What Rainbows Taught Me About Life

The other day I was driving along on the way to work. It was raining and the traffic wasn’t ideal. I was sitting still at the traffic light when I all of sudden saw a beautiful rainbow.

Rainbows, at least to me, are a symbol. A physical reminder of a promise. So whenever I see a rainbow I can’t help think two things, “promise” and “I need to get my camera and take a photo”.

So that morning as I pulled my camera out to take a photo I was struck by a realisation. It was still raining while the rainbow was out. I think based on all the bible stories I’d read and perhaps my personal experience I’d always thought that rainbows only occurred after it rained, not during.

I realised that this is often the case in life. God gives us a promise. We have a dream or a goal that we are holding on to, our rainbow. Sometimes life gets hard and it rains. Life can sometimes feel like that. Rain and dreariness. How like God to remind me that sometimes the answer to our questions, the promise being fulfilled – is seen during and in the midst of our trial. A rainbow in the rain. A promise in the midst of pain.

Not too long after this I was driving in the rain, this time home from work. It had only lightly rained but I was happy to look out my window and see a small rainbow. Of course I thought “promise” and then I pulled my phone out to take a quick snap. Based on my previous thoughts on rainbows I was interested to see that once again it was still raining while the rainbow was out. I wanted to capture that memory so I was trying to get both the rain and the rainbow in the shot. Hopefully you’ve used an iphone or other camera phones are similar but when you tap your screen and focus on something in the foreground – the background fades out and if you tap something in the background.. you get the picture. If I focussed on the rain, I lost the rainbow. If I focussed on the rainbow, I lost the rain.

It got me thinking about how like life this is. If you focus on the problems in your life – you inevitably lose sight of the promises. But if you focus in on the promise, the problem fades away. Where’s your focus? What are choosing to “tap” your focus into? It’s not easy to focus on both your pain and the promises of freedom, so which one will you focus on? Watch one of them fade away in the background.

Tonight I went for a run in the rain. It had poured rain on the way home (classic Brisbane weather) in a quick but intense storm. I almost decided not to run but it cleared a little as I drove home and so reluctantly got my gear on and found a really high tech solution to keep my phone dry (plastic baggy). As soon I walked out the door I was struck by the most beautiful rainbow I’d ever seen. It was so full and big and beautiful. What a treat to run with this as my view! As I was running I was thinking about the other rainbows I’d seen over the last month and how they were lovely but they weren’t even close to being as spectacular as the one I was seeing now. Instantly I was reminded of the very intense storm I drove through on the way home and wondered if that had something to do with the size and beauty of this rainbow.

It made me think of some of the trials and challenges we go through in life. Some are difficult for sure and definitely challenging – but some are torture. The loss of a loved one. A sickness with no cure. Long term unemployment. Waiting for love. Waiting for answers. Waiting for hope. Sometimes we look at the end result, the beautiful diamond or stunning rainbow and we neglect to think of how it got that way – through refinement, through a storm. The more intense the storm, the more beautiful the rainbow. The more intense the storm of life, the more beautiful the outcome.

So while it’s raining in your world – think of the promise that is being outworked even in the midst of your yuck. When it’s pouring all around you, focus on the promise not the problem. When the storm rages – think of the beautiful rainbow He is creating in you.

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Windows & Critters

The other night I was freezing. I was sitting on my bed wondering why spring suddenly felt like winter. After being stubborn and shivering for a while I eventually went to investigate. What I found was so simple and yet so profound.

One of my 6 windows was open. Only slightly, I’m talking about a slither. I closed the window but I hadn’t closed it properly. I was shocked at the massive difference it made when I completely closed it – it was no longer cold and it felt like spring once again.

This moment which only lasted about 20 seconds in total spoke to me so succinctly.

Its funny how even the tiniest crack in our hearts can invite an icy wind in that surrounds us and makes spring feel like winter. I had left home and left the window to my heart slightly ajar and yet was surprised when something bad seeped in.

To me, the heart operates just like my windows at home. In winter, I close the windows and keep the curtains shut to keep out the cold. I know it’s bad out there, I can feel the cold even when I’m near the window. Spring then comes knocking at the window and I get over excited and I want to open it all up again. It’s great – except for that along with the arrival of spring and summer come the bugs! My old school home doesn’t have screens and I can’t open up the window without letting all the critters in. Even with the screens, I’m sure you’ve experienced waking up and being surprised at all the mosquito bites only to discover the tiniest hole in your fly screen. It doesn’t take much – a tiny slither, a tiny hole – and we invite the cold and the creeps in.

Sometimes guarding our hearts is a bit like a navigating a mine field in that we try and keep everything all locked up tight but are also meant to know which things to open ourselves up to. When winter comes to your heart – close the dang window and close it properly. Don’t let negativity, judgement or fear in. When spring comes again – you gotta get yourself a screen for that window and make sure you repair the damages. It allows you to be open but to filter out all the junk.

Displacement Theory

When speaking with a friend the other day, she asked a general question that we actually hear a lot, probably multiple times a day. She asked me ‘how are you?’ Now we are actually close friends and while we don’t get to catch up as much as I’d like, I knew I could skip over the ‘yes, great – can’t wait til Friday’ response that might have by habit, normally escaped my mouth. I decided to be real and tell her what was really up.

The problem was I didn’t really know what was up. I wasn’t doing poorly, sick or going through a really rough time, overall – things were good. Yet I still didn’t feel completely right about stating ‘I’m so ridiculously wonderful, thank you for asking’. In my prattling and in trying to explain my current emotional state – I said something along the lines of ‘I guess I’m feeling a bit displaced’.

I’ve never used that word to describe myself or my emotional state, and I don’t know if I’ve actually heard anyone else really use it either. The dictionary says it means ‘to move or put out of the usual or proper place’ and not until after I’d really thought about it, did I realise how truly profound my choice of words was. Essentially, I felt ‘out of place’ and out of the normal place and I know I’m not the only person who has felt this on occasion or in fact, felt it all too regularly.

Perhaps you’ve felt displaced as a result of a strange quirk of yours and you just can’t figure out how to fit in. Perhaps it’s been a literal displacement in that you’ve left your home town or country and you’re feeling a little too ‘fresh’ and new. Or perhaps, like me, as a result of a series of small changes and little to big decisions, you’re left feeling out of sorts. You can feeling it in varying degrees but the most common denominator is that something changed and you’ve been moved or put out of your usual or proper place.

To be honest, it’s not a good place. I actually don’t even know if anything worthwhile or good happens in this place. It’s not like a bad breakup that’s, like, so terrible – but you at least have the most legitimate excuse to eat tubs full of ice-cream and have a Gilmore Girls marathon. I don’t even think it’s really like a valley or trial where you know that you’re going to come out stronger or having learnt some valuable albeit painful lesson. Displacement is just that, it’s not fitting in, its removal, its change. If you’re feeling a little lost and you can’t figure out why – I’m guessing you’re feeling what I (and after doing another google search, psychologists apparently) term ‘displacement’ – its blech. Not gut wrenching, not amazing – because that’s what displacement is – the awful in between.

Sounds like all bad news right? I thought so too because I couldn’t even define or figure out what it was that was wrong in my life. Perhaps the only good news about displacement is that it can end. The answer actually lies in its original definition. By actually defining displacement, I found the answer. The dictionary says to ‘move OR put out of the usual OR proper place.

The key to overcoming my little displacement theory lies in deciding which ship you’re going to sail out of this situation you’ve found yourself in. Have you been displaced? If so, that sucks, sorry friend. Have you been displaced from your proper place, the place you are truly actually meant to be in? Then that really sucks. You should figure out how to get back there. Did you hurt someone and you now find yourself out of relationship –you need to make amends. Did you step out of line/make a bad call/end up somewhere you didn’t mean to go? You need to find your way back. Or perhaps someone hurt you – took you down a couple of notches, stole something from you. It’s time to go and get it back. Nothing is permanent. Take your integrity back. Do the right thing. Whether or not it was your choice that landed you here – you don’t have to stay displaced.

The tricky, yucky final option is if you’ve been displaced from your usual place.

This option is hard. It feels gross. It feels uncomfortable and awkward. Displacement might cause you to act out, in weird and awful ways which only serve to further enhance this uncomfortable place you’ve found yourself in. My displacement caused me to retreat, like that if I somehow avoided ‘humanity’ I could avoid the feeling of displacement, of no longer fitting into my usual place.

This type of displacement is hard because at some point, displacement becomes necessary for advancement. There is only so long someone can live according to habit, in comfort – succumbing to the trap which is their usual placement. If you don’t choose to step out of your comfort zone, life will eventually do it to you – and BAM, displacement.

Displacement is meant to be a transitional point in the journey. It’s necessary in order to propel you of your usual, run of the mill, playing it safe life into something better, scarier and ultimately, more fulfilling. Displacement is never the end destination. You aren’t meant to stay here.

And so my friends, you have a choice, just like me. We can stay and wallow in our uncomfortable-ness and refuse to step out into what’s coming ahead or you can look at this awkward phase of your life and choose to see God’s hand at work. Neither is amazingly pleasant – but if you don’t embrace some part of the displacement – you end up losing. You end up staying and never moving forward.

Choose to get yourself ready for whatever you’re about to been thrown into. Don’t stay displaced.

The Moon

When someone graduates from being a friend, to being a really great friend to being one of your best, a number of things are typically involved. These are; mutual interests, shared values, respect, honesty and a whole lot of time. You really have to invest your time into friendships to make them truly valuable. One of the side effects of such an investment is what I like to call ‘friendship synchronization’ or to make it plain ‘tracking’.

It’s the interesting and sort of beautiful point in a relationship where you realise you’re on the same page and you like the same things. Whether or not you liked those things before the friendship is a little bit hard to decipher. Did you already love it? Or did your friend love it and somehow you ‘synced’ your interests. Whatever you want to call it, the reason for this current obsession is a result of friendship synchronization.

I LOVE the moon.

I have this friend and we love the moon together. I’ll be honest and say that I think she loved the moon first and subconsciously through the process of tracking, I grew to really love something she appreciated. The same goes with another of my friends who is a florist. I used to always ‘like’ flowers, but now I REALLY like them. Tracking.

I never disliked the moon but I never really paid much attention to it until recently. I find myself driving to scenic locations and moon gaze discussing and trying to ascertain how it all works up there. I now keep track of time via the moon and find myself saying things like ‘How can it be New Moon already?’ and I’m not even talking about Twilight you guys. And by twilight I obviously don’t mean the most beauteous time of day, I mean Edward Cullen and what not. Which I’m not talking about, to be clear.

I think I like the moon for a few reasons, it’s beauty of course, but also it’s mystery. To me, it’s a puzzle I’m still trying to figure out. No matter how many articles I read or how many times I try and recall primary school, it doesn’t 100% make sense to me. I need someone to create me a working solar system model because I just can’t fathom the craziness that is the moon.

Maybe you know this.. but the moon is always there. Like, always.

Lunar phase or phase of the moon refers to the shape of the illuminated (sunlit) portion of the Moon as seen by an observer, usually on Earth. The lunar phases change cyclically as the Moon orbits the Earth, according to the changing relative positions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun. The half of the lunar surface facing the Sun is always sunlit, but the portion of this illuminated hemisphere that is visible to an observer on Earth can vary from about 100% (full moon) to 0% (new moon). Wikipedia.

The moon is actually dark. I know it looks like the brightest object in the sky, but it’s not. Ever heard of the phrase ‘dark side of the moon’ or watched the Transformer movie? Yeah the moon is the dark, go figure.

The far side is often called the “dark side”, but in fact, it is illuminated as often as the near side: once per lunar day, during the new moon phase we observe on Earth when the near side is dark. The Moon has an exceptionally low albedo, giving it a reflectance that is slightly brighter than that of worn asphalt. Despite this, it is the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun. Wikipedia.

I gave you the technical facts so as to balance out how terribly I’d explain the solar system to you.

No matter what I know technically about the moon and its constant presence, I know that I view the moon as a temporal object. It comes and goes, it is full and it is crescent. I state things like ‘look the moon came out tonight’ when in actual fact, the moon is just visible tonight.

Don’t you think that’s a little bit like our relationship with God? Sometimes we can see him at work. At His brightest, his fullest. Our lives have ‘Christ at Work’ stamped all over it. Other times it’s just alright, we’re like a crescent moon where things are steady. Not crazy, just alright. And then there are times when it feels like God has gone and left us. That we are alone and we can’t see him, or feel him and that he has left us to fight on our own. And that, is a lie.

I think I love the moon because it reminds me that God is like the moon. He is always there, we can’t always see it but he is. It’s just a spiritual fact.

I think I also love the moon because of the way it confuses people into thinking it’s a bright object. It’s not and I love that it has us all fooled. The moon is a reflection of the sun.

God is like the moon, but He actually isn’t. He’s actually the Sun.

We are like the moon. We are a reflection of his light. We are not in ourselves capable of crazy feats of greatness and courage and wisdom and hope, however we spend our days attempting to reflect just a portion, a slither, a crescent of the brightness that is God.

 That’s why I love the moon. That’s why I love the Son.

Like the moon we borrow our light. I am nothing but a shadow in the night. If you let me I will catch fire, to let your glory and mercy shine. Paramore.

Blazing a Trail

I went for a walk this afternoon. After driving into this sleeping little town and checking out the sights, I set my mind on a hilly outcrop and tried to figure out the best way to get there. I drove to the closest or rather the safest place I would leave my car and set out, determined.

You know when you’re shoe shopping, or fishing reel shopping or car browsing and all of a sudden you see a pair of shoes that practically have your name written all over them. You exclaim to your shopping partner – “I have to have these”. This was like that for me and the hill. Internally, I exclaimed – “I have to go there”.

Thankfully nearby I saw a path. A formal council made path that looked like it could end up in the direction of my hill. Of course, it was now my hill. I had already become possessive. Having time up my sleeve and the makings of adventure in my heart, I set off down the path.

First roadblock. Fork in the road. I took the road less traveled. Thought not my natural disposition, it is what Robert Frost would do after all. I started to run and got excited because the path felt right. Robert Frost however does not always know what’s what and this path went almost nowhere. I mean, it technically led to the beach, if you felt like bush bashing to get there. While the beach is all well and good, my hill, that was my destination. I turned around surprisingly undeterred and chose the second path. It felt mildly better and was definitely worth a shot. Grateful for the almost paved pathway, I carried on.

I was tempted to be disappointed when this path also just led to the beach. My hill was surrounded by beaches which although gave it its key reason for its charm, it made access difficult, or at least deceptive. Content to wander on the nearly deserted beach, I walked in the direction of my hill. I kept walking and watched the few surfers who were keen enough to brave the near winter chill.

To my great delight I realised upon further inspection the rocks that I thought were my barrier to the hill, became my literal stepping stone to the hill. Isn’t that often the way? What was the once barrier became the step to freedom, if you only persevered.

I greeted the man walking down the rocks with his two dogs with a cheery ‘hello’ and rolled up my jeans, ditched my jacket and ran. Easily jumping across smooth well worn rocks and up the already worn pathway of the grass that had been trampled down by the many footsteps that had scaled this hill before me. Out of breath and struck by how completely surrounded I was by beauty. I thought to myself, ‘I’m so glad I came here’.

This whole process, which really only took about 20 minutes in total, threw my life onto the chopping block. Or the examination room, or the operating table. Whatever is the best way to describe the way I take regular life occurrences and use them to completely deconstruct my life.

I thought about how perhaps despite bravado and courage, I am not, at heart, a risk taker. I’m not sure if that completely bothers me except to say that I think perhaps trail blazers are risk takers. And I do want to be a trail blazer.

My quest for the hill threw into question whether or not, if a path had not already existed, would I be sitting here having not climbed that hill. How many setbacks would it have taken me before I gave up. One more, maybe two more wrong paths? How desperately did I want to sit atop that hill. Would my drive force me to push doubt and fear aside and blaze a new path? I don’t know if it would.

Once when I was a kid, I tried to make a path. We lived on acreage and our grass had grown rather long. One day when I was playing outside in the long grass as only a child would do (hello! snakes!) I had this random idea to try and make a path, an obvious path from one place to the next. Perhaps it was a path from the gate to tree swing I can’t really remember except that I traipsed and stomped back and forth over the same place, over and over, attempting to blaze a trail. It was hard, and I don’t think it really worked.

I think about that and I think about how many people fearless people and over how long it took to create the path I walked today. I’m so grateful for trailblazers. I’d like to think that today I played my part in keeping that path well worn, so that others could follow behind me another day.

I’m so grateful for men and women who decided to make a stand for something that I now freely walk in. The abolition of slavery, rights for women, freedom of speech. Somehow, these people, one after the after, overcame fear and doubt to blaze a trail, for me. By exercising my freedom, I keep that path well worn, so that we never go backwards.

I’m grateful, but I want more.

Part of me wished that it was me who first discovered that hill. That it really was my hill. And part of me is afraid. Afraid of what I would encounter of my path, of failing. Sometimes it’s easier to go nowhere at all then to go and have to return defeated.

Part of me wants to make a stand for something that’s never been done before. To make my mark. And part of me is afraid. Afraid of what I’ll encounter on my trail, of failing, that I would burn out rather than blaze.

God, snuff out the fear and let the part that yearns for more, grow into a fiery flame.

I want to blaze a trail.

Written on the road. (c) steffanywillis.com

[maximum]

Generally speaking, I haven’t changed much in my life.
Perhaps my constantly changing life (a house move to equivalent to each year I’ve been alive, 5 schools and over 10 jobs) has caused me to be a relatively stable person due to all the change going on around me. I’m sure there are many little things that have made up larger overall changes in life, but they seem spread out over such a range of time that I barely notice them. Sometimes that frustrates me. I wish I changed more and perhaps analysing myself would become a little bit more interesting. Perhaps I should have studied psychology rather than communications. However over the last year I have noticed a change, or at least realised something about myself that I hadn’t before.

I am a maximiser. I don’t know if I can simply describe this attribute by saying that I like to live life to the max, although that at times, does describe my life. But I like to maximize the most out of my life.

If I’m going to watch TV, you had bet I’ll be painting my nails at the same time. I almost always add an extra annual leave day onto the end of a long weekend to make it a four day weekend, maximizing the gift that public holidays are. I almost never fall asleep before midnight. I’d prefer to buy 5 cheap tops over 1 amazing top for the same price. To me a successful day is work, lunch dates, university, friend time, exercise, cleaning and a movie to finish it off (while painting my nails of course).

I think it’s more than just wanting my life to be full.

It’s more than just over committing to things.

It’s more than just being a night person or wanting to feel productive.

I can only describe it as the intense need to maximize the life I am given.

Perhaps that’s because time is short. Perhaps that’s because I want to make a difference. Whatever it is, it’s my driving force. I can’t tell if I was always like this, but as time wears on I feel the growing need to make an impact with my life, with my days, with my gifts.

Do you find this feeling growing as you get older? I find instead of shrinking back from life with age and weariness, I push harder at life. I want more from it. I expect more from life. I expect more from my friends, from my job, from my faith. I need more.

Somehow I think that’s how God designed this life. Big, expansive. I think He put that feeling inside of me and as time wore on and I became more and more dissatisfied with the mundane-ness of life, He kept revealing to me a different way to live. It means I stop sleeping in. It means I stop putting off that book (or two) I’ve been saying ill write. It means listening to people when I’m with them. Living big means living small.

I can’t really tell if that’s immature or naive of me to think that there is more to life. How is it possible that after 25 years here, I could still have missed it? I don’t want to miss another second of it. I want to maximise the time God has given me.

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Good Morning.

After a series of unfortunate events that I like to call mornings with yours truly, I made a very important decision. In fact, I just made it, so this is like, hot off the press or something.

I just decided to become a morning person.

Some of you, those who know me, just spat out whatever you were drinking or choked on your own gasp of air. Steffany, a morning person? Get. Out.

I think I just got a little bit sick of feeling rushed in the morning, or arriving to work with wet hair, being late. Lately I’ve been sleeping so much I just haven’t had time for coffee, and that is no (real) way to live. It blows my mind how much some people get done in the morning. They go for runs, clean their house, paint their nails, read, make lunch, make their own coffee and are still early to work. I don’t know how they do it. The only conclusion I’ve come to is that they get up early.

Can you actually do that? Can you just decide one day to be a morning person? Am I genetically wired to hate mornings or is that just my lifestyle choice? I know I am technically a night person, but can’t I be a little bit of both? Surely I can train myself to wake up when the alarm goes off, get up and then get things done. My outfits will be more put together, my meals will be more put together, and just generally, I’m sure to feel much more put together. I’m sick of being “grumpy” in the mornings. If I wake up early enough, surely my grumpy will just be at home when no one has to witness it. I’m basically a genius.

It’s got me thinking though.
Can people change?

If you’re a pessimist, can you just decide one day that you’re going to be an optimist?
Can you wake up one day and decide you’re going to be an exercise/health type?
If you loathe mornings, can you just say that you are now going to be a morning person.

Can you wake up and decide to be different.

Today I will love God more than before.
Today I will show kindness instead of contempt.
Today I will listen to His prompting and act.

Does that work?
I pray that it does.

I want to be a morning person. I’m not and I have so far to go before I can train my body into jumping out of bed before that alarm goes off rather than sleeping through it completely but I hope it’s possible. Because I do want it pretty bad.
I want to be a better person. I’m a wretched sinner and I know I will never be able to overcome that on my own. But I hope, with God’s help, that it’s possible. I want it pretty bad.

Also, I’ve started saving off recipes. Surely this is all a sign of growing up?

#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.

Lacklustre

Have you ever felt like you didn’t quite measure up?

I think it happens to us all in one way or a million. Your father expected a certain standard of behaviour from you but you’re always making mistakes. You keep trying your hardest in that relationship to make it work but it seems like no matter what you do – it’s not enough. You’re buying the latest in fashions, rolling your jeans up and buying gadgets galore but “cool” is still all too illusive. I think no matter how you feel it – inadequacy is one of the worst human emotions to experience.

Failure is one thing. It means you tried and maybe you even tried really hard – but you made a mistake. Inadequacy is another matter entirely. It means that no matter what you do – you don’t have it in you to succeed. With failure you would try again and maybe you’d make it. You can bounce back from failure. Inadequate means lacking the quality required. The dictionary defines it as insufficient for a purpose. And it’s honestly the worst.

Perhaps the worst of all inadequacies is feeling insufficient in purpose. Purpose for the only thing you’ve ever wanted to do. What you feel like was your life’s call, life’s purpose.

You wanted to be a musician but someone told you, you had no rhythm.
Insufficient for a purpose.
You wanted to be an author but someone told you, your writing style lacked ‘lustre’.
Insufficient for a purpose.
You wanted to be a doctor or a businessman but someone told you, your grades weren’t good enough.
Insufficient for a purpose.
You felt called to something. And someone told you it just wasn’t a good fit.
Insufficient for your purpose.

It’s actually crushing.
Because after you discover that thing that makes you tick, the thing that makes your heart beat a little bit faster, the thing that makes you soar.. how on earth do you go back to life without it? Life without that dream? Life without purpose?

I guess I don’t really know. Maybe you just do it anyway. Keep trying. Take lessons. Try, try and when all else fails, try again. Perhaps the only thing that gives me any comfort whatsoever is that when I strip it all back, take away all the extra stuff – at the heart of it all – I was actually just made to worship. That is my purpose. To bring God pleasure.

And actually, I am so insufficient for THAT purpose. How at all – can I bring God pleasure and happiness.
Insufficient.
Flawed. Selfish. Broken. Sinner.
Inadequate.

I think that is the single most beautiful thing about God. He takes that which is nothing and makes it stunning. He sees my nothing and finds great promise in it. I think about that whenever I feel inadequate for a purpose, big or small. I try and remember that if the only thing I ever do is make Him happy – then I have succeeded. I have won.

And I do that just by being me.
Sufficient.
Adequate.
He makes me so.
He makes you so.

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.