Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Zooming On

Before we start, I just want to leave a quick thank you to every one who read and who commented on my blogs this month. I truly hope that this series touched you in some positive way. And then, I want to congratulate everyone who reached Z this month!

Today's post is going to be pretty different from the others. 

You see, after everything I shared this month, the person who takes charge of his or her life is, in fact, in charge. Even if the lessons I shared take more than a month to put into practice. 

So what's next? 

Well. That's the nice part. Whatever you want. Whatever God guides you to do. 

And you'll keep getting better at those lessons. 

And you'll keep going on. 

And things will be so much easier than you imagined. 

May God bless you on this journey. 



I've done what I could to share what I've learnt. I pray that the people who are meant to read this series, do. I pray that You bless them on their journeys, so that they never for a moment doubt that You're doing the blessing. 

I'd ask that You make things easy, but easy isn't worth it. 

I'd ask that You carry them when they're tired, console them when they're hurt. But, then You've always been there to do that. 

So most of all, I pray that this journey will bring them closer to You and Your unconditional love and forgiveness. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Youth

One thing I've heard so many times be it in reality or fiction is a bit of a universal lament. If only I'd done this when I was young. Now it's too late.

A good cautioning tale, I'm sure. Reminding us kids never to miss an opportunity while we can.

Except here's the thing, I believe there are few reasons why age should be a limiter on exploring new activities.

But then, I have a great-aunt who's currently touring Greece.

Aged 80-something.

Everything we want to do depends on our capability, yes, but this doesn't mean you stop living after forty.  Go see the world. Go to that art class you always wanted to do. Go learn piano. (I know a lady who went to her first lesson aged 75. After she was pretty much deaf.)

Most things in life aren't about youth. You can do them regardless of age, and they'll keep you young.

So what are you waiting for? Go find something new to do.



I still want to do so many things, even though I've left them undone for so long. 

Please help me find the things I can and still want to do. And give me the courage to learn them. 

I ask this in Jesus's name. 


Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Xcitement

Before I start today's post, I just want to ask that you please pray for Damyanti and her family. A few weeks ago, her sister-in-law passed away. But that's not all. A couple of days ago, her mother-in-law was bitten by a saw-scaled viper. This is a terribly venomous snake and she's in the hospital as we speak, fighting for her life. Allergic to the anti-venom, and systems starting to fail. D asked me to spread the word as far as I can, as her mother-in-law and the family as a whole need as many prayers as they can get. Please share this message with as many people as you can. And please pray.

Excitement comes with the territory once you take charge of your life. Makes sense, if you think about it. By taking charge, you take ownership of it. Suddenly, your life has so many possibilities and you know by now that nothing is quite as impossible as you believed before.

And trying to do something you love is so much better than succeeding at something you despise. 

So life becomes exciting, even if you do the same thing every day. Your actions will have new meaning. Out of this, joy will flow. 

Enjoy it! 



Today I just want to praise you for being such an amazing father. Thank You for giving me a life worth being excited about. Thank You for the bounty of blessings that you have given me. 

Thank You for the promise that life will never stop being exciting as long as I spend it as You wish me to. 


Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Wanting to Curl Up into the Fetal Position

Hey all. No real post today. Flu is kicking my ass again, so I'll just be burrowing under the covers tonight.

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Vivre

After I took my first steps towards taking charge of my life, I found that I became more goal orientated. Almost nothing important to me exists in my mind without a goal attached. 

Of course, this makes me a lot more productive than I used to be. I now no longer have to force myself into doing boring things. Most of what I do go towards some goal

This can bring a bit of a problem, though. I get so focused on the important tasks that the less important tasks go ignored. Except for one thing. Some of those seemingly unimportant activities are in fact vital. Things like going to watch a movie. Or drinking coffee with a friend. Or playing with your child. In fact, sometimes it feels like life is getting in the way of what you should be doing. 

Life doesn't fit neatly into our plans, so those little distractions it throws in our way can be annoying. But without them, your life wouldn't be worth living. Your time spent on your goal will be for nothing. Because if you refuse to live, you'll end up with nothing worth remembering, and no one to share your life with. 

So, if life comes knocking, let it in. Spend time with your loved ones. Do something new and unrelated. Make memories. Recharge your batteries. 

Taking a break from your goals is more than okay. 

It's necessary. 


Thank you for the many chances I get to live in the present, Lord. Please help me to see them for the opportunities that they are. Let me remember what blessings such moments are and please help me to make the absolute most of them. 

I ask this in Jesus's name. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Uncertainty

One thing that's really difficult about taking charge of one's life is the uncertainty that goes with it.

Because more often than not, living the life you supposed to entails the sacrifice of security now for happiness and success in the future.

I can't begin to describe the sort of mind shift it takes to move away from this. It's a lot like materialism. In fact, I think our desire for security and the need for money are inter-related.

As a result, the first steps in taking charge of your life will be the most difficult. After years of getting used to things being a certain way, you're suddenly having to do things without a plan. Without even really knowing how exactly you get to your end goal.

Heck. You might not even know what the goal is.

But in order to get anywhere in your new life, you're going to have to learn how to function in uncertainty. Actually (and you might not believe me) you'll probably grow to love it.

No matter what, life will at least never be boring again.



Thank You for this chance to take charge of my life. I'm finding it a little hard to cope with the uncertainty, though. Please help me get used to it and enjoy the challenge. 

And please give me the wisdom required to make the correct choices. 

In Jesus's name I pray. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Tests

By now, this is starting to sound like a refrain, but taking charge of our lives is never easy. If you're walking this road with God, you're going to deal with tests as well. He tests our faith, because based on our faith, He knows when we're ready for the challenges that come with the next part of our lives. This test of faith mainly takes two forms.

Firstly, there's obedience. He tells you to do something obscure, odd, difficult or impossible. You can choose whether or not you want to obey, but if you don't, you can bet two things. 1) You're going to stay where you are for a while longer and 2) You're going to take the test again.

Another test that God uses is on our patience. He tells us to wait. Or to make things a bit trickier, He makes us wait by not telling us anything at all. Our job is to keep strong in prayer while waiting for Him to give us the answer. The faster we cling to God in this difficult time, the better.

These tests can be hard at the time, but there's something wonderful about them. God gives us more than one chance. And when we do succeed, the rewards a bountiful blessings.

Unfortunately, though, I can't really say much more on this topic.  I can't really give advice, because how one makes these choices is highly personal. All I can do is ask you to keep what I told you in mind. It might help you to decide the right way when your next test comes up.

Oh and... one more thing. With your blessings, you'll get more tests for chances at more blessings.



Thank You for giving me so many wonderful chances to grow as a person. I relish the chance to find out more about who I am and what You want me to do, but know that the tests aren't always easy. 

Please guide me, Lord. Please give me the discernment to know when You are testing me so that I can be fully prepared to do what I need to do. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Support

When you're starting to take charge of your life, there's one thing that's quite important to your success. You need to find kindred spirits

Because you've entered a phase of your life where very few people dare to go. Most of the people you know and love have no idea about what supporting you entails. You need someone who understands. Who can help you stay strong when things get difficult. 

On the other hand, there's an aspect I've found that people on this road seem to forget. Support should always be a two way road. You and your friend should support one another. If one needs to carry and drag the other along, there's a problem. If you're the someone getting dragged, you need to take a hard look at yourself. At the heart of it, you're just being a bit more actively passive by having someone drag you. 

And if you're the one doing the dragging, let go and give the dragee a solid kick in the butt. Carrying your friend isn't your job. You already have enough on your plate with taking charge of your own life. If the person doesn't want to stand on their own, go on alone. Remember what I said about Priorities? (P-Day)

See, there are people who want to take charge, but continue on their previous habits and ways of thinking. You can try to wake them up to this fact, but in the end, you can't solve their issues. But you can help them work through them when they try to get through something.

They're supposed to do the same with you. 

This reciprocation is vital. So please watch out for relationships that are turning you into a well-appreciated doormat. 



Thank You for being the most supreme of all supporters. Thank You that I can know that You'll never ever let me down. 

Still, I know I need human companions in this process. Please help us find each other, Lord. Help us to build good, balanced relationships based on trust, and give and take. Please send me the friends I need. And please help me to be the friend they need as well. 

In Jesus's name I pray. 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Returning to Dreams

In the dark times when you have to find who you are, you also need to work out where you want to be going.

Even if you're not exactly sure about what you want from your future, there's a definite, sure-fire way to at least get going. Start going through all your memories. See what you've wanted to do since you were a little child.

Look for patterns. I'm not talking about becoming an astronaut because you wanted to when you were seven. I'm saying that you should look for the things you love and have always loved. Like if you wanted to learn the piano for years, but never got to. Or if you always loved working with people, but ended up working on computers all the time.

Those are the sorts of things you go for. Because if you have a deep desire to do something, it might be because you were made to do it. So if you take action towards those things, you automatically add value to your life.

So go take piano lessons. Or help out at church or whatever it takes to satisfy the desire you've neglected for years.

Or if you know that you want to turn that something into a career, start planning and moving towards that. You don't always have to just drop everything and upend your life. It can be a gradual shift towards your goal.

Bit by bit, you'll get where you want to be.

One day, you'll look around you and realize that you took charge of your life years ago. The day you started chasing down your dreams.



Thank you for giving me dreams and wishes that can guide me towards what I'm supposed to be doing. 

I'm sorry that I shoved them aside for so long. It was a terrible mistake, and I want to live my life as you intended. 

Please help me find those dreams again. Help me to find a way to bring them to life, Lord. And please help me to let them come true. 

I ask this in Jesus's name. 


Friday, April 19, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Quitting

This might seem like an odd thing to write about for this series, but quitting could be an important component to taking charge of your life.

Sometimes, we do things that are important to us. Or that we think will bring us nearer to our goal. Except the longer we stay there, the unhappier we become.

Those times, it could be better for all around to just walk away. However, it's important to seek God's will first, as it might just be a test.

You'll know the difference, but rule of thumb is this. If you're coming home every day feeling like you're getting absolutely nowhere, wanting to literally cry because of the extreme frustration. If it feels as if you're running into closed doors everywhere, odds are God closed them. Which means you should be looking for another door. Maybe in another hallway.

Because this is often what it comes down to. God's will versus your will. You think you know what you need in your life. He knows. Wrestling with Him to get what you want might work, but I promise you it won't be all that you imagined it to be. One the other hand, His will leads you to better places than you could even have dreamed.

Personally, I prefer the latter above all, but I also know that saying the words "Your will be done" and meaning them are two different things. Because God's will can sometimes make life incredibly difficult. He's not about making things easy (although He does help). He's about building those who follow Him. Which means that you'll go through some difficult times in your life.

Like quitting when you don't know what you have to do next. Or staying when you really want to quit.



Thank you for always being with me. I know that You know what a difficult time I'm going through right now. Please guide me through it. If I need to find a way out, please show me. If I need to stay, please give me the strength to do so. Please help me to see Your will and to obey it, Lord. 

In Jesus's name I pray. 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Priorities

When we are busy taking charge of our lives, there is suddenly so much to do. There are all the things you need to do and learn to get to your goal.

And then there are still some "obligations" from before. Like taking care of family. Spending  time with your friends. (Any of those whose negative outlooks aren't trying to bring you down.) Spending time with God is another good example. Note the quotes above. Because none of these should really feel like something you have to do, but rather what you want to do.

On top of all that, there are the many tiny little "favors" that people want you to do. Errands for others... Projects at work that isn't really in your job description. Especially the "optional ones". You  know, the things that keep you from doing what you should be doing. They seem so small in the beginning, but invariably, they add up to a serious drain on your time.

If you keep doing these things for people, they'll keep heaping more on you. So. At some point, you need to sit down and see what's important to you and what you want to do. Because deep down, you definitely don't want to be everyone's door mat. Once you know what you're willing to do, you're welcome to continue them. The others, you say no to.

The people who've used you up to this point won't like it. After all, they'll have to do the things they never felt like themselves. Which is truly so sad for them. They'll probably put up some resistance, but stay strong.

The time you'll win to do things you love will make it all worth while.



I feel like I'm drowning in little odd favors and demands that people put on me. I know that the only way out is to prioritize and cut back on things that aren't worthwhile. Please help me to see what I should stop doing and give me the strength to say "no". 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Open Eyes

Open eyes are a skill every person who wants to take charge of his/her life needs to develop. We need to see what's around us in the present so that we can live in it. 

Beauty and opportunity abounds if we are open to it. Usually, opportunity takes work, but we need to spot one before going after it. 

And if we're blinded by whatever we're busy with at the moment or what we're planning to achieve later, that's going to be difficult. 

Also, we need to be mindful of people around us. Taking charge of your life will turn you into a dynamic person. And certain people will try to use you as a free ride of some sort. Although I'm all for helping people, there's also a point at which we need to say no. (But that's for tomorrow's post.)
Keep your mind open, though. Help where and when you can. But only when you know you can help. 

Mainly though, open eyes are tools to get you through life. You'll see who of your loved ones need you. Or what you need to go to get to the next phase in your life. They show us the lessons we need to learn from mistakes. They help us live consciously doing things for a reason. Things that add value to our lives. 

Without them, we'd be stuck wasting our time on the meaningless again. 



Please let me see what You want me to see. Help me to see the opportunities you send my way. Help me to see at least a little bit of Your plan so that I know where You want me to go next. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Nearer Thank You Think

Everyone wants to be happy. I think that's a pretty safe assumption. Not even the most masochistic of people will enjoy going through a life they don't enjoy. 

Yet so many people are unhappy. 

There's even a term for people suffering from a sort of depression at aged 25. The quarter-life crisis. Before, it had been the mid-life crisis where people wake up one day and wonder whether their life really is as good as it's going to get. Now it's striking people even sooner. 

And you know, maybe that's a good thing. 

You see, we sometimes wake up and find ourselves trapped in our surroundings. So our first response is to find escapist entertainment. Because if we can distract ourselves long enough, maybe being trapped won't matter so much. As a result, we have multi-billion dollar industries catering to short term entertainment. Movies. Games. T.V. 

I have nothing against those, but when I was seeking escape, I soon noticed that it never really made me happy. Sure, it kept me entertained. But once I left the cinema or turned off the T.V. I was still trapped. And still not really all that enthusiastic about it. 

So I decided to change. I'd make happiness my goal. True happiness. You know... the sort where you're grinning all the time. 

I learnt two things after that. 

Firstly, that happiness is much closer than you think. It's literally one meaningful activity away. I'm not necessarily talking about devoting time to activities. But I am talking about stuff that add meaning to your life. Devoting time to your children. Or getting back to jogging, if you really want to be fit. To me, it's art. I like spending time on activities where I have something to show for my time spent. Everyone has something like that. And when you make time to do it, you're making yourself happier. 

Secondly, I've found that happiness isn't about singing, dancing and laughing all the time. It's about knowing that, no matter how bad things are today, you could have been worse off. It's about loving the life you have, even when you know there's more work to be done to make it better. It's about living in the now, enjoying the small but wonderful things life has to offer, and having it sooth you in ways you never imagined. 

The always smiling, never fighting, stage musical that is the happy life as seen on T.V. is a lie. And I'm glad. Because smiling or not, peaceful or not, with music or without, the joy in my life is there. And it always is. 

I only need to tap into it. 



Thank you for giving me so many opportunities to be happy, to live my life the way You intended it.

I just want to ask that You please help me see them now. I've spent such a long time chasing after cheap thrills in order to simulate happiness that I'm not used to the real stuff any more. 

Help me find what adds value to my life and to the lives of those closest to me. 

Help me to find true happiness, the way You intended. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Monday, April 15, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Materialism

One of the most dangerous developments in our modern culture is consumerism. All around us are messages and images about what we should be wanting and why we should be wanting it. Most often, these reasons are because this thing we're supposed to be desiring is a symbol of our success. 

We want bigger houses. We want faster cars. We want designer clothing. We want that Rolex watch. Hell, we want the Mont Blanc pens for when we sign credit buys. And on... and on... and on... 

And above all, we want more money in order to afford these things. Because if we can, we've arrived. We can show the people around us that we're more successful than them. That we have richer lives because of them. 

We make choices based on how much money we can make. Worst of all, we're changing our children into little materialists as well. 

Because hey! If you can afford all those status symbols, you're going to be so happy. Here's the thing, though. Buying expensive things don't make you happy. They give a short buzz. And then it's gone. And then you have to go buy something else to feel it again. I suspect that's why so many people are trapped, neck deep in credit card debts. 

But the thing is... what's it all really for

All this running around, chasing material gain. When you do gain it, what do you win?  

Because I can tell you what you lose. If you're picking for money first, you're missing out on a chance to do what you love. You're missing out on a chance to be happy. Truly happy. To have this core of absolute joy in your life that doesn't go away, no matter what. You might be missing out on a chance to see your children. You're probably losing your health and welfare to stress as we speak. You're probably selling your soul bit by bit in order to afford a little more. 

And your kids are watching/will watch you do this. They'll see this as normal. And when the time comes to make the choices about their lives, they'll put themselves through the meat grinder as well.  

When I look at it like that, materialism just doesn't really seem worth it. Is it to you

Once you answer that question to yourself, you'll find yourself much more able to decide your next steps. Because once you know the true value of money to yourself, it's won't constrain you in your choices. 

And that will make a huge difference once you want to take charge of your life. 



I've fallen into the trap of materialism a long time ago. I want to get out of it, but it's difficult. It means I need to change the way I think about everything I want. 

Please guide me as I find my way towards making the right decisions for my life. Help me to break the chains of consumerism around me. 

Help me to make choices based on what I want, instead of what I'm told I should desire. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Saturday, April 13, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Let It Flow

This is actually one of my Grandmother's favorite sayings. Usually, she says: "Just let it flow."

But the doing is so much harder than listening to the words. When we take charge of our lives, we'll be exposed to a huge and very dangerous temptation.

You see... we're suddenly all about choices and all about doing things. And sometimes, we want to take the steering wheel from God's hands.

Which is usually when we start planning way further ahead than we should. It's also when we start worrying. Distrusting. Our vision is nowhere close to God's. His is perfect. Ours barely extends beyond ourselves. So when we start trying to wrest control of our lives from Him, serious trouble starts.

Tiny bumps in the road become insurmountable obstacles. And we get lost trying to reach our destination.

In the mean time, I imagine God is sitting there, tapping His fingers while He waits for us to realize we're being idiots.

It's just not a good place to be in. So what do you do?

Well. If you've noticed that you're lost (in the past or future), worried, unable to imagine how you'll achieve something alone, it's time that your remember you're not. And that you're not supposed to be doing the driving.

Then you give the steering wheel back to God, and go where He tells you to go. Even if it doesn't make sense. As long as you do what He tells you, things will fall like they're supposed to. And nothing you can do on your own power will help you more.

Once the wheel is back in God's hands, you get to plan, and act and do all the things required of you. And you get to trust that God's will in your life will come to pass.



I'm feeling like an idiot right now. I've been acting as if I know better about where my life should be going. About what I should be doing. Honestly, though, I know I don't. 

Your will, Lord, should always come first, and I know that nothing else I can do will ever amount to more than living to Your glory. 

Please forgive my foolish actions, Lord. Take control again. Because without You, I'm lost. 

In Jesus's name I pray, 


Friday, April 12, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Kindness

When it comes to being happy, few things give one such a boost as being kind to other people.

I'm not just talking about charity deeds and so on. Sometimes, just smiling at a cashier and having a friendly chat with them is enough. Or smiling at people who pass you on the street.

You see, if you're a bit friendlier to the world, the world becomes a lot friendlier to you. And the fact is that God will bless you with joy if you bless others. (Or, if you don't believe in God, think karma. ;-))

If you feel a compunction to help someone, never miss that chance. Even if no one else seems to notice, you're making a difference in someone else's life. And the rewards for that are endless.

For one thing, you might learn how to deal with your own circumstances. Or you might be offered help in return.

Anything can happen. Which is why you shouldn't necessarily count on how and when you'll be repaid. It'll happen how and when you least expect it.



I know that life is more than just me me me. I know there are many people who need a gentle touch or just someone who'll give them a bit of brightness in their lives. 

Please help me to see opportunities for kindness, Lord. Let me see who needs it and how I'm supposed to give it to them. 

And please bless my attempts to that I can use my life towards Your glory. 

I ask this in Jesus's name. 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Jumping the Gun

Once we dealt with fear and know who we are and where we're supposed to be headed, we can sit down and think of our strategy.

I'm all for this. Having a goal with a sort of idea about how to get there. But then people jump the gun. They plan their futures and how life will be. And then they get stuck with their focus on the future. Which is a serious problem.

Because if you're stuck with your eyes in the future, you don't look around you in the present.

And the big disadvantage of that is that you miss short cuts and opportunities, that could have gotten you to your goal sooner. Or at least a lot easier.

So yes. Know what you want, but I suggest you focus on things you can do right now that will lead you closer to your goals.

Another thing I have about plans is that it makes me inflexible. Maybe it's because I'm human, but my plan only keeps me open to one or two possibilities. Anything more than that and I just don't have anything ready for it. I often talk to people who procrastinate on doing something because they don't have enough money or time to do it. It's as if our plans just don't work if we don't have the perfect starting position in place.

Honestly, though, life is a bit simpler than that. If you can't afford classes, find another way to learn. Or find away to earn the money. If you don't have time, stop trying to find blocks of it to devote to your goals and work to it bits at a time as much as possible.

That means you have to plan every move you make towards your goal, yes, but not every move you will make. It sounds like a small difference.

But in reality, it's life-changing.



Thank You that I can trust in Your plans. That I can know that You are in full control of my future. 

Please help me to live in the present. Open my eyes to the possibilities and opportunities around me. And guide me in planning whatever I need to do right now to achieve my goals. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Internal Battles

In order to function in our lives, we condition ourselves every day. We bend over backwards to fit in with what our loved ones and our society expects from us.

The main expectation here is conformity. Sacrificing happiness for material gain.

We get rewarded for this. Encouraged to choose based on the above parameters.

And these parameters betray us. Because conforming and making choices based on money usually aren't all that conductive to being happy. Content, maybe. But we know how worthless contentment can be.

Still... once we come to this realization, this method of making choices are ingrained. Our value system... our measurement of success... everything is built around conformity and money.

So when we decide to move away from this way of thinking, the process is sort of like taking a wrecking ball to our personalities.

I'm not going to lie. It's a scary process. Because suddenly, your measuring stick is gone. And you can't blend into your surroundings. You're going to be picked out for being odd, because how dare you assume that you don't have to settle for a life you didn't want? Everyone else does.

And if you don't make money, you'll end up unable to compare yourself to those around you and say: wow. I'm more successful than other people.

I think some people will roll their eyes at this, but when you're in this phase of your life. Of having to refocus on the truth, you'll know how difficult this is.

I took about 6 months doing absolutely nothing because I couldn't trust my choices. I took around a year after that venturing forward bit by bit before I managed to know what I wanted. And only then did I plan.

But hey, someone might say. You said we must decide what to do and act on it.

And that's absolutely true. But usually, the first decision is to get out of the situation. And then, depending on the person, your new life starts. But you have no idea what to do with it. And that's where the changing of our values comes in.

Because if you don't change your values, the foundation to your choices will be the same. And if so, how do you expect to choose differently than before?

I think that's why so many people want to move forward, but move in cycles instead.

Before you can change your life, you need to change yourself.



It's so dark and terrible where I am right now that I just want to run towards the first light I see. But You've taught me that everything looking like a solution isn't. And I don't ever want to come back to this place in my life ever again, so I know I need to change myself in a way You intended. 

Please guide me in this process, Lord. Help me to find the true measuring rod for success. Help me to be able to stand out to Your glory. Even when it means it sometimes feel like I'm alone. 

Thank You for always being with me. No matter what. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Hang in There

Up to now, I've dealt with a variety of things that happen when we start taking charge of our lives. Obviously, some of them will make the process incredibly difficult. Much more so than I can describe. 

But there's one thing I do want to encourage you to do. If you know that you're on the right track. If you've been hashing things out with God and the road you're on is where He wants you. Then there's only one thing to do. 

Hang in there. 

Sometimes it'll feel like you can't do a single thing more. Or that the people around you are making things too difficult. Or that you're tired of feeling so alone and unsupported. 

The only thing you can do is hang on (I strongly suggest clinging to God in particular). 

The first part of taking charge will be difficult, but it gets better as you settle into your new life. So whatever you do, don't give up. 



I'm going through a difficult time right now. Things feel like they're much more challenging than I should be. I don't know how to go on. Without You, Lord, I know I can't. 

So please help me find the strength to continue. And guide me, Lord. Because if You don't want me to do this after all, I need to know so I can change my plans. Your will be done, Lord. Not mine. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Monday, April 8, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Guilt

Another emotion that can keep you stuck in your current situation is guilt. It's not as direct as fear, but in fact, it's much more damaging because of it.

Guilt never only comes at you from one direction. Once it has you questioning yourself, it multiplies until you question every single thing you're doing.

This is especially difficult in the beginning stages of taking charge of your life. You're just learning to spread you're wings. But suddenly, it feels wrong to want to leave the nest.

Even though you know it's not. 

You need to watch out for those closest to you. I'm not saying they're out to get you, but they can and often will level absolutely devastating attacks on you.

One particular favorite is something like: "But you were always fine with it before..." or  "I don't understand why you're doing this..." All meant to imply that you're a selfish little fool for wanting to improve your life.

My personal favorite is: "No one gets to live the life you wanted. Why won't you just get used to it and go on?"

The fact is. Wanting to live a better life is not selfish. Wanting keep people back from reaching their potential because you're uncomfortable change is.

You have nothing to feel guilty about.

But there's another aspect to guilt that's even more devastating. Self-imposed guilt. See, when we start out in taking charge, we make mistakes. We stumble. Sometimes badly. And then, for some odd reason buried deep in our psyches, we flagellate ourselves for it. How could we not see this coming. Look at how terribly I failed. How can I take charge of my life if I can't even control what I eat?

And then... people give up. In droves.

That's why guilt is absolutely toxic to your life. So you made a mistake. It's okay to feel bad about it. But you can't let yourself drown in guilt. Because it won't get you anywhere.

Much more constructive is to spend time looking at why you stumbled and struggled. If you learn a lesson, the mistake isn't so bad. AND you'll be less likely to stumble over the exact same thing twice. Oh, you will maybe struggle with something similar, but never the same thing as before. And if you do, you learn again and keep going.

But don't collapse and cry because of guilt. If you move forward, guilt fades. And you'll have a lot more to show for it. 


Two prayers today, depending on your current situation. You can also compare them if you're getting guilt from all directions. 


I'm sorry for making this mistake. I really should have seen it coming, I know. In fact, I feel a right idiot for missing the obvious until it was too late. 

Please Lord, forgive me for this mistake and help me to forgive myself for making it. I want to learn from this, Lord. I want to keep going on, living the way you intended me to. Please help me. 



Please help me with these people who are making the process even more difficult. Work in their hearts, Lord. Show them the way, that they can either support me or leave me alone. 

And if that isn't your will, Lord, strengthen me so that I can better deal with the guilt they're trying to lay on me. Please help me to remember that I love them, and that right now, they're just scared. That sometimes, they think they're acting in my interest. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Saturday, April 6, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Fear

Taking charge of your life is more than making a few decisions and just doing them. Like I mentioned, making and acting on decisions are really difficult. One of the biggest reasons is that you're going to have to start out without a reliable support system.

The other big reason is fear.

Not risk. Because a risk isn't technically an obstacle. It's actually nothing more and nothing less than the chance that something bad might happen. So no, it's not a risk that's keeping you back.

That honor goes to your fear alone.

Sometimes with good reason.

Fear kept me from changing majors in the beginning because I was afraid of what people I knew would think. (Incidentally the worst possible thing I had to fear.) Then came my fear of failing to succeed (not that I even had a clue of what success meant). Then came my fear for my financial stability.

But finances, I'm leaving for M-day.

The point is, there were serious fears in my life and I had to deal with them first before getting anywhere.

And let me tell you this. It takes a while. Addressing my fears and sorting out the after-effects of what I thought money was to me took about two years. It's really a big battle. I'll have post about this for I-day.

Difficult as the application may be, the concept of battling your fears is simple. It's the same process as making a decision, but with a little twist.

Since this is all about your fears, it's about you once again. What do you risk losing? What do you stand a chance of gaining?

To clarify even more, flip it around. If you stay where you are now, what do you have? What chances are you missing out on? In other words, what won't you gain because of missing that chance?

A good example I can think of comes from when I wanted to go into the arts. At that stage, I had a course that would give me some seriously good money if I stayed there long enough.

So obviously, doing something else would mean I'd lose my chances at getting a steady income. But if I did move on, I'd get a chance to do the things I'd always wanted to do.

And if I stayed, I would never get the time to do what I want.

To me, the fact that I'd always be chained to a desk in a career that's known for killing the people in it, without a chance of getting to do what I've always really wanted to do, just wasn't worth it.

And once you decide whether or not taking the risk is, you get to plan your strategy.



I'm afraid, but I know You're here for me. Help me to address my fears, Lord. Please let me see the weights and balances of the risks to this decision. 

Guide me in realizing what You want me to do, and open my eyes so I can see just how insignificant my fears are in comparison. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 


Friday, April 5, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Expectations

Sorry for being so late to post today. Been struggling with a migraine all day. In fact, I still have it, but I'm not skipping a post.

So today, I want to prepare you for something you're really never going to expect.

The people closest to you, the ones you trust and love and expected to support you, probably won't.

In fact, they're going to resist the changes you bring about in your life again and again. For months, maybe even years.

It was like that when I decided to seriously follow my heart (and head) and go into the arts. The one person who I thought would support me in my quest to live a happier life, my mother, absolutely refused to support me.

We had constant fights about it, because she thought it was a phase. She didn't get at all that I was dead serious and more importantly, truly motivated for the first time in my life.

I once told my best friend that I wanted to live a life worth living and there's nothing wrong with living a life I want. Her response: Don't worry, you'll grow up soon enough.

Yeah... support... don't count on it. Because the people around you will think you're setting yourself up for failure. They think they're protecting you by trying to stop you from taking charge of your life.

Besides the protective aspect, there are also their expectations to contend with. My mother expected me to get a banking job or something similar. Someone else's husband might expect food on the table every night.

And when we inadvertently mess with the status quo, they put up a fight. Because hey, everyone was comfortable with the way things were before.

Well... cry me a river. No matter what my mother expected, I happen to know I would have blown my brains over my desk a few years after getting to it. And no, Ms Hypothetical, your husband won't starve from making his own meal for once.

I think you get the idea, but there's only one expectation I can guarantee for you. Expect to fight for everything you want to achieve. Sometimes hard.

Because the moment you give in, those people who were supposed to support you become your excuses.

And that will bring you back to A.



Thank you for giving me the chance and the ability to take charge of my life. 

There's just one thing, Lord, that's really getting to me. This wall of ambivalence I'm hitting into everywhere. I know that I'm doing the right thing. I know that this is what You want me to do. 

So I pray that you please work in the hearts of the people who are so set against this journey. And if need be, give me the strength to continue without their support. 

In Jesus's name, 


Thursday, April 4, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Doing What You Decided

You've made the choice to change your circumstances. That's only the beginning. 

Now you have to act.

And now, we get to the hard part. Because no matter how many choices you make, nothing happens if you don't act on them. 

I wish I could say things fall right really fast once you start acting, but I can't. Because they don't. The things that are really worth doing take incredibly long to come to fruition. 

For me, my big decision was to move towards the career in arts I'd always wanted. I want to publish books. I want to perform on stage. 

It's been about three years since I came to this decision. And I'm still working on it. The publishing part could happen before the end of the year, though (which I'm SERIOUSLY excited about). 

So what takes so long? 

Well... to explain, I need to explain how I see life. Poker

Yeah, that maybe will surprise some of you. Because everyone wants life to be a strategy. But then maybe, you've never looked at Poker from a game theory point of view. And don't worry. I'm NOT going to explain game theory. I'm going to quote the chorus from one of my favorite songs of all time instead. 

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

People play poker trying to win the hand
Winners win because they're aiming to win the game

They know when to take a chance that will put them ahead. Other times, they'll sacrifice the money they bet because they know playing right now will make them lose more than they want to. And they're constantly doing all they can to have a measure of what's going on around that gambling table. Who has the best hand?Who's bluffing. Oh yeah. They also know how to bluff the hell out of the game. But they also know when. 

These are things you'll need to learn when you're doing what you've decided to do. 

A lot of people say that they've been dealt cards and they have to play with them in life. I disagree. You've been given poker chips

And you get dealt cards every day with which you can do your utmost to get more chips overall. Sometimes, you're going to take a chance that should put you forward, but doesn't. Sometimes you're going to bluff yourself into doing something daring. Sometimes you'll pull it off.

The only time you stop getting cards is when you leave the table. Sometimes you have to. I left the table twice so far. Because sometimes, you need to adapt your thinking and get to a better table. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you don't lose a view of what you want to achieve.

And the only way to stop winning for ever is to stop playing. 



I have decided to (name your decision). Thank You for guiding me and making me brave enough to decide. 

Now that I can live the life You want for me, please help me to do it. Please bless my new life, Lord. Help me, soothe me and heal me through all setbacks. And please help me to remember You when everything is going well. 

Let my life be to Your glory, Lord. 

I pray this in Jesus's name.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Choices

Being in charge of your life means that you're going to have to start making choices. Difficult choices, sometimes. 

The first one would be to change your circumstances. 

As some of you mentioned, circumstances are hard to change, because it affects other people. And, like Julie pointed out yesterday, a lot of times, you're in a situation because of good-natured (if naive) choices you'd made before

And here's the thing. You can't undo your choices. Even if you do get to a point where you were earlier in your life, say... by divorcing your spouse, you won't be the same person you were before. You've changed

So no. Taking charge isn't about getting back to a point of being happy. It's about moving forward. It's about growing as a person. That's what brings you happiness. 

But the choices to move forward have as many forms as people have different lives. Not choosing is never a good option. It just shoves you back into living a stagnant life. One where you have to passively deal with what life throws at you. Instead of taking big chunks of life and actually living. 

Still, I know that some choices are really hard, so I'm going to share with you a way of thinking you might want to try. Of course, the better idea is to do it with a lot of prayer. 

First: you need to think of yourself. And no. Not in a selfish way. It's just that up to now, you probably got into this situation because you made decision based on what other people wanted. This is a broad assumption, I know. But it's something I've noticed about us. Those good natured choices we made are good natured because they're to please someone else. 

If we make choices for ourselves, they're just choices. Big ones or not. 

Back to making a choice. 

Think of yourself. What do you stand to gain from this? What do you risk losing? Any advantages or disadvantages? This doesn't have to be financial. In fact. Finances should actually come in low on your list for doing anything. 

Then (and this is important): Think of who your decisions will affect. Your spouse? Children? Friends? How will your choice really affect them? 

By "really", I mean this. Back to the example of divorcing your spouse. You have children. And up to now, you've postponed this decision because you want to keep the family together. Looking at how this will affect children, the first thing you would say is: but I can't break up the family. 

And yet... if your husband is abusive to that child. Or to you, for that matter. It affects the child's wife in a negative way. Much more so than breaking both of you out. 

Basically, that's how difficult decisions are made. By weighing the positives and negatives for all involved - including you.



I want to escape this difficult situation I'm in. I know I can't live my life to the full without doing this. But Lord, I don't know how. 

So many people can be hurt by this choice I want to make, so I want to make the right one. 

What is Your will, Lord? 

Please guide me in making this choice and give me the strength needed to follow through. 

In Jesus's name I pray, 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Blame

As I mentioned yesterday, contentment is like quicksand, sucking you down and keeping you from living the life you're supposed to. 

Now, going on with the quicksand idea. Let's say you're in quicksand. Let's say there's a rope connected to a tree, lying well within reach and you could (with some effort, granted) pull yourself out. 

What do you do? 

Well. Most people I talk to make themselves comfortable and start blaming others for getting them into the quicksand in the first place. Or for not picking them out of it. Or they blame the quicksand for keeping them stuck. 

The rope, their way out, goes unnoticed and unwanted. Because, hell, getting out on our own is just too much effort. 

Now is it me, or does this way of thinking sound absolutely insane? 

I mean, people are so fast to blame God for not giving them the miracle needed to escape. They absolutely refuse to acknowledge that the rope that they can save themselves with is in fact that miracle. Where else would it have come from? 

I'm going to share two harsh truths with you that I had to learn a few years ago. 

Your circumstances are your choice. 


No one else is going to save yourself from them.

Right about now, I figure some of you stopped reading. But if you're with me, think about it for a moment. 

If you're not happy, but don't do something to address the problem, you made a choice to do nothing. And if that's the method you've been using so far, how has it been working out for you? 

Fact is, I know there are some people who are drowning in situations beyond their control. People stuck in the lowest lows of poverty. People with special needs. And even then, there are some who do everything in their power to rise above their circumstances. 

And you, wonderful person reading this post, probably have it a LOT easier. 

The only person who's to blame for where you are is you. And you're the only one who's going to get you out onto safe ground. And yes, it'll be incredibly hard. I'm not saying it's a walk in the park. But one thing I promise you. Once you start wanting to move, God will help you to move. 

So for heaven's sake! Do yourself a favor and do something. Challenge yourself to do something you've always wanted to do, but couldn't whatever reason you had while blaming someone or someone else. That's your rope. 

That's going to be how you free yourself from your circumstances. 



I realize now that I've made a serious mistake. I've been blaming everyone and everything around me for not living the life You intended for me. Even You. 

Even though (name the person/thing that landed you in this situation, if applicable) brought me into this situation, I now know that I'm responsible for staying here so long. Me. No one else. 

Forgive me, Lord, for blaming You.

Please guide me. Help me to recognize what it is You want me to do. And please, Lord, give me the strength to do it. 

I pray this in Jesus's name, 


Monday, April 1, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Arrival

Very few people are born happy. Very few people are born in charge of their lives. Actually, that's not right.

EVERYONE is born in charge of his or her life. But very few people do anything about it.

And that brings me to the point of today's post.

One of the important moments in your life is the one where you realize you can't go on like you are right now.

Some people are lucky and see the danger before landing in it. Others, like me, only get to this point when we've sunk to a certain depth and realize we're not willing to sink deeper.

For some people, this depth is addiction. For me, it was a depression lurking not so far off.

In fact, I think a lot of you will sense a sort of depression in your lives. Even when I was "content", that depression was coming my way. But I'd lulled myself into a false sense of security and paid for it about a year and a half into my university course.

And here's the reason.

Contentment isn't happiness. It isn't joy. And settling for contentment is not okay. Yes, it feels fine in the beginning. But it's not. Contentment is like quicksand. And before you know it, you'll look around and wonder what on earth happened to your life.

And that is when you arrive.

Because unless you know you have a problem, you'll never start looking for a solution.

Before I close off, I just want to let you know that this series will be Christo-centric, since I believe that it's impossible to take charge of one's life without plenty of divine guidance. I know I'd still be at the bottom of that hole without it.

So I'll be ending each of these posts with a prayer that you can pray. Or not. It's fully your choice. But the fact is, I refuse to take full credit for where my life is now, and telling you that you can do this on your own is a lie.



I can't take this any more. I can't sit here and know that my life is going to waste because I'm not doing anything with it. 

Please help me find my way out of this mire of my own creation and to live my life the way You intended for me to live it. 

I pray that You guide me on this road. Help me to be strong as I walk along it, and let my life be to Your glory. 

I ask this in Jesus's name,