10 Things I Learnt This Summer

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And just like that, the summer is over! If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering how the summer (the year?!) has managed to fly by so quickly. I remember saying to myself ‘Joy, you’ve got to keep your eyes open this year; blink and you will miss it’. Although I repeated these words over and over (especially during January – you know, New Year’s resolution season) I am only realising now, on the 7th September, how true these words were. I feel like I have blinked and everything I was working towards has come.

This year, I had two goals. One was to apply to University and begin my teaching qualification and the other was to put on a play in a theatre. While the first goal was a recent development (I only decided to become a teacher last year June), the latter goal was a dream that had been laying deep within for years. I have been writing plays for the past ten years, some of which have made it to stage, but none into a theatre. I knew that this year was the year my dream was to actualise.

Well. I didn’t know for sure, sure, but there was definitely a ‘now or never’ sense about my actions, a ‘are you going to be who you said you’d be’ and ‘are you going to do what you said you’d do’.

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Proverbs 14:23

I want to be clear: I am not a trained writer/director. I just have stories that come to me that I pen down. So to many directors/writers my age, perhaps this dream is the norm, not too far beyond their reach, but for me, it would mark the beginning of my journey into that world, it would validate my childhood hopes and dreams, while confirming my belief that whatever God has for you will always be yours and that His timing is perfect.

This year, my both my goals became a reality. My play, Out of the Darkness, was performed at the Questors Theatre last Saturday and I begin my teaching course next Monday. I am still humbled. Humbled and grateful. But instead of rambling about how amazing my life is and happy I am (coz ain’t nobody got time for that) I am going to share some of the gruelling lessons I’ve learnt this summer.

1) You haven’t forgiven him if you keep bringing up his wrongdoing and throwing it in his face

Number 1 is pretty self-explanatory. In life, people will hurt us. As Christians, our response should be love and forgiveness. This is not a natural response. I repeat: this is not a natural response. True forgiveness is letting it go. You cannot claim to have forgiven a person if their wrong is brought up whenever things get tough or uncomfortable. Keep praying about the situation until you have truly healed, and maybe even afterwards. You never know what bitterness, anger or resentment is festering underneath the smiles.

2) You will make time for the things and people that matter

With the production to direct, a youth choir to sing with, a drama team to lead, an event to speak at and another event to co-ordinate, I didn’t have much time to socialise this summer. I didn’t see my friends because I didn’t have time. They understood and none have held it against me, but there is a part of me that wishes that I’d picked up the phone, dropped a text and been more present for my friends and family this summer.

3) You are what you eat

Listen carefully guys: don’t bother gyming 4 times a week if you’re going to go home and eat a burger (or 3).

4) God uses who He wants

Ah, this lesson was the hardest to grasp. All the things I’ve accomplished this year and God’s decision to use to me to do various things have not been because I am perfect, or good, or amazing or anything like that. I too have my own darkness, issues that I continue to grapple with daily. You don’t have to be perfect before you are used; you just have to be available.

5) If you’re not open, no one will know how crap you feel

I faced various emotional obstacles this summer and I don’t think anyone knew because I just didn’t say anything. I have an incredible support network but no one knows how many tears I shed this summer (I’m going to get into so much trouble once they read this!!) I took my pain to God first and foremost and now I’m more than okay. But we do not exist in a social vacuum and no man is an island. God has given me the greatest friends ever; I shouldn’t have suffered in silence.

6) Just because it’s August doesn’t mean the sun will shine

We live in London. It’s high time we accept that the sun will shine in December, February and September but will disappear throughout August. My sincerest apologies to all those who planned summer weddings but experienced hail and wind instead.

7) Sharing genes does not make you family

My family is amazing and I love them dearly but through my Church, I have acquired about 20 other people who do not share my name or my genes but love me so much. I am grateful for them.

8) It will take a special kind of man to handle my crazy

Yep, I am definitely crazier than I thought. I will have to write about this in depth in the near future. I will call the post ‘I am a crazy woman – will a man ever love me?’

9) The gift is for others

God gives us multiple gifts. There are things we do effortlessly and we find ourselves in spaces and places we really have no right being in. Last Saturday, I was being referred to as a Writer and a Director, calling the shots at a Theatre in Ealing.  I think our gifts are given to us but then they are meant to be shared with others, and when we do that, we are truly using the gift as God intended.

10) Live in the moment

Don’t miss it. Don’t get so consumed with perfection that you forget to appreciate the masterpiece that is before you.

All my love and I promise I will be blogging regularly again!!

Joy xxxx

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