I’m frantically typing this out on my phone because I had a bit of a revelation on my way home from a family BBQ this afternoon. Someone said to me as I was leaving, “oh Annie, we must catch up soon. I’ve realized that I haven’t asked you about all the exciting things going on in your life. I’d love to hear about it”. I smiled as I usually do at comments like that, and laugh internally a little that someone would think that my life is exciting. Then I got into the car, put my headphones in and watched the view pass me by through drizzly windows covered by a moody gray sky.
I realized that I’m not boring. For some of you, you might be laughing as you read this because you know me well enough to know that I’m not boring. Someone once said to me, “Annie, you’re many things but you are definitely not boring”. Again, I smiled, I laughed, I disbelieved. But over the last week or so it feels as if Jesus has just been whispering to me to tell me the opposite. You’re not boring, Annie, and your life certainly isn’t either.
I’ll be honest, the revelation has struck me somewhat. My ideal Friday night in is a Chinese takeaway, a blanket, a cup of tea and a good movie to get my teeth stuck into. I’m a homebird, a sucker for good company and the thought of two nights out on the trot stresses me out a little. But, as reluctantly as I tend to do this, when Jesus says something to me I need to respond. And I suppose this blog post is a response to what he has said.
Through most of my university life I did my best to be exciting. I made friends everywhere and did my best to please those friends, in all the various circles and spheres where I met them and grew to love them, and I tried to be an exciting and fun person for them. I spent 3 years battling with the horrible idea that I could possibly be boring, and when exciting things happened for my friends I was left with what looked like a gaping hole in my life where excitement just wasn’t showing up. I then tried to step it up a gear, I’d reassure myself that my life was just as exciting and that all of these big and small things happening to my friends and my family were just around the corner for me and in the meantime I’d just sit and enjoy trying to make my boring life exciting again.
Today, friends, I realized that I can happily say that I am not boring. My life is exciting and I don’t need to compete with anybody to try and make it seem that way. To be honest, if you look at my life and assume it’s anything but exciting (even when my Friday night does consist of a Chinese and Bridget Jones) then you’re missing the point entirely.
My life is exciting because I’ve given it to Jesus. In John 10:10, Jesus says this:
“I have come so that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV)
I mean, wow. Fullness of life doesn’t sound boring does it? That’s because it’s not supposed to be boring. Life with Jesus is meant to be exciting, no matter how mundane or lackluster or boring it appears to be.
Jesus also goes on to say this –
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
– John 10:14-16 (NIV)
The bit that strikes me most about these verses is where Jesus says he has sheep of a different sheep pen. I’m sure it has a more theological meaning than what I’m about to say (although seeing as I got a first class degree in theology, bear with me eh), but to me this just screamed at me that Jesus has different pockets of excitement for us, and that excitement comes to each of us in different ways. Your life isn’t defined as exciting because you’ve ticked some boxes, or because you can tick a list of things that you do or don’t have. I’m not belittling those exciting things in your life, I’m just saying, because you have those things doesn’t mean the excitement is all yours. You get me?
After living with this feeling of inadequacy for a good few years, I feel like for the boring girl and the lonely guy I can offer some advice. Like every good Christian, I have 3 key pieces of awkward advice for you:
number 1: you are free ~ john 8:36
As Christians, we believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection means we are free from our sins and that we can have eternal life. We are free from sin and we can know God through Jesus. You are FREE. You don’t need to feel boring because you don’t have certain things, or because you feel bound by other things. You don’t need to feel lonely and isolated by your past or your current situation, because you are FREE. When I was at New Wine this year, someone spoke about this freedom in a completely new way for me. Jesus has already forgiven it all, all I need to do is to step into that freedom. Easier said than done, I hear you say. I get that, friends, but trust me – when you take that plunge, it’s be best feeling ever.
number 2: there’s a time to let go ~ ecclesiastes 3:1-8
As I said, I’ve been working through this for quite some time. In the midst of this, I’ve also had to work through some heartache and deep hurts. I finished counselling earlier this year, and the freedom and empowerment I felt when I left that room for the last time and I knew that I could finally let go was simply incredible. In order to live life to the fullest, I think you need to let go. You’ll know what it is you need to let go of, and you’ll know when your ready (it took me 4 years). You can’t press forward if you’re still holding on to what’s passed. Life can’t be full if you are clinging to emptiness.
number 3: not yet, now ~ matthew 6:34
An important realization for me is trying to fight against worrying for tomorrow. I’ve missed so many things because I was fretting about what might be or what was coming. Worrying is natural and it’s a sign you’re a human being who cares if you worry, I reckon. Just sometimes, I think we care too much. We miss the excitement of today if we look to what may or may not happen tomorrow. I find it helpful to list things that have been positive in my day in order for me not to miss it. Try it, it might help. A good friend of mine told me that psychologically we need to take 15 seconds to consciously absorb something good that’s happened to us, because we find it so easy to latch onto things that aren’t as good. Spend some time. See Jesus doing his thing where you are. Tomorrow will worry about itself.
Peace and blessings x