Fog and what not.

I was away this last weekend for my uni graduation. I studied externally through a uni in Toowoomba which meant a small amount of travel time to my graduation. I didn’t want to be stressed driving up the day of or tired driving home that night, so I booked a small place for my family to stay the night before and after. As much as the graduation was amazing, it was also fun to go away for a weekend. Some of our oldest family friends now live in Toowoomba and so we planned to have breakfast with them before we headed back home. They picked the cafe, a cute little place heading up the range in Highfields.

I was riding shotgun as we drove up the hill and to be honest I was a little bit freaked out. Ahead in the distance, was a pretty thick covering of fog. We don’t get a lot of fog in Brisbane and so I am extremely unaccustomed to driving in it. I kept my feelings hidden as I didn’t want to freak out my younger sister who was driving. She turned on her lights and we climbed higher and got closer and closer to the fog.

The longer we were on the road the more I became aware of the fact that we didn’t know where we were going. How would we see the turns in the road? Would we miss the turn off? Would we completely drive off the road and down the range, hurtling to our death? Fog is freaky enough but if there had have been fog on my way home from work, it wouldn’t have been so bad. I know those roads well. I know it all sounds pretty dramatic, but for a fog rookie – it can be pretty daunting.

As we climbed I kept expecting us to ‘hit’ the fog and be surrounded by it but we drove and drove and it never happened. All of a sudden I realised that we were actually IN the fog. That as much as it looked thick and overwhelming, as soon as we entered the fog, it practically disappeared.

Have you ever found yourself crazy anxious about something in the future.. but that when it actually happened, when you were actually in the midst of it, it wasn’t as bad as it first seemed.

I know I felt like this as soon as I finished uni. I felt somewhat anxious because the future was unknown and all I could see was fog & a winding road ahead. Yes I knew my stuff and had my degree, just like I know how to drive and I have a licence BUT what did the road look like? Did I need to break for an upcoming turn? Would my visibility be so impaired that I’d drove myself off the road?

The future is a lot like driving I’ve realised. Sometimes life is like a long stretch of road. You can see what’s ahead and while it can be boring or require a lot of preserving, you take comfort in knowing what’s ahead. Sometimes life has bends and sharp turns that you weren’t prepared for. Sometimes life is a little like a 4 wheel drive off-road adventure, where you purposefully detour off the safety of the road. It’s crazy and just plain FUN.

And sometimes, life is like that winding hill headed towards the fog. Fog is a weird thing. It is both incredibly freaky and incredibly beautiful. I often see it in creepy movies but I also see it in beautiful scenic photographs. Just like the fog, the future can be both scary and beautiful.

Don’t fear the fog. You’ve got both the skills and the experience to navigate it. Turn your headlights on, take it slow. Don’t be worried about the future and being thrown into darkness, you might find yourself kilometres into the fog without even realising it.

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#valentinesdaypost

Have you ever been in love?

I don’t know about you, but love is all I can really think about on Valentines Day. I don’t know if that was the original intent, I thought the whole day was probably set up to make you think about flowers and chocolates for the one you love. But either way – you win. Here I am, February 14th and as I already spend a great deal of time thinking about flowers (best friend is a florist) and chocolate (addict) instead, I’m thinking about love.

I sort of wish that I wasn’t you know. Even as a fairly secure single Christian girl it’s still not ideal to spend a lot of time thinking about love. Especially if you’re not in love, hence your singledom. It’s a strange vicious cycle. Either way, I can’t avoid it, love.

I’ve been sitting here thinking about love and trying to figure out why it is that I don’t really want to think about it. I’ve been sitting here thinking about how singles fear and dread February 14th. I mean, it can’t be because we all really want flowers in our home or to eat that delicious Cadbury Popping candy chocolate – because you can fairly easily attain these things. It can’t even be because we are afraid of being alone. I mean maybe that’s it for some people, but mostly, you can find a bunch of other single people who don’t want to be alone on Valentines Day and then you’ve got yourself a party. All this thinking and I think I’ve put my finger on the painful part.

It’s not the chocolates, or that we’ll have to spend a random Thursday night in. It’s that February 14th is this yearly reminder that nothing has changed. It’s like a terrible score card that singles can check off and say ‘yep, still hasn’t happened’.

I think we don’t want to be reminded about love.

Because, love is like the most important thing right? It drives everything. You know it’s what you want and you know [sort of/hopefully] that God has it all under control, but in order to save yourself from stress/pain/worry, you spend all year trying to avoid love. You spent the whole year being good and being content with being single and then February 14th rolls around and you’re like, damn. Unavoidable.

Valentines Day messes with the worst most dangerous emotion or feeling that there is. And it isn’t loneliness – its trust. Valentines Day messes with your trust.

Do you trust God?

I think that’s the hardest question of all.
It’s a fairly easy one to answer – just say yes silly.
It should be easy because 98% of the time, we do. We trust that God will provide. We trust that God has our best interests at heart. We trust that God’s love never fails. It’s that tricky 2% of the time when life challenges your trust.

If the question was simply, do you love God? That would be easier.
I think I always love God. I sometimes fall in and out of intimacy, but I always love God.
Trust though? Do I trust God?

Valentines Day falls into the icky 2%. It’s when stats and flowers and loneliness all combine to test and challenge the rest of the year when trust was easy.

This year, make a choice to trust God.

Maybe you struggle to trust God with love, but maybe it’s with something else. Maybe it’s with your finances, or your hopes to have a family one day, or to be successful, or just to be happy. If you’re in that hard place where every thing is screaming “give up, He doesn’t care” – then push back and say no.

Take yourself out on a date and say no.
Apply for another job, assume you’ll get it. Say no.
Try again, even though you feel like it’s all done for and tell that doubt, no.

Sometimes trust feels whimsical. Like believing in fairies or something. You put your faith in crazy important things, but trust seems a little foolish at times. It seems like a wishy washy weird concept.
It’s not. Trust is hard. Trust is gutsy. Trust is for the strong and not the weak.

When it feels hard, give doubt a punch in the face and say no. Tell that 2% that you choose trust.

Irrepressible

Alliteration is probably one of my most favourite things. I unintentionally frame sentences together using unhealthy amounts of alliteration. A little while ago on this very blog I came up with a list of the ten qualities I most wanted in a man entitled, My Top Ten. All of the qualities start with the letter A. I’ll probably want to marry someone with a last name that starts with the letter S and name my kids Sufjan and Stella such is my fascination with alliteration. When I was thinking through this blog and where I wanted to take it, I spent a lot of time dwelling on, myself really. I thought about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to be known for and how I wanted this blog to represent that. I came up with three words, all starting with the letter I. Irrepressible, Intentional and Immovable.

I remember the first time I heard the word irrepressible. I don’t remember what I was doing or what I was wearing but I remember the feeling. You know you’re a word nerd when you remember how you felt the first time you heard a word. I liked how it sounded. How it rolled off the tongue. I liked the context it was used in, I liked that I didn’t know what it meant and maybe others didn’t either. I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to use that word more often’. Just like psychedelic, that word definitely needs to come back.

IRREPRESSIBLE
impossible to repress, restrain, or control <irrepressible curiosity>

I remember the first time someone described me, Steffany, as irrepressible. I think at the time I wondered if they meant it as a compliment or a bit of insult. It’s sort of one of those words like infamous, where it just confuses you a bit. Does infamous mean more famous or less? Is being irrepressible a negative quality or a positive quality?

After much thought and processing, I’ve realised that Irrepressible is a quality I want to be known for.

I’ve always been a strong person. I think I grew up naturally irrepressible. There wasn’t a lot about my personality that could be repressed. I found restraint difficult and my parents would definitely attest that I was impossible to control. But somehow, over time.. those things faded, at least internally. I think I always conveyed myself as a strong, tough, secure person but inside I was battling. I felt that I had to repress certain parts of my personality. The parts people maybe didn’t like. I got sick of being told to use my “inside voice” and I started to repress. It wasn’t who I was naturally – but I somehow learnt repression.

In psychiatry they explain repression as the unconscious exclusion of painful impulses, desires, or fears from the conscious mind. For me it was just the exclusion of desires due to fear. That feeling or emotion I wanted to express but for whatever reason, society, past disappointment, criticism, peer pressure – I held it within.

I think with anything that you repress, it comes out in weird ways. If you repress anger, it comes out in unhealthy ways, bouts of rage that seem to come from nowhere. I think it’s the same if you repress your personality, the very things that make you, you. You start to get weird outbursts of uncharacteristic behaviour. You find yourself saying things you don’t really mean, making friendships that aren’t really wise, and living a life entirely different to what you know. A life very far from where God wants us to be.

Our world is slowly but ever so surely moving away from genuine, authentic, real relationships yet I have discovered – that is exactly what people want. We can smell a fake a mile off and we want nothing to do with it. Yet for some reason – we repress the very natural, unique characteristics that make us beautiful. What good does that do anyone?

We need you.
I need you.
God needs you.
YOU.

Stripped away of my fear and removed from critiquing eyes, I am at my most comfortable and my most crazy. I am loud and loopy and loving. That’s the thing that confused me most. Somehow I let society dictate to me that I couldn’t be loud, passionate, strong, and wild and so I gave up irrepressibility – along with it, I somehow gave up the ability to love without restraint.

Maybe you were hurt and hurt pretty bad. Made to feel like there were parts of you that you needed to hold back on. Don’t hold back on love. I get that it’s hard – but don’t hold back on love.

I want to have an irrepressible joy that ceases to overflow.
I want to have an irrepressible faith that is pushed and tested but never waivers.
I want to have an irrepressible love that can’t be contained.

I want to be irrepressible. I want that for you.