Tag Archives: destiny

5 Fears You’re Probably Facing

   
I woke up this morning and was going to write about the five things I’m currently grateful for, but seeing as I’ve spent the last week feeling more fearful than thankful, I thought that might be a little unrepresentative of the truth. I often get told off by friends and family for making everything seem like it’s going swimmingly well when really I’m onboard a ship that feels more like it’s sinking than sailing. As Christians we hang onto the scripture: 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

But that doesn’t mean all of our problems immediately melt away, so here are five of my fears, from the littlest to the largest of problems.

1. My phone battery dying

Don’t laugh, I know you worry too. I think this is the most prevalent fear I have, and there doesn’t seem much I can do about it. I live in one of those awkward locations that doesn’t have a tube station but three semi close national rail train stations with semi-regular buses that I can get home from. Because of this, every journey home is made in sync with whatever live travel app is telling me makes sense. A journey home with a battery under 20% is never enjoyable as I sit on airplane mode praying it makes it home.
If this is you too, we both have to face facts. Taking a little longer to get home because you couldn’t use the bus app to decide which stop you need to get off the train at is not the biggest issue in the world. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, is it worth the worry? Most times the answer is no, in which case you can exhale

2. That the hidden calories in all my food will one day come and bite me on the abs, legs, and everywhere else I am trying to loose weight.

I want to tell you that this is a silly fear and the chances are, an extra banana won’t make you fat, but I think it’s more important to know that being fatter than you’d like is not the end of the world. There’s a hard truth that we should all just accept and that is: you will probably never be 100% happy with your body. 

Sorry for the tough love, on a happier note, God made you in his image, God said you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, God’s opinion trumps societies image of beauty. Simples. 

3. That I’m not really good at the short list of things I think I am

Every time I come to write a blog post, a small knot forms in my stomach and it doesn’t unravel until I’ve clicked share and decided that there’s nothing more I can do to make it better. It’s not just writing though, every time I have to challenge myself to meet my own expectations and am under the scrutiny of others my forehead starts to sweat and my hands get clammy. The usual thoughts are:

What if I’m not good enough?

What if I fail?

What will people think?

I’m not going to lie and say you’ll be brilliant at all things you put your mind to but I have relaxed in accepting that I may not be able to do things in my own strength but in Christ I can do all things. Yes, that means I’m completely dependent on God, and I am learning to be cool with that.

4. That I’ll never have the lifestyle I’ve always dreamed of

There was an article in the Evening Standard that said graduates from my university were the highest paid in the UK and after 10 years, 10% of us earn 100k. Going to a university where everyone wants to be an investment banker/ corporate lawyer that figure is not a surprise, it has however added another stress to the thought ‘where will I be in 10 years time and what will I earn…’ It’s very easy to say that we’re not money motivated people and that we’re driven by less materialistic ambitions, but at the end of the day, the seniority we’ve been able to reach and the pay package that comes along with that will always be a point of comparison. 

So what to do?

Sorry to say but having money is quite similar to having a great body. You will set goals and reach them, but you will always want something outside of your budget and you will always want more money to meet all of your needs. That doesn’t mean stop striving because you’ll never be happy, but let the desire to achieve financially fall into place with a tameable level of importance. Learning to be satisfied with being dissatisfied works the best here.

5. That my looming wedding won’t be Vogue worthy

When you go to weddings you internalise all the things you think were nice and everything that wasn’t no nice and vow to learn from the couples mistakes. Then, when it’s time for your own wedding you create a fantastical vision of what you want it to be like before taking into consideration that you don’t have celebrity money and your parents and in-laws will weigh in with their opinion and expect to be heard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I want extravagance to the nth degree, I’m just chasing after a wedding that’s close to the vision my imagination has conjured up, and as everyone who has been married will tell you, weddings are pricey. I am so used to being self-sufficient that having to trust God to provide the funds has made me uncomfortable, and hence the battle to combat fearfulness with being faithful commences.

For everyone who is also wondering where the money is going to come from to pay off their next big expense, there is a scripture we can find peace in:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

God’s got a plan, even if you are yet to think of one. Don’t rely on yourself one iota, but trust in him wholly and he will give you the direction you need, bring you into contact with the right people, open up the doors for your needs to be met.

We are so keen to share what we are grateful for, we create an imbalanced picture of greener grass and happier days to the onlookers of our lives. I hope that you’ll be encouraged to shout your fears as well as showcase your faith and that together we can encourage each other through our storms.

Happy Friday!

Dani

The Day I Put My Game Face On

  

“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,

Stella xoxo

Basic Philosophy: I Watch Film Therefore I Re-evaluate Life

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I’ve always found it quite amusing when people classify the whole of society into just two groups. You must have heard them say:

“There are thinkers and doers’

Or

“You’ve either got brains and beauty”

And

“There are leaders and followers”

They sound quite catchy as slogans but what do they actually mean in the tangible sense? Can’t people that think also follow their thoughts through with actions? Are the prettiest people in the world the least intelligent? Even leaders are following someone! These ‘observations’ reveal their irrelevance one you try and see where you fit in. You try and compare your intelligence to your appearance and end up stumped. You wonder who in their right mind would ever classify themselves as a follower. I’m not even going to bother with the first one because it’s so abstract and nothingy it can’t really be trying to make a claim about real people in the world.

So why do we do it?

Apart from the people just trying to appear to have deep philosophical thoughts, I reckon it’s because we see something in others that we don’t quite see in ourselves and assume others must share this divide. Last Thursday was my moment. I went to watch the premier Handle with Care and alongside being thoroughly impressed, I watched the credits roll thinking ‘wow, some people are pursuing their passions’.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ NKJV)

God has done pretty amazing things in store for us, but it’s pretty much down to us whether we run towards our destinies

So leaving the wishy washy life observations aside, let me give you some philosophy 101. You have premises and all those premises need to add up to the conclusion.

Premise 1

We all have a purpose

Premise 2

It is impossible to die both having completely fulfilled your purpose and having not fulfilled it

Conclusion
Some people will die fulfilled and others will not.

I don’t about you but I intend to strive after everything God has for me.

ThankYou Lord for giving me things to hope for.

Love ya

Dani xxxxx

5 Ways To Not Get Fired (According To The Apprentice)

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I absolutely love The Apprentice. Nearly as much as I love MasterChef, and that really makes my heart sing. I don’t know what it is about TV competitions that gets us going, but from Week 1 when we’ve decided if we’re better than the contestants, to Week 3 where we choose our favourite, all the way up onto the end where the winner is announced, we are hooked. There’s something special about the apprentice though, not just because all the contestants have to work with each other until the bitter end, The Apprentice stands in it’s own league as the show for all of us non-singing, non-dancing, under 5″7 people that don’t have legs as delicately crafted as chopsticks who aren’t prepared to master their smise in the hope of taking one good picture. (Not that I don’t love XFactor, Britain’s Got Talent, and Americas Next Top Model). As I tune in weekly, and watch people make mistakes that result in them getting the chop I’ve noticed 5 key lessons to stay in the game.

1)Don’t dream small

This has got to be number 1 on the list. There’s nothing worse then when it’s down to the final two and we finally get to hear the candidates’ business plan, only to be disappointed by the lack of adventurousness and stand-out ideas. Lord Sugar may not want to gamble all his money away but he always chooses the person that’s actually taking a bit of a risk, because their idea usually brings about the biggest return. Sometimes we get really tunnel visioned that all we see is our families and the success we want to have in our careers. God is trying to tell us to dream bigger and impact the masses but we ignore this in favour of focusing on our individual dreams and desires. How can we fulfil all God has for us, when we’re only focused on one small section?

2)Get on well with your teammates

One competition you can’t win if you lack people skills is The Apprentice. A sure road to getting brought back into the Board Room is refusing to listen to anyone’s opinion but your own and not following the instructions of the Project Manager because you don’t agree with them. Once people forget that each week they aren’t in competition with their team mates, but need to work together to win the task, the whole mission goes downhill. You can see the importance of getting on with people in church. Even if we forget that God tells us to love each other which means showing them respect, listening to their opinion, putting them before our ourselves, as a church we are supposed to be one body of Christ, so we have no choice but to work with each other in one accord.

For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body – though many – are one body, so too is Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

3)Stop arguing with Lord Sugar

Have you seen how infuriated Lord Sugar gets when he’s trying to tell someone how awfully they’ve performed in a task and they take it among themselves to interject all the way through his speech? I’m always cringing at my TV thinking shh and just take the grilling, and yet I have the audacity to do the same thing with God. He’ll be giving me instructions that aren’t my cup of tea and I’ll be interrupting trying to get God to agree to my terms and conditions. Non-sensical of what?!

4)Focus on the bigger picture

The amount of candidates that shoot themselves in the foot because they aren’t interested in the business are that that weeks task is focused on is unbelievable. We aren’t always going to be enthralment by every task that a God wants us to complete but we shouldn’t forget that we’re on one long joiner and every step takes us closer to fulfilling out destinies. You might be pursuing a champagne and caviar lifestyle and God wants you to take a year out to run orphanages abroad but that doesn’t give us the right to spend that entire year grumbling and doing life half heartedly. Life’s too short to check-out and not be interested on each and every day that God blessed us with.

5)Know why you were chosen

It happens all the time. People feel confident in their abilities until they’re put in a room with people who possess even bigger personalities and appear to be much more capable. We can’t allow our insecurities to stop us from having our voices heard and pursuing the things we want to achieve. A lot of the time on the Apprentice, it’s the candidate with the most quiet voice that makes the most sense, but they’re too afraid to push their ideas through. To everyone who feels they are lacking that special something to make themselves stand out, God thinks your perfect. Of course you have flaws but you can so all things through Christ that strengthens your. Your weaknesses are made perfect in Him.

Just like The Apprentice, we are all on our way to pursuing our dreams. Let’s not limit ourselves by dreaming small or get thrown off track by petty arguments with the people around us. And just so you know, God isn’t in the habit of firing people. God will walk with you every step of the way to you fulfil all you are created for.

Love lots,

Dani xxxx

The Day I Accepted Death

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Given up/giving up/considering throwing the towel? I’m going to tell you about the day I gave up on life and hopefully you’ll realise that you don’t have to.

I remember this day so vividly, I’d accepted that I was going to die and I  was wholeheartedly at peace with the situation. There wasn’t a huge evaluation about  the pros and cons of my life where I’d decided that there was no point in living any longer, I just didn’t have any fight left in me and I wasn’t ashamed to hold my hands up to my fate.

So let me set the scene. I’m 8 and I’m on a trip with the Brownies…

(I’ll deal with your questions now)

“You gave up on life at 8?! Are you going to tell us a heart-wrenching story about an abuse-filled childhood that’s going to bring me to tears”.

No! you don’t have to brace yourselves for heartache

 “What’s the Brownies?

If you don’t know about the Brownies, I can confidently say: You missed out bro! (Bro in the generic non-gender specific sense of the word, because if you are a boy you missed out on Brownies by default.)  Brownies is this ultra-cool club, full of talented  young women with bright futures ahead of them who liase every week about how to craft their futures. Okay, that might be a slightly embellished description.  All you need to know is that Brownies was fun, we played games, sang campfire songs, and every so often went on field trips. On the day in question ( where I nearly let life slip through my fingers) we just happened to be on one of these field trips.

(I hear your sigh of relief) yes I have finally started telling the story.

So picture 8 year old Dani, just about to step off the coach and enter the Kids Dream (for parents who weren’t about to buy a ticket to Disneyland )AKA Guilford Spectrum. For those who haven’t just had a sudden influx of memories about their great times at Guilford Spectrum, I shall explain. Guilford Spectrum, is an all singing all dancing, land of fun where you can swim, bowl, and go ice-skating all under one roof. Today we were there to swim. Only problem was…  I couldn’t swim. Brown Owl (the big boss lady in Charge) was stood at the front of the coach and was asking for anybody who couldn’t swim to raise their hand. You can imagine my horror. So many things were running through my head.

Should I confess?

Why is she only asking this now?

I’m not about to be embarrassed in front of all my clique and admit I can’t stay afloat

Maybe if I confess, I won’t get to go in the pool

Ok, decision made, I’m staying silent.

We’re all faced with those crossroads in our lives where we have to make life-changing decisions. Little did I know that I had just come into contact with my first crossroad.

Can I just say now that I wasn’t a complete disgrace? I’d stand in shallow end and move my arms and legs in a swimming-esque fashion and so I at least looked like I was swimming. Everything was fine until I got brave. I think I was having such a good time I’d forgotten that I was living a lie, and this ability to swim was yet within my reach.

This is when disaster struck.

I was standing in the middle of the pool, not quite deep, but far enough away from the shallow end to be resting on the tip of my tip-toes. We were having a blast, the wave machine came on, and I had actually begun to fall in love with this swimming thing. I was just about keeping my head above water, when out of nowhere someone nudged me into the deep end. I didn’t quite know what was happening until the horror of not being able to touch the bottom of the pool with my toes set in. For a split second I thought ‘wow, maybe this is it, maybe I’m swimming,’ but when I looked up and realised the water was above my head, that’s when it hit me that this wasn’t swimming, I was drowning…

Of course I was practical at first. I allowed myself to sink all the way to the bottom so I could kick off with some momentum and hopefully reach the top. Plan settled and put into action. I was kicking with all the energy I could muster, only then I realised my feet could take me no further and the waves were still above my head. I tried not to panic. I thought second time lucky, and I’ll be ok. So again sunk and pushed off from the pool floor, battling to get to the top. Still no success. As I looked up at the ceiling of water that I couldn’t quite break through, and my lungs burned in my chest, in that very moment I gave up.

This is it.

Today you’re going to die, and that’s ok.

I was so at peace with everything. I had tried and failed, and just patiently waited for death, until I felt two arms envelope me and drag me out of the water. As I resurfaced spluttering and and gulping in the air I had been deprived, I couldn’t quite believe my luck. I was going to die that day, I was so close to it, and yet no, Brown Owl had come to my rescue, giving me the second chance I had completely given up upon.

So many of us can use my swimming experience as a metaphor for our lives . Let’s imagine the coach trip part symbolises the time just after we gave our lives to Christ, or even just a time where our relationships with Jesus felt amazing. Everyday feels like an opportunity to basque in his presence and the devil gets so sick of watching us enjoy, he decides to dangle a decision in our faces. I knew I couldn’t swim, I knew I had no place being in a pool but I wanted to have fun so badly, I let that cloud my better judgement. So back to us, temptation has just been dangled in our faces, but we’ve convinced ourselves that somehow we won’t be affected by the environment we’re allowing ourselves to enter. I don’t know what your vices were when you got saved but let’s imagine its getting drunk. For you, jumping in the pool would be the first time you step into a bar after you’ve made the decision that you’re not going to fall off the wave again (fall of the wave= get drunk and have to repent.) At first I was having a whale of a time, everything was going smoothly, and so are you; everyone is drinking around you, and you still have your wits about you as you’re sipping on your second drink. It wasn’t until I got nudged that my world came crashing down. For you, I guess this would be that one drink too many that sucks you from the land of sober and you arrive in the land of drunk. You might not be falling over, but you know that you have completely lost control and your heart sinks as you realised you’ve failed.

Too many of us are happily living in the moment where I settled as I patiently waited for death. You’ve tried to stop sinning, you feel like you’ve made every effort and yet you just can’t seem to break through into living righteously, so you assume God is done with you, and wait for death.  To everyone that is drowning, hear me out; it’s not over. Your purpose doesn’t end when you make a mistake, or even continue making them. The day sin stops ruling your life is the day you accept that you can’t live right without God. It’s only by his grace that righteous living becomes our day-to-day. You’re so used to living below the bar God has set for us that you’re at peace with it, but God is just waiting for you to change the attitude in your heart so he can envelope you in his love and drag you out of where you are, into where he’s called you to be.

No matter how bleak it is, until you breathe your last: it’s not over

I believe Brown Owl dragged me out because my purpose on this Earth hadn’t yet been fulfilled. Even if you feel like you’ll never be able to come out of the sins you’ve been committing, you must not give up. As long as you have a purpose, you have a reason to fight for the life God wants you to have.

Your God is faithful (1Thessalonians 5:24) and it’s not over.

Love ya

Dani xxxx