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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Poem: Busy

I thought it a shame, as you click clicked
That you missed the warmth of a small body,
And the softest hair at his nape.
As you swipe swiped, I wanted to name you apathy, but for your self-regard.
I swallow around the tight ball
To collect blinks, a lifted chin, a
Precious smile.
You can Like them later – or rather, you probably won’t.

Bullies, cowards and empty cupcake sleeves

ImageI don’t normally read the gossip columns, or at least, i don’t normally admit to reading them; but i was moved to post this on my Facebook today:

Was there a woman who saw those awful pictures of Nigella Lawson who didn’t think “If he does this in public what does he do behind closed doors?”

Suzanne Moore’s comment in the Guardian got me thinking – how is it some men think that they can behave in such a way? And why, when Nigella was so evidently being mauled, was someone sitting there taking photos and not asking her if she was ok?

I’m not an expert on domestic abuse by any means, although i have experienced it first hand, and i’m sure there are hundreds of blogs out there commenting on the same thing, but it just makes me wonder: what was Saachi, the photographer, and the fellow diners at that restaurant thinking? From the pictures, Nigella’s thoughts are written across her face…

I obviously don’t know Mr Saachi – but i would have pinned him an eloquent man. But then, some of the most eloquent seem to resort to either childishly sticking their heads under a blanket and hoping a situation will disappear (rather than broach a potentially difficult conversation) or, violence.

Such actions eventually expose them for what they really are: bullies and cowards.

Poem: You’re just not that into me

He's just not that into meI’d resorted to using a website
For lack of natural introductions,
(a curse of a more modern age).
In my naïveté, I thought it more honest,
A chance for virtual reciprocation,
or, where a tangible love could bloom.
So, after searching for the right date site
(and this took much procrastination!)
I found one with feasible Connections,
And that’s when I found you.
I’d shilly-shallied before I ‘waved’
(I felt mechanical in my deliberations)
Heart stomping: ‘This? Antithesis of romance!’
I’d ruled out the sexagenarian,
He had Viagra, but owned no notion
Of what is to be Christian.
And the posh man with the Porsche,
(He earned 70K, and had just won a promotion)
But challenged my personal belief in creation.
You: the frankness of your emails wooed me,
(and, you were blasé about your diction)
You had me, when you texted me in the afternoon.
But then, on iMessage you confused me;
Silence. A sudden loss of basic communication.
Should I Skype you, to find you? Or Vibre, or Text?
No heart-full words on WhatsApp, and we’d not Facebooked.
Oh! Remember when we had one phone?
When there was just one answer machine?
The red light either blinked, or it didn’t.
We have a plethora of forms for expression
In twenty first C – your silence scares me,
I really like you. But, you’re just not into me.

(Inspired by the film, ‘He’s just not that into you’)

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.