Monthly Archives: October 2011

Mr De Pro

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I woke up this morning and I could feel him in the room. I hate it when he drops by unannounced…though to be honest, lately I’ve become accustomed to expecting him. I pretend to still be asleep, but I open my left eye slowly and peer out at him. He’s sitting there, waiting…reading a magazine.

I know the moment I sit up and place my feet on the ground, he’ll put the magazine away, crack his knuckles and get ready to annoy me. It always starts off that way and progresses into a day of him following me like a dog’s tail. You would think that by now I’m used to having him around, but to be honest, even if I’m used to it, I really don’t enjoy it. He’s not even worthy of being called a guest – I’ve had no desire to ever extend an invitation to him. In fact, if I did extend an invitation to him, it would be one to leave me alone.

Just as I thought! As I remove the duvet and place my feet on the ground, the excitement in his eyes is evident. I avoid his gaze as I walk past him towards the bathroom, but as always, he follows me. He’s so darn predictable! All I can do is sigh and shake my head.

There are a few moments throughout the day when I notice he’s not around, but it seems he’s always very quick to return from wherever he’s been. He knows he can’t leave me alone for too long because then he runs the risk of me being happy and feeling confident enough to ninja kick him in his face.

Anyway –I know he’s lurking around, wanting to pull his tongue out at me. But hopefully one of these days it will be the other way around and I’ll be the one annoying him and pulling the tongue! He has no hold over me and I’ll break him with my smile!

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When is good enough really good enough?

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There are many bad aspects to being an over-achiever – one of the biggest of these being the tendency to constantly be stressed.

I’ve come to realise that I’ve never really applied the principle of “just do your best”. Possibly because I’ve had an incorrect understanding of what “my best” is. For me, my best is perfection and it’s always been that way. So, at school or in college for instance, it was never good enough to just get 70%. No, it had to be 80% or more (…preferably more). To reach that (sometimes) unrealistic target, I would put so much strain on myself to study for hours and I’d neglect the fact that I was entitled to still live a little – still take time out to watch some TV and put my feet up.

Later in life, as I entered the working world, this tendency to over-achieve manifested in extra hours spent at work, or working on things from home. Again – this meant neglecting taking some ‘time-out’. Don’t get me wrong – we should all have certain personal standards to which we aspire – it’s never good to just be pleased with reaching the bare minimum or “just making it”. And it’s good to be diligent, hard-working and focused. But, the secret is in balance.

I’m currently working on something that’s been rather challenging and not only did I initially freak out about it and hit anxiety mode, but I also realised today that I’m expecting myself to get everything 100% perfect. But that kind of thinking just sets me up for more anxiety later on. Why? Because I won’t get it all perfect, and then I’ll be disappointed because I’ll have “failed”. So really, I’m just setting myself up.

The best you can do may not always be what others expect from you and may not be what you expect from yourself – but…it’s the best you can do. At least you know you gave it all you’ve got. There’s a kind of peace in that type of understanding, but it’s a peace I’m yet to fully understand…

Just another Cowboy stand-off

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I recently hit a huge speed-wobble that sent me tumbling down a self-imposed mountain. Yes, this sentence is a little wordy, but really, it’s the best way I can describe what’s happened.

I’ve always known I have the tendancy to be rather stressed out or nervous…or anxious, but I was only really confronted with the full force of this part of my personality in the last two months. And one thing’s for sure – it’s scary!

It seems that lately I perceive the simplest of things to be a huuuuge obstacle – something to run away from or try to avoid. Something small can set my anxiety off to the point of tears – and I don’t mean little miniature monkey tears…no, I mean huge crocodile tears – the type that makes your entire body convulse. And not only tears – ooooh no – but also a racing heart and dry mouth. There are days when I walk around with that feeling in my chest that you normally get when you’re about to write a major exam…know that feeling? Yeah, now imagine walking around with it for an entire day. Nice? Nope!

But I’m having to deal with this new monster in my life – Mr Anxiety. Instead of letting him freak me out (is it possible to be more freaked out than what I am these days?! 🙂 ), I have to face him head on…you know….cowboy style – stand up straight, shoulders in the correct position, head held high, eyes glaring at him, ready to draw my gun. This stand-off isn’t pleasant, that’s for sure – but I’m hoping it leads to a day where I can stand over Mr Anxiety, as he’s laying on the dusty ground, and shake my head with pity…staring at him until he breathes his last breath.

It just sucks though, that I have to go through this – sometimes it makes me feel like somewhat of an incomplete Carmen. But then I just have to remind myself that everyone has a monster – mine may be Mr Anxiety – but for others it could be something totally different. And who’s to say I’m experiencing the worst kind of monster?

Anyway – what makes it easier isn’t only my resolve to make this monster fall, but also, I have a great support system. Were it not for the angels in my life, I think my outlook would be veeeeery different…

Building Rome

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I’ve had a lot of trepidation and fear in my heart lately and it’s caused more trouble than good. In fact, it’s pushed me down into an abyss that I wouldn’t want anyone else to be pushed into. But slowly, I can feel light and excitement returning – it’s a slow process, sure, but it’s a process nonetheless – and in life, certain (good) things take time.

There’s the (old, over-used) saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day – and although this saying is rather annoying at times…so annoying it makes you want to slap the person who uses it…it is true. I’ve been lucky enough to see Rome myself, and it’s beautiful! I’m glad those who built it took the time to craft it properly – paying close attention to every stone, every pathway…all the details.

Fear is not my friend and to be honest, he’s not really welcome here – but he is visiting for a while. And it seems he’s brought his good friend anxiety along for the holiday. The combination of these two is quite a force to be reckoned with, but what they don’t realise is that I have a greater force on my side.

Isaiah 41:10:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Being pushed into this current abyss has forced me to take stock of things in my life; it’s forced me to reassess things, to think about things I never thought about before. It’s often like this in life – when we hit an unexpected speed bump, we find that our ears and eyes are far more sensitive: we seem to be more affected by things we hear or see and we have the urge to delve deeper and find out more.

As far as I can tell, it’s just all part of the process of taking redefining steps (which can be quite scary!).

Well you gotta have….

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The human mind really is a mean machine, don’t you think? It can present so many challenges and it’s so easily developed on the foundations of wrong thinking, confusion, misunderstandings, lies, and misconceptions. No wonder it gets us into so much trouble!

I’ve been so challenged lately…and continue to be challenged…by various truths about the mind and its power. I’m finding myself having to undo years and years of wrong thinking – untangling knots and webs that have been created without me even realizing it. Hey, but at least I’m realizing there’s some untangling to do – so give me some credit! 🙂

What I was challenged with today however – upon pondering the mind – is the issue of faith. I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t fully comprehend what faith is…true faith.

According to some dictionary entries, faith is:

– Firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust
– Something that is believed especially with strong conviction

Aaaand according to Hebrews 11:1:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (NIV), or

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (NLT)

Well, I’m not sure about you, but I have two reactions when I read that verse. (1) I feel relieved and have a “phew!” moment; and (2) I think…WHOA! That’s hectic!

As I read today, the mind seeks to understand everything – the how, what, when and why. But it’s not always the case that we know the how, what, when or why and that’s when faith really needs to kick in – kind of like the manner in which a Red Bull kicks in when you’re functioning on 2 hours of sleep – only with faith…the effects should be longer-lasting, and not simply enough to get you by for a few hours.

Well, I’m not sure about you, but this is a real challenge to me. Believing, no matter what, that things will work out; that all is ok; that all will be ok; that better days are ahead; that there’s a plan into which we’re ultimately factored; that…that…that…you know?! And sure, I often feel ‘bad’ about my lack of faith – but honestly, pish to that! It takes time, and it’s not fair to myself to think that I’m an idiot for not getting it 100%, or for having days where I’m still a fumbling mess. But I guess it’s my prayer that at some point, I reach that place of being able to simply smile, rest and ‘know’ it’s all ok, because…I have FAITH! 🙂

A God sms

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There have been many times in the past few months that I’ve literally fallen face first on the ground and prayed my heart out – begged and pleaded, cried and moaned – and then picked myself up, wiped the snot tears from my face and carried on. (Probably just carried on doing the same thing I did before, which got me with my face on the ground in the first place!!!). But lately, I’ve just so wished that I could send God an sms.

Yip, you read correctly. On more than one occasion I’ve thought, if only I can pick up my phone, search for Him in my contacts list (or would He be on speed dial?!), and send Him a message. That way, I could (a) get a delivery report, knowing He’s received the message, and (b) I could look forward to a reply.

But that’s not how things work, and God doesn’t need me to spend my airtime on an sms just to get His attention. It’s still difficult though, isn’t it? Prayer requires faith I guess – faith in knowing that He’s listening, even though you can’t see Him. Faith in knowing that He will eventually reply, even if it seems like He’s taking ages to do so. Faith in knowing that even though you may feel completely alone or frustrated, the answer you’re looking for could just be around the next corner…