December 6, 2013 by bekkyb
Mum works for this fantastic organisation called GROW, a mental health peer support group…. group. Today they are holding their Christmas break up party. I used to go to a group, so Mum invited me along (she would anyway – she loves getting people involved in stuff). I agreed as soon as she said “lots of food.”
But then last night I slept badly and today I feel tired and antisocial. I wandered through the GROW building, feeling instantly crowded and overwhelmed. I saw that there wasn’t a lot of food that I could eat (I’m on a fairly strict diet for health reasons) and felt disappointed. And I wondered why I had come.
Then I moseyed into the kitchen and Mum asked me to help clean off some dishes and put out some bowls and then I thought a different thought: it’s not all about me! Sure, I wasn’t much in the mood to be there, but it meant a lot to Mum that I was. Rather than hide out the whole time, I was able to make myself useful, and make someone else feel good.
I get a bit self-centred sometimes. I forget that it’s not all about me, even if I have chosen to be somewhere. Sometimes happiness comes from making sure someone else is having a good time. I hope I’ll be able to remember that more often in future.
Category life | Tags: , christmas, grow, mum, party | No Comments
December 4, 2013 by bekkyb
I was driving the other day when suddenly it hit me: a realization of something I’ve known for years, but had never pushed down into the level of heartfelt understanding. No matter what is going on around us, we always have a choice. We can be happy – or we can be miserable. I finally began to see how I could start making my own happiness.
Our big stress at the moment (most moments, really) is that we just don’t have enough income. I mean, I’ve always said that, but now it’s really true: we can’t cover the budget basics beyond rent, bills and gas for the car. These are the most important because obviously we need a house, utilities, and when you live where we do and work where Sean works, you definitely need a car! But the remainder of our budget won’t cover all the other important things, like food and car repairs and haircuts (especially for the boy, he’s getting very woolly!) and Christmas. If I get the more important parts of the car fixed, that’s less money for groceries. If we need new clothes for summer, that’s too bad.
Low income is a fact we deal with, but our response to that is something we choose. Sure, I’ve known for ages to be grateful. But I came to see (in that moment of clarity) that I have been stingy with my gratitude. I’ve made myself into this martyr while I thank God, grateful in spite of all my hardships. And that’s where I fall short. There should be no “in spite of”! There should only be unlimited gratitude. When I think of what is good in my life, I should, at least for those moments, forget about the bad. Open my heart to be 100% grateful, not eking out limited amounts of thankfulness like I’m drawing blood from a stone.
If I do a quick tally of the major things, I can say this:
- I am a year into marriage to my best friend and soul mate, the absolute love of my life
- We have a house which, while not perfect, is a sight better than where we came from (an open-plan one-bedroom B&B with a kitchenette and no pantry!)
- The views from this part of the world, particularly at sunset, are so amazing it regularly takes my breath away
- We have two dogs, a cockatiel and a goat (a.k.a. the lawnmower)
- God has placed us in this incredible church community filled with some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met
- In spite of our struggles we have never gone without anything truly important
- I have a good laptop and excellent internet connection, so that I can complete my bachelor degree – and blog ^-^
- We have supportive families who help us out when things get tough, a particular blessing on the part of my family, who aren’t wealthy either
- We have grown ever closer as a couple this year, maybe even because of the challenges we have faced
- Our faith continues to grow day by day
That is enough to derive happiness from. That’s an awesome list! And that’s only scratching the surface! But it takes a bit of effort, at least at the start, to bring the mind around from what’s going wrong to what’s going right. Of course, it’s well worth the effort. We all want to be happy, don’t we?
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
Category God, happiness | Tags: , faith, god, grateful, gratitude, habakkuk, happiness, happy, low income, marriage, miserable, thankfulness | 8 Comments
November 28, 2013 by bekkyb
I did everything right. I wanted it more than anyone. And I thought, I thought if I wanted it enough, I could show everybody that Mike Wasowski is something special! But I’m just… not.
When I heard these words from Mike Wasowski, something resonated within me. “I thought if I wanted it enough…” I want a job. More than that, I need a job. Our budget doesn’t even cover the basics since I left my last job due to illness. So I apply here and there; I post up ads, try to make connections, and nothing happens. There’s a few other things, but that’s the main one – and at its core is this: I want to be free from poverty, once and for all.
What I loved about Monsters University was that it was uncompromisingly realistic. Mike never became the amazing scarer he wanted to be – it just wasn’t in his nature. But he found something he was genuinely good at, nonetheless. Sully and Mike were ultimately expelled from Monsters University – even though Sully owned up to his lie, and the pair managed to do something extraordinary in scaring a room full of adults. So many movies give out this weak, sugar-coated message that if you really want something, if you really try hard at it, then eventually you’ll succeed. They rarely show the hero changing their dream, or having to go the tough slog to achieve it. In the end, Mike and Sully started at the very bottom at Monsters Inc – in the mail room. They excelled at each task they were given, no matter how menial, and eventually they reached their goal: through hard work, perseverance, and knowing their own strengths.
It prompted me to start considering whether I have simply aimed my dreams in the wrong direction. Mike’s journey was one of realising that he played a bigger part behind the scenes – but that by no means diminished the importance of his role! I started wondering, who am I supporting? How can I do that better? As for the work thing, I realise now, perhaps for the first time, that there really are no quick fixes in life – only hard work and dedication.
Category life | Tags: , dream, job, mike, monsters university, sully | 2 Comments
November 27, 2013 by bekkyb
A discussion arose on Facebook regarding the devastating atrocities currently occurring in Central African Republic. This is what came out of that discussion:
I am not the sort to bury my head in the sand. I read the news articles (when I come across them), sign the petitions, spread the word as I receive it. Sometimes it all feels so bleak, though – there are infinite problems in our world, and it feels like there are just so many problems that one mind can’t possibly attend to them all, let alone do anything to fix it. When I talk about drawing hope and strength from our Creator, I mean it spurs me on to keep fighting – because without that, I would just bury my head in the sand. There’s too much to do, and I’m susceptible to *too* much feeling in the sense that it would break me.
I offered my words as an encouragement, because you think so deeply, and feel so strongly, that I thought it might help to give your mind the reprieve of remembering that there is hope. There is something, somewhere, good to hold onto. This is not the end of the story – neither in the sense of the current crisis being interminable, nor of the suffering of those people being the last thing they will experience in their eternal lives.
This hope…. it gives me a fresh dose of justified anger to keep fighting the good fight, and reminds me that prayer is important.
Consider this a statement of my beliefs. God is a man with a plan – and we’re it! He’s like the captain of an army, leading us into battle. We need only follow, and act. The Christian knows that he or she is on the winning side in the fight against evil:
For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. (Deut. 20:4)
So “thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57). When we consider our brothers and sisters in Central African Republic, we must not lose heart: be diligent in praying for them, and live in the hope that God has already won the victory – be it in this life, or the next.
Category God, hope, life | Tags: , 1 Corinthians 15:57, central african republic, deuteronomy 20:4, god, hope, Jesus Christ, victory | No Comments
November 25, 2013 by bekkyb
Just hang in there… Life goes through these cycles, or so they say. Right now, I’m in one of those “figuring out” phases. Nothing seems certain, there’s no safe place to treat. Relationships feel fragile; at any moment I can find myself saying the wrong thing, and I’m sent into a tail spin of anxiety - is there something wrong with me? Why do things keep blowing up in my face? Why does the world suddenly feel so overrun with negativity and impassioned responses?
It’s just a part of the cycle. A growing part. I’m learning more of who I am, how I want to engage with others, where my place is in the world. Part of this growing entails rejection or criticism, and it’s up to me to decide what’s worth taking on board, what’s not. Which opinions do I really care about? Part of life is learning to choose the voices and views you want to surround yourself with. For me, that means moving away from the harsh, hateful voices that rip through Controversial Subjects like wolves tearing through a fresh carcass. It means admitting that I am a sensitive, idealistic person easily hurt by nasty comments – that I would much rather find my way through love and care for the other (no matter how different their views may be) than snarky, spiteful remarks and callous head-biting. As for me, I would rather (and so I strive to make it so) that my life exemplify this verse:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24
Nothing good has ever come of hate. We cannot conquer the world’s great evils – racism, sexism, homophobia, etc – with hate, because it is from hate that these evils have sprung in the first place. So I have wrestled and thought and have come to this conclusion: I will not apologise for my uncompromising stance on this issue. Where I see instances of hate, I will always seek to combat it in one way or another – it is the how, rather than the what, that I now aim to improve. And until I work these things out, I will just keep hanging in there, riding out the waves of self-doubt and external criticism.
Category life | Tags: , criticism, hate, hebrews 10:24, ladybug, love, self-doubt | No Comments