Five Minute Friday: Control

So this week once again I am trying some thing new… today I discovered on a friend of mine’s blog ‘The Carpenter’s Daughter’ something called Five minute Fridays which is facilitated by Kate Motaung which you can read all about here like I did… anyway today’s prompt is control… and I have 5 minutes to write about it… no guidelines, no pressure (other than the clock…) but just a reason to post something.

Control

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Control is something that I have often felt a really strong need to have, but something I have realised is almost impossible to truly hold on to.

Control is a theory, an idea, a magical concept where if gained everything will be okay.  But to obtain it, and hold on to it costs a lot more than the freedom it pretends to offer.  It also makes me a lot more selfish.  It makes my world a lot smaller because I need to decide who, what, when and why… but the reality is, that’s not up to me.  I can shape my life, make decisions and have some ‘control’ over the who, what and when… but never totally.

As I have learnt to let go of my need for control… (I am sure there will be times I try and take it back) I have felt much freer than ever before… letting go and not trying to hold everything together creates space for others in my life, it removes the stress and anxiety of living up to a false standard set by me and no one else… and it gives me freedom as I hand the control back to the one who deserves it.

Control doesn’t equal freedom they way I hope, but letting go and trusting does… this is something I need to remember.

Australia Day Makes Me Feel Uncomfortable

I have umm and ahh’d about writing this blog all morning… but I can’t seem to stop thinking about it, so I have decided to stop and put my thoughts down on virtual paper…  Over the last 5 years my thoughts on Australia Day have started to shift and as I sit here and write this, I am feeling really uncomfortable with what today, Australia Day, represents.

5 years ago I wrote a blog called ‘3 Reasons I love this Sunburnt Country‘ and reading it back today has made me cringe… In the blog the only thing that upset me about Australia Day was the assumption that copious amounts of alcohol had to be consumed in order to truly celebrate.   Today, there are lots of things that upset be about the day… and ironically, I hadn’t even thought about the alcohol that will be consumed until I read the blog back.  I still love this Sunburnt Country and the reasons I gave in the blog still ring true, I just feel like they are now much less important.

My love for my country is also something I have had to wrestle with, and it is something that I have continued to write about, particularly over the past 12 months.  I have longed for our history to be different, to be able to start again and I have learned just a fraction of how truly unique and wonderful our long heritage is and that it should be savoured and treasured.   I want to be able to celebrate all things Australian, but I no longer feel like I can just blindly buy into the celebrations of the day without the darkness it also represents being felt.

Today my social media and news feeds are flooded with 2 things… both about the same issue… but not at all the same.  Half are what I would call ‘traditional’ Australia day posts… pictures of BBQs, flags, hottest 100 votes and general celebration of what it means to be Australian in 2017.  There were even some fairy bread lamingtons… what’s more Australian than that?  But the other half are calls to change the date of Australia Day, acknowledgements of the dreadful events of January 26 in years gone by and attempts to respectfully acknowledge the pain and suffering many Indigenous people feel on this day, which many of them consider a day of mourning.

So how do I as a ‘privileged white Australian’ work through this… I love a good public holiday and I would hate to see this one disappear, but I think we do need to seriously stop and consider celebrating being Australian on another day of the year.  I have watched a number of videos suggesting all kinds of dates and I have been surprised to learn how little history the date, the 26th of January, as a nationally recognised and celebrated holiday has.  I am not a miserable person who should crawl under a rock as some of our politicians might think, I am just one Australian who doesn’t think it is too much to ask, to have a national day that truly unites us, rather than one that continues to divide us and hurt so many.  I am not just trying to be politically correct, I am just trying to be human, compassionate, understanding and hopeful of reconciliation for all.  I don’t think this push to change the date should just go away, as I am beginning to think that many people would want.  It is not something we shouldn’t expect any one to just ‘get over’ and while it is certainly not a part of our history that we should forget, it is also not a day of national celebration.  I think it is time to stop and consider it.  If we can start a new public holiday for a football parade which benefits no one but the economy, surely we can alter one to bring people together.

Today I am uncomfortable, because I still want things to be different.  I want to be able to celebrate all of Australia, I want to be ok with being a white Australian, because I can live in harmony with all of those who also call this great land their own.  I also want to be able celebrate on a day where the Bunurong peoples who are the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I live can also celebrate because they are not reminded of the pain and suffering that has been brought to their people over the last 200 years.  I want to be able to feel comfortable and confident in the fact that we are moving forward together.  I want unity, harmony and peace… and if changing a date, shifting some celebration is what needs to happen to do that, then I support it.

I am proud to be an Australian, I am proud of where we have come from and mostly who we are becoming… (we still have a lot of things to work on) and I want to be able to celebrate with everyone… not just the selected few… who also happen to be the powerful majority.  It’s time to stand together and celebrate who we are…

Here’s to a less uncomfortable Australia Day in the future.

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Pathways in the Wilderness… New Things for 2017…

So this is something new for this year, Thankful Thursday.  It may not be every week, but according to the list it will be at least once a month, and it is something I am looking forward to doing.

Learning to be satisfied and content with who I am, what I have and where I am at, is something that I have struggled with.  Sometimes this dissatisfaction has been helpful, as it has pushed me to change things, try things or even improve myself… but sometimes it’s just a misunderstanding of my life compared to the highlight reels that I look at daily on social media.

I have often thought about having a break from Facebook, Instagram and twitter, however, there are lots of things I really like about all of these platforms, but I have to constantly remind myself, that I am only looking at what people want me to see, the sections of their lives that they have chosen to include.  That I am not seeing everything, and often not the bad bits, but rather, if it isn’t a ‘highlight’ it’s still just the bits they haven chosen to share, often things they wish they could change or do differently in an attempt to get some motivation to change, or some accountability.

So, to combat this in my own life (but probably make things worse for someone else as I add more to the highlight reel, sorry, but see above)  I have decided this year to get better at practicing gratitude.  That means being thankful for the things I have, the people in my life, and that stage of life that I am in.  Sometime it will even mean looking for the good when life isn’t as rosy or easy as well as I would like, or think it should be.  Stopping to see the good things God is doing in my life even when I have to work a little harder to bring them into focus.

So this is the first one… a Thankful Thursday…  and to be honest right now I am just thankful to be feeling pretty good.  I am definitely not where I thought I would be when I was planning January 2017 last year, but where I am is ok.  For the last couple of weeks my Facebook memories and Timehop app have been flooding my phone with memories of our adventures to Europe and New Zealand and for the first time in a long time I am feeling ok about not having a holiday planned.  It’s been really nice to be able to reminisce without getting jealous of my summers past, and to actually just take a minute to appreciate how lucky we were to have had those experiences.  It’s also the first summer for a long time that I haven’t been bitterly jealous of my friends on school holidays.  Although it has probably helped that I have only just returned to work after 3months, I think that for the first time in a long time I am ok with my current lot in life.

This summer I have been able to look back on all of the things we have done and smile.  I am so thankful for the things we did, the places we saw, the people we met and the fun we had.  I am also really thankful to be having a ‘proper’ Australian summer for the first time in 3 years… where it is hot and the beach is wonderful and inviting.  I am thankful for the time I have had to get some little projects done, to clean out the house and to just rest and be restored.  I am thankful for the fresh start that 2017 has been, even if it has just been a mental one.  I am thankful that God promises new things… Over the past couple of months some Old Testament verses have really stuck out and popped up regularly, so I am thankful that I can claim them for my year ahead… here is what I am holding on to…

 “I am about to do something new.   See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

“The kindness of the Lord has not ended, his mercies are not spent” Lamentations 3:22

”This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

I am really excited and thankful in advance for new things, pathways in the wilderness and rivers in wasteland… new mercies and kindness and the encouragement to be strong, bold and courageous, because I am not alone.

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