Thriving?

We’re going through a difficult time at the moment – I won’t go into it but suffice is to say one outcome could be pretty crap.

A deep fault of mine is that I allow worry to wrap itself round my heart and squeeze ever so painfully. So much so I find it hard to pray. If you know me you probably wouldn’t realise – as I just ‘carry on’. I think it’s something I inherited from my mum – just ‘get on with it’. Crying about it isn’t going to make it any better…

I had to leave for work super early this morning. There’s something about silly’o’clock – like no one’s touched the day yet. It’s clean.

I’d grabbed some AVON brochures on my way out the door to post along a nearby road. I crossed paths with a man doing a paper round from his Ford Escort…remember when it used to be a young teenager on a bike?

I found myself dwelling on what’s hurting me most – and asked God where he was in all of it. Over the last few days I’ve felt a numbness that I’ve wondered is the vacuous absence of God.

So much so this morning that I asked:

“Do you love me Lord? Do you really Love me?”

After posting the last AVON brochure, unusually, I’d put on my headphones as I walked to the train station. I wanted to listen to a Christian music playlist – if I can’t pray, this is the next best way to talk to God, right?

A band came on and then as I turned into I side street my playlist jumped to the next song.

“How he Loves us..” – Cory Asbury.

‘Odd’, I thought.

I got to the station platform and phrase from the bible came to mind; Paul in Corinthians saying:

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh..” – 2 Corinthians 12:7

I realise that there are so many others a lot worse off than me: financially, health wise…but I wonder why it feels like I’m herding kittens? Am I thriving? Am I doing what God’s really planned for me?

Paul talks about overcoming the ‘thorn in his side’ – and uses the analogy to stay grounded in Christ. If I struggle to pray in the worst times, how will I ever feel ‘connected’?

I actually feel like i’ve only just got my head above the water, and I can see the next wave coming. It will engulf me…

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Mud in the well…

Shine your light in the deep well,
Where the darkness swallows me.
Dig dig down deep.

You ex-ca-vate hope and love
Buried beneath the clag.
Cloyed, cramped, clumped.

With your bare hands you dig,
You scrape away the fetid,
The thorns and the stones.

I love your unsightly face
Streaked in my ignominy,
That gore is mine. I am clean.

You make beautiful things,
Out of mud. Deliverer. Redeemer.
When you dig, dig down deeper.

Inspired by Genesis 26: 12-25
The mud in my well is……….?

Hello Ash Wednesday

Excuse the reflective mood. Lent starts today, so it’s got me thinking a bit more about others.

I stumbled across this while flicking through Pinterest this morning:

Isaiah 58-10Very much the theme for my life at the moment, my new job working for ASLAN, putting pen to paper again (ok, tapping on keys) with HJ – it seems a lot is being shuffled into perspective!

What’s wonderful about Lent is that it crosses religion, and even cultures. Ask most people in the street, and they will know that it’s a time when you have to ‘give something up’. But what if you turn it on it’s head and, instead of giving something up, make it a time when you DO something you wouldn’t normally do?

I’ve been openly confronted by some who ask ‘why should I give something up?’ Well, if you don’t want to, don’t! But…you’re missing the point…

The main reasons Christians ‘do’ Lent is to reflect on the time Jesus spent 40 days and nights alone in the desert. It’s the time leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection (Easter) when he gave up food and companionship to pray and be closer to God, his father.

At the heart of Christianity is a hope that we’d help and love the needy, the hungry and the lonely. Sometimes that’s really hard to do. Especially when your initial kindness is rejected or ridiculed by others.

Video: Moved to write by Marcken

 

 

Transform Me

Your fingertips shaped Creation,
And what was good is perfect.
Intentional inspiration;
more than worthy of respect.

Extravagant your bestowing
Light, entity, a deluge of galaxies.
Meticulous Designer, fore-knowing
Scrutiny, query in life’s galleries.

Indulgent Father, I create anarchy
An unintentioned disposition
Still, you relinquish your love to me
Lavishly, at your own volition.

Reshape my miniscule soul?
World wearied, in disproportion
Transform me, mould me whole?
Pure. Like when you shaped Creation.

No room for self doubt

Keep Satan downI had a thought; in between the madness of work over the last few weeks. It was like a scolding fork prodding my left bum cheek. The thought was simply; why?

Yes, yes..i’ve had it before. Many a time if fact, when talking about my ex. But this time it miraculously resonated with the answer. And this, because I had a conversation with a work colleague.

I must have easily been amongst 4000 other Christians over the last few weeks if you count the Christian New Media Awards and Conference, the William Lane Craig events and the Woman to Woman conference.

So the stabs and prods of self doubt shouldn’t really have been surprising. Pete Phillips (CODEC) got it right as we all piled out of the Christian New Media Conference on 16th October –

@pmphillips spiritual attack tweet

Inspired and filled with the spirit of ‘can do’ – what a dangerous Christian we are. What I now realise is that we are at our most venerable when we are closest to God.

Studying to be a Minister, working in a Christian environment, a new Christian…hungry to know more of God? All lambs.

Peter said, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Here, God can use His power and ability to shine through our weaknesses; the potential to become living witnesses of his power. Self Doubt robs Him of this.

Paul confirms this, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)

CM. I’m shaking my head. We’ve known, and talked about how a relationship won’t work, but we’re still playing games. Something I told myself a while ago that I’d never do. Honesty always. But I’ve ended up deceiving myself.

It’s not real. And that’s not what I need.

My ex has forgotten I’m still on our account, and still receive bank statements. I see the flowers, the restaurants and the trips away. He’s loving someone else. But I won’t find anyone if I’m still bitter and letting him influence my own self worth.

A conversation with a work colleague confirmed this. We got onto the subject of divorce. When he split with his wife, who cheated on him, he was made homeless. I’ll not name names, but he was a successful DJ at the time…and slept in the back of a shop for months and months; nobody knew.

He had every right to be bitter. And he was for a long while. Reduced to sleeping in a shop, with a friend leaving him food every now and then, he turned to God and asked, ‘Why? And for how damned long?’

It dawned on him that in his bitterness, he was holding on to the past. Not allowing God to point to the future. It wasn’t until he let her go, that things started to fall into place for him and he found a flat.

I need something real now. And yes, I’ve know this from the outset really. I’m feeling low about this ‘relationship’ today. Add to this, i’m feeling low about my ex, my job, lack of money…and this low self esteem is taking up a lot of energy. Too much, I realise this. If I feel shite, I’m good for nothing. (and i’m downright sure this is sinful)

It’s not what I need. That’s not what He needs.