What do you want to be when you grow up?

Plans are a funny thing. You can arrange and organise as much as you like, but will it turn out the way you originally thought it would? Probably not. The plan could be as simple as what you are doing that day, or be as complicated as what you are going to do in 10 year time. But no matter what it is, the likelihood is, it will always change or be different from how you imagined it in your head. But that’s okay.

When I was little, there were quite a few things that I had on my bucket list that I wanted to do but there was only ever one job I wanted to do. And trust me, I had my heart set on it for about 10 years. While I dreamed of swimming with dolphins and having 20 dogs, I wanted desperately to be a dentist. Don’t ask me why because looking back, I literally have no idea why I wanted to look into people’s mouths all day. Not my idea of fun now. 

Then I got a little bit older and all I wanted to do was to become a police officer. Because you got to drive really fast with flashing lights on. Oh, and you caught the bad guys! It seemed like a whole lot of fun and I thought I could be an awesome cop. However, I then found out that night shifts were inevitable. That was something I was not willing to deal with. I struggle to stay awake past 22:30 and you can’t catch criminals when you’re sleeping. 

Opening a bakery seemed like the next logical thing to choose and I could tag team it with my friends who were also really into making cake. I mean, who doesn’t want to be surrounded by cake all day? Well, apparently the answer to that question is: someone who can’t eat them because you actually need to sell the stuff you make.

After taking time to seriously think about my options, I then decided that I wanted to be a History Teacher. Honestly, I wanted to do this for about 3 years. And as much as I love history, and think I would be really good at teaching, it’s the university part that stops me in my tracks. I’m honestly not sure that university is for me and I would rather just go straight into working. 

Now, you may be thinking, “CJ, why are you telling us your life story?” I mean, as nice as it is, I realise that with no point, this is just a very strange blog post. But, don’t worry. There is a point…

You see, as young people we are presented with a whole load of options of what we should do in the future and are expected to choose one thing. If we look back roughly 50 years, we would see that people would grow up, choose a job close to home and do that for the rest of their lives. That would be it. But now, we live in a world where we have the ease of travel to distant lands, more courses at university that literally have no point and a ridiculous amount of career paths that we could walk down. Some jobs are looked at as better than others and the amount of money you earn is considered to be the selling point of the majority of jobs. There are just too many choices and we have got fussier.

So I decided that I should just choose something and stick with it. For now anyway. If God wants me to do something else and puts a huge passion on my heart for it, then I will make a plan. But for now, I’m going to stick to my plan. Even if that means that I’m not going to go to university or that I’m doing a job that people may think is ‘beneath my abilities’. That’s okay. As long as I have a smile on my face, I’m happy. 

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Changes

I’m not going to lie, before sitting down at my desk to start writing, I was completely uninspired. I had not a clue what I was going to write about and I think I must have re-written this introduction about 5 times. And that got me thinking. Dangerous, I know. 

This time last year I was also feeling pretty uninspired. I had just gotten rid of an horrendous sickness bug and I was about to start writing my final exams. And as soon as they were over, I would be moving to a completely different continent. And I had written and written and written about all of these things, enough to bore everyone that was reading it. I had reached a point where creative juices were no longer flowing and I had no motivation to open up my laptop and just start writing. 

But a lot has changed in the past year, and I think I would describe myself as a completely different person. Even though I was uninspired 20 minutes ago, I allowed myself to just let my hands move across the keyboard and see what happened, rather than completely shutting myself down (excuse the pun) and giving up because my brain wasn’t working fast enough. Now, I am not saying that my brain now works faster – I now know that if I give myself a little bit of time to think and not pressure myself, things will actually get done quicker. 

As much as I could babble on for hours about how much I have changed over the past 11 months, I think I will save all of this for an epic blog post in a few weeks time. Today was just a taster.  And don’t worry, I am inspired about them! I’ve even begun planning them in advance! 

 

A Letter To Great Gran

Dear Gran,

I always had this thing against calling you ‘Great Gran’ as I thought you wouldn’t like it, the reason being it made you sound super old and according to Mum, women didn’t like being old. But I also thought it made me sound really young, and in a way, I didn’t like that because I wanted to be older, more grown up. 

Remembering my childhood always includes a fond memory of you. I would be eager to come and see you just so that I could come and pick some flowers from your beautiful garden. Looking back, I can imagine you were probably freaking out that I would pick the best flower in the garden, the one that you had spent the most time caring for. But not once did you tell me that I couldn’t have this flower, and I couldn’t have that flower. You were willing to let me pick any flower, with some helpful guidance of course, just to see the smile on my face when I presented the bunch lovingly to Mum or to Nan. 

I must have really annoyed Nan and depleted her baking stock over the years because every time I knew we were coming to see you, I would always insist that you needed some fruit muffins or a little cupcake. Grandad was always happy with this, however, because he knew that only one or two of the batch would make it down to you and the rest would be left at home for him to nibble on. 

Christmas was always the most challenging season of all; I never knew what to get you. If I got you a tin of biscuits, you would probably try and give it back to me, insisting that I needed it more than you did, even if the tin did have a lovely pattern on it. But you would always tell me that my money would be better spent on someone else, you didn’t need anything – just a smile when we came to see you would be plenty. 

I will always admire the heart that you had for looking after others. Even when I came to look after you for a week when Nan and Grandad were on holiday, you wouldn’t let me make us lunch because it was your job. I would always be woken up with a cup of tea in bed, because you said it was a week off that I needed to relax. I wasn’t complaining, but it made me laugh. However, I have to admit that I have not eaten another turkey sandwich since then. There are only so many one can eat in the space of a week!

Although I am going to miss taking a trip to see you and picking tomatoes from your greenhouse, I know that you are much better off now than you ever were. Your love for Jesus was evident in so many ways and I pray that I can be like that too. And because you loved Jesus, you are now free of sickness and pain and tears. You can dance again, in fact, you have a whole new body! It is something I know you have been looking forward to for a very long time. 

I love you loads Gran, and I am so privileged to have spent so many years with you. 

Chloe Jasmine x

Just Do Something

Yesterday, I started reading the book that my dad sent me for my birthday, entitled “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung. The whole premise of the book is finding God’s will for your life when you literally have no idea what it is. Now, you may all be wondering why my dad would send me a book about this sort of thing, but he had serious reason to. I had dreams and aspirations but I don’t think owning a library is a realistic one… and I was struggling with what was coming next for me; the future was a scary thought.

On opening this book, I was surprised (in a good way) at how blunt it was. It lays life out on the table and explains how there is too much going on. We have too many choices so we are lost when it comes to making the final decision. This got me thinking.

I am only half way through reading it, but already, I am aware that there are times when you just have to step out in faith and trust that God will be there to hold you in the decision that you make. When it comes to it, we really just need to bite the bullet and actually make a decision because otherwise we will be sitting and waiting around like melons, waiting for God to tell us our life story when He’s probably not going to tell you. 

So, that means, I just need to make a decision about what I am going to do when I get back to the UK in July. I know God made it clear that coming to South Africa was the right decision, but I think this time, I have to make the decision. I can’t wait until the last minute to choose so I might as well just do something. It doesn’t mean I don’t need to pray that it is still the right decision, but it does mean that I might just have to go with my gut on this one. 

Sometimes, we just need to do something and once we look back at how we got there, we will see the hand of God at work. It just may not be as obvious in the moment – no writing in the sky this time!