Is fear preventing you from being your most authentic self?

(Photo Caption: That face you make when you realise that fear no longer holds you back!)

We often hide behind ‘things’ to mask a reality that we might be too afraid to face.

I became an expert at this and managed to keep this up until about 3 years ago.

Looking back now, I realise that I spent so long trying to live the life that I felt other people wanted me to live. My focus was on trying to live up to the expectations of others instead of focusing on my own potential. Whenever I didn’t meet those expectations, which was quite often, I would be filled with a huge sense of disappointment. This disappointment would lead to debilitating and soul destroying depression. I would convince myself that I wasn’t good enough and lacked the confidence and self esteem to tell myself otherwise. This would then lead to fear and anxiety which would paralyse my thought process and destabilise my mind set. In a strange way, it felt comfortable here because it meant that I could hide behind my fear and my denial about who I really was. I didn’t have to put much effort into staying where I was. Even the thought of moving from one state to another was exhausting.

My lack of confidence in my own ability prevented me from taking up opportunities that came my way. In particular, my singing. Through fear, I let others take control of this gift instead of packaging it myself and delivering it in my own authentic way.

I guess that’s the reason why I decided to scrap the original direction for my last album, ‘From Pain to Purpose’

The lyrics tell the story of my testimony and how God has used my pain and turned it into real purpose.

The original album idea was trying to cover up the pain with heavy baselines, to distort the feeling and emotion with fancy arrangements and harmonies and to create a synthetic atmosphere that ran the risk of taking away the important message that I was trying to share.

Part way through the album project I decide scrap the production and start again. This time it was simply my voice, the lyrics and a guitar. A beautiful and genuine acoustic album that allows the listener to fully connect with my story.

(Here’s the link just incase you’d like to buy your own copy!) http://www.ireneaserie.bandcamp.com

Apart from my children, this is one of my most proudest achievements and one that I feared the most due to how much it exposed the real me.

I felt so vulnerable, there was nothing to cover up the hurt and pain in my voice, there was no hiding behind an electronic beat or layered harmony. It was just me, in my simplest form, doing what I love and sharing my journey.

Releasing that album empowered me to approach everything that I did from that point onwards with a renewed sense of self. A self that didn’t need permission or validation from others to exist. A self that didn’t require a target or a deadline. A self that didn’t require a meeting of expectations from others.

I didn’t need to fit into others ideas of who I should be. I felt for so long that I needed the approval of others and so became obsessed with this and loved nothing better than to please others.

Finally, I realised that the only opinion that mattered about who I am and what I was trying to do, was my own. If you need something, you tend to have a lot of love, energy and time for it. I didn’t love my self enough and so did not feel the need to put enough time and energy into fixing and maintaining me.

The last 12 months in particular, have been a great learning experience for me in terms of what I have discovered about who I really am and what I stand for.

I am an amazing woman who has endured some extremely tough times to get to where I am now. I no longer wait for others to confirm this for me. I walk with this self validation in my heart everyday. It’s not an ego thing, it’s a faith thing.

It’s great when others confirm what I feel about me by making beautiful and positive comments about my journey and my achievements so far.

It’s also irrelevant to me when hurtful words are used to try and break me or undermine my testimony. Those who take the time to rain on my parade, really need to ask themselves: “what did I really achieve for myself in trying to bring her down?”

I used to doubt the positives that others would share about me and buy into the negative and hurtful things that others would claim about me.

The difference now is that I love myself enough and know myself enough to know that even without the feedback of others, everyday I will celebrate me, will embrace me and will give thanks to God for the unique, creatively gifted and wonderfully made individual that He has called me to be.

I thank God for all that I have been through and what it has allowed me to discover about myself.

I thank God for enabling me to go my own separate way to establish a new and exciting path that would lead me even closer to the purpose that He set out for me.

I have spent this last year rediscovering who Irene really is again. I love me more than anyone else does (apart from God!)

I don’t rely on others anymore to show me the love to sustain me. I spent too many wasted years broken and disappointed because I wasn’t getting what I needed from others. If only I had realised back then that what I needed was right there with me all along, hidden deep within, buried inside my secret place.

Before I knew who I really was, fear prevented me from finding out.

But now that I’m overcoming that fear, I am living my best life ever as my most authentic self.

I now declare the following over myself:

I am not responsible for your happiness and you are not responsible for mine.

I forgive me. I’m letting go, I’m moving forwards away from fear towards faith and hope. ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.’ Isaiah 43:18 NIV

Do not become so consumed by your circumstance to the point where you don’t recognise when God himself comes along to try and help you out of it.

‘For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline’ 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV






Is my past shame really controlling my future?

I’ve done many things in the past that I am ashamed of. Things that I’ve never shared with anyone but God. Some things, I’ve been quite open about in previous blogs, because other people’s lives and well-being depended on it. I believe that one persons testimony can be somebody else’s lifeline.

As a Christian there is one thing that I have felt a deep sense of shame over.


I’ve been a single parent for the last 3+ years and divorced for the last 2+ years. I have to say, these have been some of the most challenging years of my life thus far. The stigma attached with divorce led to me isolating myself and never wanting to be around other Christians in particular, for fear of being judged and despised.

I used a range of defence mechanisms as a coping method when navigating my way through this dark period in my life. I threw myself into work, became extremely over protective of my children, never left my house unless it was to go to work or take my children to their activities, drank a little too much red wine (still guilty of this, though not as much!) avoided social events and convinced myself that everyone was better off without me in their space.

I allowed my anxieties to control my every move. I hated leaving my house, I hated having to deal with the difficult questions from people about the breakdown of my marriage knowing that they were simply interested in the gossip as opposed to my genuine health and well being.

Over time, what I felt a sense of great shame over, has become a sense of great freedom. The damaging effects of divorce have finally been transformed into a new beginning for me, an opportunity for encouragement from Jesus as He builds me back up again to become even stronger and bolder than I’ve ever been.

The Bible encourages us victims of divorce to continue with our lives knowing that our future is healed. Though we may not know it or even see it, God sees it, so every day I am learning to trust in God and His promise for me.

I am hopeful that there is a great and abundant life after divorce. Up until recently, I was led to believe that life after divorce was meaningless and hopeless. But now, all that I see and hear is hope.

I blamed myself because I felt that I hadn’t done enough to avoid divorce. Just as it says in Psalm 38:4, ‘My guilt has overwhelmed me, like a burden too heavy to bear.’

It was this burden that prevented me from going back to church, connecting with friends and family and being the person that God called me to be.

I felt that I had failed as a Christian and struggled to be around other believers as a result. Even my friends who are non-Christians became strangers as it seems they too struggled to know what to do or say. I guess they felt that it was best to say and do nothing at all.

It became a very lonely and painful time. I’d spent so many years being there for others, even when my own pain and anxiety was eating away at me. All I needed was for someone to reassure me and give me hope. I had to learn instead to look within myself for that hope and reassurance. I had to rediscover my identity and who to place my trust in.

I’m not going to lie, it still hurts knowing how much I’ve had to endure without the help and support of some who I thought would be there for me no matter what. It’s always when you need a tear wiping that you realise who is there as opposed to when things are going well.

I’m in a much better place now, spiritually, physically and even socially.

I’ve found a new church home, I’m trying to socialise more (though I have some ways to go on this one), I’ve joined a gym, become a plant based vegan which is helping to improve my lifestyle and I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone to try new things which is helping me to rediscover my creativity.

What this experience has taught me is that no matter what has happened in your past that makes you feel really ashamed, there is nothing that can ever stop God from running towards you if you choose to come back to Him.

I am in the process of forgiving myself because I accept that I did everything that I could.

It’s not just about asking Gods forgiveness it’s also about forgiving ourselves. Once we accept that the past has past, only then can our real future begin.

I am not my pain, I am not my failures. I cannot and will not allow shame to determine my future.

Today is a new day. Today is a new me.

I will not let my past shame become my future pain.

‘Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance.’ Isaiah 61:7 NIV






Repression does not lead to progression does it?

Being my complete and authentic self is an achievement that I am working on everyday.

I used to run away from challenges because I didn’t feel that I could tackle them with a genuine authenticity that would allow me to overcome and grow from them.

I spent many of my formative years fitting into other people’s illusions of who they thought I was. My fear of shattering those illusions trapped me into being something that I was not.

I believed I was a victim of my environment and circumstance, a failure and a fraud, useless and voiceless.

I was dealing with a number of issues that desperately needed resolving. But I didn’t know how to begin the healing process. I was too caught up in a vicious cycle that rendered me unable to fight the healing process that deep down I didn’t genuinely believe in.

The last 3 years has been a huge transformation in terms of what I now know and believe about myself.

It’s taken a while but I’m finally starting to see myself as a victor rather than a victim.

In order to learn about who I really was and to expose the toxic energy around me I had to become vulnerable and release the raw and uncut emotions that were festering within. This had to be done carefully so as not to lead to further repressed rage and other negative emotions. As a songwriter, I was able to communicate the innermost, complicated and hard to reach intimate sections of myself using simple extraction tools known as a pen and paper. I appreciate that we all have our own ways of dealing with those repressed thoughts and feelings.

There have been times where I didn’t feel strong or capable enough and so considered actions that would mean that I didn’t have to deal with them anymore.

But I realised that such things would not deal with the problems, but instead pass them on to my loved ones.

So for me, my escape and remedy for dealing with what has been repressed head on was to write about it.

There is a huge sense of relief that comes with honesty and truth.

Suddenly I found myself not just simply going through the motions of a life that wasn’t my own.

For the first time in a long time, I felt a renewing of my mind, body and spirit.

I felt a new strength which was giving me the courage to open up my heart to genuine love from authentic individuals that had my best interests at heart.

It was no longer other’s toxic thoughts and concepts of me that was driving me, but instead for the first time I took the wheel and drove myself in a completely new direction.

I suddenly felt a wonderful freeness that was allowing me to fully explore my aspirations and potential.

For the first time I rejected what was not building me up to be the best version of me.

I spent so many years repressing my anger, frustration, loneliness and fear.

This repression had a shelf life. I didn’t know how long, but I know that it finally reached its ‘use by date’ which left me no choice but to finally let it out and let it go or to leave it locked inside where it would slowly but surely poison me to death.

In my case, repression has led to progression. But only because I recognised the value of my talent, ability and self worth. In order to progress I had to identify what it was about me that I was choosing to repress. Both the positive and the negative. In order to experience change I had to make room by simply throwing out the trash instead of choosing to hoard it.

As an artist, I appreciate the notion of rehearsal. To practice something over and over again until it becomes familiar and comfortable.

Unfortunately life cannot be rehearsed. It is not a performance that I must produce in order to please others.

I understand that I only have one chance to get this life right. This is not a rehearsal. I don’t have time to get familiar with certain things until they become comfortable.

I have to accept that I will always be outside of my comfort zone. This will bring about the growth, ambition and legacy that I believe I am destined to deliver.

In order to face the challenges ahead I have to fully understand who I am and what I stand for in order to build a resilience in me that can repel the enemy.

I have been alone for a long time. I now understand that this is necessary in order to reach higher heights of consciousness about who I really am.

I can’t wait to meet a genuine and likeminded spirit who values their own significance and not only strives for better, but is able to fully action that ambition.

I am attracted to individuals who know their own mind, are willing to explore outside of their comfort zone and appreciate artistry from an intellectual perspective. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this may lead to a timely delay in settling with a genuine soulmate, but I am hopeful that my expectations will pair with a king who boasts these characteristics along with many other desirable attributes.

Sometimes we don’t end up where we want to be, but where we need to be.

Our actions and ability to deal effectively with what is on the inside, determines not what we want but what we need.

If what you want is a symptom of what you are choosing to repress, what you want will not give you what you need.

Be careful what you ask for, be careful about what and how long you choose to repress. If you seek progress, open up and let the bad stuff go.

‘For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.’

(2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)









Is it really that hard to handle the truth?

In my 36+ years on this earth I have often found myself in many a situation where I’ve needed to tell someone the truth. Most of those times, the truth didn’t want to be heard. But I had to remind myself that even if they didn’t want to hear it, doesn’t mean that it didn’t need to be said.

We all talk about ‘truth’ as if it is something that we all want in our lives. However, I’ve lost count of the times where I’ve heard of individuals who have fallen out with others on account of hearing the truth about themselves. Or I’ve seen families and relationships break-down because the truth wasn’t owned and handled with care. Speaking from my own experience, the inability by others to handle the truth, seriously impaired me from accepting the truth about my own situation. In my case it led to me constantly making it a priority to put my energy and time into trying to force feed the truth to an energy that wasn’t ready or willing to receive it. This was all in the hope that them accepting their truth would fix what lies had broken. But over time, I learned that only my own truth could set me free. Truth cannot change what does not want to accept change.

It can be hard to handle the truth. In fact it’s so hard, that some people spend their whole lives avoiding it. Some people are willing to lose their families, friends, jobs and reputation, if it means that they don’t need to face their own truth.

One thing I’ve learned is that I should never compromise myself and my own truth for the sake of someone else who is unable to handle theirs.

I am now at the start of my 37th chapter. I find myself reflecting on how many people I have had to leave in the past because they were too afraid to handle the truth.

Some people only accept the truth from certain people. If I’m honest, this concept has always baffled me. The truth is the truth, no matter how it is packaged. You may not be ready to hear it, but it’s going to come regardless, because nothing can stop the truth from revealing itself.

What is hidden in the dark, will be revealed in the light.

I understand that for some, this is not fathomable because it’s easier for them to live in doubt and darkness. It can be much more comfortable in that secret and dark place, because there is nothing to harm the facade that you’ve built around yourself.

Believe me, I’ve been there, I’ve lived a life that wasn’t really my own, tried to fool myself into thinking that something other than my true self was more acceptable.

But acceptable to who? The people who revolve their own lives around fakery? The people who don’t even accept me for who I really am anyway?

The older I get, the more comfortable I become with who I am. I’m not going to lie, some days are difficult, especially when I consider the cost of truth, in that I’ve lost many friends as a result of embracing my truth and rejecting their toxic version of my truth.

But I live in hope that my truth that I am finally learning to embrace will attract an enabling truth that will complement my own. Given that we live in a world which revolves around fake news and filters, I’m not sure how long the wait will be, but I’m hopeful that it will be sooner rather than later. Because if truth be told, I would rather live out my next chapter in partnership with a true kindred spirit than alone.

I am open and honest about who I am, anything else just takes up too much energy. As you get older, you realise just how valuable your energy and time is.

In this age of social media it’s very easy to portray a life that isn’t really yours. If that’s what you choose to do, then good luck to you, I don’t judge, I just pray that one day you will find and embrace your true self.

As for me, I am a single mother of 3 very intelligent and talented children, I am a teacher by trade and finally, a wonderful woman who has needs that are currently not being met. But I have faith that there is someone out there who can handle my truth as well as their own.

I have experienced so much in my short life. I have no regrets so far because every challenge has helped me to become the true version of myself that I am today.

I have changed. I am not who I was. Truth brings change and growth. If you knew me then, you don’t know me now. If you wish to get to know the woman that I am now, you know where I am. In the meantime, I will continue to be the amazing woman of truth that I am as I work towards my future goals and aspirations.

Don’t expect anything but the truth from me, if you want something else then I’m not the one.

You can keep running from the truth but it’ll catch up with you in the end.

‘Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.’ (1 Corinthians 13:6, NIV)









Am I really headed in the right direction?

Recently I keep finding myself wondering if I’m where I should be. I question my position in life and wonder if I should have gone about things differently. I find myself doubting the choices that I have made and begin to convince myself that I’ve made too many mistakes to be living right.

I add further insult to injury by focusing too much on how much I’ve lost instead of how much I’ve gained. How far I still have to go instead of how far I’ve actually come.

The irrational thoughts begin to spiral out of control as the nonsense begins to suddenly make sense. I become trapped in my own web of deceit.

It’s so easy to look down on yourself. It’s much harder to shift your perspective and look up to the power and strength that you truly are.

I find myself feeling angry at times without even really knowing why. But it is common knowledge that anger is a symptom of fear.

I realised that my fear stems from the ability to keep comparing myself to others and the inability to recognise the uniqueness that makes me the wonderful, motivated and aspirational woman that I am now.

I believe that the many questions and doubts are signposts towards an uncertainty as a result of straying away from where God needs us to be.

We have to learn to listen to the questions and let the answers that are revealed guide us back to centre.

Often it’s not obvious that we have strayed because where we end up can feel comfortable. But it’s only when we make ourselves uncomfortable that we truly experience real growth and change for the better. We were not built to stay the same forever. We have to let go in order to grow. We have to accept change in order to gain. We have to remain determined and strong in order to hold onto what we need and believe.

Everything that I have done, everything that I have seen, everywhere that I have been is rooted into my journey because it’s the only way that I could learn one of my life’s very important lessons.

I’ve never done anything that God didn’t need me to do. I’ve never seen anything that God didn’t need me to see. I’ve never been anywhere where God didn’t need me to be.

Every joy, every pain, every love, every shame, everything that has chipped away at me has shaped me into the person that I am today.

For this reason I can’t have any regrets. For this reason I have to accept that I am exactly where God needs me to be, seeing exactly what he needs me to see, doing exactly what he needs me to do.

I may not truly understand but it’s not my job to understand. My job is to have faith that in all things, God will bring me through and keep me close to him.

So the next time that you’re questioning why or wondering why not, remember to look within to analyse how much you need to learn about where you are so that you can apply that learning to the next phase. This is not it for you.

You are exactly where you need to be. It will lead you to where you need to go.

Consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.’ Romans 8:18 NIV


Is this moment better than the worst?

I often wonder about what is to come.

Is it going to get any better?

Is this is it for me?

Is the pain and suffering that I’m experiencing now worth all of the trouble that it’s causing?

Every time that these thoughts come, I think back to previous battles that I didn’t think were worth fighting for, I think of the times when I didn’t think that I was strong enough to overcome. I look back at the times when I was on my knees, crying out to God for his Mercy and Grace which just seemed to never come. I think of all of the people who gave up on me because my pain was too much for them to bear.

I think of the times when I was calling for the light to brighten the darkness that I was trapped in.

I ponder the moments when the spirit of God seemed to just pass me by, when it seemed as if I wasn’t worth saving, when nothing else mattered other than no longer existing.

I think of all of these moments of brokenness. I wonder how I’m still here, still breathing, basking in the joy that fills my soul; the very soul that until recently felt empty, void of any hope, powerless and lost.

I couldn’t have survived all that I’ve been through without the intervention of a higher power. Without the mercy and patience of a power beyond anything I could ever try to imagine.

It’s not something that I find easy to explain, it’s not something I would even expect many to understand. But for the few that do, be encouraged, it does get better. I can testify that even in this moment, what lies ahead really is worth holding out for.

The extraordinary tends not to make much sense to begin with. Instead of wasting energy trying to comprehend that which is holding us together, use the time instead to deepen the connection to it and as the relationship develops, so too will the understanding of it.

I don’t claim to fully overstand every experience that I have faced, but I try to look within each one for the lesson it was trying to teach me. I aim to grasp the authenticity of every interaction that touches my mind, body and spirit.

My aim is to deepen my connection with my inner self so that my outer being can evoke a strength beyond any barrier that might try to bend or break me.

I am a spirit builder, I won’t stop until the foundation is set and that which is built upon it is strong enough to withhold any storm. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working everyday towards the goal.

The light within must shine bright enough to drown out even the darkest shadow.

I have hope that I will get there. My hope keeps me going everyday, even when the past fights to keep me there, in my brokenness and hopelessness. I keep pushing through and continue to press ahead.

I will not surrender. I will not forget how much I have already overcome.

I will breath, I will survive, I will be ok.

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God’. (John 14:1)

#SpiritOfTheFittest #LightOverDark

#Yes #IAmInAwe #Love #Power #Might #Spirit #KeepGoing #ItsJustATest #YouWillWin #GodsSpirit


Do I have to lose in order for you to win?

We live our lives constantly experiencing imbalances of power.

As a child at school we’re either the bully or the bullied, at work we’re either the employer or the employee and at home we’re either the submissive or the dismissive. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we cannot avoid imbalance. Without this hierarchy there would be no sense of order. Or would there?

If we all started life on a level playing field how might the world look and feel? From the outside, things would seem much fairer, we would all have access to the same things at the same time in exactly the same way. Though I’m not so sure if I would be comfortable being the same as everybody else. For starters, what motivating stories about challenge and how to overcome them, would I be able to pass on to my children and their children?

Privilege is a huge imbalance that often determines the course of somebody’s life. It can either propel someone to greatness or attempt to hold someone back from achieving their true greatness.

If we all had equal access to the tools needed to succeed in life then maybe we might all get what we want out of life. Unfortunately this is not the case, and life as we know it, is very unfair.

However, one thing that I have learned through my lack of privilege is that what I want is not the same as what I need. I wouldn’t know what I needed out of life if I spent most of it getting exactly what I wanted whenever I wanted it. I wouldn’t understand the importance of God’s timing over my timing.

I know what it is to taste, to touch, to smell, to hear, to feel and to see hardship. The privilege of experiencing such hardship propelled me into the greatness that I experience regularly today.

I am still on my journey towards everlasting happiness and success but I also acknowledge the great achievements that have come along the way. I made it through my childhood where I often faced great sadness, depression and anxiety, low self-esteem, poverty and lack of opportunity.

I overcame all of those to make it into my 20’s. This era began at my lowest point. Two weeks after my first real encounter with feeling as if I had nothing left to live for, balanced itself out to become one of my highest points when I found out I was pregnant with my first child.

This era also saw a mix of further highs and lows including Marriage, another child, physical and mental abuse, career changes, setbacks, more setbacks and then a revelation that would change the course of my life forever.

At a point where I felt so lost that I thought I would never be found, at a point where I felt that I had so much on my plate at times but no appetite to eat it all; at my lowest point where it felt that l could contribute nothing more to this life, when I felt so unbalanced that the scales of life would never balance in my favour again – I found a new sense of life, I found Jesus.

Now, we may find anything in life that will serve as the one thing to uplift and motivate us. But I was privileged enough to have Him walk me through the last few years of my 20’s into my 30’s.

I am privileged enough to have Him pick me up every-time I break into small broken pieces. And now, in my mid-late 30’s I am learning to stop wanting what I don’t need and to strive for only that which will enrich my spirit and build into my legacy for my children.

He constantly reassures me every time I take a leap of faith.

I never know the outcome but I taste, touch, smell, hear, feel and see the privilege of having the one thing in my life that can overcome any of the challenges that the imbalances of life throws at me.

I don’t feel in competition with others anymore, I don’t pay attention to those who try to discredit me or deny my existence.

I don’t have to lose anymore so that you can win. That is not what imbalance of life is all about. Sometimes in life, we have to experience imbalance in order to understand what it is that we truly need. This allows us to become the best version of ourselves. When life throws you off balance, it’s only a matter of time, patience, determination, logic and faith that will help to re-position you.

If life for you is and always has been easy, then you have not lived and you are not yet the best version of yourself.

My past hardships are some of the secrets to my success. Whilst I would never wish them on anyone else, I have to acknowledge how much they have shaped the person that I am now. They have become the foundations on which I have built my life. I walk all over my hardships every day as a reminder of everything that I have been through and a warning of what I will return to if I allow my focus to shift towards other people and their privilege. Their privilege is their own story and I don’t have the right to pass judgement. Nor do I have the time or the patience to focus on other people’s journey. It is not my job to understand their journey. My own journey is much too exhausting for that.

What is most important about our destination is what we acquire, learn and surround ourselves with on the journey there. It is these things that will ensure that the destination is enjoyable and strong enough to become a legacy for generations to come.

If we can truly understand the importance of our own imbalance then maybe we can start to understand the privilege of having it and the greatness that could potentially come out of it. “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

If your life feels unbalanced right now, have faith that with the right tools and mindset, things will balance themselves out.

You’ve made it this far, what makes you think that you can’t make it even further?

Don’t let the imbalances of life win. You were not born to lose.

“Neither death, nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present, nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39