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fear

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Common Sense? Common Schmense!

photo credit: Camdiluv ♥ via photopin cc
photo credit: Camdiluv ♥ via photopin cc

It’s a new day.

Stop living in last year, last week, or last night.

Stop living in its pain.

Stop living in its failures.

Stop living in its disappointments.

Stop reminding yourself of all the reasons why now is not the right time to pursue your dream.

It’s a new day, the perfect opportunity to go after a new thing. So what is that new thing? It’s the thing that you’ve tried to forget about, tried to subdue. Perhaps you tried it once before and failed. But your heart reminds you of it constantly, when you wake up, before you go to sleep, when you are alone.

But what if you fail? Good question, I have a better one (as usual). What if you succeed? The truth is if you don’t try, you will never know if it could have worked, but I promise you will always wonder. I’m no expert but that’s got to be one of the cruelest methods of torture, because it is self-inflicted.

You don’t want to retire in the town of ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda.’ It’s overrated and its population exists entirely of bitter, under achievers who have no one in their football teams, only sideline hecklers. No one wants to bring a family up in that neighborhood, so don’t. Pack only what you need, take anyone who will join you and move.

I get it. It’s scary. So many things could go wrong. There are so many questions without answers. It’s all too soon. You probably should just wait until you can make next years resolutions. It’s just not common sense. Maybe. But what if common sense is overrated? Here’s what I’ve discovered (with a little help):

Common sense is for common things. It is not for destiny decisions. (click to tweet)

Common sense has its place in life, certainly. Looking both ways before crossing the road is common sense. Not licking a steak knife is common sense; trust me on this, I’ve learned from experience. Not texting the guy/girl you like just because you’re lonely is common sense (ok so perhaps common sense isn’t always that common, but you get the picture).

However when it comes to big destiny decisions, I think common sense can be one of our biggest enemies. It can birth a fear in us that stops us from doing the very thing our heart longs for.

Living in fear causes us to hand over our possibilities, dreams and adventures to someone else. All we are left with is a heart of regret.

Perhaps, if we were honest, we would admit that the real reason we haven’t taken that leap of faith or made that big decision is not because we don’t know the answer. It’s not because we don’t know what to do. Maybe the real reason we are still teetering on the edge, looking over the edge, is because we are afraid of how far we could fall.

Taking a leap of faith isn’t common sense. But I’m pretty sure no one ever changed the world by stepping back and walking away.  They did it by knowing when to shut off their common sense and when to listen to their heart.

What’s your heart saying to you today? Where is that whisper in your spirit directing you? My advice? Go for it! Step off the edge (figuratively speaking, very much figuratively speaking)!

Take a leap of faith and be assured of this… He will catch you. (click to tweet)

Because here’s the harsh reality: If you don’t go for it, someone else will, and they will get the reward. New things aren’t new for very long. If you don’t grab ahold of the new thing, it will soon be old. Now is the time. So, what are you waiting for?

It’s a new day. Get going. Before someone else does.

 

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Can I Just Skip Dating... Please?

photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren via photopin cc
photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren via photopin cc

As a little girl I dreamed of my fairytale wedding. All girls do, right? Secretly, I think all guys do too, even if it was Star Wars themed and the wedding rings were replaced with matching light sabers. Classy guys, real classy.

In my dream I would walk down the long, red aisle. In my dream I was wearing my big, white princess dress with a train as long as an actual train. In my dream the wedding took place in an old, but beautifully restored, church by the sea. In my dream I had my bridesmaids by my side as I married my best friend.

In my dream, it was perfect.

There was just one thing in my dream that wasn’t in your wedding dream, and I’d be prepared to bet money on it. In my dream I was walking down the aisle singing a duet with the groom. Live. Madonna microphones and all.

Way too many Disney movies Elyse, wayyy too many!

You’ll be happy to know I’ve grown out of the duet idea (only recently). But I haven’t grown out of the dream of marrying the man that will make my heart skip a beat. In my dream-land marriage seemed so easy. But now? Now I’m starting to realise it's a little more complicated.

Maybe it's not as simple as just deciding to “get married.”

Have I just been expecting that one day I’ll decide it’s time to get married and nek-minit the man of my dreams will show-up, with his sleeve tattoo, guitar, and bad boy attitude (whilst still being a spiritual supergiant)?I thought I would be one of those people who just knew.

I dreamed it would be a romantic-comedy moment (of course I'm played by Kate Hudson) where we would lock eyes in a room full of people, he would walk over to me and introduce himself. (I'm about to get all Taylor Swift on you, you've been warned).

The playful conversation starts, I counter all his quick remarks, like passing notes in secrecy. 

And just like that, he would hand me the final rose, and we would be engaged. Because that's totally how it happens, right? Wrong. I know, I'm devastated.

There’s that thing we've been talking about calledprocess. That awkward, disappointing, make-me-want-to-vomit, process. Blehhck (yes it's a word).

I’m starting to wonder whether I’ll ever get past my fear of the process long enough to actually marry someone, long enough to actually date someone, or even hold the fear off long enough to go to a theme park with someone (because dinner is overrated, duh).

Confession: I’m so scared of making the wrong decision that I’m scared to make any decision.

It's true. I worry that I’ll marry someone, and realise it was the wrong one. Is there a right one? I just don’t want to settle. I know God has promised me a husband to do life with, someone who will lead me and look after me and someone who will be so in love with Jesus that it will cause me to grow closer to Jesus myself.  And I know he will be hilarious and driven and flirty. And a babe. A total babe.

So if I feel like God has promised me this, where is he? Is God still working on him or is he right in front of me? Have I missed him because I’m expecting the “ready-made-package” when God is offering him to me in “just-go-on-a-flipping-date” form?

But as I think about it, deeper than just the surface thoughts, I realise, it’s fear. This whole issue is just another expression of the spirit of fear. And I’ve battled with it my whole life.

I had nightmares when I was a little girl, and when I prayed that God would replace my fear with peace, He did. In high school I was petrified of what my friends thought of me so I acted different around them. One day I prayed for God to give me courage to be who He wanted me to be, and He did. And now, I’m afraid of choosing the wrong person.

Different stages of life. Different manifestations. Same fear.

But here's the thing, God has proved Himself faithful in getting rid of my fear before. I know He will prove Himself faithful again.

So before I give up on dating and demand an arranged marriage from my parents, I think I just need to chill. I definitely need to chill.

Maybe today you have resonated with my honesty. You might be single and questioning where your husband/wife (just choose one) is. You might have a million and one questions on this subject. Can I suggest, like me, you relax and enjoy the season you’re in?

I’ve come to realise that being open to love is very different to being obsessed with finding it. It’ll come when God wants it too. In His timing.

Maybe today you’re nursing a broken heart and wondering whether you’ll ever be able to piece it together again. I’ve been there and I get it. It hurts. It sucks. For a while life doesn’t feel fun anymore. The fear of getting hurt again clouds the excitement of the possibility of love.  Take the time you need, stay close to Jesus and ask Him to heal the areas that feel shattered. Let Him do His thing. It might not be long before you meet someone that gives you butterflies again.

Maybe today you’re reading this and are petrified to give someone a shot because you’re scared of making the wrong decision. I have a question for your fear. What’s the worst that could happen?

Yeah Elyse. What’s the worst that could happen?

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If At First You Don't Succeed... Jump!

the-rock-2.jpg

Have you ever failed at something you really wanted to do well? Have you ever wanted to overcome a fear, but run away scared?

I was on a school excursion in the seventh grade. We had only been in high school for a month and my school decided to take our grade to a water park so we could bond. Australian schools rock.

The hype leading up to the excursion was centered around one thing – jumping off THE ROCK. I quickly realized if I wanted any kind of social status I was going to have to jump off Death Rock (I renamed it).

Confession: I have a small/massive fear of heights. Call me crazy, but the idea of plummeting towards the earth from a great distance doesn’t sound like my idea of fun. Unfortunately, starting high school meant that these kinds of core beliefs were irrelevant if I wanted friends.

The day came. I had my bikini ready and a false sense of security. Not to get graphic but a bikini probably wasn’t the best choice of swimwear for an awkwardly chubby teenager like me. Enough said.

As we walked out of the change rooms, there she was. She was staring down at me and I was staring up at her. She was unyielding, and tall, and solid rock… Obviously.

She was your worst nightmare, in rock form.

We made our way to the top with the girls giggling; seemingly unaware we were all about to plummet to our death. I wondered whether it would be seen as uncool for me to call my mum one last time to tell her I loved her and was leaving everything to her in my will. I decided against it.

We arrived at the top and, like the brave teenager I was, I pardoned myself every time I got to the front of the line. After as much procrastination as I could manage (there was now no one left to jump but me), it was time.

I walked to the jump line and did the one thing everyone says not to do, the worst thing possible. I looked down. I know, I’m sorry.

The jump was 5 metres (16.5 feet) high, but to me it may as well have been 5,000 metres. To make matters worse, I realised my entire class was on the ground staring up at me. Any courage or bravery I thought I had vanished quicker than I could say, “I don’t want to die today, thanks.”

I stared down and felt the eyes of everyone burning straight back at me. After about half an hour of practice runs, false starts and pitiful tears, I gave in to my fears.

A crying, shaking mess, I did the walk of shame back down the hill. I was so embarrassed and could feel the rejection from my friends. I was the only girl that didn’t jump. I was a failure.

Roll the tape forward seven years.

I had finished school (thank you Lord) and was on staff at our church. Dad (aka my boss-man) decided to take our staff to a water park for our annual church staff Christmas party. Can you guess which water park he picked? You guessed it – even if you didn’t, we can pretend you did… but seriously if you couldn’t guess, you should work on those skills.

Realising I would be at the very same water park that had caused so much anxiety years earlier, I told myself I would be fine. Years had passed and I was a “grown up” now. Right? Wrong.

We arrived for our Christmas party and sure enough, she was still there. Staring at me as aggressively as she had seven years earlier. The memories from that day flooded back, and I found myself, once again, a shaking mess.

As I walked up to the top of the rock, my experience can only be described by quoting a poet:

Palms were sweaty, Knees weak, arms were heavy I was nervous, but on the surface I looked calm and ready. The whole crowd grows so loud Snap back to reality Oh there goes gravity!

Sure I forgot everything the lifesaver said and so my arms flung up and slammed onto the water, leaving a nice bruise, but I had done it. I had conquered her. Death Rock, more like Slightly Bruised But Alive Rock!

Just call me Sir Edmund Hilary (or Eminem). Sir Edmund Hilary was the first man to conquer Mount Everest. He didn’t do it on his first go, but that didn’t stop him. After a failed attempt he looked up at the mountain and said,

“Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time. You’ve grown all you are going to grow, but I’m still growing!”

Now, apart from the awkward silence afterward because he was speaking to a mountain, which obviously was incapable of a response, what a cool thing to say! Here’s a guy who faced his fears, more than once.

What’s your Death Rock? We’ve all been there. We’ve all tried something and failed. We’ve all made up excuses for that failure.

We’ve all wished that, instead of making up excuses, we could just confess, “I was just too scared.”

I know that feeling. But I also know it’s not over.

If you have tried something and failed, well done. Why? Because there are people out there who haven’t even tried. There are people who prefer to criticize rather than give life a shot. I feel sorry for those people.

Life is a journey, so learn from the past and move forward to victory. If you have fallen down, get back up, dust yourself off, and keep moving. One step forward is one step closer to your finish line.

One step forward is better than standing still.

Whatever you’re facing right now, you can do it. You have the creator of the world on your side, and He’ll give you everything you need.

Ps. You should totally read Hebrews 13:16.

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