Lessons on unnecessary stress

The past few weeks have seen my stress levels on a high which caused sleepless nights, erratic hunger pangs and a splattering of unwanted zits (that come and go as they please like London rain) across my forehead. See, I’ve planned my year-end holiday in the Philippines early this year. I’ve timed it before our mandatory week-long Christmas break so I’d get to spend time in Manila longer. That was the easy part. The thing that made it all a bit difficult was my UK visa renewal.It wouldn’t have been so hard if the Tories stopped changing immigration laws and managed the UK Border Agency better. I could’ve easily applied for an indefinite leave to remain as I’ve been here for over six years as well but because the laws have changed yet again, I had to apply for another restricted working visa.

I sent my application late September thinking I’d get the results back in three to four weeks max (based on previous experience). After over a month of waiting, which involved an issuance of biometric details, I still have not heard from UKBA. Horror stories from friends (ie no word since a June application/three-month wait for passports) and news about the God-forsaken agency kept me at constant unease. My flight date loomed closer, flights got more expensive (a £200 jump in a week!) and my working status was in limbo (what if, after all this waiting, I wouldn’t get it?). It all got a bit depressing and the introductory winter weather did not help at all.I had a convo with my mother and vented about how I seriously NEED to spend Christmas with them this year. She told me to pray, that they will pray. My friends  here have been so supportive as well, they told me to pray, that they will pray. After a horrible, horrible, horrible week and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I gathered my act together and went to St. Paul’s Covent Garden during my lunch break. And I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. I came home feeling a bit more relaxed.

And then a few days later, an answer.

So there you go. My future in London is definite for another three years and I get to go on my holiday in December. Stress relieved.

I guess there are a few lessons in all this, other than better anticipation of things to come when you can’t rely on your government for quick results (okay, let’s not get too political about this). One is that the Power of Prayer is amazing.

We all worry a bit too much when adversity strikes and whilst it’s easy to vent and rant and swear at our misfortunes, we forget that it’s actually easier to pray. In all honesty, I’ve never appreciated Luke 11:9-13 until this month. Literally, I’ve asked for an answers and I’ve received them; I’ve seeked for a bit of sanity and He was there; I’ve knocked on the UKBA doors and once again I’ve been given the opportunity to stay here longer.

All that said, I’ve realised in this process as well that you can never be too sure of anything. I’ve thought about the possibilities of leaving the country if my visa wasn’t approved, and though the idea of leaving my home for the past six+ years and being unsettled again is a scary thing, I’ve actually prepared myself for it (just in case). As clichéd as it is, we really may not get what we want all the time, but we will always be given what we need. We just have to be ready for it. Acceptance can sometimes be a hard thing, but it can make things a thousand times easier.

Lastly, taking inspiration from Mr A-Z and Mr Marley, I’ve realised how blessed and lucky I am. Looking back, this visa situation is nothing compared to what others are going through. There’s a burning heap of gratefulness in me – for my support group, for my family, for every person and everything that’s been given to help me survive. Life’s too short to worry it all away so we should always be appreciative and never forget to give thanks. End of the day, whatever The Man Up There has got planned for the future (and wherever life takes you) He’s got your back. Always.

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