I like studying in coffee shops.

Right now it’s 2pm. I’m sitting in Starbucks. I’m listening to Jon Thurlow. And I’m over half-way through writing a Masters essay.

In fact, it’s better than that… I only have 900 words to go.

Which is something I am amazingly thankful for! 🙂

Writing this blog post is my London-fog-break-time. Which is also something I am amazingly thankful for.

I like studying in coffee shops. I like studying whilst listening to music. The gentle bustling noise of a coffee shop, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the chance to engage in conversation occassionally… These things help me to study. For me, they aren’t distractions. They are the things that keep me grounded. They are my days motivations.

By 4pm today, this should be another thing I can tick off the need-to-do-before-I-leave-for-Japan-check-list and air-punch the sky in achievement over.

The need-to-do-before-I-leave-for-Japan-check-list is actually a serious one. It really does exist! It involves the work things, the study things, the tax things, and the finance things. It involves everything from putting my notice in at the gym, to filling in my P85 (I mean, who even knew there was a P85?!), to cancelling my phone contract, to shipping books to Japan in time for my arrival… It’s the detail. The important detail that keeps the journey going.

And I was reminded, that God has me on this journey, which is moving forwards. Which He is moving forwards. Which He is guiding me in. Which He is leading me in. And some weeks, there are these huge breakthroughs. And some weeks, it’s gently shown in the detail. But it’s the small things that keep the journey going.

I was talking to my tutor last week and he was assuring me that I’m almost on the home-straight of my studies (well, the current course at least… Maybe one day I’ll start the ol’ PHD ;)). I was a little more dubious (I still have 3 essays and a dissertation after all). But he was confident. And his confidence, gave me confidence. He checked I was organised. He assured me that I was organised. He gave me my latest mark back (which praise God, was way better than I thought!) I still had my head stuck in my books, but He could see the end of the journey.

And I was reminded, that God puts others around us on this journey, which is moving forwards. Which He is moving forwards. Which He is guiding me in. Which He is leading me in. And some weeks, I feel my own vision bring breakthrough. And some weeks, it’s gently shown in the vision of others. And it’s their encouragement that keeps the journey going.

Last night I had the bright idea of running 10k. Now I normally run 5k a few times a week. Normally. But, filled with Friday-night enthusiasm and the need to burn some serious energy after a day in the office, I had some zeal rise for doubling my distance. It seemed like a really good idea at the time. Until I hit 9k, and then I really started to hurt. I pressed on, I finished, but I hurt. My legs ached. I was out of breath. My heart was racing. My sense of accomplishment at running that far in my fastest time, didn’t, at that moment, overcome the fact that I literally felt like I was about to die (Me, melodramatic? Never! ;)) But this morning, when I actually didn’t hurt so much, I saw the achievement. I was encouraged that I really could run that far! I felt like… A… Runner!!

And I was reminded, that God has me on this journey, which is moving forwards. Which He is moving forwards. Which He is guiding me in. Which He is leading me in. And some weeks, there are these huge breakthroughs that we feel the immediate victory in. And some weeks, it’s like there’s a slight delay in seeing the purpose of what is going on. But it’s the overcoming thats keep the journey going.

This morning I was emailing a really inspirational couple I know in Japan, because they’ve just celebrated being in the country for 35 years. Which is quite frankly, epically inspiring and a wonderful, beautiful example of giving up your life to just love and serve the people God has called you to. And people like this inspire me in so many ways, but it’s their perservance and steadfastness on this journey that I want to learn from and pray God plants deep in my heart. Because I want to finish the race, not just in my Friday-night-gym-zeal, but in the things that God has asked of me. And sometimes, it’s the big things. And sometimes, it’s the small things. And sometimes, it’s the faith-filled perseverance. And sometimes, it’s seeing the immediate answer. And sometimes, it’s seeing the long term picture. But always, it’s following Him.

I like studying in coffee shops. I like studying whilst listening to music. The gentle bustling noise of a coffee shop, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the chance to engage in conversation occassionally… These things help me to study. For me, they aren’t distractions. They are the things that keep me grounded. They are my days motivations.

And being in this place, helps me to study.

And with that in mind, my real challenge is to stay in the place with God where He can use me and keep me and guide me.

Being in that place, helps me to become that which He wants me to be.

And my prayer?

God, I want to be closer to Your heart.

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