In the past week I had been experiencing intense doubts about myself, my life, my abilities, my purpose, my choices, my religion and my goals. A momentary combustion occurred and I had what I deem a quarter life crisis one week after I turned the ripe age of 25.
We all experience this at some time in our lives. We all wonder where our life is heading and if we are going in the right direction. We all consider if we had taken a different route how our lives would now be more fulfilling and more successful. We all question our skills and ask if we are good enough, if we are good enough to believe in ourselves and if we really do have something valuable to offer the world.
In these times, we can remember that there are people who need help, there are people all around us who need uplifting, supporting and comforting. Through our own doubts and fears, if we can gather the courage to focus not on our own conflict of the heart but on the needs of others then truly we will be lost in a good work. Maybe in reality this is only escape and distraction from our personal turmoil but when this emotional chaos hits what better way to expand our energies than by looking outside of ourselves?
Take a look around. Begin with simple gestures. Send kind messages. Offer honest compliments. Take part in community service. Buy a Big Issue. Share the skills that you have. Volunteer abroad. Strive to become more patient and loving. Talk to a stranger. Share inspiring media. Develop a new talent that will benefit others.
Each day as we wake and rise we have this gift of life, we have a new opportunity to create our life as we want it to be, to decide where we will put our energy.
- ‘Begin whatever you’re doing by remembering that you are here and you have been given a gift.’
Ask yourself these questions:
- ‘How am I going to respond to this life I have been given?
- ‘What am I going to do with it?’
- “What am I going to make here?’
- ‘What new and good thing is going to come out of this experience?’
- ‘What kind of life am I creating?’
(Rob Bell. How to be Here, A Guide to a Life worth Living)
*If you’re feeling brave, feel free to comment your answers
Last night my friend and I had arranged to do some vegan gluten-free baking and after a busy day I relaxed my body into the sofa and closed my eyes in satisfaction with the small tasks I had accomplished. As I scrolled down my Facebook newsfeed I came across a friend I had met only a couple of times, post a call for help. She was moving and her father had broken her foot so she needed help loading a van. I immediately contacted her and cancelled the evening of baking feeling the need of assisting this woman who was unable to complete her moving alone. I walked to her house as darkness was falling. She said that her male friends who she’d known for years had refused help because they feared damaging her furniture and I was grateful that I could be there to help, honoured even to be helping such a courageous, independent, beautiful woman. Her neighbour appeared a little later as we gradually cleared her hallway of vintage furniture, old books, and classic designer clothes.
Her home reminded me of a self that I once was, years ago, before I travelled . I felt as though I had forgotten this part of myself that loved checkered pencil skirts, the smell of old books, and spending an evening painting. My belongings had been scattered again and I had not been surrounded by own style and my own preferences. I had been lost in the work of The Lord, consumed by the desire to learn the scriptures and to progress in the Kingdom of God so much because that was all I had to hold on to. While everything around me seemed challenging and regressive I held tightly to God’s words hoping and praying that I would achieve the things I needed to continue moving forward and to continue creating a life that I wanted to live rather than being engulfed in a world I had begun to detest.
And from this act of service I was offered a vintage rocking chair and luxurious hot chocolate infused with orange teabags that the three of us sat and drank. These two women spoke about their health, one had recently passed kidney stones and had revelation about taking care of her health. The other woman had an eating issue and was underweight. As we talked, we listened, we advised, we cared and we understood. Each of us had been in situations where we knew no way out, we had felt alone and had no-one to turn to. But now, I turn to God. I turn to Jesus Christ. And I know that they are there, listening to my every word, eagerly awaiting for me to ask for the things that will get me out. When the time has been right I have been lifted up, lifted out of a dark place and knowing that God wants to help me; that gives me hope. It gives me hope that whatever happens there will be an end and a new beginning. That whatever situation I am in, I am never alone. And that through the turmoil and distress, some day there will be peace and joy. The peace and joy is possibly the greatest gift we can receive and every ounce of suffering and every minute of crying is worth it to come out on the other side being wiser, bolder, and brighter.