What do you do when your heart wants to move to France, but you don't speak French, you don't have a job or anywhere to live?
Since we got married in 2011 Sam and I have dreamed a dream of living in France. We got close a few times but the obstacles and challenges just felt too big. Then we started a family and the obstacles and challenges got a lot bigger! Then 1 year ago today, we did it! (With our 2 young children). We made the move, uprooted our whole life and little family to France. It is one of the best decisions we have made. It has been tough and very challenging at times, but we have all grown hugely. Both individually but also together as a family. The growth has not just been physical (as Lilla and Jaciah have both got a lot taller in the last year) but also in confidence and self-esteem. Especially Lilla (who is now 4) and gone from no French to fluency.
We were able to make the move and overcome our challenges and obstacles by utilising an Octagonal Mindset. An Octagonal Mindset didn't remove our challenges but it gave us the mental strength and resilience to overcome them. Below I've provided a breakdown of the 8 mindsets we needed:
1) Fearless of Failure: This is the biggest obstacle for most of us in achieving the things on our heart. So it was for Sam and I. We had visions of losing everything and living under a bridge! However, we learnt to process things a little more positively and come to accept that if we needed to come home, we would. We knew that things may not work out as we hoped and prayed that they would but that we could end up coming home very sad. We decided it was a risk we were willing to take and the chances of us living under a bridge were pretty low.
2) Original: To move us forward we had to know who we were and who God had made us to be. What talents, abilities, gifts and skills (TAGS) did we have to help us build a new life in France? We are both resilient and hard-working and willing to do what we need to do. These were highly valuable assets to us. We came to realise we were not going empty handed that although we were lacking in lots of things (like our ability to speak French, jobs or somewhere to live) that were a lot of things we did have. We decided to focus on the things we did have.
3) Respect The Process: We took a long while to come to our decision and take action, we certainly didn't rush it. I wouldn't recommend taking as long as we did but you can't make a big decision overnight. Eventually we decided we couldn't think and pray about it forever, we needed to move or let it go. Although we loved our life in London and Lincoln, neither of us could let it go.
4) Generosity: We had to be generous to ourselves and invest everything into making it happen. We couldn't be half hearted - we had to give all we had. The costs and the risks were high, we knew that, but ultimately we knew that for us a dream left unlived was a much higher cost. We decided we were not willing to pay that price.
5) Innocence: We had to make the decision with a pure motive and understand what our reasons were for going. For us it was making the best decision for us and our family. However, there were many many reasons to stay, especially as my brother-in-law ended up in hospital days after we announced our departure. This for me, was the hardest thing to process. I thank God we were living close to them in the days, weeks and months following G's stroke. I came to realise I would always be there for my sister when she needed me and that would not change with my address.
6) Value: When we gained a clearer understanding of the real risks and benefits it became easier to take action. However, to do this we had to know what was important to us. Everyone is different and we can't live our lives trying to make everyone else happy as we will never succeed. It is impossible to make everyone happy but when we realised what was most important to us that led us to France.
7) Empathy: We didn't receive a positive response from everyone about our French dream. Empathy allowed us to step into their shoes to understand their perspective and concerns but not stay in them. (It is very difficult to walk in someone else's shoes without falling over). We wanted to show respect, seek wisdom, receive advice but ultimately we had to make our own decision. We all have to wear our own shoes. The decision to move to France is not for everyone but we had to make our own choice and walk our own walk.
8) Sustain: We knew whatever lay ahead would be difficult and challenging and possibly the most trying time we had yet experienced. We had to be willing to fail but also committed to give it our very best. We decided we were willing to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
So there we have it, this is how we processed our big decision. An Octagonal Mindset
F.O.R.G.I.V.E.S. When we forgive ourselves for the mistakes we make or might make, when we forgive others for the mistakes they make or might make we thrive and anything really is possible.
Whatever decision or action you are thinking about taking towards the things on your heart, I hope and pray this encourages you today. Maybe it is a move, or maybe you want to stop smoking, or get fit, healthy or make a career change? I encourage you to think things through with an Octagonal Mindset and maybe just maybe you might see it differently and realise that maybe it isn't impossible! If you would like help or advice please don't hesitate to fill the contact form - I'd love to hear from you.
P.S You will be pleased to know 1 year on and we are not living under a bridge!