Growing Up and Having Fun: Do These Two Even Know Each Other?

When did you last make a grown up decision that let you have fun?

Not sure what that is? Neither do I. But if I’m to think of something real quick, I’d say my walking routine – it’s good for the heart, the head, and boy is walking fun. Maybe cutting down on eating out and boiling all the beans that have sat in the pantry for quite a while, is a good example. Or watching the savings grow in a jar from dropped vices. Good feelings = fun. But all these examples still require a strong measure of consistency, discipline and planning to work. What happens the days, weeks and months when we stop having fun, when the hard work kicks in and we dread the adult decision we made that’ll help us achieve a future goal?

I once read an interview of a successful entrepreneur and of the many articles I’ve read (in a day, let alone a lifetime), she stuck out to me. It was her honesty. The woman being interviewed said that had she known all she’d have to go through to achieve the level of success she’s acquired, she’d never have started the journey. And while she has no regrets and values her experiences, she wouldn’t go through them again for the whole world. This struck a chord with me because some days ( a lot actually) that is how I feel. Like, “what a great climb up the mountain top, but my sweet Lord, this is such a rough walk.” Mostly, I believe it has to do with the fact that most adult decisions involve carving out our plans, clearing stones from the path, and placing one foot ahead of the other of the future we decide with every thought. And that grown up decision, sometimes, isn’t fun. But it does make for a much smoother ride, so I’m not sure what I prefer – fun, or purpose. And if I wasn’t having fun, would I still do what I’m doing? I think not.

What are your confused thoughts? And do share the post.

Growing Up and Having Fun: Do These Two Even Know Each Other?

Poetry: A Heart to Give (Mandela)

Poetry: A Heart to Give (Mandela)

Short Story: I Became A Robot When One Bit Me

Short Story: I Became A Robot When One Bit Me

How To Let Go Of Fear: A Spiritual Response

There’s only one effective way of letting go of fear and that is to go through it.

Here are a few things to remember about facing what frightens us:

1) You don’t have to pretend to be brave. That is society’s preference in dealing with what frightens us — that you hide your fear, lest you show us ours, and mainly the voices in your head demand you be strong. This idea, of standing up tall and barreling down toward fear, has no spiritual basis and is also not good for your heart. A part of being human is accepting that some people and situations scare us. It’s for this reason that many turn to vices and other modes of busyness to silence the fear within.

By accepting that we are afraid, we release expectations over how we should be or should act. There are no rules to facing scary situations, and considering we’re all built differently, there isn’t a set formulae. I take great comfort in reading about some of the greatest people to walk this earth – the men and women of the Bible. There is a constant Word from God to these people that warms my heart – “Do not be afraid.” God said these words so many times in Scripture that I’m glad He knows how afraid we are. Me, I’m afraid all the time.

Sometimes I wonder how I’ve done the things I’ve been able to do when I consider just how afraid I am. Everything and everyone scares me – but it doesn’t stop me. Fear is not, and should never be a reason not to try, to care, to give, to live, to die. Fear should be acknowledged for what it is – a human condition. When you pretend to be brave, you deny yourself a great learning tool in accepting fear, and then watching how you walk through it. You also deny God a role in fighting for you when you tell Him that you can handle the situation by yourself.

2) Conquer one fear, release yourself from many others. Each time I’ve faced one fear, I’ve let go of many others. It’s almost as though the first fear is a door to a room full of inferior fears. This is a liberating thought when you consider how quickly you’re able to clean up house. Face each fear as it comes, accept all the others that disappear because you were bold enough to go through the first major huddle. This is one of the chain reactions I love about facing fear because it pushes me each time in what I’m able to carry out for myself.

3) God conquers fear. You know what I do with my fears? I straight up dump them at my Savior’s feet. I look at the situation, cringe, and say, “Lord, this one belongs to you.” I don’t even dare touch it because I know that I’ll fail. It’s a fear right? And my job is to walk through it. That’s the only effective way to shake off fear. And I hang on to God’s promises. Never will I forsake you, never will I leave you – Deut 31:6 is one of my favorite. Some moments I’m fine, others I’m not, but peace is given to me because I lean on the rock.

Fear teaches you to be compassionate, bold, and mindful. If not conquered, it enslaves, crucifies and kills. Every moment you live in fear, you miss out on freedom. And that is a waste of life.

This week, go through your fears. And come out stronger by what you learn. Victory may not be immediate, but one day your experience will come in handy.

What do you think? Please share the post.

How To Let Go Of Fear: A Spiritual Response

How To Focus

Don’t be afraid of difficult questions. Ask them.

Be curious about the situation, what’s happening, and what you can do with what you learn. Such an act involves a degree of solitude and introspection, but the results far outweigh the cost of personal revelation. Curiosity asks open-ended questions and that’s what we sometimes need, to ask ourselves questions that allow complicated and long-winded answers. Don’t be afraid of such a beginning.

Why?

From the jumbled mess, we can then narrow down our answers through further questioning until we get to the root of the problem, and work on a solution. Over time, this muscle becomes strengthened so that we know to periodically stand back and assess whether we are still on course and where to make adjustments.

How To Focus

Fiction readers and writers, I want to hear from you!

African fantasy/Christian speculative/short stories

Love a good read? So do I. All sorts of books, but especially the ones that challenge me with alternative points of view.

So if you read or even write join me on Twitter: @jkatsivo and WordPress: http://www.juliakatsivo.wordpress.com where you’ll see my works of fiction. Come, see!

Julia

Fiction readers and writers, I want to hear from you!

2 Ways To Stop Procrastinating

I recently had one of those moments where I turned my attention to a task, feeling unusually exhausted. Why bother? I kept asking myself as I went ahead. This one time won’t count. It’s not like we see results from this action anyway. I tried to convince myself to give up my work and go back to bed. Of course I didn’t. Because no matter what, I’ve learned to stick to the plan.

1) Keep going! Complete your hourly/daily task

A well planned course of action allows me to do the daily grind that sometimes doesn’t make sense, because I’ve mapped out its effect on my overall plan. So I may be unhappy, uncomfortable or stressed today, but I’m well aware that my future will thank me for going on.

2) Don’t Give Into Emotions

Another thing I’ve learned, ignoring the first feelings usually pays off within minutes. Before I know it, I’m knee-deep in what I’m supposed to do, super grateful for pushing through, and this in turn strengthens my resolve and will to keep going.

So this coming week, stick to the plan in bite size chunks. You need the extra effort in your ordinary life to do extraordinary things.

2 Ways To Stop Procrastinating

What Pets And Their Owners Teach Us About Life

If you’re an avid walker or jogger like me, you’ve probably noticed how often pet owners will move their pets out-of-the-way to accommodate you. I’ll never complain about that, but what I find fascinating is this: While the human moves away, the animal takes a chance anyway and barrels down the path toward you. Even as the dog is tugged away, s/he still sticks the neck out for a whiff.

What can we learn about treating new opportunities from these pets?

I challenge you to be very curious this coming week — about yourself, your environments, and your possibilities, and see where they lead you.

What Pets And Their Owners Teach Us About Life

Forgiveness Lightens Loads – A Short Story

A man came to a gate and putting down his bag, he rang the doorbell on the wall. The gate opened and an old man stepped outside.

“Yes?” He asked.

“I’m here.” The traveler pulled out a piece of paper with an address and showed it to the gatekeeper. “I’ve arrived.”

“Indeed.” The gatekeeper didn’t look at the paper but stared at the man with curious eyes. “It isn’t easy to find this gate. It must have been a very long journey for you. Most people arrive here empty-handed. Pray tell, how did you make it here with what looks like a heavy load?”

The traveler looked down and felt proud. Yes, it had been a very difficult journey. There were many dark nights and brutal days and he didn’t think he’d make it. And to think that not many arrived with luggage? Well–he was proud. “It wasn’t easy, I’ll tell you that much.” He said, nodding his head.

“No, it couldn’t have been. Wasn’t your load heavy? Did you have to stop many times to rest?” The gatekeeper seemed fascinated as he poked the bundle.

“Hey!” The traveler moved the gatekeeper’s  hands away. He felt overprotective. Especially when he thought about how hard it was to climb mountains with luggage on his back. Or the times he’d crossed rivers and the bag soaked through and threatened to drown him. Not to mention the many animals along the way that jumped at the bag and tried to steal its wares. This bag had nearly cost him his life many times, and it now appeared very precious in his sight.

“Okay, traveler. Unload your goods, let’s see what you’ve got. And please note the size of this gate. You’ll have to take only one item with you.”

The traveler took out the many things in his bag and each time he looked at the gate, it seemed to shrink. Sweating, he looked at the gatekeeper. “How can I choose? They all belong to me!”

“Yes, indeed. But you can only bring in one item. Or you must give up your space.”

The traveler was disturbed. He stood at the gate for many hours looking at all the things he’d brought with him, what he’d gone through to even come with them…it was too much. Finally, he looked up at the gatekeeper and begged with the tears in his eyes for help.

The gatekeeper smiled at him. “I suggest you choose the item Forgiveness which is the heavy bag you carry. It will cover all you’ve brought with you.”

He pointed to the rest of the items:

“You don’t need Dreams; you experienced them on your way. Those that never came true are gone.

You can let go of Fear because you conquered them on the road.

Family and Friends you’ve Loved.

Mistakes have no place here.

Disappointments, Hurt and Worry burned holes into your bag, and

Evil has tarnished the gold cup of Sacrifice, Good and Faith you managed to pack.

I suggest you let Forgiveness cover your load.

Forgive yourself, and forgive others, and come inside.”

Forgiveness Lightens Loads – A Short Story

No Idea What I Want To Do For A Career: A Spiritual Response

A career choice must be carefully considered, for just like the structural frame of a house, it’s a support beam in the physical, emotional, and spiritual lives we build.

We should consider that in addition to dedicating the most healthy and virile parts of our lives to jobs based on monetary gains, our careers affect the other parts of our lives.

Jobs determine the kind of family life we have, and what we teach our children about priorities, service, gain, and power. Through our career choices, we limit or contribute to their imaginations on options available to them. We also unwittingly expose them to dominant personality types they’ll model in the future.

Careers either grow us into our strengths, or feed into our weaknesses. We either feel good about what we do, and thus spread this overall feeling of well-being onto others, or we put on a metal coat and pick up a sword to go fight to keep our dignity and positive outlook. If this is the case, those close to us mainly know our acerbic and cold nature.

Don’t get me twisted. Not all work is pleasant or doesn’t emotionally drain, but there is work that sucks the soul in its stilted mundane nature and that’s what I speak of. The latter shouldn’t be turned into a career unless bitterness and regret is the end goal.

If you happened to fly by the seat of your pants through most of your life choices, then you’re reading this post wondering what it is that you are to do for the rest of your life, as a career. You’re reaping the rewards of thoughtless action and money – chasing schemes that are unrelated and did not produce transferable skills.

Or, you may be at a cusp – wondering what new direction to turn to due to circumstances that have altered your initial career path. Either way, you’re lost and wouldn’t mind insight that’ll reveal more than your strengths or advice beyond looking deep within for the solution.

In a sense, I’m here to say more of the same, but from different lens. What I suggest requires introspection and if you’re ready to launch into your unforeseen career, consider these questions:

Have you in humility and earnest prayer, fast, and praise, sought the Lord’s will over your life and your career? What recurring messages or prompts has He sent your way?

What is the one absurd career choice you’ve contemplated and dismissed with equal vigour? Usually, it’s the one in which you consider what others will think and say, that you’re not qualified, that you can’t afford to upgrade to, or that you’re too old to go into.

What activity do you get lost in? It has little value by society’s standards but you dominate that world when you’re in it, and the sheer pleasure is compensation enough.

What do others say you do well? What positive qualities come effortlessly to you?

A career choice made from a holistic perspective sets you, your family, and your clients, at an advantage because you’re driven to be your best. When you don’t have to switch on and off to log in and out, your focus is sharpened and your resources centred toward being fruitful.

Even after a long or difficult day, you’re more prone to give your family your optimistic and grateful side than you would if you’re unmotivated and disenchanted about your work.

Keeping in mind that you may be forced to work in places you’d rather not, keep your eyes on the prize and don’t give up the idea of working where you will be useful and feel validated. Those who hold on, usually get there.

No Idea What I Want To Do For A Career: A Spiritual Response