These words have been stalking me recently. Well, for the past year actually. For months, I have read them day in, day out wondering if I will ever put them back into practice. When I was at University, I did this a lot. My sense of adventure and excitement for spontaneity were alive and well. It didn't matter that we travelled for 8 hours down to the opposite end of the country to watch a one hour concert on the beach. Nor did it really matter that we arrived home from London at 2am to find the entire contents of our bedrooms switched around with someone else. We celebrated engagements, birthdays, jubilees, Christmas and 2-4-1 cocktails on a Thursday evening. We had weekends away, trips to the beach, journeys to the supermarket after midnight (rebellion at it's best.) We spent every night in the garden drinking cider and having BBQ's with our neighbours. We spent an entire day filling a paddling pool with water and all sat in it, just the once. We didn't really have a reason to fear the future, we were having too much fun! We were too busy enjoying the moment, making the most of where we were, because we knew that it wouldn't last forever. Those three years were for staying up until 4am most nights talking about goodness knows what, to adventure, to learn and experience, to find ourselves before the real world hit. No responsibilities, enjoying our independence. Those amazing years came and went so quickly that it already feels like a distant memory.
I wasn't prepared for the job market to be as it has been. I have made so many plans based on 'if I get this job, I can...' or 'I'll be able to...' only to be turned down because I don't have enough experience. So, back to the drawing board. I've had a year of 'what will you do next?' 'Where will you go?' 'Why don't you move?' 'Do you really want that job?' 'Have you tried this, or that?' Truth be told, these questions have not made my life any easier! I have explored so many avenues to get where I want to be yet sometimes it feels like I am no closer. I have no answers, because I have no clue what's going on here!
'She laughs without fear of the future...'
You may have gathered by now, that I have not done a lot of that lately. I recently attended a conference that focussed a lot on this. The masks that some of us hide behind; inadequacy, victim, perfection. Our constant battle to be 'worry free' when actually, a certain level of worry is both necessary and healthy - when we gain control of it. I learnt a lot that day. I realised how afraid I feel of making the wrong decision because I feel so lost. What if I regret this? What if I don't do this and wish I had? But a better question I needed to ask myself was this; when was the last time that I didn't feel afraid?
It all hit me, one sunny day with a friend. You see, the weather has been driving England crazy lately. I know that we are infamous for moaning CONSTANTLY about the weather, but the problem is that it's so unpredictable that we are unprepared for everything. Snow, sun, rain, fog. We don't get enough of one weather type to make proper precautions so instead we just moan. It's never just right. We have had about a month of sunshine. Today, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I took a coat out with me, not only that, but an umbrella. Our homes and many of our shops, restaurants and cafés are not air conditioned, so we have all had to buy fans to prevent us from melting. Nobody is sleeping. But now the rain has started again, everybody is moaning because THE SUN HAS GONE.
I digress. One fine day a couple of weeks ago, I was sat with a friend eating an ice-cream whilst we dipped our toes in a pool of water in the centre of Bradford. It was so hot that dipping our toes simply wasn't cutting the mustard. There were kids running through the fountains, splashing around in swimming costumes. So were there parents. I couldn't watch it, it was just torture - everything within me wanted to just run in there, regardless of the fact that I was fully clothed. So, we discussed this pickle in which we found ourselves and decided to drop off our belongings and my friends house and go back to the water to walk around in it. My friend was able to change into more sensible clothes, whereas I did not come prepared for this. We left our shoes with a random family and walked into the water:
But that wasn't enough. There was a huge fountain spraying out in the middle that people were running through. We saw a guy run through it and I thought he didn't actually look that wet. So, we had to do it too. We ran. We got drenched. We LAUGHED. We laid down in the water, enjoying the sun for a while, in between a splash fight with a small child and another run through the giant fountain. I didn't care that I had mascara all down my face. I didn't care that my hair was dripping wet. I didn't care that we were walking through a busy city centre soaking wet. I didn't even care that I didn't have a change of clothes and I had to go home on the train.
I didn't CARE about the consequences, because I wanted to enjoy the moment. Not just dip my toes in whilst watching everyone else have fun, but to run into the fountain, fully clothed with my eyes closed. It was so liberating! Though to you, this may seem like nothing - for me it was a wake up call. I have been so caught up, worrying about which road to go down when really, I don't need to. I have allowed my worry to rob me of my JOY. This is not how it should be!
'For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.' 2 Tim 1:7
Whatever road I go down, I will be challenged, blessed and tested. I cannot spend my days waiting for tomorrow to find joy in today. I must FULLY live now - it is a choice! I have to take steps into the un-known, not knowing what might be ahead of me and live it, do it and experience it. None of us know what tomorrow holds, but we CAN choose whether we will allow worry to rob us of our joy or if we will allow joy to eliminate our worry.
Much Love xxx