24 hours is enough

My brain is scrambling to keep up with itself at the moment. My thoughts go in a million different directions at once, hopping from one thing to the next like a jackrabbit on speed. I sit down to one thing, but find my mind wandering to another. Multi-tasking is a thing, but thank goodness multi-thinking isn’t. I would go crazy. Well, crazier.

There are so many things to think about in one day, and the ‘to do’ lists pile up on phone notes, book margins and paper scraps. It is two weeks into term one and I already feel behind and struggling to keep up with life as it speeds onwards. Yet I love how this state forces me to thrive in the busyness. I know that I can be successful amidst everything that is vying for my attention, because I have done it before. Not that I do this in my own strength. It would be silly to assume that, Jesus totally has my back on this one.

However, I still find myself wishing for an extra hour or two to be added to my day, and then I remember this:

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I stole this from a post on Design Taxi (great and inspiring website) and I have thought about it ever since I first saw it. It made me consider what things I need to sacrifice in order to become more successful. I am capable of doing the things that I need to do, and the things that I want to do. I can also do them well, it just requires extra from me.

On jealousy and painful days

I started writing this late last night. It is definitely rough around the edges, and not at all perfect, but it is real.

On Friday at Rewired we spoke about being real online. This is my little corner of reality. Today was hard and hurtful, I let my doubts beat me up, feeling as if I didn’t have the strength to stop them. Jealousy, insecurity, doubtfulness, self-imposed alienation and fearful are some of the lovely words I would use to describe my heart today. Here is what was going through my mind last night.

“Jealousy is a hurtful emotion. Not only does it hurt you, but it also hurts the person/people that your jealousy is directed at.

It hurts you by reminding you of your inadequacy. It hurts you by comparing you to unrealistic standards or a lifestyle that isn’t yours. It hurts you by tearing at your relationships. It hurts you by rising up at a simple thought. Jealousy is extremely painful.

It is also painful for the other person. It can manifest in passive-aggression, nasty words, sudden distance, and a general relational strain.

Jealousy is unhelpful and fruitless. Thankfully, it is also stoppable (whew). Jealousy gets stopped in it’s tracks and turned right around when you remember to trust that God has a greater plan for your circumstances. It heads out when you remember to be thankful for what you already have (that list is a lot longer than you think). And it won’t return when you remember that you are loved, that you are called to love and that jealousy doesn’t allow you to be and do that.”

Thankfully redeemed, saved, loved, needed, wanted and blessed are some of the lovely words that describe my life. So I don’t have to worry about the words that define a moment or two, I must simply not allow them to shape me.

I can look a little different, but that’s okay.

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Sometimes I get weird looks because of my appearance. I have two more piercings than a good girl should, I dye my hair weird rainbow-mermaid colours and I’m too poor to keep up with fashion trends. For example, I introduced myself to a someone at church the other day while wearing my (absolute favourite) T-shirt with my bones printed on the outside of it. In return I got a weird look, a point in the direction of my shirt, and an awkward silence. I still don’t know their name. #awkies

I am so thankful that Jesus doesn’t look at the outside. He’s concerned with my heart, not my grunge-ish tendencies, holes with metal in them and other oddities. Make no mistake, my insides can be just as strange and ugly as my outsides, but he’s the one who sees that and helps me do the spring-cleaning to make my heart shiny, new, beautiful and joyful.

Although, I do understand the judging of the inside by the looking at the outside. I’m a big fan of people watching, and an even bigger fan of giving back stories to the people I watch, both consciously and unconsciously. Sometimes I even do this out loud when I’m with my favourite person. Its a good way to pass the time. However, recently we made up a crazy, messed up story for a couple, when I realized that I can look and dress a heck of a lot like them. It made me think about the stories and assumptions people make up about me.

I know I can never control someone’s perception of me, so I don’t worry about what others think (at least not regularly), but what I can control I’d the person I portray when I speak and act. It reminded me that I am an ambassador of Christ wherever I go, and to whoever I meet.

That reminder punched me in the gut. It forced me to remember choices that I have made to ensure that I am being as much like Jesus as I can be. Whether those things are choosing to not swear or refusing to drink alcohol, I need to know why I am doing them or else my resolution wavers and I begin to slowly slide towards doing those things or thinking those thoughts.

The solution? Being an active ambassador for Christ.

That’s really broad, isn’t it? So how can I narrow this down? First: daily reminding myself, and asking him to remind me in every situation to resemble his holiness. Second: following through and actually resembling his holiness. Yeah. That’s it. I don’t have anything else. But the cool part is, he’s got it all.

In fact, he actually has already given it all to me through his Holy Spirit. I don’t need to worry about what to say, because he has the words. I don’t need to worry about what to do, because he has the directions. All I have to do is obey, which really takes off the pressure.

  So even though I look a little weird, Jesus has made it possible for me to only be the good kind of weird. And for that I’m really thankful.

*Insert mushy title about family*

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I really love my family. I’ve just spent a couple on seconds reflecting on how awesome my weekend has been, and that is the conclusion I have drawn.

You see, my family is so much bigger than the people I share blood and features with, it extends to neighbors, friends, and, most of all, the church. My family is a lot of things; my family cares for each other, my family is generous, my family is unafraid challenge each other, my family is welcoming and my family is fun. The people in my life are so much more than that short list of things, but those are the characteristics that I have been awed by in the past few days.

I am so thankful to be placed where I am, with the people that I am with at this moment in time. They are the best, and its an honour to be able to share life with one another.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” C.S. Lewis

My family, the ones I was born to and the ones I chose, add value to my survival and are the best companions to face adversity alongside. I’m grateful for them.

His grace is enough, even for an imperfect matric student.

I’m officially a Matric student. This came as a surprise to me as the end of school is something I have never looked forward to. I’ve always learned in the moment, only thinking about what subject I will do next of what I could possibly have for lunch. Yet now I am here on the threshold of the end, without and mental preparation, or schoolbooks (yet) for that matter.

I don’t know what to expect from this year, but I do know that I have some big decisions to make. I am afraid and confused, I don’t know what I want and I don’t have a plan. I also have some important commitments to God, others and myself that I intend to fulfill. The thought of these reminds me of my incapability to basically do anything, my weakness, and my utter need for a God who is bigger and has a better plan for me than I could ever imagine.

This year will be fast and full, and the only way I will make it is by riding the waves of His grace. He is capable, I and not. He is strong, I am weak. He has resources, I am broke. He is big, I am small. He is holy, I am sinful. Most importantly, He is loving, and I am loved. His perfection overshadows my imperfection and his grace is enough.

So I know I will make it. My planning will not be a result of faithlessness, it will be done in the knowledge that God directs my steps. My results will not be because of my strength, wisdom or ability, but simply because of His favor. For that I am thankful.

my passion

What a beautiful time we have had on the farm! It has been incredible to relax with family and friends in these beautiful surroundings. I have so enjoyed the different lifestyle that I experience every time I come here. Time seems to have slowed down and moments are filled with happiness, while others are filled with sadness as I take the time to reflect on the past year since I was here.

Everything around me is inspiring me at the moment. It leaves me itching to draw and create, however for some reason I still haven’t managed to pick up a pencil or paintbrush for about a week. I’ve been preoccupied with activities and people. Art is my passion and I can’t forget it. Its always in the forefront of my mind, reminding me to slow down and capture life with lead and line.

I’m so grateful to have this passion that drives me to do something. I feel like I’m truly me when I have a brush in my hand.

reflecting on the disappointment

So my holidays have suddenly taken an interesting turn; I’m off to the farm for a month with Paige and her family! I’m typing this from the car as we travel through the first leg of the trip. I’m excited for the fun times and celebrations that are to come, but I will miss my family over this holiday season. I will be trying to blog more during this time. I’m sorry for the silence on my end. Its mostly due to a two week sickness and hospital stay and all the time I have been devoting to finishing grade 11.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few days reflecting on this year, particularly the big failures, disappointments and struggles. During thinking sessions like this it is so hard to not play the “what if” game.
“What if I had tried harder?”
“What if I had pushed for better relationship?”
“What if I had nipped that in the bud?”

What if. It becomes self blame and a painful cycle of self harm. I want to say that its okay, its over and I can’t change it, but that is almost a cop out. I want to believe that things can still be made right, that broken things can still be fixed and things that look like failures can turn out to be real triumphs.

I really think they can, so my intention is to hope for the things that seem the most hopeless and trust for the things that seem unreachable.