Merry Christmas everyone! I had my first winter Christmas here in California! Our amazing neighbors loaned us their Mountain cabin for the Christmas break so a group of my friends went up there to celebrate together! It was the best time with lots of laughing and reflecting on the year that was! It’s very hard to believe that I have been here for nearly four months! So far it has been beyond my imagination and well worth the fight to get here! I thought I would rewind a little and take you back to where the seed to come to Northern California was planted…
Let’s take a trip down memory lane
I visited the school in November 2013 with my brother Zach. We stayed a week, attended classes and hung out with the students. I know this is such a cliché thing to say but that one-week changed my life. It sparked a curiosity in me to pursue a different path. Sometimes we have a desire for more but we don’t know what ‘more’ looks like so we stay in our comfort zone and say things like, “better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t”.
Ruined for normal
I came back to Melbourne and felt a mixture of hope, because I had found something my heart wanted, and frustration, because I had so many hoops to jump through and so many seemingly impossible mountains to get over to make it happen. At that time I didn’t actually think I would apply for the school.
The debt was like a ball and chain. It felt like I had a three-year sentence. The sentence wasn’t a bad one… I lived in a beautiful area in Melbourne, great friends, great job, great boss. What more could I ask for? On paper life was peachy but I couldn’t ignore what my heart really deep down was screaming out for and that was adventure.
Exploring a new mindset
I spent a good six months working on my mindset; I was very determined to change the way that I thought. I did a 21 day brain detox by Dr. Caroline Leaf. This is an exercise of identifying what toxic thought we believe, why we believe it, how that belief was formed in us (by childhood or life circumstances) and how to replace it with a healthy thought.
Taking every thought captive
I had to go to trial with my thoughts. Just because a thought goes through my mind doesn’t mean it can land there and make a home. And just because we think a thought or someone says it doesn’t make it true! A simple example is, “I am terrible at driving, I should get better.” So, maybe yes, that is true in reality and yes, you should get better so you don’t kill anyone! But that way of thinking doesn’t empower you to change. Have you ever had the thought, “I am trying to change but I always seem to fall off the bandwagon!” Instead the thought could be, “I am an excellent, safe driver. I value people on the road.” When we speak positively to ourselves it empowers us to actually become what we say about our self.
Redesigning my world
I believe that the words we speak and the thoughts we think create the home we live in. Bill Johnson says we are all architects, we have the ability to design the world we live in… our world is created by our words.
I am a big fan of having budgets and setting targets. They are very helpful tools! I have tried and failed at budgets so many times. The reason I tried and failed at budgets was because I didn’t have a healthy understanding or belief system about money. Budgets can be like new year’s resolutions, all good intentions but no break through. I had to transform my thinking from “there isn’t enough” to “I have more than enough.” I also learnt the powerful principle of sowing and reaping. Over time my attitude evolved into, “Who can I bless today?” “How can I be generous?” It became a game for me, even when I had nothing I would challenge myself to be generous. Once I saw the healthy pattern taking place in my life it gave me courage to think about taking more risk in generosity. I started to see that there was a way even when I couldn’t see with my own eyes how it would work out. This was building faith and hope in me.
Stepping off the sidelines
I applied for the school because I was tired of sitting on the sidelines of faith. If I really believed ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE then I wanted my actions and my life to be a testimony to that. For me I like to weigh up the worst-case scenarios. I sit with the thoughts, I imagine my worst fears realized. Then I think about how I can minimize the impact of the failed outcome. Worst-case scenario was I get to America and have to drag my ‘broke ass back home’. My pride would have to take a bit of a beating but that was a risk I was willing to take.
Saying yes to moving countries was like me saying yes every day in the dark. I couldn’t see how it would work out but I trusted that it would. Four months in, it’s like the light has been turned on and I can see where my yes has led me! Coming into 2015 I am met again by the unknown, ‘the darkness’, but I continually take encouragement from the light I have found, knowing even greater light is yet to come. I trust that the illumination that faithfully came with each ‘blind’ step will come again with my new steps.