#happyheart

When I was a little girl I made a lot of friends. My mum told me a story about how one day we went to the beach and I found another little girl on the beach to play with. She recalls how I came running up to her and said ‘Okay Mum, Suzy is coming back to my house to play now’. ‘Who is Suzy?’ my mum asked. ‘Muuum, she’s my best friend. I just met her 10 minutes ago’. Apparently this story was common throughout my childhood. I was bold enough that I just went up to kids and said ‘Ok, do you want to play with me now?’

Until fairly recently, I thought that this was pretty normal. I mean, I think it’s normal for kids to make friends easily and quite quickly but somewhere along the way we get hurt and insecure and making friends becomes harder. Making real friends becomes harder because all of a sudden you are trusting people with your heart and your deepest fears and greatest hopes instead of just with your toys and your Mum’s dress up heels.

A couple of months ago I met this girl. She was a friend of a friend and I probably only chatted to her briefly the next few times I saw her. She seemed really nice, pretty and easy to talk to but I kind of thought, as I often do – ‘Already at maximum friend capacity’.

However the next few weeks and its activities brought us together in more ways than one. You know when you just have a moment with someone. You unintentionally reveal some odd quirk about yourself and the other person jumps in such surprise as that is also their odd quirk. You find out their celebrity crush is the same as yours. You connect. Those moments where you just know that you stumbled across something special. Someone who without doing anything, makes your heart extraordinarily happy.

Sometimes I’m really glad I listen to my heart rather than to my brain. My brain said I didn’t need any more friends but my heart had other ideas. I actually did need this. By opening myself up to a new relationship, it didn’t increase my burden, it actually lightened it. Sometimes we close ourselves off to new things because we are afraid of ‘more’. Sometimes we don’t realise that God stretches our hearts to make room for new loves. I never want to be someone who shies away from enlargement.

I’ve realized the key to life isn’t how many friends you have – it’s which friends you have. I need people in my life that will let me be me. Who can point out the qualities in me that I’d forgotten about and say ‘Hey, you’re amazing’. People who make me laugh, people who laugh with me and sometimes, at me. I need people who I can be real with, who notice when I’m not being real and people who aren’t afraid to say something about it. People who make your life better, people who make you better.

I think I’ll always be that little girl on the beach. I think I’ll always easily find new people to be friends with. But I’ve realized how rare genuine relationships really are. Those people are special. Those friendships are to be valued and treasured.

So to my new and old friends who love me like family – to the few people who I let see the very best and the very worst of me. Thank you.

Anything good in my life is a direct reflection of the way you have shaped my life and shaped me. You have made me happier than I can adequately explain with words.

I’m not used to it, but I can learn.
There’s nothing to it.
I’ve never been happier.

No one is as lucky as us.
We’re not at the end but we already won.
No no one, is as lucky as us.

Paramore – Where the Lines Overlap.

When the right thing feels so wrong.

I think we spend our life making choices. Big decisions and little ones too. I make a lot of bad decisions. Not normally on purpose, normally it’s due to tiny little not great decisions that ended up being a big bad decision. But every now and then, I find myself doing the right thing. Making the right choice. I think I’ve realized why making good decisions can be difficult and why we don’t always do it and that’s because so often, doing the right thing feels so wrong.

Good decisions are hard. I’m not talking about decisions like what you’ll have for lunch today and picking Nandos over Grill’d or something like that. Most of the best decisions you’ll ever make – are hard ones. A choice to stop doing something you shouldn’t have been doing. A choice to start doing something that you’ve been avoiding. A choice to put others before yourself. The decision to actually be selfless. The decision to end a bad relationship. Making the decision to risk it all and start a relationship.

The hardest thing about doing the right thing is that nobody knows how hard it was to do the right thing. You stood up for a friend and got burnt for it. You sacrificed your desires for the sake of someone you love and they don’t even know. You were exceedingly anonymously generous. Doing the right thing is hard because you’re normally doing it alone. Doing the right thing means sacrificing “self” for others.

Doing the right thing pays off. I know it does. If you decided to give up an addiction to something, it’s hard – but it was the right choice and it will pay off. You decided to get counseling for that hurt that has never gone away. You said yes, went the extra mile and even further for a friend who didn’t really realize what it cost you. You’ve been dating that no good for you guy/girl and you finally ended it. You said yes to a relationship even though you’re scared of being hurt – it’s hard, but it was the right decision and it will all pay off in the end.

In the end. That’s the key word isn’t it? Sometimes the end seems like a long way off. Sometimes doing the right thing is just too painful to be worth anything, even in the end. You look around at all the terrible choices people are making and somehow they are still succeeding and you’re pretty sure it’s not worth it.

If you were about to give up. Don’t.
If you weren’t sure it was worth it. It is.
If you were about to make the wrong, easy choice. Please don’t.
If you weren’t sure whether to make a stand. Stand strong.

If doing the right thing was easy – we’d all be doing it and life would be a lot easier. I don’t know when it will pay off, but it will. It might not be today and it might not be tomorrow, but it will.

Known

A little while ago I read this book about quitting. It wasn’t advocating quitting everything in life – but just a new and fresh perspective on the things it was okay to quit, the things we should have never started in the first place and the things we should persevere with. It talked about how we should be aiming to be the “best” at whatever it is we are doing. Back when you went to school, your parents used to scold you if you got an A in sport, but got C’s in everything else yet would praise you if you got B’s in everything. In school we are taught to celebrate being well rounded but in terms of success in the real world – you need to be stellar at one particular thing to succeed. At least to succeed in your career.

While I believe that’s probably the case for business or if you want to make money out of your talents – the above concept is something that has the power to destroy people like me and maybe people like you.

I know that I have a tendency to look at people with obvious skills and want their life. Their future seems to be all written out for them and all they have to do is pursue their dreams. Don’t get me wrong – I actually know it’s not that easy to be super talented in one specific area and I would write about that if I could, but I can’t. All I know is how it feels to be average at a lot of things and to feel a little bit stuck because of it. All I know is how it feels to want to pursue your dreams – if you only knew what they were. I often sit and think to myself ‘is there a job that could somehow encompass all the random things I am good at?’

I’m jealous of people with set, obvious, amazing skills. If I could take brilliant photos, of course I’d be a photographer. If I could create projects out of nothing, that’s what I would do. If I could melt hearts with my voice or construct beautiful lyrics – then I would definitely do that.

What I’d really like is a craft. Something that I can work on. Something that I can be known for. “Oh Steff, she’s that girl who is really great at <insert specific skill here>”. “I know, I’ll ask Steff to do this – she <insert specific skill here>’s like no other”.

While I actually think it’s really important to know your gifts and your strengths and to develop them – the above, is probably really unhealthy thinking. How terrible for me to envy and crave a specific skill like that. To desire to be the best at something for the sake of being the best. To be well known for something. SOMETHING.

I think therein, lies one of the biggest flaws of us humans. We want to be known for things. For skills. For measurable things. Heck, we just want to be known. We want followers and friends on social media. We want people to notice and miss us when we weren’t at an event. We want to be noticed. We want to be missed. We want to come up in conversation when people mention graphic design or baking or flute playing or rapping (I’m the last one). We want to be that guy. We want to be that girl. We want to be known for things.

I would much prefer, or at least I want to be someone who would much prefer – to be well known for who I am. ‘Steff – oh she’s that girl who gives of her time and finances extravagantly’. ‘Steff is so great with people, I know she cares so much for them’. ‘Steff has a heart for the Father’.

We spend so much time developing our outer skills and not our inner skills. One of my friends who is a primary school teacher was sharing how she just wants to teach her kids to be better people. ‘I don’t’ care if they are good at Math’s or good at English and I dont’ really care about their grades. I want them to do their homework because that teaches them responsibility. I want them to be kind. I want them to respect their elders’. She wants to teach them inner skills, not outer skills.

I won’t ever be a photographer or a singer or a builder/architect/dancer/artist/maths guru etc. But I can be better at loving people. I can be a better listener. I can be better at saying yes to the right things and better at saying no to the wrong things. I can learn how to be more patient. I can develop my thought life. I can attempt to live a selfless life.

Those are skills to be known for.

.Steffany.

Hello loyal, new and random blog readers.

I’m not exactly sure why you stop by here. It’s possible we’re friends and you just want to support me or see what’s been happening in my life. It’s possible you’ve randomly stumbled across this and maybe you’re a chronic blog reader and you just followed cos it wasn’t all bad. Or maybe, and hopefully, you read this blog because every now and then you’ve stumbled across something that meant something to you.

Lately I’ve been challenged about my writing. I think writing is really important. I think it’s important for me and I think it’s important for others. I feel like I learn so much about myself, the people around me and the Father that I serve through writing – and it’s my hope and prayer that you do too.

I’ve been thinking and pondering and spending a bit of time refocusing my blog lately – and while I love the crazy random things that can end up here from time to time, I really feel a pull towards pieces like Copeland, Hanging by a Moment and Hope and Breaking. Pieces that mean something to me.

While thinking about, well, myself if I’m honest and this blog these are the words that came to mind.

Irrepressible, Intentional and Immovable.

I’ll be taking a little more time with .Steffany. and making the above words more prominent and so if that means I’ve lost a few readers, or there’s more time between posts – well, at least I gave you a heads up right?

As always, I appreciate your comments and feedback and obviously, your views. Thanks to the silent fans. Thanks to those people who in that moment when I nearly hit ‘Delete Blog’ that you gave me a kind word of encouragement. Its because of your words and my sheer love of writing – that nearly seven years later this blog is still kicking.

This sounds like a thank-you for the memories/goodbye speech – but really it’s actually the beginning.

What a fun adventure we shall have.

Tick Tick Check

It’s time for an update on that bucket list because I achieved an amazing amount of things in a ridiculously short space of time.

 

35. Go to a drive in theatre

65. Go to the ballet

75. Eat a tub full of icecream in one setting

 

These are all relatively easy things to achieve I just had never gotten around to doing them.

I ate an entire tub of icecream one horrific Thursday evening as I majorly stuffed up the final part of an assignment. I think the icecream was bought as incentive and after I gave up – I just ate the whole thing.

On the Friday night of the same week, to celebrate submitting said assignment plus another, I drove down the coast and went to the drive in movies with two favourites. It was raining for so much of it, and we sat in the back of a car and got our ankles wet. It was AWESOME. I will definitely do that again.

On the Saturday night… I went to the ballet. My sister was a dancer for a couple of years so I’ve definitely seem some ballet – but never actually at this level. A bunch of friends dressed up and we went to Don Quixote at QPAC. While I’m definitely more of a theatre girl – I really loved it. It was beautiful and impressive. I got laughed at for my lack of knowledge of the ballet by the two obnoxious people in front of us and I STILL had a good time. What I’d love to do next is the Opera. I could go to QPAC every weekend and not get sick of it.