brain farts

Questions you should probably avoid…

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I’ve seen a few blog posts, articles, Instagram shots and even Facebook statuses on this topic before. I’ve read them, ‘liked’ them and even shared a couple around. So I thought I’d compile my own list of ‘questions that you should probably avoid’ asking those around you, from my own personal experience. I feel for you if any of these resonate with you – but I guess the real aim behind this is to simply state that

we should be more careful when we choose our questions.

I’ll admit it. I’d be tried and found guilty of asking some of these before – but of course, I’d plead ‘good intentions!’ Sometimes however, good intentions won’t get me very far. There really are some questions that are best left unasked.

1) “When are you getting married?”
This is applicable to both single AND dating people. I encountered this in both seasons of my life and never appreciated being asked it, unless the asker was a very close, personal friend. For a couple of reasons, this question always made me feel anxious in my heart. When I was single – it made me feel anxious because I didn’t have any immediate prospects for marriage. There was no ‘significant other’ in my life and I wasn’t sure how to go about ‘getting’ one. When I eventually was blessed with being a part of a duo, this question still made me feel anxious because what if this guy wasn’t who I was supposed to marry? What if this relationship would end in heart break, sadness and seemingly wasted time? There’s a lot of unintended pressure behind this question and for me, it left a lot of anxious feelings crawling around in my mind…

2) “When are you having kids?”
This is applicable to married couples, regardless of the length of their marriage. Often, this is the logical progression of life events = date, marry, bear children. But for many, this ‘tradition’ is not as simple or easy. Not only do I find this question to be impersonal and to some degree, no one else’s business – but I also feel that unless you’re 100% sure that whoever it is you’re asking this question of can actually have children, it shouldn’t even really cross your mind to ask it. I often find myself becoming resentful and embarrassed when I am asked this question – things I don’t enjoy feeling, even though most people who have asked me this question, again, have the best intentions. This question often leaves me feeling unaccomplished, like without plans to have children soon I am not amounting to my role as ‘wife’…asking a question like this makes it sound like it’s simply something I’ve just – whoops! – forgotten to do. On the contrary…

3) “What are you going to do next year?”
This is applicable to anyone, even if you have a stable job, have finished study, are married, single, with kids or without – this question is bound to come around the closer that Christmas and New Years approach. For me, I struggle to even think about what I’m doing next month let alone next year! And are you asking me this question because you want me to ask you what your grand plans are, or are you genuinely seeking to know me better…? Do you have ‘advice’ to offer me, or are you just wanting to pick apart what I have to say? See? This question gets me all sceptical, distrusting and suspicious – other qualities I don’t like in myself.

4) “What are you going to do after you graduate?”
Firstly, my response is the same as above – I can’t think about next month all that clearly, let alone further down the track! Secondly, I. Have. No. Idea. ‘Wherever the Holy Spirit leads me’ and ‘I’m pretty flexible’ are my go-to answers for this question. I honestly don’t know! Stop asking me, it’s stressing me out! *pulling my hair out* *grinding my teeth* This question places unnecessary anxiety again on my heart…finishing study? Stepping into the adult world? No more cheap bus tickets and movie tickets? What on earth am I going to do…?!

5) “When are you going to get a job?”
This one always gets me – even if you’re unemployed or employed part time/casually, a student, a graduate or whatever…this is a tough one to think about. Especially if you’ve been trying to get a job and just found yourself being knocked back. There are always other external factors behind these things – it’s not simply a matter of giving a specific date and time as an answer.

All of these questions are ones I have encountered in my own life and while it sounds like I’m venting, having a go and wanting to stamp my feet – I really just wanted to share that I feel there are some questions or variations thereof that should be considered twice – three times – before being asked. How well do you know the person? Do you know all of their personal circumstances? Are they the sort of person who would be open about answering? Why are you asking the question? How can knowing the answer better your relationship with that person?

I too have to check my own tongue sometimes. I too have to stop myself from prying sometimes. And at the end of the day, each of the answers to these questions has an underlying strength to it – God. God’s plans are greater, mightier, stronger, deeper, truer and more amazing than we could ever imagine and He will always be in control, leading His people individually along the paths that are right for them.

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*new blog series*

Week fifty – ‘a recent discovery’

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Those who know me well, know that I am not a big baby person. I don’t much care for the strange alien-look that newborns have…the spit up that 3 month olds deliver…the constant nappy changes…the early mornings associated with crying…the clingyness of the tiny human…the inability to communicate with a little person who has no words……among other things…..

And I am acutely aware I sound like a truly horrible human being right now with a dark heart!

Don’t get me wrong, I see the flaws with how I see babies…I’m not totally unfeeling! However, I’ve just never been into cuddling them or making ‘mooshy’ noises at them in gaga speak……………………..

Until now.

A discovery has been made – a wall inside my heart has begun to crumble and light is filtering into a well-hidden area of my soul. God is at work, softening what I have hardened over the years and boy is He doing a good job! Something is starting to give – albeit, slowly – and I’m discovering… I don’t mind babies so much.

I think I can pinpoint the start of God’s transformation of my heart too. A good friend of mine recently had a baby and seeing her and her husband with the little fella just makes me smile…and when the little fella smiles at me there’s a flicker of desire deep inside that God is fanning. They have been an amazing example of first-time parents…and have such encouraging words to share, that I can’t help but step back from my ‘anti-baby’ former self and scrutinise this new ‘maybe-I-want-kids-soon’ person 🙂

So there you have it. A pretty big confession on my part; a pretty big discovery has been made and while I am in no way fully ‘there’ yet – the road is laid out already, God is there, my hubby is there, friends and family are there and if kids is something that lies ahead for us…I’ll know that God was at work in the now to get me to the there.

Is your heart hardened against something? Is God softening it?

*new blog series*

Week forty eight & forty nine – ‘seasons’

Shawn McDonald has a brilliant song called ‘Time‘ – these are the lyrics…

There is a time to laugh
And a time to cry
And there is a time to accept
And a time to deny

There is a time to be strong
And a time to be weak
And there is a time to listen
And a time we must speak

For everything there’s a reason
For everything there’s a rhyme
For everything there’s a season
For everything there’s a time

For everything, everything
Everything there’s a time
For everything, everything
Everything there’s a time

And there is a time to say hello
And a time to wave goodbye
And there is a time when that we are born
And a time we must die

And there is a time to build up
And a time to tear it down
There is a time to be lost
And a time to be found

Everything there’s a reason
For everything there’s a rhyme
For everything there’s a season
For everything there’s a time

For everything, everything
Everything there’s a time
For everything, everything
Everything there’s a time

One without the other
Is like a king without his kingdom
Everything works together
It all coincides

For everything there’s a reason
For everything there’s a rhyme
For everything there’s a season
For everything there’s a time

For everything, everything
Everything there’s a time
For everything, everything
Everything there’s a time

Every time I hear this song, I’m reminded of Ecclesiastes 3:1 – For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.

There is a time for every activity under heaven…

So what’s the rush? Why is everyone in a hurry? Why do we feel the need to do everything now? Everybody is in different seasons of life, so how can we compare our journey with that of another? How can we say ‘man I’m so behind the times! I should be doing this or that like those people’ when we have our own journeys to live? How can we say ‘you should be at this stage of life now and have all of that sorted by now’ to those around us when our story is completely different to theirs? Everybody is at a different stage of life – in a different season of life – and God is leading each one according to His own timing.

It’s something I have been learning a lot about recently – that the season I am in right now is O.K with me. I don’t need to be in a rush. I don’t need to do what everybody else is doing. I don’t need to copy those around me just to ‘fit it’ because God has my path perfectly laid out for me. 🙂

This verse has been a bit of a rock for me recently…

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A steadfast verse that delivers truth and peace and strength straight to my very core. So when you’re feeling pressured to be, do, say, act or look like everyone else – remember that there is a time for everything and God has your path perfectly in turn with His timing…

*new blog series*

Week sixteen- ‘I’m done’

Ladies and germs – for those of you playing at home, I’M DONE!

That’s right folks – I handed in my last assignment on Friday afternoon and as long as no one requires me to resubmit something, this semester is FINISHED and I am officially on summer holidays! If you’ve been reading these posts for the past few weeks you will be well aware that I have struggled through this semester and many a time wanted to yank all my hair out and cluck like a chicken. I felt like I was going insane there for a while…everything was piled in front of me like a huge wall just taunting me and there was no way I was going to get over, under or through it.

But God is a million and one times bigger than any imaginary wall my mind creates. He was always there, in every assignment, in every lecture, in every tutoring session. Guiding me on, willing me to not quit and providing strength, peace and diligence that I knew I didn’t have without Him. In so many situations we say ‘God is with us’ or ‘God is here’, but never really fully appreciate the gravity of that claim or knowledge. We never really understand just how powerful that head knowledge can be and just how true it is of God too. So I want to say that not only do I (even if it is just in a small way) understand a little bit more of what it means to have God by my side in everything at all times, but I appreciate the real sense of peace and confidence that comes with that knowledge. 

The only way that the words formed in my head, flowed out through my fingers and made logical and coherent sense on my laptop screen in every assignment that I did was because of God’s presence. Hands down – because of God. That’s pretty much all there is to it and today, i give Him the glory for that amazing blessing! He has called me to this study, at this time in my life, for a specific reason. Therefore, He has a plan to get me through and He will make that happen in His own way. I am so grateful for His tender care, His steadfastness and His guidance. I am so grateful for the down times I was still able to have and the things that i learnt during this first semester.

I sound like I’m carrying on about it waaaaay too much – but the truth of the matter is: I’m feeling blessed right now by God’s awesomeness, and I’m super psyched for summer holidays because it means CHRISTMAS is upon us! high five!

Don’t think just because i have no study to whinge on about that there won’t be weekly updates – there will be! I committed to a year of this, so we can do at least that 🙂

Many blessings as you step out into a new week in Him…may your heart beat in time with His.

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*new blog series*

Week nine – ‘motivation: where for art thou?’

I don’t know if it’s just me, but has anyone else found that they hit ‘the wall’ in terms of having motivation to do stuff sometimes? And I’m not necessarily talking about anything in particular – though I have definitely neared the end of my tank of study-related motivation! But just ‘stuff’ in general…you know, turning up at things, doing housework, cooking, changing out of pyjamas each day. Stuff. Life. Doing stuff. Being places. Talking. Stuff.

I sometimes get to a point where all I do is whinge. I only have enough in me to let out a whingey gripe or a whiney complaint. I often get to this point after I’ve been doing something repetitive for an extended period of time. In this case – lectures, study and homework. It’s been 8 weeks of work. That’s 2 months. And it’s not quite over yet! I’ve still got to gather up some strength and brain power to forge on for a bit longer…except that I feel a bit like I’m tuning out too early!

A friend recently leant me season 2 of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and while I love that show, I really should have held off on watching it! I’m acting a bit like I don’t have things to do, places to be and people to see. Whoops! Then I justified it saying I used it as background noise or episodes as mini breaks between readings and assignments…but who am I kidding really?! I’m just watching it. 😉

Anyway, as I was saying – I start letting loose with the negative talk. ‘Gosh, they’re so annoying!’ ‘Man, they are a shocking driver!’ ‘I don’t want to go, it’s stupid!’ ‘Why should I?’ ‘I can’t be bothered, I don’t enjoy it.’ ‘No, you are!’ I’m such a teenage drama queen! But it’s when I get to this point that God brings a moment across my path that forces me to chill out.

Today was that day. I dropped hubby at work in the city and had an hour and a bit to kill before a brunch. So, donning my sneakers and opening a LifeChurch podcast, I walked. The sun was out, the birds were friendly, joggers were jogging and dogs were…dogging? It was a beautiful morning for a walk. And the podcast was well timed too! (Cheers, God) Cultivating a culture of Christ-centredness in your family by being a Christ-centred individual. Who better than to draw me out of my motivational-funk than God? I want to live in His Word, in His plan, in His motivation. When I feel empty, there’s a reason for that and the only way to top back up is to head to the wellspring of life, right?

His timing is truly remarkable…I hope and pray that this is just the beginning of a revitalisation of my motivation – and I’m not just talking about study this time!

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*new blog series*

Week six – ‘coffee, sweet treats and recycled goods’

I know I know – I’m a couple of days late in this blog entry! My bad…got caught up in homework and Father’s Day and eating delicious home made goodies!

So a couple of things to report on from this past week. I want to ‘introduce’ you first off to my tutoring student. I’ve had several meetings with him now, we get together on Monday mornings for a couple of hours and basically my job is to get to know him and his needs/wants in terms of English language and offer help. He’s a Masters of Divinity student at the same college I’m at, but is a Korean national. He and his wife and 2 kids live here while he studies and works.

He’s such a friendly, smart guy and his English is pretty well top-notch! We look over his assignment requirements, look at specific instructions, define words and look at certain texts a bit more in depth. In that, I try to explain anything he doesn’t quite understand (as much as I can!) and also check over any assignments he wants me to. It’s really a fun task! He makes this assignment of mine – yes, it’s a requirement for me to meet with him as per my own studies – much more interesting and enjoyable! I just hope I’m being useful to him too.

Now lend me your ear, because I want to rave for a moment! One of my most favourite parts of each week is getting along to Junktion. What on earth am I on about, you ask? (I don’t care if you didn’t ask, imma tell you anyway!) 🙂

Junktion is a not-for-profit recycled goods shop – complete with coffee, tea and sweet treats for sale – that I volunteer in. It’s an initiative set up by Youth Ministries Australia (who I just happened to do my internship through and love the vision of!) that is located in the office next door. Trav, the YMA National Leader works out of the office and his wife Pixi works out of Junktion. It’s such a fun and warm place to work in! Not only do I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Pixi, but the shop itself is awesome. So many cool things come across the counter and so many different people walk through the door – you just never know what a day at Junktion might hold!

I think one of the things that truly resonates with me though, is what lies at the heart of Junktion. To be a light – a friendly, Godly light – in the community. Somewhere for people to meet, hang out, pick up something incredibly awesome for incredibly little $$ and be a part of something bigger than themselves. The shop also functions in a financial way for YMA too, covering the rent for the office and the shop as well as helping to fund different youth and youth leader related events/training run through the office.

Have I raved enough for you yet? I just LOVE being a part of the volunteering team! It truly is a huge highlight of my week 🙂 check Junktion out on Facebook!

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*new blog series*

Week three – ‘keep calm and…..’

It’s week three. Already. We’re there. And boy, has the past week been one random whirlwind! The most important and life-altering event was that hubby’s workplace went into liquidation. We could see it coming for a while now, and through the good graces of The Lord, we were somewhat prepared – but still. Bit of a shock to the system!

But in amongst that, was God’s amazingly timed provision of a new part time job for the hubby. How brilliant is that? He knew just what we would need and when and – BAM! God delivers. He always has a plan, always has it under control. In those moments of the unknown; the stresses of the world coming at you, He waits to see where you’ll turn.

That’s always been a big one for me. Turning first to The Lord – seeking solace in His word, His arms and His plans for this life rather than running to Facebook or my friends. Neither of which is wrong, but it shouldn’t be first port of call. The quiet peace of the Almighty should be number 1.

So this past week – like I said last time, I was gearing up for my first session of ‘placement’ at the detention centre…which was a pretty disheartening day overall unfortunately. Very disorganised place, with almost nothing for volunteer types to actually do. So in a sense, it felt like a bust. I’m going back next week, but not for as long so we’ll see if that makes for a better day. I want to actually see and get involved in the English class, conversation corners and homework help. So we’ll see!

The other ‘bust’ from this past week was that I missed out on a job opportunity that had been portrayed as a ‘sure thing’ more or less. It was a disappointing blow and has left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth in regards to that organisation, but at the end of the day – that will be for the best. Doesn’t feel like it right now, but it will be because God will have me head elsewhere. There’ll be somewhere I’m supposed to end up and to get there, that job would have stood in the way. Patience is the key right here…something I am constantly working on!

To top off the craziness of the week, my lecturer hooked me up with a Korean Masters student to help tutor while saying she’s impressed I’m taking on 4 subjects this semester!

I’m sorry, what?!

I thought 4 was the norm…?
Way to not lay any pressure on! Ha!
Never mind. Like hubby said, this is where God has me, so just do the best that you can with what you have.
He’s right.
They didn’t say I couldn’t do 4 anyway! 🙂

So there you have it! Phew! Need a lie down? I do! It’s been messy and hectic and random and busy! But that’s life, right? Full. Life is full of the works of the Almighty, and in Him all things are possible!
Stay tuned…

The view from the detention centre…stunning right? 🙂

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