“Live your life to the fullest!”
“Don’t let fear control your life!”
“There’s only one of you in the world, so be you!”
Often, we hear phrases like the above floating around amidst conversations about life, dreams, aspirations, future plans, adventure, self-exploration and the discovery of personal identity. These phrases spur us on to see life in a new light for the next few moments/days/weeks/even months (at a stretch), but all too frequently, we revert back to our tunnel-vision views of the world and ourselves and our futures.
Let’s take a short trip down memory lane…
*5 years ago*
In College, I decided I wanted to be an actress. I went to drama classes, was signed to a good agency, and went to auditions etc. because I decided that was exactly what I wanted to do. I was improving, increasing in boldness, and overflowing with the most passion I had ever possessed (potentially in my whole life). The adrenaline rush it gave me was addictive and the self-confidence it unearthed was exciting. When asked what my 5 year plan was, I’d smile confidently, tilt my head back and say I was going to be acting. That’s all I could see in my future and although I was studying Maths and Economics (+ Drama) at A Level, I would always make a point to say “I love those subjects BUT I will never work in banking, that’s SO not me.”
*5 years later*
I’m writing this blog post from my desk at work. I work in Commercial Banking/Finance and have done so for over a year now. It didn’t happen by chance. I went out of my way to apply to banking graduate schemes because that’s what I was advised to do. I went straight to Uni after College instead of taking the time out to go travelling like I wanted, because that’s what I was advised to do. I stopped acting in third year when Uni became too stressful because that’s what I was advised to do. I made these decisions because the advice I was receiving echoed my fears of not being able to do what I wanted (and become successful) as it would be an uphill battle I wasn’t completely ready for. I knew these decisions didn’t feel right when I made them but I was so afraid of being wrong and facing I told you so’s that I made them anyway.
Let me just put this out there… I am so grateful and I feel (I am) ridiculously blessed. I’m fortunate to be in the position that I am and I’ve experienced amazing things because of it. However, I know that I need to do something that will fill me up with as much passion and excitement as I once had when I was doing what I believed I was supposed to be doing.
When people give advice, they often give it based on what they think and feel they would do in the situation and based on what they perceive the outcome of the decision they’re advising you to make will be. People that love you often have an element of fear attached to the advice they give, as they naturally want the best for you, not wanting you to experience pain/disappointment. The majority of the time, the things people are giving you advice on, have not been personally experienced, although they still remain pretty sure of the right action to take regardless.
Advice is useful and it is helpful. It allows you to think about more possibilities before making decisions. It opens you up to new ways of thinking and gets you to consider the consequences of your actions. However, advice is just that – advice. It is not gospel. It is not God’s advice (unless the advisor has prayed about it and has heard directly from Him). Take it with a pinch of salt and make sure the decision you make is yours. Nobody has a crystal ball that can predict the future so in reality, their guess is as good as yours. I’d rather be annoyed at myself that I made the wrong decision that I felt was right at the time, than angry at myself that I didn’t do what I knew I should’ve all along.
For anybody who regularly dips back into that reminiscent place where the memory of the moment you feel you made the terrible decision that ruined everything, is as vivid as ever, please remember this:
Nothing is too far gone for God to turn around. Nothing. Even that thing. Your biggest regret. Your biggest mistake. Your biggest failure. Your biggest ‘faux pas’. The opportunity that you missed or that you messed (up). Nothing is too far gone for Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
When you feel as though you’re fighting a losing battle and you fear you’re getting too old to chase your dreams because this long-winded game of kiss-chase you’re playing with responsibility is tiring you out, just know that no matter the situation you’re currently in, or the perfect situation you are no longer in, whatever is meant for you will be yours and your crooked paths will be made straight. Do not allow fear and self-doubt to force you into taking advice you’re completely unsure about. I’m not saying ignore everyone that is trying to help you, that’s definitely not what I’m saying at all. Sometimes people are strategically placed in our lives to give guidance and direction, so don’t automatically reject it. Receive and be open to wise counsel, then seek God’s confirmation. When you’ve prayed and God has told you what He wants you to do, be confident in that. Also, even when the most sensible people are telling you “maybe you didn’t hear that from God” or “why would He tell you to do that? Come on, be smart”, be confident in Him and His direction for you.
Live your own life. The life God has planned for you is for you and you alone, so live it and believe that you can. Don’t settle for less because you’re worth much more than that.
So, what now you ask?
Myself and a friend (who also used to act – heyyy girl!) are working on starting something which means that acting, in some capacity, will continue to be a part of our lives (hopefully I/we can reveal more soon!). I’m really really excited about it and where it will take us . I still think about going back to acting but I don’t know if I ever will. The desire to do it isn’t as strong as it once was (although when I do see a good bit of acting on stage/screen I get completely sucked in!) and I don’t know if I can actually imagine myself making acting my career anymore. What I do know is that I’m not closing any doors and I’m open to stepping out of my comfort zone to find my “thing”.
I believe in me because I believe in Him so I hope you believe in you too!
Hugs and kisses,