What is life, and what do I want from it?

Do you ever feel that you are just ‘plodding’ on in life? That things are ok … nothing to complain about… that you’re “happy enough, I guess” but you feel that you are lacking the ‘WOW’ factor ? That’s how I’ve felt for a while. Quite a while, actually.

I can’t see the path that I’m on and I have no idea what I am “doing” with my life. I know that I’m not ‘entitled’ to see the path that God has for me… that He makes the plans, not me. I know that God’s plan is better than any plan I would ever make. I just wish He’d give me a hint once in a while, and let me know what way to go.

Many-Paths-To-Take

I’ve really been seeking in this lately. I had a long talk with my discipler a few weeks ago, and we thought about why I feel so aimless. I think partly it’s because my life now doesn’t match up to the expectations that I had for myself when I was younger, and in comparison with others around my age, I feel a bit inadequate.

I turn 28 in 2 months. (2 months minus 2 days actually)  If you had asked me 10 years ago, aged almost 18, where I would be now, in April 2017, here’s what I’d have said:

qualified social worker, happy in my job, owning my own home, married, probably with at least one child

Well…I have one of those things ticked off, since I qualified as a social worker almost 7 years ago. I’m still pretty pleased with my accomplishment, although 7 years post-qualified doesn’t feel all that much progression from 1 year post-qualified, and doesn’t get any more recognition from my current employer

It’s clear to me that life now is not what I thought it would be.

Job: I’m *ok* with my job but it would be hard to say I’m happy. I had a bad few weeks in March and spontaneously applied for another job…in Plymouth. When the interview offer came, I realised I didn’t want to move back home, but I am open to looking for another job where I might feel more stretched, or challenged, or at least valued – which I don’t always. Don’t get me wrong, compared to my old job I’m positively ecstatic and I’m in no way dismissing the great gift that God gave me by rescuing me from my old place and moving me here… but over the past few months it all seems ‘samey’ and I don’t like ‘samey’. I like challenge and new and feeling that I am making a difference.

  • I am doing something about this though (this is not purely a moany post, don’t worry) I am waiting on a date with our Head of training and development to talk about further training options that I can take up, since I’m a big geek and like to learn and pass on what I’ve learned

Home: I love my home. I have a very lovely housemate. I have almost abandoned the hope of owning my own place. I am a working professional with a steady job, but house prices are so high that even with a very healthy savings account there is no way I will be able to afford to buy. Even if I were to scrimp and save even more (I save the equivalent of my monthly rent and utilities bills every month, but still have plenty of money left for treats and luxuries and holidays etc…for point of reference) it would probably still not be enough since house prices just keep going up!

I feel content with this, now. I realised that I was working towards owning my own home because that’s what people my age do. The main difference was that either most people my age, who were buying houses, were married (therefore 2 incomes, therefore less financial strain and slightly better chance at affording local houses) or had parents who could help with deposits (or sometimes both)

Since I’m single, and since I don’t have any wealthy (or even ‘well off’) relatives waiting in the wings to give me all their money, and since actually I don’t want the responsibility of having to pay for boiler services and roof leaks and broken pipes and blah blah blah, I have decided that it is actually completely practical and completely acceptable to be renting……. although it took a long time to decide that since it’s not what people my age do!

Marriage and children: … no ring on this finger…no current prospect of one. Does that mean I’m a failure?! Um. NO. It doesn’t mean that I’m putting my life on hold and sitting like a Disney Princess waiting for my Prince to come, and it doesn’t mean I’m out there on every dating website and desperate for a man (nothing against dating sites, just not for me)

I’m living life as it is…and open to a relationship if I meet the right person…but it hasn’t happened yet and comparing my singleness with friends who were married, with one or more kids, when they were my age, is not helpful.

comparison-is-the-thief-of-joy-black-and-white-watercolor-canvas

So, going back to my original point. Life is OK. I have a busy life and activities all over the place … dance class and choir on Mondays, Pilates on Tuesdays, Yoga on Wednesdays, Small Group on Thursdays, Yoga on Fridays, rest on Saturdays, and church on Sundays. Also, I crochet, I binge-watch Netflix, I read, I am exploring my family history, I help my friends in their garden renovation project, I practice self care and get regular massages, I go for brunch and afternoon tea, and I go to the cinema with friends (we loved Beauty and the Beast).

I’m busy and happy…but I still feel a bit purposeless…and it feels that I’m often just finding activities that fill my time up so that a) I’m not bored and b) to exhaust me so that I don’t get attacked by my insomnia [but that’s a post for another day]

Recently I asked my small group to pray for me, about this feeling of purposeless…and one person had a picture of me carrying a tablecloth, all bundled up, with lots of things in it… like this I think:

hobostick4

(who knew this was called a ‘hobo stick’?! Not me, but it seems appropriate)

Anyway, he had a picture of me carrying a bundle full of things I wanted…and felt God was encouraging me to lay the bundle down, spread the tablecloth out, and take up only what I wanted from the things carried inside.

I’ve been praying about that every since, trying to identify the things I’m carrying, hoping for, wanting, and filter out whether these are things that I really want for myself, or whether I want them just because I feel I should (see above about buying a house)

Since that time though, I feel almost more purposeless because there are several things I think I want and I don’t know which of them is right. I feel like a compass with all these different things, or opportunities, in different directions and there’s no arrow pointing me to the right one!

I know that I’m not lost. Not really. There’s a poem by JRR Tolkein which goes;

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring

There’s a lot of hope in that, and in knowing that God’s plans for me are completely known to Him –

Jer-29.11-e1363787816786

Being patient and waiting for Him to lead me though….. that’s another matter!

 

 

 

-x-

 

 

 

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Things that go bump in the night....

That picture is of my naughty car, which decided to roll itself down a hill sometime on Friday night regardless of the fact that the handbrake was on!!

Fortunately it’s a short, gentle hill so it didn’t pick up to much speed as it made it’s way down the road and *fortunately* there were conveniently placed railings and a sturdy box hedge for it to bounce off

Unfortunately the railings it bumped into belong to a sweet old lady whose dead husband designed them and had them hand-made… (in other words they’re expensive) and even more unfortunately, all this happened on my mum’s new street and she only moved in 2 weeks ago!!

Talk about terrible neighbours. We were the talk of the estate. Sad.

My car is fine, and there are no issues with the handbrake so we can’t see how or why it failed. I think that makes it worse actually; knowing it’s possible now makes me nervous. So I’m looking for a new one….and oh what a task that is. But more on that another day, maybe

-x-

September

This time last week the temperature was in the high twenties. It was sunny every day, with blue skies and hardly any clouds. I’ve been sleeping with just a thin cover for the past month because it’s just been too warm!

This week, though, it’s dropped about 15 degrees…it’s grey…it’s raining…it’s cloudy…it makes me want to stay in bed all day. I’ve got a thick quilt and a blanket on my bed, and right now I’m wearing proper fluffy socks AND my dressing gown, and I still feel a bit chilly.

On top of the weather change, I’ve had a cold! How rubbish. Quite amazing that it’s only the second time this year that I’ve been poorly…but that doesn’t really help when you can’t breathe and get exhausted just from being.

Today has been day 5 and I feel a bit more human again – but the past few days have been grotty.

Back to normal blogging when I’m properly well

-x-

June…

So, lots of things have happened in the past month. LOTS of things. I have been a bit busy, to say the least, but have had the last two weeks as Annual Leave. I have worked pretty non-stop since I got back from my holiday to the USA – often staying late or taking work home with me. I am owed a lot of time off in lieu!

Still, my Annual Leave has been pretty jam-packed – since my sister got married last weekend and we did lots of hen party/bridesmaid/wedding prep in the first week of my leave, and the second week has just been chilling out, watching Wimbledon, getting involved in some Village events (yes, really) and spending time with my family (sans now-married sister who is on honeymoon) There have also been lots of cuddles with my dog 🙂

I will do a proper blog about the wedding, and about other things, when I am back in Canterbury and have time. It sounds silly to say I don’t have time – but seeing as this is my holiday I’d rather spend time doing things than blogging about them. No offence. Plenty of time for blogging when I’m back in Canterbury.

See you then

-x-

I’m still alive!

Only one more work day until two whole glorious weeks of annual leave.  I can make it…even though today was a 13 hour day and I had to bring typing home,  and will have the same tomorrow,  the knowledge that I then am not working until July is actually just wonderful!  Like music to my ears,  bringing joy to my heart. 

It is well with my soul … and my body will be well when I get some much needed rest back home! 

-x-

And another week goes by…

Somehow it is already past the middle of January. How has that happened?! So far I think January, and 2013, is doing a pretty good job, I feel like I should give it a sticker or something.

This weekend I have two bits of exciting news – that are possibly only exciting to me, but seeing as this is my blog and I can write about whatever silly nonsense I like, I will share. You’re welcome.

1) I now have two bridesmaid’s dresses, since I am going to be a bridesmaid twice this year. I dunno, you go 23 1/2 years and aren’t a bridesmaid once and then two weddings come along at the same time. I love both my dresses and can’t wait for the wedding shindigs.

2) The other piece of exciting news is that I have dates to go the USA for what could now be called my Annual Trip. March 7th-21st I will be Oregon bound to visit my favourite bunch of Americans. I can’t wait. I’ve been checking out flights for the past week or so and trying to figure out the best route. I want to fly from Gatwick since it’s nearer, but that tends to result in needing to take 3 planes to get all the way across the states. Which could be fun on the way there since I don’t really get jetlagged flying West, but on the journey back it may not be so much fun. Apparently jetlag is always worst when flying Eastwards, but I don’t know why.

All I know is that I am for sure looking forward to this trip. Even though it’s been less than a year since I last went, it feels like forever and I enjoy every minute of my time there so much that it’s basically a highlight of the year.

Oh! I just remembered more exciting news. (Again, exciting to me, maybe not to you)
Book Club is starting again! A group of us met last summer with the intention of reading The Greener Grass Conspiracy greenergrass

But due to 6 very busy schedules we never got round to organising any times to meet. So we all have read it separately I think, but over the New Year I felt that this was the year to step out more and really be purposeful in getting to know people – and by people, I mean, young women around my age/in my demographic – in the church and I decided to propose starting Book Club again.

So I think there are 6 of us, which is a nice number, although more may join. To begin with we’re going to read a short-ish book called 9781842913574

and then we have another book lined up, for afterwards.

All in all, I’m pretty good right now. It’s a nice feeling. Long may it last!

-x-

Why I like my life

I have missed blogging over these last two weeks so thought I’d get online and post a quick update to let anyone who is interested know that I am baaaaack in the UK, and currently resisting jetlag.

Urgh. Nothing like extreme tiredness, headache, nausea and not knowing where the heck I am (or what day/time it is) to round off what was actually the sweetest, most restful and wonderful holiday I could have asked for.

God blessed me so much in these last two weeks. I needed to be away – away from work and family and church, I needed a chance to get my head together and not feel like such a basket case – and the time spent with my friends in Oregon allowed me to completely rest in His presence and see Him at work.

Calling it restful might sound crazy, since my friends have four kids (8, 6, nearly 5 and 18 months) and consequently there are school runs and snack times and owies and all the other family stuff but I needed the change of pace and to take several steps back from my life – consider it, evaluate it and ask God what He wants for me and whether I am living as He desires.

Good news is, I remembered why I like my life.

God has done great things and His purposes for me are so amazing that I cannot even imagine them! He has brought me out of some awful, devastating situations, and restores my soul. I am a new creation by the power of His grace and I am stunned that He loves me.

In a few days when I am feeling a little more human I’ll post a proper “vacation” blog, with photos and maybe even video – but that can wait a while. I have some praising to do!

-x-