A few months ago, I got to worrying about my health. You see, at my (relatively) young age, I am already suffering from an arthritic condition. So I got to feeling sorry for myself, and fretting about how much worse my condition would get and whether I would eventually become disabled, etc. And then somewhere in the middle of all that worrying, I had an “epiphany” if you will. It wasn’t a voice that spoke to me, but more like a sudden realisation. It was along the lines of: “If God has taken care of you up to this point, why would he stop now?” That stopped my worrying in its tracks. That did the trick.
The truth is no matter how many times God has come through for us, with each new difficulty we face, we greet it as a completely novel problem, as if somehow it is bigger than anything God has taken on before. I think single Christian women, in particular, often worry about whether they will ever get married, have children, or whether they will remain lonely forever. We forget that the God who has carried us through every day of our single lives thus far will be around in the future. We forget that this same God has a plan for our lives, a plan to prosper us and not to harm us.
Last week I was inspired by the story behind the hymn “It is well”. You can read about the life of Horatio Spafford, who penned this marvellous hymn. Here is a man who was essentially a modern-day Job, who lost all his children, plus property and fortune. Yet, instead of turning his back on God he wrote “when sorrows like sea billows roll… it is well with my soul”.
That’s the sort of faith in God I want to have: crazy faith. How about you?
Daughter of the King
Do you ever get the feeling you were born to live an extraordinary life? Sometime ago, I spoke about being more than “normal” as Christians, that we are destined to make an impact. That argument was related to our spiritual lives primarily. But do you ever feel that you want something more than ordinary in your life overall, in every aspect: spiritual, relational, financial, intellectual, cultural, professional?
I come from an extended family where we have done quite well for ourselves. It’s a family of teachers, nurses and managers, etc. Not bad. We are mostly middle class, and we have the basics, but sometimes life is a struggle. We’ve done OK, but that’s just it: we’re average. And it’s not just my family, or my community: all around Jamaica and the world, there are people accepting ‘ordinary’.
Most people have decided to accept less than the very best for their lives. Life gets in the way somehow. We leave university or high school with our big dreams about how we want to change the world, about who we want to be, the experiences we want to have, and then somewhere in the midst of that, life happens. We get a job, maybe our dream job, but generally not. We get married; we have children; our priorities change; our finances are not what we had expected, and little by little, we let go of our dreams and accept whatever life throws at us.
Some of us even rationalise that this mediocre life we live is God’s will for us. Yes, God gave you the husband, children, job and the house, but when exactly did He tell you to give up your dreams, to give up the burning desire He placed in you to be more and to do more? In fact, I think we often use the “God’s will” argument as an excuse so we don’t have to hold ourselves accountable for what we have not accomplished.
I will never fully understand the obstacles that other people have to living extraordinary lives, because their circumstances differ from mine. I know though that with all the challenges in my life, and the constraints, I still want more. I yearn for more than a mediocre existence that I am sure to regret. I remain a dreamer who refuses to let life get in the way. I refuse to accept that I cannot have a job I love or that life is nothing but a constant struggle. I strongly believe that God wants us to live our best lives in every facet of our existence, and that He is disappointed when we refuse to follow our unique paths and purposes.
I have decided to live my life without excuses and without regrets. “Extraordinary” has become my destination. Will you come with me?
Do not choose the lesser life.
do you hear me.
do you hear me.
choose the life that is. yours.
the life that is seducing your lungs.
that is dripping down your chin.
– Nejma, Nayyirah Waheed
Daughter of the King
Many single Christian women continue to think their lives are doomed to boredom until they get married and have children, since apparently that’s when all the fun starts. Really? Have you never heard married mothers complain about their lives? The lesson here is: the grass is not always greener on the other side, so learn to make the best of your circumstances, whatever the stage of life you find yourself in.
Now I remember being a part of a conversation with other single Christian women colleagues some time ago, and we got to talking about the Bible’s restrictions on pre-marital sex. One of my colleagues proceeded to intimate that the Bible did not want us to have fun. I wasn’t aware that sex was the only way to have fun.
Just in case you didn’t get the memo, there are plenty ways to enjoy life without violating God’s commandments. These are a few of my favourites:
Travel. Travelling is a truly enriching experience. You are exposed to new cultures, new places and new people and in many ways you return home changed by the experience. I love exploring the unknown, and there is nothing like travelling outside of your country that allows you to do just that.
Music. There are so many great genres of clean music out there to enjoy. Apart from gospel or other Christian genres, reggae, classical, alternative rock, jazz, salsa and country are generally clean and fun genres to listen to. So turn up the volume, forget everything and just dance.
Deep conversations with girlfriends. I love these: quiet afternoons with a few close girlfriends talking about everything under the sun, including our deepest fears and desires. It’s a most beautiful experience.
Reading. The great thing about reading is it can take you across geographical and temporal boundaries. Reading situates in another world, even without a plane ticket. Living vicariously through the characters that you meet, seeing and smelling what they see and smell is an unadulterated pleasure that is virtually unrivalled by any other kind of activity. If you have not read just for fun since you were a child, you are really missing out.
Exploring: The thing with exploring is that you don’t always even need to leave your community to do it. Historical treasures are lurking all around, depending on where you live: old colonial churches, old slave plantations or sugar works, old forts, and the list goes on. If you love history, do not pass up the opportunity to explore the history at your doorsteps. You could be surprised at what you discover.
Gourmet cooking. Generally, I don’t even like to cook, but if I am doing something different and exotic then cooking becomes very exciting. Not everyone has the money to make frequent visits to fancy restaurants to indulge her inner foodie. That should not be an obstacle. Most gourmet meals are deceptively simple to make, and sites like EatingWell really make preparing them a breeze. Explore your creativity this year with gourmet cooking.
Travelling enriches you (Grecia, Costa Rica).
At the end of the day, finding fun activities depends on being in tune with who you are and what resonates with you as a person. These are my favourite things. What are yours?
Daughter of a King
I have decided to re-read Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. I read it years ago and while I believe that I generally live according to my purpose, I feel the need to ramp it up a bit, and I thought I needed a reminder of how to do so. Well according to Rick, one of our main purposes is to serve God. We were made to serve God. I think that explains why we often feel empty without God, because if God is not being accommodated in our lives, then we are missing out on the raison d’être of our existence. Continue reading