Wellness at 21

A few weeks ago I turned 21 and at last I felt like my physical age matched my mental age. I’d felt like I was older than I was physically since I was about 16 or 17 and when I revealed my age I always felt embarrassed because I wasn’t as old as people assumed I was.

Looking at me now I feel like I fit in my body and my mind is working as it should be at this stage. In many ways I feel that I’m okay with where I need to be and in other ways I’m still a work in progress. I know the latter is the truer statement but humour me while I reflect. I’m coming from a talk given by two comedians on ‘Wellness’ and they each shared their stories and experiences with their personal wellness which got me thinking. How well am I?

I know mentally I’m in a much better and stronger place than where I was five years ago. I practically live off of stress  and my self-esteem takes a punch almost weekly. I still have urges to self-harm when I feel overwhelmed by life and I still don’t pray as often as I know I should. Just thinking about today, I’ve done things which weren’t kind for me to me but I know myself well enough now to know it will pass and I’ll be alright.

I finish my degree in a few weeks and everything around me will change. I will possibly move in with my brother who has a very different belief system to me and we often clash over it but we love each other. I will probably stay in a society which is very different to the one I want to be in simply because going home isn’t an option right now. I will definitely face a lot of fears and things that will terrify me.

For the past three years I’ve been pushing myself towards my career as a journalist and I feel like I’ve drained myself already. Like I need to take a break and just be young and not have my life planned out. I have an idea of what and where I want to be in five years time but I don’t have a strategy or a set of tactics. I just want to feel my age and maybe work in a shop or cafe and not be rushing into the business of life just yet. I still need to get to know myself better.

I made a list of unpopular (as in not widely held/supported in the Western Context I’m in according to my knowledge) beliefs I have at 21:

  • I don’t support same sex marriage. Putting that out there. That doesn’t mean I have hate for those who experience same sex attractions. We are all human and we are all deserving of the same amount of love and respect. I support you in your humanity, but I don’t agree with every decision you make. Isn’t that just part of life?
  •  I don’t support war.
  • I don’t support abortion (I’m stubborn about this one but there is no condemnation in my heart for those who choose otherwise. I just feel all human lives are equally precious, from beginning to end).
  • I didn’t enjoy The Notebook.
  • I’m saving myself for marriage, so sorry fellas how about we pray for our chastity instead?
  • Everyone’s a little racist and/or is allowed to have unfair beliefs. No I don’t like the fact that someone can look at my skin and think it’s right to call me an ape or think I deserve a lynching. I’d love to squash those ideas out of humanity but I don’t realistically think that will happen completely. I think the spectrum of beliefs define the peaks and lows of being alive in a society. The light can’t exist without the dark and vice versa. Even then where do you draw the lines and when do you steal away people’s rights or freedoms? It’s a hard question but as I write this, this is where I am.
  • I don’t believe we, as in humanity, are the centre of the world. I believe that position will always belong to God.
  • I don’t believe in luck.
  • I do believe in witchcraft.
  • I don’t like swearing.
  • I don’t think there’s a point to shaving my legs.
  • I believe modesty (as in not wearing revealing clothing) is charming.
  • The greatest compliment I can get is being called a woman of God and a follower of Jesus.

That’s what I came up with and maybe on my 25th birthday I’ll look back at this and laugh. Some of these points are defined by my faith, heck I think all of them are influenced by it. It’s still the most important thing to me and always will be.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds and I’m nervous to think about it. I will however take what it throws at me and I will throw it right back at life. I have a great support system and a deeper understanding of the woman I’m becoming. There’s still a long way to go but I’m alright with that. I’m scared but hey, everything I love to do is a little scary. I’m terrified before speaking to an audience, or singing in front of someone, or clicking ‘Publish’ on a post. But they all make me so happy and it’s in those moments that I’m sure it is well with my soul.

I have something to hold on to and I have scores of people cheering me on and I still get scared sharing my beliefs with others but that’s part of my experience right now.

That’s where my humanity and mentality is at 21. We’ll see where I’m at at 22.

The Ten

We’re no strangers to the Ten Commandments.They are the basis of the laws given to men by God, edited by men (and taken overboard by men) which Jesus came to rectify. He gave us an even better commandment which pretty much encompasses the original unedited Ten given to us by God.

The other day I was looking at the ten commandments and I feel I had a bit of a lightbulb moment. Each of these commandments is under attack in this modern world we live in, and we are slowly becoming lulled to their significance (think Samson and Delilah; the evil one is making us numb to wrong and tiring us out until we slowly brush the truth under the carpet and blame it on someone else). Below I’ve tried to list what I observed about the world and a select few of the commandments:

Okay. Idolatry. Not so much in the tradition statue sense with a pigeon god or something but I define idolatry as putting something before God. It can be sleep (cough  cough, not pointing any fingers), it can be a tv show, it can be your job, or your family or your significant other. Each of these may deserve a measure of attention but remember God comes first and he should be at the centre of everything you do, not Walter White or your Titleist clubs.

It’s become so common for someone to use our Lord God’s name in vain. Back home in my country the cable television network actually censors the disrespectful use of the words/names God, Jesus, Jesus Christ and simply Christ. When my aunt who lived in England moved back home she exclaimed how sensitive people were for them to censor every random us of God, etc. It worried me that normal television wouldn’t honour God’s name and even now when I hear someone use his name in vain I wince internally. It just doesn’t feel right.

I don’t even understand how the world has become so lax when it comes to death and killing. My country isn’t involved in any wars at the moment but a lot of the major countries are and so many people salute soldiers who go out to war. Now I have so much respect for anyone willing to lay down their life for someone else, or just protecting their fellow man. Allow me to use the example of Osama Bin Laden. I was not a fan and I never will be, but I was so shocked when the world blew up in rapturous applause at his death. Celebrations emanated throughout the nations and it made me think “ok so there’s one less bad guy in the world (yay!) but since when is it ok to celebrate killing?” Whether its that or it’s the death sentence, I can’t support killing.

You pop in a dvd and while you’re making popcorn or chatting with a friend, in the background you may not hear the reminder not to pirate media. I’m guilty. I have downloaded far too many songs because I didn’t have the money to pay for them. I know prominent church officials who will talk about a movie they downloaded or a CD they copied. We all know it’s wrong but once we start we forget that we’re actually stealing. We’re thieves. We’re as bad as the thieves on the crosses beside Jesus. We might even be like the unrepentant one if we don’t own up to what we do. But it’s so much easier to just copy something, or torrent it or…no, stop making excuses. I’m a thief and I’m embarrassed each time my mother asks me where I get all my music because I know the answer isn’t one she’d be pleased to hear.

These are a few of the ones I feel strongly about, and I’m happy if there’s anything I’ve said that’s made you think a bit. I’m not proud of myself or a lot of the things I do but I try to pray about it as often as possible. The world we live in is a comfortable place but if we become too numb to all the things going wrong, we’re putting ourselves in a dangerous situation.

Dear Father,

we thank you for this day. We thank you for your unconditional love for us. We pray for forgiveness Lord, for the times when we choose the temporary beauties of this world over the everlasting glories of your heavenly kingdom. For the times when we grow numb to our faults, may you remove the scales from our eyes and awaken our hearts, so that we remember your will Lord. As you have spoken we are in this world but we are not of this world. We ask you to please remind us of the strength we have through your Holy Spirit, for we choose you Lord, each and every day. You are our fulfillment and we give you praise. We love you.

In your blessed name we pray.

Amen