vulnerable with complete strangers is worth it.

I’m reminded in Acts 20:24 that my life is not my own and if my aim truely is to finish the race and complete the task God has for me, I guess that means that its not for me to bottle up and keep private.

Will I be a good steward of the story God has given me and use all of it to bring Him glory or waste more precious time burying the painful parts deep inside my heart, because lets face it, God always has His way with me in the end.. its just a matter of how much time I’ll waste in the process.

So tomorrow, rather than cringing at the thought of all the small talk that I’m likely to encounter, I will pray for courage over comfort because I know that I can’t have both.

 

#Smashreality

IMG_7455Deep breath.

I just spent the last week on a party cruise around the Greek Islands and from the moment I booked it, I knew that there would most likely be situations that I would need to walk away from and others that I would treasure forever. I prayed for wisdom and the ability to make connections without compromising my values.

I’ve always spent a lot of time analyzing myself. I know who I am, my strengths, my weaknesses, and I am constantly re-evaluating who I want to be and what needs to change in order for me to get there, and something I learned at an early age was that if I left the tough decisions to be made “in the heat of the moment”, I’d always choose wrong.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been saved from doing something stupid because I chose based on reason while in a healthy state of mind rather than trying to make the same decision once emotionally invested.

So as usual, before stepping forward into a place that might call for some self-control, I pre-made all my important decisions. It helped. I weighed the pros and cons and had to make sure I was 100% sold on my choices because if I wasn’t convicted, I’d likely start to rationalize and slip.

Dessert was served to me on a silver platter this week and even though I was tempted to take a bite on multiple occasions, I was able, with Gods help to pick up a piece of fruit and step away from the pastries. Parting from something that brings you comfort is sweet sorrow but there is nothing more sorrowful to me than regret.

Some would argue that a little junk food never hurt anyone, but knowing myself as well as I do, I know that it’s not about the calories. It’s about doing what needs to be done in order to become who God wants me to be, and I am certain that I wont become that person by accident.

God is so faithful to me and I was able to get through the week with only minor setbacks. Not just that, but I made the most amazing friends.

I have been in a mental state of tug-of-war recently as to whether or not allowing myself to be surrounded by something that I wont take part in is wise and I’m still in dialogue with God about it and maybe as I look back in weeks to come I’ll see things in a new light, but right now, from up in the air, I can smile.

So I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes (thanks Brendan Pratt) “Your direction NOT your intention determines your destination”.

Picture Perfect

1

They say “a picture paints a thousand words” but what happens when it paints the wrong words?

I just spent 3 days on a bus tour exploring parts of Western Greece with my parents and the whole time we were all snapping away on our various devices trying to capture the beauty that beheld us. What we saw with our eyes took our breath away but later on when we looked at what the camera had captured, we were less than impressed. What had looked like “the most beautiful landscape we had ever seen” ended up pretty average in the photos.

And I started thinking about my life and how the pictures that I paint of myself aren’t entirely accurate either. When people see me through what I post on social media, I naturally want them to see someone who is strong and independent. I obviously don’t post the pictures that make me look fat or show that I’m having a bad day because I want people to think “wow, she lives in Greece, that’s so awesome!”.. and I’m embarrassed to admit it, but sometimes I even like it when they’re jealous.

But what people don’t see is that memories still sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks. The location may have changed but that’s just like slapping a band-aid on a splinter. It’s when I lift it off and allow God to do His thing (which usually involves a lot of being uncomfortable and sometimes a little pain too), that true healing can come.. and even though renewing my mind has helped me overcome certain battles, there are always new ones to be won.

Vulnerability is a powerful weapon. There is nothing like admitting my flaws to rid me of some pride and I believe that if more people allowed themselves to be vulnerable, that we wouldn’t feel the need to wear masks as often. Even Paul talks of the thorn in his flesh (2 Cor 12) that remained with him so he wouldn’t become conceited (I totally love that I got to talk about Paul, being so close to Corinth! Okay, back to the serious stuff!!).

Struggles aren’t something to be ashamed of, they are how we grow and everybody has them. Everything I want to learn takes practice and since I strive to be like Jesus, that guarantees a lifetime of lessons ahead.

I will strive to paint an accurate picture of myself even though my human nature and my conviction are at a constant state of tug-of-war between how I want to be perceived and who I really am. But luckily I’ve got a helper that’s only a prayer away who isn’t put off by my ridiculous anxieties and countless excuses.

So I will end on this quote by Tracey Metzger “Exchange the mask you wear for the opportunity for your story to be used in His story. For your struggle to be used as a beacon of hope in the lives of hurting people around you”.

The picture is of Lake Trihonida in the Aetolia region of Western Greece. It was taken by my mum from outside our hotel and was one of the photos that actually turned out pretty good.

The one about my mind

c5edfce0-839d-0132-1da9-0a2c89e5f2f5What if each intrusion on my mind is a call to battle?

A couple of months ago I was being attacked by thoughts that would cripple me. I would go from peace to tears in a matter of seconds and it was occuring so regularly that when the thought came to me that rather than just praying for myself, to pray for 2 other people each time it happened, I decided to give it a go.

I mean, the enemy is trying to destroy me but at what cost? Would he continue to attack my mind in this manner if my prayer for the Spirit to intervene in the lives of others followed each attack? I tested it and I am so delighted to say that those thoughts very rarely enter my mind now.

The first few days, my prayers came through clenched fists as the tears streaked my cheeks and the words struggled to exit my lips but I persevered. I refuse to be like a wave tossed in the sea as the enemy has his way with my mind.

God has triumphantly gained the victory over my mind from the pain that once lived there, but what about the territory that isn’t painful, but also isn’t useful?

Those who know me well know that I am the BIGGEST fan of the TV show Friends. I have been watching it on repeat for years. Now, I LOVE my silence, but when I want to be distracted from “real life” or just want to clean my room, I like having Friends on in the background.. for company (LOL).

But since this trip was meant to be a “spiritual retreat” one of the first things I decided to do was limit anything that would be a distraction from my focus on the Word of God.. and you guessed it! Friends was one of the first things I was convicted about.

So when I was in the shower this morning trying to pray and my favourite scenes kept popping into my mind I got frustrated “I have pretty much cut the show out of my life, why is it still occupying so many of my thoughts??” When I suddenly had a brilliant idea (thanks Holy Spirit) to pray for the cast! I mean, Heaven wouldn’t be the same without them anyway and the way the enemy has stopped attacking my mind in the past was to pray the atoning blood of the Lamb over those who needed it, so why not do the same now??

Through the years I have sporadically prayed for celebrities but I have now decided to incorporate a section of intercessory prayer in my daily devotions for them. I don’t think this is something to be taken lightly because these people are influential so the enemy won’t give them up without a fight but I know that “Jesus came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10), “nothing is too hard for Him” (Jeremiah 32:17) and that “if we ask anything according to his will He hears us” (1 John 5:14).

Now, I’m not saying that just because someone is a celebrity they aren’t saved because who am I to judge the state of someone’s soul? But I am fully persuaded that prayer can’t hurt the cause of Christ, but it can help. And lets face it, if we as “Christians” aren’t praying for them, who will?

So rather than being concerned with achieving a state of Unagi, I’m going to do my fighting in prayer to win back the territory of my mind and am believing that at the same time, God will do what He says in Colossians 1:13 and deliver them from the domain of darkness and transfer them to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom we have redemption and forgiveness.

The Advocate

pic1901281I often feel like Marty the Zebra in Madagascar 2, wanting to stand out from the rest of the herd but knowing that externally, he’s exactly the same.

I have this insatiable thirst to feel unique. So finding out that my personality type (INFJ – The Advocate) is the rarest (only 1% of the population),  together with my blood type being AB+ (only 3 % of the population) makes me feel somewhat more important. I know – how petty!

I took this personality test to gain a clearer understanding of myself and in the process, I learned that some others who share my personality type are Ghandi, Martin Luther King (my head began to swell), David Schwimmer (I knew Ross was my favourite for a reason), Osama bin Laden and Hitler! How funny!

So pretty much, I have the potential to make a difference in this world for good or for evil.

But I already knew that. So what am I really searching for?

I can safely assume that most items in a supermarket lined up side by side were mass produced by some machinery that just spat them out in a factory somewhere. But if I believe the Bible when it says that “God is the potter and I am the clay (Isaiah 64:8)”, then that means that He actually moulded me with His hands. He wasn’t the overseeing manager who ordered his Minions or Oompa Loompas to flick the switch that would begin the “creation of Angeline” process, He actually got His hands dirty. He intentionally made me short and painted that freckle on my bottom lip.

And when Alex the lion (Marty’s best friend) is trying to identify him in that herd of Zebras, I love that it’s his scar that sets him apart. How relevant. It’s my brokenness that has made me kinder, my need that has made me generous and my God that has given me my worth.

I’m not a product of mass production and I need to believe that I am special not because of who I am or what that website says people with my personality type have the potential to achieve, but because of who He is and what He has already done for me.

Click here to find out what personality type you are!

My life in ruins

 

ancient-corinth-corinthians-columnsAll I’ve wanted to do since I learned that I was going to be living 10 mins from Corinth was to take my bible to the ruins, read in the grass and imagine the biblical scenes and stories unfolding in the landscape before my eyes, but for some reason I can’t find a bus timetable to get me to there!

I’m not someone who likes to “play it by ear”. I plan. I know exactly what time to wake up, how many minutes it takes me to walk to the bus stop and how much earlier to leave if I want to get a coffee and fresh tiropita (don’t judge). So the thought of just jumping on a bus and walking around Corinth looking for someone helpful to direct me to the right place makes me feel uneasy.

But sometimes when you really want to do something and have already put it off for the last 6 weeks because circumstances haven’t aligned you just need to get off your comfy beige couch and do it! Anxiety is screaming at me to postpone until I have a better idea but until he proves himself a worthwhile companion, I’ll shove a sock in his mouth and put him back in the freezer next to Joey’s copy of the Shining (Friends reference) where he belongs.

I can sky dive, tour in a band, move overseas alone, and plan to go bungee jumping in the next few weeks but God forbid that I dont know what time my bus arrives!

I read the story of Joseph today (thanks Melon) and how everything in his life, good and bad was preparing him for this amazing future he could have never imagined.. and I wonder how all the puzzle pieces of my life are going to fit together.

Right now, I look at my life and it looks like a jumbled puzzle. There are odd peices all over the place and some that I swear don’t even belong to this set, but I know that all it takes is 1 moment for everything to change. Joseph was working in the prison like any other day when God gave the king those dreams that changed the course of his life and I’m trusting that the same God that promoted Joseph from prisoner to Prime Minister can open my freezer, take out all the non-food items and show me how this whole time they have been working together for my good to not only get me through life but to give me a story worth sharing.

I believe that God gives us opportunities and success depends on the use we make of them so am I going to waste another 6 weeks waiting for the perfect opportunity to do the 1 thing I have wanted to do most since I decided to move to Greece or stop being a lump and actually channel some of that adrenaline-junky courage towards something a little less life-threatening and a little more soul satisfying?

 

 

Insomnia

577df871809d826a3ec7792ce91f542dFor years now, I have slept to forget the pain.

My family know how much I love to sleep. At home in my bed, I could sleep through the entire day. Life was like that movie Groundhog day and just existing was hard work.

So I have been caught completely off guard by the fact that for a little while now, I now can’t sleep.

When the thing you look forward to the most in the world (eating comes in close) is taken away from you, you try to replace it with something. More food isn’t an option cause I don’t want to become a fatso (don’t judge) so I decided I needed another course of action.

I am learning that talking to God about my loss is better than hibernation. He has taught me to take my thoughts captive and replace lies with truths while I’m awake rather than relying on the temporary relief of slumber.

He listens, He understands, He gives advice and He knows how to calm my anxious heart with the 4 simple words “do you trust me?”. He talks me through all the junk that tries to steal my joy and tells me of the plans He has for me.

I’m okay with giving up something I loved for the One I love and I’m totally cool with handing back the painful things He died to free me from.

When I’m lying awake in bed, I will praise Him and remember His faithfulness, when my mind starts to wonder towards the fear I will pray for people and delight in advance for the miracles that I know are just around the corner and at ALL times I will give thanks.. and because He is good, the comfort of His voice often rocks me to sleep.

 

Home is where..

Having always been a person who loves to travel, many times I have been asked the question “Where is home?” and its got me thinking.. where is the one place that feels the most like home to me?

The answer has always been simple. Home is wherever my parents are. It doesn’t even need to be at my house, but if my parents are there it feels like home. They are a constant reminder that someones got my back and that I’m safe.

I’m not generally a person who misses people. I love adventure and travel and although I love to keep in contact with everyone back home, I rarely feel the emotion of “missing” my friends and family (except for my nieces and nephews who grow up too fast).

I’m not very affectionate with my family and I struggle to show them that I care but when I’m feeling uneasy, it’s them that I think about. We don’t need to be talking or even in the same room, but just knowing that they are close by makes me feel secure.

When I’m worried I’m going to miss my flight or am praying that I really did just order a salad and not a deep fried octopus or a plate of snails, it’s the thought of my mum and dad that brings me the most comfort.

How much more with God. Knowing He is there is like always having my parents in the next room and even more so because he not only helps me out of tough situations but prepares me for them in advance.

So although the thought of my parents gives me the temporary feeling of safety and “being home”, I choose to focus more on the truth that this world is NOT my home, nor anyone or anything in it so I’ll keep my eyes on my heavenly father because with Him there is no time difference, no bad Skype connection and he always answers – well actually, He is the one calling and its up to me to answer.

Mountain top

So when you’re sitting in a cold dark house surrounded by everything you thought you needed to be content and you’re thinking “What am I doing here??!” you tend to re-evaluate your life.

I have always prided myself on being independent. “I don’t need people” I used to say. I believed until recently that I could easily have been a monk living on a hill just eating, reading and praying.

13151627_176202669445543_2010387775984587918_nNow I don’t live in the hills but I live beside one and I’m not a monk but I live next to a monastery (although I imagined one that didn’t wake me with their bells at sunrise and chanted a little softer) and it has taken a flight across the world to realise that I was born for more than solitude!

I have deleted and retyped the next statement a few times because its hard for me to say, but I NEED PEOPLE. I wanted a mountain top experience without ever having to come down, just me an my creator but the moment I got that I realised it wasn’t enough.

Silence is still my closest companion. Until I learned to value silence, I struggled to hear the still small voice speaking to my heart but I have also realised that it’s beautiful because most of the things He whispers involve a practical application down there with the people and off my mountain.

I am neat and highly organised to the point of OCD. So it’s gives me anxiety even thinking of mixing my perfect stillness with the chaos of people, especially strangers in a foreign land with a language I only understand about 70% of but that’s where I need to be reminded constantly to handover my anxiety in exchange for His peace and my OCD for his self control, unconditional love and sense of humour. I love that God can laugh.

Life is hard, especially one where everything is unknown but knowing that God is faithful and willing to take someone as uptight as me and plant me in a land where I need to learn to serve people makes me uneasy at first, but then at peace when He whispers that He will take me by the hand and lead me down that mountain and we can enter the chaos together.

Brokenness

I’m coming realise that brokenness is not my enemy.

Some people say that when things get hard in life they doubt God. From a young age when things went pear shaped I would run to Him, He has always been my hiding place and safety from the storm. It’s when things in my life are going well and my heart begins to heal that I forget to run to Him and begin thinking that I’m smart enough to solve my own problems and make decisions independent of Him.

Thats why a while ago I prayed a prayer. A radical prayer that changed everything.

“May my heart always be broken if it means that I would learn to trust You more”

God accepted that challenge.

I have come to terms with living in a state of brokenness and I have realised that its where I want to be. It’s not that I don’t welcome ease and comfort but I don’t trust myself to live there. I have found that my wholeness and delight can come from linking my brokenness to his fullness and the joy and peace that I experience in that place is much more beautiful than anything I’ve experienced before. I am fine with being incapable of Joy without Jesus.

Brokenness is not my enemy. He is the constant reminder that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and not a single thing without Him – and I NEED that reminder everyday.

 

City of lights

I can recognise my own sweet country from up in the air even at night. There is something loveable about its randomly set coloured lights sprawled across the landscape as far as the eye can see. It reminds me of Christmas lights that have been arranged by children over never ending acres of land.

Early this morning as I flew over this new land all I could see were a few bright rows of golden lights all matching and perfectly spaced, intentionally placed leading somewhere mysterious. In between was nothing. No street lights leading to houses or even dimmer lights to show that land was beneath, nothing to indicate that in that blackness was water, desert, forest or even houses. Just emptiness.

A chill crept into my heart. So much can go wrong when you don’t know the landscape. I looked for signs of the sunrise, my favourite time of day so I could see something familiar but there was no light on the horizon. I couldn’t even tell where the horizon would be. Was I surrounded by clouds? Would I even be able to see the sunrise once it dared to peep out from behind the darkness?

Anxiety is an old friend. I know him well. He is predictable when not much else is. I cling to him because he does what he’s meant to do and never lets me down. I enjoy knowing that he will be there to remind me that some things never change.

By the time I reached where I needed to be and the aroma of my flat white had me reminiscing of my Cousinly Catch Ups back home (miss you girls), I could see the dim pinkness of sunrise daring to creep out from behind foreign buildings and I sighed. Finally, I see the light. My peace returned and my anxious heart was stilled.

The sun was high and its warmth once again kissed my face. It looked different here. It wasn’t set in a sea of blue. Its brilliance was somehow hidden as though behind clouds yet radiated heat as though from a blue sky. Smog. What an unexpected intruder.

There have been many intruders in my life. I hold up a sign saying “not welcome here” yet smile as they pass me by. Sometimes my grin invites them to stay a while.

On the departure from this place I looked down in curiosity to see what the blackness had been and it was nothing but a mixture of sand and water, like a land of man-made beaches, cut into perfect shapes beneath me. Not what I had expected, but also nothing to be afraid of.

I know that there will be darkness again, it’s inevitable, especially since I love to fly. So will I grin and allow my friend to remind me that the unknown can be frightening or will I hold my sign up high and unapologetically shift my focus imagining what beauties could lie beneath?

It’s a new day and I’m above the clouds, maybe it’s time to make some new friends.

Shall we dance?

I’m a performer to my core. I’m more comfortable on stage than in the audience – it’s when I feel most alive!

So I decided to take ballroom dancing lessons with a friend and its been fun. We made mistakes and didn’t take anything too seriously. We laughed and joked and pretended we were Disney princesses as we learned the waltz.

There is always a slight anxiety that pops up when it’s time to “get into pairs” since my friend and I are both girls can’t really dance together. For the first few weeks that was fine. But then one week I had to go alone and I ended up spending a little while dancing with one of the instructors. He was friendly and told me a little about his life. I was intrigued and surprised at what he told me, for one thing, he is doing his PhD.

That lesson was fun, but everything had changed. Now that I had made a friend who worked there, I was embarrassed to arrive late. I didn’t want to make mistakes and I started to worry about what people would think of my 2 left feet.

Trying to learn something new can be hard. Keeping motivated can be even harder. But I noticed that when I made that friend, my desires and priorities changed without me continuously choosing to do so. It happened naturally.

Why was that I wondered?

And is it the same with Christianity? Do we take our spirituality lightly and put only half our effort into it and then one day realise that as we have become closer with Jesus, we can no longer be content taking something He takes so seriously, so lightly?

I still haven’t concluded how I feel about it all but I do know that the following week after I made that friend, I went home and youtube-tutorialed how to do the waltz. I didn’t have to, no-one even knew about it, but somehow something inside me had changed.

Handover

There’s something strange about training the new girl on how to do your job. I want to leave this place of work in the best state as possible. This place has been nothing less than an amazing, Spirit filled opportunity to grow, learn and be mentored by God fearing people.

Why then do I deep down hope that the next girl isn’t as good as me? Why do I want to be remembered as “the best person to ever have that role?”. Is it insecurity? Maybe. Is it a fear of being forgotten? Maybe.

What does that even mean in practical terms? Would I train her badly? Would I “Accidentally” leave some things out or only teach her the bare-minimum?

I’m reminded of the verse in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (thanks Holy Spirit) that tells me to take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. I can’t help those thoughts entering my mind but I can decide if I want to own them as my own or reject them as from the enemy.. and I decided long ago that my body is the temple of God and that means there’s no place for anything that isn’t part of the character of God.

So where does this leave me? I choose to not only train her well but to go above and beyond what I am called to do. I’m so over failing and having to re-take the tests and re-learn the lessons and God wants to teach me. I may not be remembered for being “the best person to have ever had that role” but I know that the records in Heaven will record this day as the day I chose to blitz this test.

 

Driveway Rage

It started as I pulled up to my driveway to find that mum and dads friends had blocked the entrance to my parking spot. This has happened before and it annoys me so much. I called dad, no answer then mum, no answer, then the house phone, you guessed it – no answer.

My street isn’t the kind that you can just park anywhere on, its a cul-de-sac so I’d have to park all the way down the street if someone didn’t move their car.

Dad called me back within 30 seconds “Dad can you tell whoever owns the blue car to move it so I can get into my spot??” “we’re in the middle of a church planting meeting, just park anywhere and then move it later”, “I can’t move it later!” “why not?” “Ill be exercising”. I lied. I never lie. Why did I say it? I then concluded to incorporate some exercise into my evening so I wouldn’t be a liar. “okay, well leave me your keys and I’ll move it for you later”. So I huffed and puffed and parked my car any which way in my street so the back of it was blocking the neighbour.

When I walked in the door dad said “come and say hi to everyone”. I didn’t, I just walked straight passed without even making eye contact and straight into the kitchen. “come say hi Angeline” Couldn’t he tell I was annoyed? Why does he always do this to me? I ignored their church friends and wish so much that my kitchen was hidden away in another room and not just 3 metres away. “leave me alone” I said just loud enough for him to hear. The others probably heard too.

I felt so annoyed but more than that, I felt ashamed. I always do when I let my selfishness get the best of me. I don’t want to be an unpleasant person but why couldn’t they just leave me alone rather than always trying to make me meet all their friends.

I’m not naturally a friendly person when I’m hurting. I’m selective and can easily be rude. I’m disrespectful and moody. I’m embarrassed to be a representative of Jesus. I work for the church and everyone knows it. At work, I’m so professional and pleasant but as soon as I get home, I switch off my kindness and relax into my arrogance.

I hate it but the feeling of anger makes my brokenness hurt less for a second. I guess that if I can distract myself this way then I feel powerful and less rejected.

I know its terrible but it’s been this way for years. I fight for the fruit of the Spirit and find joy through the day and then all of a sudden I flick a switch and become an awful person again.

Mum and dad are embarrassed when I act like that. I figured they should be used to it by now. I have been avoiding their friends for years now. Not cause they aren’t nice people, to be honest, I don’t even know who was visiting as I didn’t even look at them.

How can I strive to be like Jesus so sincerely and all day long and then fail such a simple test? How can I throw away the joy of the day in a moment of pride?

I’m so thankful that God is so forgiving and so are my parents.

So what can I learn from this evening? I guess I need to stop dead in my tracks as soon as I feel the anger rising and pray for humility. I should have prayed before I even left my car a prayer of thankfulness for the victory he had already won for me today and I’m sure that would have released the peace of God into my life and softened my heart.

I failed the test and I know I’ll have to take it again. I just pray that next time I remember to turn my eyes to Jesus before I take it out on those I love because they deserve so much more from me.

Oh and I did 10 pushups.