Friday, February 28, 2014

Choose - five minute Friday

Five Minute Friday


I don't like that.  It's hard for me to make decisions.  Choosing something means deciding against something else.  And what if that something else is better?  What if I make the wrong decision?  This conundrum has kept me paralysed often.  But avoiding the decision is choosing as well.  There is no getting away from it.  But I'm learning that the anxiety that decision-making provokes in me, can be abated by TRUST.  Trusting in the God that works ALL things for the good.  If He works ALL things and not just the 'right choices' then I have insurance and assurance.

It's taken me a while to get to the point where I do trust God; especially about the small things.  The big things are always too big for me - I don't want that kind of responsibility, so I'm much quicker handing it over to God.  The small things, well, I think I should be able to handle those.  I'm not confident in my ability to make the small decisions, so much procrastination normally results before I can make an actual choice, but I'm much slower to hand them over to God.  I'm much slower to trust that all will be well in the end.  I'm much more likely to have residual anxiety in my heart.  Still, I'm making the CHOICE to be patient with myself, to give myself more time to choose rather than rushing to cover up my lack of confidence and gifting myself more anxiety and cheating myself of his peace in the process.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What I'm learning about myself - Faith Jam

Moving five thousand miles from everyone and everything that is loved and familiar definitely creates perspective.  So in the last two and a half years I've been getting to know myself without being able to make excuses about things being 'caused' by my circumstances or people around me or my past, because I left those behind me.  I have had to take responsibility for the likelihood that if I'm still bothered by something - the cause is in me!

(1) Even though I don't want to be, I am responsible for my own happiness

(2) I am not ashamed of the things that make me happy anymore.  Bring on those singing/dancing tv shows!

(3) There is no substitute for scripture in my life.  If I keep feeding on the word, it keeps bearing fruit in my life.

(4) Exercise makes me feel much better than starving myself.

(5) It doesn't matter how much time I have, I still won't do housework until it is desperately bad.

(6) I need more alone time than I thought I did.

(7) I might not be enthusiastic about outdoor pursuits but walking out my front door and just walking for twenty minutes (without having to worry about the weather) is wonderful.

(8) I know which kind of coffee I like the best. [And seriously, NOT in a paper cup]

(9) The more I count my blessings, the more there seem to be to count!

(10) My emotions are signals; they shouldn't be in charge of my life but maybe it's better not to ignore them completely.

(11) It is possible to be free from anxiety sometimes (Praise God!)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

work-out Wednesday

Since Jennifer is hosting this 7 posts in 7 days thing, I guess I can borrow some inspiration from her.  I shared her lazy-nerds-guide-to-weight-loss with my husband last night as he is a fellow nerd and introvert.  We later watched a video guide about cross-fit in wonderment as apparently there are extroverts who like to exercise with other human beings.  It's not like Sir Rianus and I have to workout in complete solitude; there are often small people that are hanging around in our very small apartment while we do our exercise routines.  This is good.  We like them to witness that exercise is a normal part of healthy existence.  Being work-out buddies with my husband, even though we are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the actual activities is fun [he lifts heavy weights and wants to bulk up, I do tai chi and want to get toned and flexible].  It is something we are coming to share.  This is a good thing.  There are very few things we have in common so it feels good to find something.  We are getting good at cheering each other on; visible and tangible results are helping :)

Do you workout?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Are you looking for more?

Since 'leaving home' as a seventeen year old, Princess Morag has lived in seven different places.  Every time she moved somewhere new, she took with her hope and optimism, that this place would be "it".  Not necessarily it-will-be-home-forever, but that it would be a place she'd find friends and a sense of belonging.  That happened once and she still had a sense that it wasn't enough.  She still craved "more".  Moving to the other side of the world was definitely "more" in every way.  It is further, it is different, it is hard, it is strange, it is more beautiful, it is drier, it is sunnier.

What Princess Morag and Sir Rianus were looking for was: more space, more car, more money, more opportunity.  Those things have not yet been realised.  What Princess Morag has discovered along the way, during the more stress, more anxiety, more isolation, more pain and more loneliness is that she is learning to have more patience, more kindness, more perseverance, more grace, more mercy, more mystery, more time, more quiet, more solitude, more air, more exercise, more writing, more gratitude.

She is still living in hope for the things they moved for.  But she has gained much in the waiting.   There was more to be found than what she hoped or imagined!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mornings and Mondays

Princess Morag is not a fan of mornings.  Waking up is an actual painful process.  Her husband asked her this very morning, with concern, "what's wrong?".  She must have looked bad - he doesn't normally ask questions or show concern.  And there wasn't anything wrong, apart from the fact that it was morning and she had to wake up and get out of bed.

The princess once stayed with a friend.  And discovered that her friend had been raised with an elaborate breakfast ritual that involved setting the table and all sitting down together as a family.  It was of the oddest things Princess Morag has ever witnessed.

Having children has forced the princess, against her better instincts to attempt to function in the morning.  Moving to the new realm meant that this also had to happen an hour earlier than the old realm as apparently the day starts here at 8 a.m. not 9.  So the princess drags herself out of bed after the two alarms clock and two children have attempted to wake her, yells at the children to make sure they have gone to the toilet (why must she still be in charge of three bladders!!!) and stumbles into the kitchen.  Breakfasts are made, packed lunches too and with an eye on the clock she encourages them to put their clothes on for school.  Depending on how awake she is and how annoying the children are, there may be shouting.

Mondays get a bad reputation for being the worst day of the week but the princess disagrees.  You see she lives in a very small apartment and so at weekends it feels cluttered and noisy and full of people when all four of them are there.  After walking to school on a Monday - the house is blissfully quiet.  It is still cluttered and messy but finally there are conditions under which she can use her brain to formulate actual thoughts and not just automatic responses.  In her bleary eyed state, needing to put the coffee pot on, she is enjoying this start to the week.

Since she signed up to the challenge of 7 posts in 7 days - Princess Morag will bid you a happy Monday and catch up with you again tomorrow!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Small - Five minute Friday

I used to think that small = insignificant, not very important, not weighty.  Small things were no replacement for the BIG things - like happiness, support, things going my way etc.  But now I've changed my mind.  Because small things add up to become the big things, just like when you look at your supermarket receipt in complete wonderment that it came to that much when all you bought were all those little things.

The idea made it's way to me through a couple of different sources - to keep track of three things each day that were good.  It helped me to stop my exaggerated negative thinking that absolutely everything in my life was terrible.  At that stage, when my mood was black, the small things seemed so meagre but it helped nonetheless.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Finding my voice - Faith Jam

My voice isn't necessarily always in tune.  It gets nervous at the idea of being heard.  It has been compared to others and fallen short.  It has been rejected and deemed not quite good enough.  It has been included in the choir and rejoiced at being part of the chorus.

When it sings to God sometimes it soars.  Someone once asked how it got so strong....probably due to having to fight to even exist.

I didn't dream much about singing in public when I was a schoolgirl - solos were a petrifying idea, even though I liked thinking of the honour attached to being chosen.  But now... I live vicariously through the tv shows and wonder if my idea of taking singing further is a delayed adolescent dream, or something that ultimately might be part of a plan...

Currently my favourite show is "The Voice" - the auditions are conducted in front of a live audience but the judges are facing the other way and cannot see the contestant.  The idea is that they will be judged on their voice alone and not on how they look or anything else.  I like the premise.  I have also been inspired by the criteria they are looking for.  They have 'turned round' for people sometimes who have not sung perfectly, they might have made some small mistakes or their nerves might have become audible, but, their voice is unique, their voice is interesting, their voice expresses their emotions and tells a story.

Those features that they are looking for on 'The Voice' have become my goal for my own voice.  The voice that comes out of my mouth both spoken and sung, my voice here on my blog and my voice that is how I live my life.  I want my voice to be authentically 'me' - it might take a while to evolve, but that's ok.  I want to have the courage to put my voice out there, even if it shakes or hits an occasional bum note, if the message is significant then those things don't matter.  I would rather be judged on my voice than what I look like or other choices I make in my life.  I'm learning that people might actually be interested in my story.

I feel happiest when I sing.  I feel close to God when I worship in song.  It makes my stomach churn with emotion and urgency.  I have a list of songs that tell the story of my life as they are attached to various times of my life.  And then God gave me a new song.  One that was my own.  He gave me the words and then I prayed for the tune and up popped a folk tune that was familiar to me that fitted with the lyrics - amazing!

I carried my song with me for more than a year until I found the right place and time which turned out to be my bible study group.  And now I'm going to be even braver and share it here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love - Faith Jam

An ode to my daughter:

I mistook her for myself.  I thought I was staring into my own eyes, but I wasn't in front of a mirror, I was standing in the school playground.  Five thousand miles and and twenty-nine years since I was the five year-old waiting to be picked up after school.  Her eyes don't hide from mine.  There is not shyness there.  She was excited to be in the play: "I'm going to be on the stage!" she said with breathless delight and I shared her joy.  She is my love, she opened up my heart wider than I knew it could stretch.  She forced me to give, give, give when she was tiny and needed my breasts, needed my milk, needed all the love and patience I could give.  And through all that pain and stretching, in that season when I didn't think I had enough, I was reborn.

This nurturing that my soul was compelled to give my daughter was foreign to me.  How could that be?  As I gave to her, I gave to myself.  It opened a wound that I hadn't been consciously aware of.  It made me raw.  I needed comfort.  The fact that I couldn't find any spoke volumes about my life and relationships.

She was only a baby but already she was more responsive to me compared to anyone else.  She was delightful to me.  I remembered a time when I was seen as delightful.  I mourned the loss of that coming to an end.  She will always be delightful to me.  She is my love.

I broke down and the people I was with didn't understand.  I had to wait until I found the one that did.  I had to wait months.  I prayed.  Even though it felt like my prayers bounced off the ceiling.  I found more holes in my heart that hurt so bad and made me cry so hard.  All the while, every hour of the day, I belonged to them.  I gave my love to them.  And they got my anger too.

She was safe.  The first person to be clear on the boundaries and then let me be me.  I bared my soul.  It was terrifying and liberating.  It was surrender and victory.  It hurt and it healed.  She asked why I held back?  I saw she told the truth.  I could guess why, but it was more important to try not to do that anymore.  She encouraged me to trust that people loved me.  That was difficult.

To allow myself to receive.  To allow myself to reveal my failings.  To let others see a few tears while she saw the ones that fell like rain in the counseling room.  I believed her sweet words even though they made me squirm.  She built me up inside like a stack of duplo bricks.  Such basic ideas that had never been my foundation.  That I was loved, that I was worthy of love, that I was strong, that I was worth listening to, that there was a great future ahead of me.

If she hadn't given me those basics, I don't think I could love my daughter the way I do today.  I long for her to be more confident than me, more beautiful than me, more talented than me.  I am not jealous, it doesn't threaten me.  It fills me with absolute joy that we say "I love you", that we remember that Jesus loves us.  That we kiss and cuddle with natural affection.  That she sees my grown-up body and we talk of when she will be a woman too.  That she wants to "do all the things" for me when I get old.  That she is secure.   She is my love.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Write (Five-minute Friday)

The unfairness of childhood was what first provoked me to write.  My very first 'diary'.  It was full of frustration.  Always being told what to do, never being allowed to use my own judgement.  Wishing I was old enough to make my own decisions.

Because I wrote it down, I remember.  I remember how it felt.  I can empathise with my son when he complains about how "it's not fair".  Because life is not fair to children.  They are not on equal status with adults but with an adult perspective you know that's usually a good thing.

My journal has been my most faithful friend.  The only friend that I don't censor myself around.  The safest of all spaces.  To write is to know myself.  To get reaquainted with who I am, what I'm thinking, feeling, and what I believe.  To say the things that I can't say out loud.  To say the things that I yearn and wish for without anyone mocking me.  

Five Minute Friday