Living the Life You Dreamt of

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut, like life had become one big series of useless routines? Someone once shared with me how she was bored with her life, did not like her job, and was tired of living in the same place she had lived since childhood. Life had become routine and predictable.

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Light!

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Yesterday at church, our Pastor preached about Christians being a light in the world. He said we were called to essentially dispel the darkness of this world. His message brought back a sentiment that dogged me most of last year: a sense that I am not living up to my full spiritual potential and that I am not fully living out that glorious purpose to which we are all called. Do you ever get that overwhelming sense that you are meant to do so much more than you are currently doing?

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Why It’s OK to Travel Solo

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One of the great advantages of being a single Christian woman is that you have the freedom to do what you want to do when you want to, like taking off for a while to travel to some far-off and exotic place. At this stage in your life, you don’t have to choose between school fees and that trip of a lifetime, or wait until you can afford a trip for the entire family. One disadvantage though is that without a husband or children, finding a ready travel partner is not as easy: your friends may have other priorities, not have the time, or not have the funds to go along with you.

So what do you do, when you have a burning desire to travel somewhere but no one has the time, money or interest in going with you? You go it alone.

Frankly, it comes down to whether years from now your greater regret will be not having had friends along with you on that trip to Europe, for example, or that you let excuses deprive you of the chance to go to Europe. I know what I’d regret more. How about you?

When I said I was going to Peru alone, my mother clearly thought I was crazy. I’ve always wanted to visit Peru, a mecca for history, culture, and tasty and creative cuisine, but my friends either didn’t have the funds or the interest. So, I set off alone. And I loved it!

Don’t get me wrong, travelling with family and friends is great, but there is something about being able to do what you want when and how you want it. You can stay in the museum, shopping centre, or whatever floats your boat, without feeling guilty that your companion is getting weary and bored. You can leave your hotel for a day of exploring as early or as late as you want.  Furthermore, and this always amazes me, without your entourage, it is so much easier to start up conversations with total strangers, including locals who can provide unique insight into their own culture.

Sure there are dangers out there; there are dangers everywhere even in your hometown, and you have to take certain precautions. One of the things that should make the solo travel decision easier for a Christian woman, however, is having the conviction that God is watching over you no matter where in the world you are. I mean, Proverbs 15:3 reminds us that “the eyes of the Lord are in every place” (NIV). That’s greater comfort than any amount of pepper spray or travel insurance.

So are you going to let the lack of a travel companion keep you from visiting the place you always dreamt of?

Love,

Daughter of a King

Financial Management for Single Christian Women: Change Your Mindset

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If you are a single woman over … let’s say 25, proper financial management is going to become an important part of your life. The truth is, rather than sit around hoping that one day you’ll find Mr. Right to help bring you financial stability, you are going to need to start seeking it for yourself; become your own hero, so to speak. Of course, this in no way precludes your getting married, but what if you don’t? What if you get to age 40 still unmarried and also still broke, no house, with student loan, credit card debts and car payments, etc.?

Prevention is always, always better than cure. Besides, I think it would be great if you go into a marriage financially stable so you can complement your husband rather than be a burden to him. Life is hard for both genders these days, and everyone needs to be pulling his or her own weight as far as possible. I also think it’s easier for your potential husband to see you more as an equal partner in the marriage when he doesn’t have to be propping you up.

Personally, I have found that proper financial management involves one very important element: changing your mindset. You know how we as human beings often love the bling, the fancy car, the mansion, the latest gadgets, the designer clothes and shoes? So whether we can afford them or not we often seek out these things. Many of us put ourselves in debt and take on big mortgages we can ill afford, just so we can feel good about what we have, and keep up with our neighbours, our friends, our family, and people we don’t even know.

But you see what is behind most of this? What other people think. If there is one thing I have learnt, it’s not to make my financial decisions to impress anyone else. Trust me, that is one of the most important rules of managing your finances. After you have mastered that, life gets way easier.

So how about you start today by weeding out the mentality that says you need to keep up with the Joneses, and start living within your means? I guarantee you that you will live a more productive and satisfying life that way. Your future will thank you for it.

Love,

Daughter of a King

Mental Health

Dear Sister in Christ,

Just last week, a 31-year-old mentally-ill woman died in Portmore, Jamaica. They say she starved to death, that she was more or less abandoned by family. Her body was found dumped somewhere, like garbage.

It breaks your heart, doesn’t it?

Even though mental disorders are actually quite common, society’s ignorance about them remains baffling. Incidents like this bother me not only as a human being, but also as someone who suffers from an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). The truth is though, society’s treatment of people with mental diseases, especially those with schizophrenia, is cruel and judgemental. How many people suffering from clinical depression with suicidal thoughts are told to just “snap out of it”?  How many people with schizophrenia are considered to be demon-possessed? And how many people with any sort of mental disorder are just considered to be weak-minded?

Most of this stems from ignorance no doubt, but in the end, we are hurting possibly millions of people the world over who often suffer alone, who are afraid to admit to themselves and to others that they need help, and so they never get the help they need and deserve, as God’s beloved children. Mental illness is robbing us of many of our people, with great potential and a great purpose designed by God, and the rest of us just look on I guess, happy that it has not happened to us.

This is a call for people to educate themselves about mental illness, and to never trivialise the issue. We are still called to be our brother’s keepers, and the mentally ill happen to be among those who need the most “keeping”.

I hope this young lady from Portmore is in a much better place now.

Love,

Daughter of a King

The Marriage and Motherhood Pressure

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A friend of mine commented on Facebook the other day that she was annoyed at how people seemed to reduce her just to a childless unmarried person despite her achievements. She had gone back to her hometown, and it seemed the number one question on people’s lips was when she was going to get married. It did not seem to matter that she has a good job, is in a good place financially and is highly educated.

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a former boss. She was married, but had no biological children, and she warned me that regardless of how much financial, professional or other success I achieved, people would always remind me that I was somehow inadequate because I was not a mother.

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Burdened with glorious purpose

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Dear Sister in Christ,

Not so long ago, I was listening to a sermon online where the preacher reminded the congregation that as Christians we are not normal or ordinary. We are destined for impact, he said, “burdened with glorious purpose”!

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