This week I finished reading a standout novel by Francine Rivers called A Voice in the Wind from the Mark of the Lion series. I’m going to share 4 life lessons I took from this deep, haunting and unforgettable book. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series. Here are my 4 lessons below:
- Faith literally creates miracles
The main character Hadassah has to endure many challenges that most people would crumble under, but she clings to her faith no matter what. As a result, she survives the most incredible odds and opens the hardest of hearts. She brought miracles everywhere she went. Throughout the novel is an overarching theme of God having the ultimate power no matter what, and this truth is highlighted subtly and effectively throughout the many twists and turns in each character’s life.
- Be careful who you surround yourself with, as they are a most powerful influence
A running theme in this book is how influenced we are by those we associate closely with. It can – and does – affect the course of our lives. Our life choices after consulting with others greatly impact on us and not everyone has our best interests at heart. Therefore we would be wise to be careful who we share the deepest parts of our lives with, lest they use it against us. This lesson is shown through the character of Julia.
- Passions define us and can also destroy us
A key element in the story was the idea of passions and how they can serve us or lead us astray. Emotions such as jealousy lead to devastating consequences in this book. It raises the thought-provoking idea that passion can be dangerous as well as exciting, and depicts this in the thrilling and dramatic context of the last days of Rome. This book skilfully explores both loving passions and the darkest kind while showing the good and bad aspects of both types. The sinister side of loving passion is described with clever word craft, reaching into your mind and twisting your ideas about it without you consciously realising. Nothing is black and white in this story as in real life, which is a cornucopia of the good, the bad, the great and the mundane.
- When you think, speak and act from a place of love, others are irresistibly drawn to you
Hadassah’s compassion and open heart endear almost everyone she meets to her. She holds something precious and different from everyone else she encounters – a sense of peace and calm tranquillity. As a result, all those around her are moved in some way by her pure heart and guileless motives. Those with all the riches in the world crave and long for the peace she carries in her soul, even though she owns nothing and has lost everyone she loves.
- Moving out your comfort zone is less scary than you think
Back in July I jumped on a flight on my own and volunteered in Marrakech to help disadvantaged children and feed the homeless. Something I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing just a year ago – and a life-changing experience I will never forget. Anticipating the trip was exciting and scary at the same time. For one, I’d never flown alone before and all these fears came up that I couldn’t do it. But the urge inside of me to take this trip was far stronger than any negative thoughts that I’d fail. Now I have amazing memories and have so many stories to tell about my travels – from swimming in the Ouzoud Waterfalls to camping overnight in the Sahara Desert and riding a camel through the dunes. All this wouldn’t have happened had I not stepped outside my comfort zone. And it’s nowhere near as scary as you might think.
As Stephen King said, “The scariest moment is always right before you start.”
- Tomorrow is uncertain and full of surprises
I go through periods where I expect the next day to go a certain way – but those are the very times the unexpected happens! When I plan a day and think I know exactly what’s going to happen, that’s when life steps in and throws a curveball. That’s one of the things I love most about life. It keeps surprising us.
Things can change in an instant so we need to focus on what is most important. At the end of your life, what will you regret more? Not cleaning your house that day or not telling your soulmate you love them one last time? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t wait until your loved one is gone before you say what needs to be said. Take their hand in yours and tell them “I love you.” Text, call, Skype, or FaceTime them. See them in person if you can. Look into their eyes. Hug them. Do whatever you need to do. Just make sure you do it. If we don’t stay in the present moment and stay glued to our phones we will miss the magical moments that make life special.
- People come and go… and come back
Past, present and future are linked more than we know. This year I have done a lot of soul-searching and considered the fact that where we are now is a result of where we have been.
In 2015 I’ve probably had more chance meetings and coincidences than I’ve ever had. Just when I think I’ll never see a person again, bam! There they are right in front of me.
I believe the past resurfaces to trigger a part of us. Seeing a person from your past could be reminding you how far you have come from the person you used to be. It could be to show that you need to reconnect with that person you just bumped into. Or you may need to reconnect with who you were back when you were close to them.
It could also be a test. A test of how you react, of whether you are over someone or not. Whether you have learnt your lesson from that person. Your reaction in that moment determines what stage you are at in your growth. I don’t believe you can “pass” or “fail” this kind of test though – that’s missing the point. We are all continuously growing and each experience pushes us forward toward our greatest potential. Each layer we remove brings us closer to our greatest version of ourselves and moves us toward healing.
Everyone is a product of their experiences and we cannot deny the past or pretend it doesn’t matter. Experiences shape who we are and make us the people we are today.