I haven’t written anything for a while, and it took me some time to understand why. The best way I can explain is that it hasn’t been a time for writing. It’s been a time of living, of learning and growing. I’ve been like a wide-eyed child discovering newness, eager to seize opportunities and to fully embrace my time here. My horizons have expanded; including having the privilege of meeting people from all over the world. And as my world got bigger, I began to feel smaller in it. I have been humbled and inspired, challenged and motivated- and all of this is hard to put down on paper.
But Erasmus is drawing to a close. I am still coming to terms with this- my brother is coming over to spend the last few days with me before we return home together, and he may well have to drag me kicking and screaming to the airport. As university begins to wind down and I start my goodbyes, I can’t help but look back. There’s too much to digest into one neat blog post, and I expect snippets of my experiences in Berlin will trickle into thoughts shared months down the line. But for now, here’s something that’s been a hot topic for me lately.
It’s a word my parents used a lot when I was a child, as they tried to teach me about ‘growing up’. Needless to say I was never fond of those conversations- the word connotes pretty much the opposite of ‘fun’. Now that I’m actually what’s dubiously referred to as a ‘grown up’, I see the value of what they instilled into me. At church we discussed how responsibility is meant to be a privilege, not a burden. This shift in perspective can truly impact how we approach life. Far from being restricting, responsibility should empower.
The process of making decisions has also been a big recurring theme recently. I am seeing people around me take bold steps of faith and it is sort of contagious.
I’m at an interesting point in my life where I have never felt so responsible for my own decisions, yet at the same time presented with so many options. I suppose that’s what it means to be 21 years old. This year has opened up future possibilities that I hadn’t considered beforehand. It’s exciting and daunting.
Right now, I only know that I have to go back to the UK to finish my degree. That’s a pretty concrete reality. But my increased independence this year has taught me that even in everyday situations; even when I am answerable to no other person, my decisions matter.
I am responsible for living with integrity, whether or not others know or care.
I am responsible for making each day count. For taking every thought captive.
I am responsible for committing to the relationships in my life, to do my part in building them and sharing what I have to give.
I am responsible for owning my mistakes and learning from them, rather than assigning blame to others or condemning myself.
I am responsible for living with intentionality; for holding on to my God-given dreams and going where I’m called to go.
All of this seems obvious, but these choices are as life-changing as moving abroad itself. Living this way, for an audience of One, is freeing. I release myself of the unnecessary burden of feeling responsible for anyone else’s actions or happiness. I’m then free to love others without such a damaging, energy consuming belief.
I’m going to be on a learning curve every single day for the rest of my life, and that’s a beautiful thing. But I’m thankful that this recent curve has been a little steeper.