Sunday, 16 October 2011

Coz this is no time to be a chicken-shit Frances...

Remember all that bitching and moaning I’d done about my work and my senile boss and how I had come to loathe the office setting, desk, chair, politics and just about everything else in the corporate world? Well, about four weeks ago as fate would have it, I left all my doubts and reservations behind and jumped into an abyss not expecting anything to come of it.

The result is that as of last week, my life has taken a dramatic turn into another direction. And of course I’m elated... and hopeful and optimistic and... terrified! And this is where Patty’s voice rings in my head “this is no time to be a chicken-shit Frances”. Thing is, this is exactly what I’ve wanted and while there are certain drawbacks that come with this opportunity, it is exactly what I need, to get to where I want to be... hence “this is no time to be a chicken-shit Frances!”.

I do not have the time nor the emotional capacity for fear. Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias! A life lived in fear is a life half lived! Suck it up. Be a woman. I have to claw every ounce of courage from this flesh and these bones, put on my brave face and jump in the deep end. And I can be brave. I know I can be brave to the point of fearlessness. And when I’m fearless, nothing and no one can stand in my way. Now, if only I could remember how... it’s not like they printed these instructions on my box of Kelloggs Cornflakes.

It’s times like these that I often find that I have no one to talk to. Sure, I can comfort and counsel all and sundry with their problems, but for some reason I just cannot seem to find that same kind of comfort and counsel with anyone – including those closest to me. It’s usually during these times, that I prefer to turn to a higher power for guidance and assurance and more often than not, I find that I usually end up counselling myself through Him.

As a practising Muslim, I am very Pro-God. Even if I wanted to, I could never NOT believe because I’ve witnessed too many sheer miracles in my lifetime that cannot be attributed to co-incidences or science or anything else that can be used as an excuse. I’ve seen too much... and I continue to see The Almighty’s hand at work in my life and in other lives too... but hey look, I’m not here to preach to the public ok... 

For the record, when it comes to different beliefs, I ardently believe that EVERY SINGLE PERSON on this earth has a life purpose. Every single person is EXACTLY where they’re meant to be. Every single person has their own road to walk, their own lessons to learn (like I’ve mentioned previously) and The Almighty God – whatever you call Him – has created everyone and therefore, He is for everyone. I don’t see myself as better than anyone else on this earth, whether they be Muslim or not. We’re just different and Islam commands that we respect the differences and that God is the Only and Ultimate Judge:

لَكُمْ دِينُكُمْ وَلِيَ دِينِ
“To you be your Way, and to me mine” [”You will not believe in what I believe, I will not believe in what you believe, hence, your faith is with you and my faith is with me." Ergo, no force, no competition, no comparisons... you do what you think is good, I will do what I think is good. (Qur’an 109:1-6)]

As Muslims, we pray five times a day, to continually re-establish a connection with The Almighty. And every time we prostrate with our foreheads to the ground, we acknowledge a higher power who is the ultimate controller of destinies, lest we should be tempted to fear life.

There’s that ugly F word again...

Thing is, life is a struggle from beginning to end for everyone, and few things ever come easy. At the beginning of life we strain hard to stand upright without anybody holding onto us. At the end of life we’re back to the very same task. And in between, the struggles are laid end to end: raising kids, making a marriage work, finding our life’s work, taking care of those who need us, becoming faithful friends, finding the money to do what needs to be done... no matter who you are, we all have the same issues.

A lot of struggling is done right out there in plain view. But the real struggle is always inside us: the struggle with fear which is always there whispering in our ear, “Don’t get in too deep; you might lose or get hurt. Save your strength for later.”

The Almighty warns against doubt and fear and the evil that comes with our nafs and desires: “And if an evil whisper comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge with Allah” (Qur’an 7:200). Fear and doubt are Satan’s tools to misguide mankind.

At every fork in the road, fear tells us not to invest: in this moment, or in this person, or in whatever is at hand because there’s no guarantee we’ll win, no guarantee that our kids will be good, that our spouse will be faithful, or that our good work will bear fruit. “No guarantee,” whispers that evil little voice, “so stand back, sit on your hands. Better safe than sorry.”

Even in the Bible, God responds to that lying little voice with a warning: “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25)

The Qur’an tells us, "Nothing shall ever happen except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Maula (Lord, Helper and Protector). And in Allah let the believers put their trust”(Qur’an 9:51).

God has given every one of us some very clear life assignments. They’re spelled out in our gifts and in the circumstances of our lives. Will we accept God’s assignments and do the important work he’s given us? Will we succeed in building our piece in His kingdom? Only if we invest everything we’ve got fearlessly - for the long term. However, sometimes we are our own worst enemies innit... our fears are just too great.

Is there any one of us who can’t identify with the unpredictability of life...we know the experience too well: we think an issue through, we do our homework, we plan carefully and act decisively, and still… nothing. The business still languishes, the spouse is still angry, the child still fails, and we grow ever more weary.

Perhaps we’ve been so caught up with our own interests and perceptions of things - OUR OWN AGENDA- that we haven’t seen what’s right in front of us. Perhaps we need a new perspective. Perhaps we need to have more faith and trust in our Creator, for God sees to the heart of things.

Let The Almighty show you what He sees. It’s the ultimate in truth. Then relax in your trust in Him. Let Him guide your hand. He will speak to you in his own silent way. And you will hear Him, if you have learned how to listen.

This is my message to myself today. Yeah... suck it up, take a deep breath and just jump straight in the deep end. I suppose it's a good thing that I already know how to swim.


  1. May your endeavours be filled with great experiences. I wish you all the best :)

  2. You're the second person who this has happened to today.....If it's what I think it is - go for it. Don't look back Fingers crossed!

  3. Ok, you crossed the Rubicon.

    What is on the other side?

  4. As always your words seem to speak to me directly, because they speak to all of us. I wish you absolutely nothing but they best and trust that you will end up exactly where you should be. You are amazing!

  5. Well Azra, you are only where you are supposed to be. On the edge of glory about to jump in! Sometimes succeeding and getting where we want to be can be more scary than not. If you haven't read these books already, try them "Feel the fear and do it anyway" and "the Secret'" they always make me feel able to tackle anything!

  6. Things are scary! And they are often scary for a reason - but once we see that like "uh, I'm afraid of that because of this..." than you're right. It's time to just jump.

  7. Sending you loads of courage! And I hope this is a happy start for you.

    I have found this post really therapeutic, having succumbed to much fear these past two years! And even though I share your belief about a life purpose and so on, it was nice just to be reminded again.

    Thanks so much Azra.

  8. Dear Azra, I know it's not polite to ask a lady how old she is, but I've been wanting to ask you this question for a very long time. The reason I'm saying this is you sound both very young and yet, at the same time, wise beyond your years. I think Angie is right when she says your words seem to speak to her directly. I usually have the same feeling.

    I've just read your post and the strange thing is, I understand everything you're saying, and I admire your openness, but whenever you're describing your religious views, I can't follow you with my heart. Do you know what I mean? It's the only subject where your words remain just that - words - and I wish I could feel what's behind them. We once talked about that Muslim student of mine who years ago said, 'You want proof of God? Well, then look around you.' Remember that short post I 'showed' you some time ago? I think it's actually called Proof. Well, it's almost like you're talking about something that's invisible to me, and when I told you I was afraid of dying now that I'm seriously ill for the first time in my life, I couldn't but be envious of everyone who believed. It's funny isn't it? We live on the same planet, but we're wearing different glasses. Not always, but when it comes to faith in a creator, an idea which is completely beyond me, because I think the idea of a god stems from our wish to be looked after, you see something and I don't. Well, anyway, you have a nice day now young lady and thank you for your posts.


  9. Azra,
    One of the things I admire about you is that you have universal vision. You do not see simply through your own glasses. You have your faith, your guide but you see others as well. This speaks well of your respect for humanity. While I have no particular faith of my own, I have often thought that even atheists and agnostics have a role in the faith of others. Perhaps they are a mirror where the faithful can see their own reflection. Perhaps they serve as a foil to highlight aspects of character, both good and bad. But as you believe, we all have purpose and we are all valuable to each other regardless of faith.


  10. Love this post - and love that you're being adventurous with your life. Sending happy thoughts your way that everything turns out fantastic!

  11. Thank you, Azra. This post almost brought me to tears. At first, I felt badly because I noticed that you posted this four days ago, and that I had yet to read it. Then I began reading, and I realized that perhaps I was meant to read your post at this exact moment in time. I'm having a huge bout of insomnia at the moment due to a life decision I am terrified to make, and therefore decided to get out of bed and catch up on my blogs. Yours was the first, and I'm forever grateful for it. I suppose the only thing left to do is take this as a sign, hold my breath, and jump straight in the deep end with you. Here's to praying and hoping that everything works out as it should. I hope it works out well for the both of us. :)

  12. sham - Thank you kindly :)

    SI - Thanks for the vote of confidence ;)

    LL - One hell of a learning curve ahead...:P

    Colin - Thanks :)

    Angie - Thanks, you're quite amazing yourself!

    Juliette - Thank you so much for the recommendations, I will definitely look into it.

    Deidre - Yeah, we can't live our lives in fear, sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and jump!

    Prixie - I'm glad there was some benefit in my words for you. Thanks so much for just being there :)

    RCB - I am 29 years old. And yes I remember the story. I've met many people myself, who want "proof" of God's existence and I always ask them if the sun rose wherever they are in the past week or two... and then I say "there's your proof". Truth is, there is so much we DON'T know and so much we're not meant to know. All I can say is that my belief stems in the knowledge of my own limitations and the acknowledgement of a higher power who controls that which I know not! And like I've said, I've been through more than my fair share of events that have reinforced my beliefs over time. I recognise that this may not be the road for everyone, but I'm positive that each person will walk their road and be where they are meant to be :)

    Dean - We are indeed valuable to each other because no man is an island and we all come from the same Source, and unto Him we shall return ;)

    Megan - Thank you so much :D

    Michi - I'm glad that this post was something you needed to read at that particular time in your life. Here's to hoping and praying it all works out for the best for both of us, always ;)