‘What am I doing with my life?’

I haven’t blogged in quite a while now. It’s not that I haven’t had things to write about. In fact, I’ve probably had more than ever!

And yet, still, whilst my drafts folder has grown ever larger and hundreds of pages in my journal have been filled, nothing has successfully made it through my approval processes to appear on your laptop, tablet and phone screens.

Why?

When people ask me, ‘What do you want to do with your life?’, in my mind the answer is pretty simple:

I want to travel, connect, share and inspire.

I want to write.

I am a writer.

I might not be the best writer. There are English lessons at school in which I wish I had paid more attention. Lessons on sentence structure. Lessons on poetic foundations. Lessons on verb usage and pronoun placement. Not least, the lesson on what an ‘adverb’ is…

Regardless, writing is what I love to do. The way sentences flow. The way sounds and syllables bounce from one word to the next. I read my blogs over and over again. I fall in love with the rhymes and the rhythms. I change words over and over in my efforts to perfect their sequence and timing. I mightn’t ever succeed. But it fills me with great joy.

I remember getting in trouble early in high school for sending an inappropriate message to a classmate of mine. She showed a teacher. There was no denying it. It was there in black and white. Sooner or later Mum found out. She scolded me, of course, but added an important message:

‘Paul, be careful what you write, there’s no taking it back. It’s there for all to see. No he said she said. It’s clear. Words spoken might be misheard or misunderstood. But the written word is different. Tread with caution.’

I paraphrase. But the point is clear.

The written word is powerful.

I first started writing properly soon after I left school. I was deeply depressed. Inspiration was easy to find. In six months I’d filled three complete A4 notebooks. These reside in my bookcase back at the family home in Brisbane. Sometimes when I visit I sit on my floor and re-read some of these.

It’s inspiring and energising to remind myself of how far I  have come. And whilst much has changed since then the many core ideals I have toward the world and humanity still remain.

When people comment on my writing they note with admiration the honesty through which I communicate. This is a great compliment. It is the foundation on which I have come to base all of my writing:

Honesty, Transparency and Authenticity.

And so to continue in this theme, I have something to share:

I woke up this morning feeling just about as bad as I ever have. I wanted to go to the beach this morning. To soak up some sun. But the grey skies loomed large overhead. The gym was also an option but the pizza hangover gave me every reason to bury that idea beneath the mountain of duvet and pillows in which my body found itself comfortably intertwined.

I thought about seeing friends. But this seemed merely a portal through which to maintain my connection with the world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Well, sex, drugs and EDM.

It’s not a world to which I want to remain connected. And yet it does create the means for connection with other humans. The alternative? To spend my Wednesday morning sat in a cafe, alone, writing.

I remind myself:

Better to be alone than in the company of wolves.

I check my phone, searching for additional motivation. I have a notification. A WordPress notification for my old blog Greatness Via Passion. For many months I have tried to access this blog after the domain name expired. And yet it seemed to have disappeared. Strange it now was to discover that people were still reading it. And still liking it!

This was my motivation to get up.

And now, here I am, about to finish my first post in over two months. Stoked.

I have many ideas about what will come next in my life. This year has taught me so much and I feel closer than ever to the person God intended for me to be.

Perhaps I am not so much a writer as I am a helper. And the gift God has given me through which I am to help the world is my ability to write. Though there is still much for me to learn about this.

There will come a rebirth of Life of PJ now. A new direction. A new focus. And new blogs far more often! They might not always be pretty. But they will be honest. They will be me. And if you’re interested in sharing this ride, to learn and to be inspired, then I’d love for you to join me.

PJ.

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Pleasure v. Purpose: The Enduring Battle

Sipping my morning coffee, I gaze out across the the affluent streets of Double Bay.

A Lamborghini rolls past. Its eloquent grace interrupted momentarily by a roar of self-indulgence.

I take another sip, turn my eyes to the deep blue sky through the window to my left and breathe in the day’s Autumn splendour.

I wondered this past weekend, amid the challenges that sickness presented, what the future would hold.

Binge watching financial drama on Netflix, the victorious lure of material wealth seemed inevitable.

Cue cash-flow projections and budget analyses. Just as in London, saving here seems impossible.

Part of me wishes I’d played my cards differently since leaving school early seven years ago. Entry level salary brackets now a distant memory for some. For me, not so much.

I do feel behind the eight ball. I do feel as though I should be in a different stage of life right now. And yet, as my girlfriend reminds me, I am still only twenty-three… It feels like I’ve been fighting these battles for so much longer.

How much longer will these battles endure? The battles that separate me from the day I can slip into my own Lamborghini en route to my beach house and morning surf? Before continuing to write the day away just as I am now?

Because that’s all I really want to do: Write, philosophise – change the world.

Simple stuff really.

I’d give up the dreams I have for those material things in a heart beat if I could just have the latter.

That’s where real fulfilment lies, at least it is for me.

It is no longer a matter of asking myself, ‘Where do I start?’, for of course the journey has long since begun. My destination, my goal, my dream, draws ever nearer.

 

Prayer. Patience. Persistence.

Surrendering To The Beat, Surrendering To The Father

Yewwwwwwww!

I raise my hands in unison with the hundreds around me and scream at the top of my lungs. Our fists pump the air. Our smiles beam. The lasers and stunning visual effects reflect our euphoria.

On stage the guitarist lets loose. His silhouette magnifies the joy we all feel. We jump as one. The decision to wear a sweater now haunts me. The tee underneath approaches saturation point. But I don’t care. No one does.

As the beat shakes my bones and soul as one, my arms raised, pumping uncontrollably, my hips joining in on the fun, I have a thought:

So easy it is for me to raise my hands. So easy it is for me to lose control. So easy it is for me to lose myself. Here, in such a worldly environment, surely many of those around me ‘tripping’, I am completely consumed by my surrounds. Could it be the beers, the rum and cokes, that are making me feel this way? No. This feels different. The beat, the energy, the company – everything.

Just like that time a few months ago in which I found myself rocking out my best attempt at a Samba in a Brazilian club near Bondi at 1am. Never had my smile grown so large. Never had I felt so free.

And yet, put me in a church, at 6pm on a Sunday night, the music pumping, the crowd jumping, just as they are now, and you’ll find my hands in my pockets, my lips sealed, my eyes scanning the audience blankly, waiting for the moment that I can ‘take my seat’.

Despite all of those around me surrendering to God wholeheartedly, I cannot help but feel embarrassed to raise my hands and sing out His glorious name. I cannot help but feel I would be judged. But why?

It is only now, in writing these words, in reflecting on such feelings, such emotions, such dilemma, that I realise what is in fact happening here.

Wordly deceit. Evil tricks. Evil itself.

It is, of course, the evil one who is playing these games with my self-esteem; these games with my confidence and ability to surrender, to confess, to profess my relationship with God to all those that surround me in witness. Such a contrast in feelings between environments can only be attributed to such cause.

For many thousands of years he has been crafting these methods of trickery, refining the means for this devious deception. So young, naiive, unskilled I am to withstand such advances on the relationship I have with my creator.

To look within to find the strength to overcome such challenges will surely only result in my imminent demise. For the strength required to overcome such evil can only be found in the Father Himself. The Father of all. The bearer of all knowledge. The infinitely wise.

 

It is the only way.

Just as these trials will continue to repeat themselves, that needed repeating. To God I must look. Yes, again, it is the only way.

‘You are the way, the truth and the life.’

Opportunity For Fall, Opportunity For Faith

As I sipped my coffee, reflecting on the decision I’d just made, a man named Steve approached me and extended his hand.

‘I believe you were the one next to me up the front earlier. It’s a brave leap we’ve both taken.’

It wasn’t the first time for either of us. Though we’d both since allowed the world to swallow us up amid its sea of shallow pleasures and promises. And yet the realisation was clear. We knew the path for which we were intended.

So here we were. Taking that leap of faith once again with renewed enthusiasm and intent.

Steve went on:

‘You must realise though Paul that this re-commitment serves only as an alarm to the devil. He is now reminded of the battle he is losing. He will seek now to attack you with more intensity and furore than ever before. Be ready.’

I nodded in agreement. I knew the battles to come. I had faced them before. I had succumbed to them before. Though now I felt prepared. I felt ready. And yet once again the devil’s wile blinded me to the nature of the devious course [in]corrections he was making in my life.

Regrettably I cannot sit here now and say that I have been strong enough to withstand the barrage of temptations that have been fired my way over this past month. Never have I felt weaker, in fact.

It was far easier before that moment of surrender. To cruise along, under the radar, to blend in, not to raise any eyebrows. To go about my life, to follow the norm. Satan kept tabs on me, of course, but my life presented no great threat to his shrewd plan for my demise.

I was naive. ‘Life’ seemed to be delivering what I required. I felt confident. I felt myself. Financially things felt stable; stable enough for the odd brunch here and there. I met an incredible girl; someone who I could previously only dream of meeting. Work too provided the comfort and challenge I sought prior to my Sydney relocation.

And yet in these I placed my sense of security; my sense of self worth; my sense of purpose.

I guess the pain I now feel should be accompanied with a certain sense of gratitude; there are many who don’t feel such levels of un-comfort; they don’t realise the erroneous nature of their actions and course through life. Sadly, they never realise. And so the glory that once awaited them drifts off into an unfortunate and saddening ‘what could have been’. Indeed, what should have been.

As I write this, I feel to have plummeted to this realisation once again. No, this is not a symptom of a once diagnosed personality disorder or the anxiety I’ve faced for the past decade. This is a game of spiritual warfare. A game for which there is always extra time for those with receptive and repentant hearts.

At rock bottom it is He who is the springboard back toward our intended success. No, not the success that we can envisage, rather the success that He has so carefully crafted for each of us.

It is His purpose that we must seek if we are to feel that level of fulfillment and satisfaction we all so deeply crave.

Surely these words will spark those same alarm bells within the depths of Satan’s hellish lair as they did twenty-nine days ago. So it is now that I must look only to God for the strength I require, not to the fruits of my worldly labour or the comfort that it provides.

Only God. Only God.

‘You don’t want perfection, just my soul’s attention.’

Lord, it is my attention that you will get.

The Lure Of Worldly Pleasure

This new adventure certainly has come with its temptations.

Every day I am surrounded by such beauty; beauty in the form of exotic cars, luxurious apartments, Michelin starred breakfasts and, of course, babes.

“Paywave, Sir?”

I tap my credit card with an air of nonchalance as I purchase my morning coffee and $22 Chorizo breakfast dish whilst gazing confidently across the top of the Ferrari and Bentley parked opposite.

I cannot help but dream of such a lifestyle.

Though hidden beneath my confident gaze is one big gulp of financial insecurity. Wind back the clock and just an hour earlier I was waking up on a couch with my life piled on the chair opposite.

It was nice to watch my bank balance grow over the past month; the taste of financial freedom as sweet as it was distracting and invariably tempting. Inevitably the bill bandit came to return me to the realms of reality.

The pain.

As I stand here breathing in the morning air perfumed by the sweet smell of Italian leather drifting from the open top of the prancing horse next to me, I am lead to a poignant realisation:

God lead me here to grow closer to Him; to His calling for my life. He lead me here to learn more about his wonderful works and ultimately to spread His name to the world.

And whilst I pray for financial security and the freedom to travel and adventure to further bring glory to His name, the devil craftily uses such answers to prayer to tempt me into this false sense of personal accomplishment.

These fruits from my labour are not my own; such an easy lie this is to fall into believing. Satan will use these small successes and freedoms created along the way, these answers to prayer, to trick me into thinking that I can do this on my own.

So easy it is to fall into the comfort of worldly pleasure.

And so I must pray now for the wisdom to discern good from that disguised; that the sweet taste of these fruits will be eternal and not those shallow and short-lived.

We are at constant war; these games of deception everlasting.

Indeed, this is the challenge of life.