When life throws you curveballs

ChileThis blog was supposed to contain exciting news, an announcement we’d mostly kept to ourselves for a couple of months. It was an announcement that would change our lives completely for the next three years and test our relationship, trust in God and linguistic skills.

Unfortunately, we’re announcing the opposite: we’re not going to Chile.

For those of you who weren’t aware of this possibility, then the idea itself is probably quite crazy. We’ve spent the two months downloading Spanish apps, looking into apartments and joining online expat communities in Santiago, ready to shift our lives to another country from February next year after Navin was given the opportunity of a three-year transfer with his work.

I remember when we first got the news about the opportunity – I was angry and protective of the life I had here. How could I give up the dream job I had here? A job that had invested so much into me over the last year through training, opportunities and mentoring from my amazing colleagues. A job that has become my greatest passion?

Or what about the relationships I’d built with my friends? Friends I’ve spent hours crying or laughing with, old friends and new friends. Friends I’d done life with.

Then slowly I began to feel a peace about the move and excited for new opportunities – the chance to learn Spanish, make new friends and face the challenge of finding work in a country of a foreign language. I began not looking at life beyond March here in Australia and instead thinking of all the possibilities on the other side of the world. I started reading into every sign around me that made Chile seem like the place we were meant to be – the latest season of Amazing Race heading to Chile as the first pit-stop, or the removalists at work being Chilean. Chile was suddenly on my radar, and it felt like I was being prepared to head there.

It’s funny how life gets so comfortable and then an opportunity like this is thrown at you. I went through every stage of emotion at the thought of leaving, then upon hearing the news that the opportunity had fallen through, went back through those stages of emotion as the thought of not going.

I was ready to follow God where it felt like he was calling us, despite no idea what on earth I’d do in this foreign place.

It can be hard to work out why life throws you curveballs like this. Like rollercoasters with the creaky, slow climb to the peak before the terrifying fall back down to earth. When making sense of this curveball and rollercoaster, I’ve had one bible verse stick out clear in my mind.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24 (NIV)

Follow MeIt reminds me that I’m not here for me, I’m here for Him. Wherever He takes me, He promises to give me a purpose and has entrusted me with gifts to fulfill that purpose. Though our purpose for now may not be in Chile, South America or anywhere else in the world, I’m humbled that wherever I am I’m given opportunities to make a difference in the life of others.

Instead of wasting time waiting for that exotic opportunity to make a difference somewhere foreign, perhaps this curveball was just a reminder that I can do that right here. It was a wake-up call to continue serving Him and fulfilling my purpose by investing my time into relationships with friends and family and committing to work with 110% of my passion and energy.

Maybe you’re waiting for that next opportunity in life that will challenge and grow you. Why can’t that opportunity be right now, right where you are? Don’t become so busy that you miss the opportunities that are all around you – opportunities to be thankful, to lend a hand, to learn something new. If right where you are isn’t where you want to be, what would it take to make it a place that allows you to reach your potential in serving others?

I’m excited to be right where I am for 2014. Are you?



  1. Kim Vanden Hengel

    Glad you’ve reached this place of rest in your spirit Caitlin. And selfishly glad that you can stay with us at Baptist World Aid!

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