Yours is Coming
The other day I remembered how worried I was about finding an apartment when I moved to London. I was anxious because I wanted to be in a home that I’d find comfortable, but my budget at the time wasn’t great. Still, as I began the search, I prayed that I would find a place where I would have my own bathroom, wasn’t in too old a building and was in a nice area. I felt so ridiculous for praying about those things because they seemed frivolous. So the prayers were hopeful, but guilt-ridden ones.
The first place I found was within my budget, but it was a room in a flat, shared with a couple and one other person. It was a bit of an old building and it didn’t have a living room. I literally would have had my room and the use of a shared bathroom. It had very little lighting- so was quite dark and gloomy. The fridge space was like ... a shelf in an already tiny fridge- given that meal prepping is a big thing for me, that alone would not have worked. They were even reluctant when I suggested bringing in my own small fridge. I would have been living in one of my worst nightmares pretty much. However, even though it didn’t meet any of my standards, I was still considering it, or at least trying to convince myself that it was okay. It was not. I am not sure why I was so ready to take the first place I saw, even as it was pretty crappy, to say the least. I’ve noticed I do that a lot.
Perhaps it is that I am afraid I won’t find something better so my instinct is to grab the first thing I see, even though I don’t like it. It is a mindset that says - something is better than nothing, never mind that the something is not right.
The temptation to settle is high because the fear of the future is high and the faith that it will be good is low. If your dad tells you, “I’m going to bring a delicious, freshly cooked meal for you in school today, so you don’t have to eat the school lunch, which I know you do not like”. Surely, at the sight of the school lunch, you will be excited because your own meal is on it’s way. You will not be afraid of starving. You’ll say to yourself, “ my dad is bringing me some tasty food. I don’t have to eat this.” You are certain, sure of it. You are not afraid that, because he’s running a few minutes late, he won’t bring it. You don’t decide to eat your least favourite food out of fear that nothing better will come. You are certain that that which you desire, that which has been specially prepared for you, is on its way. You trust your dad and you know if he says he will bring your lunch, he will. Why does this type of trust fail when it comes to other areas in our lives ?
I think there are many things that contribute to the lack of trust. Sometimes we let fear from other people shake our confidence - “you better eat this food that is here now. You’d be foolish to starve yourself only to find that your dad doesn’t show up. I’ve even heard that there’s so much traffic so he may not even show up” Then you begin to doubt too “ah, maybe they are right. Maybe I am being ridiculous and unrealistic. Maybe I will just manage this one.” And so we let everyone else’s voice direct us against what is in our best interests. The worst part is that’s it sounds like they are acting in our best interests, but they aren’t because in fear, they are convincing us to do something that does not agree with us.
Sometimes it is not what other people say, but what we allow ourselves to think. “Maybe this is the food I deserve. I don’t like it but maybe this is what I have to manage.” In this doubtful state of mind , we have completely ignored the fact that dad has said - I will bring you food - and decided that we are not worth what we have been promised.
Other times, it is that even though we know what we want, we just don’t trust that we will get it. And there’s nothing that will convince us otherwise.
But today I want to encourage everyone that is like me and tends to grab the first thing they see for fear that there is none better out there. I promise you, there is, and whatever it is will always come at the right time. Once you have put in the time to be clear and honest with yourself, don’t let anybody convince you that you are reaching too high. Don’t let anybody convince you to manage, when you know deep down that you can do better. Don’t let anybody release fear into your life, and add to the anxiety and insecurities that we all battle in one form or the other. Don’t panic. Because what will be, will be great.
I ended up finding the most perfect flat. What’s more, I didn’t even find it myself, the people moving out reached out to me to ask if I was interested and I decided to check it out. When I stepped off the bus and onto the street, I felt at home. When I walked into the flat and took it all in, I had an instant desire to live there, and thanks to God and my mother, who generously contributed to help me pay for it, I did, very comfortably, for two wonderful years. It was a great area. It was a new building. I had my own bathroom and lots of light, and got on really well with my flatmate. The only thing he really kept in the fridge was milk for his cereal, so the entire massive fridge was mostly mine. Turns out my prayers weren’t frivolous or irrelevant after all, because I got all that I asked for. So now when I think that my prayers are frivolous or unrealistic, I remember how I prayed for and got my en-suite and I realise no desire of mine is irrelevant. If it’s a desire of mine, it is meaningful.
Another thing is that, things may seem out of your reach, but it isn’t always the case. To be sure, sometimes there is a stepping stone that’s placed in front of you - you want to go here but you need to stop somewhere first. Other times, it’s right in front of your nose. What I’ve learnt is that whatever the case may be, we don’t need to settle to be on the path to our desires.
Settling can mean different things to different people. This is where we need to build the discernment to see for ourselves, where in our lives we are beginning or continuing to “just manage”. We need to note when we are beginning to convince ourselves that “it isn’t so bad”, even when everything within us is rejecting the prospect of “it”, whatever it may be. More importantly, we need to be ready to put in the work to ensure that we aren’t just managing. Because that’s another way we cause ourselves unnecessary angst, we think what we want will just appear, and we don’t put in the time and effort to get it.
Babies try everyday to get things that are out of their reach. They don’t stop till they can fully crawl. Then they don’t stop till they can walk. Then they they don’t stop till they can run. If babies sat in one place, worrying about their current immobility, I don’t think they’d ever begin walking. At the same time, they don’t just jump from being carried around to running around. That is to say, getting what you want is a process and it is one you need to begin and work through, regardless of how out of your reach your desires may appear.
Trust that as you take a step forward each day, you will get closer to that which is specially yours. And as you take each step, don’t, for fear of the unknown, needlessly suffer or waste time with that which isn’t for you.
You deserve the best.
So work for it.
And know that what’s yours is yours.
Do not be convinced otherwise.