Promoted

It’s been a long time since my last post – life and wedding and flat buying have stolen my brain. Happy, fun, exciting but DRAINING TIMES.

Today I’m trying to get my head around promotion – promotion God’s way.

It seems to me that it’s when we get to a place of complete tired-to-the-bone, energy-depleted, the-full-realisation-that-you-can’t-do-this-alone-place that God suddenly gives you more to do.

I found myself running on empty recently and I said to God – “this is enough! I can’t do this by myself, I’ve been proud and stuck up and now I need your help. I need your humbleness and to be like you!”. I wanted to be banished to a cave to get my bad behaviour out and to focus on God and not my “prestige and position”. I wanted to stay in the shadows because I fully realise how I just don’t deserve what God has given me so far. I wanted to step down because my behaviour is BAD, my attitude STINKS and I’m so blooming UNGRATEFUL!

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The last thing I excepted was a God-promotion. Why here in my weakness? In my knowledge of that weakness. Why promote me now?

Because in my weakness He is strong. He uses the weak to shame the wise. I have no doubt in my mind that it is GOD who will do this through me because I know I am not enough.

Father, keep me depending on you. Kill my pride dead. Reignite my prayers. Be my everything.

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Where are you Standing

Yesterday in church I was praying about how I’m struggling with not knowing if I will have anywhere to live in September when I get married. My mind went back to my post last week. It’s a fairly dramatic post and probably quite immature.

You see I have a problem with dramatics – I like a good disaster.

I love the rush of adrenaline and pride of “look what I am going through!”. It is so wrong, it is so immature and just plain unhelpful. After my buzz of life shattering panic (much like a sky dive – exhilarating in it’s danger) I am left empty, dangling on a bungee cord, swinging back and forth in some deep ravine, helpless and stuck. Feeling depressed and exhausted.

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I saw a picture of myself on Sunday in church. Standing around in filth and rubbish, rubbing it on my skin, smelling all it’s foulness, focusing on the rot and mould around me.

Then I saw a picture of what God wanted to offer me – a clear crisp waterfall, to clean me, strengthen me and refresh me.

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This is what I learnt – if I want to feel God’s power, if I want to experience His refreshment and joy, I have to move away from basking in my problems. I cannot be calm in a situation if I study my problems in such detail! I can’t get clear perspective if I am consumed with looking at all that could go wrong.

I need to think about and focus on God, I need to read His instructions for troubles and then I need to LIVE by them, not just forget them.

I need to put the rubbish down, stop standing in it and do what God tells me to do – Trust Him absolutely.

I need to stand in God’s truth.

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Spring Cleaning!

I work as an office monkey in a Care Home for people with Dementia, and yesterday I was merrily typing away when I heard sobbing coming from the reception lounge. One of our beautiful residents had tears dripping down her face, completely distraught; and this lady, who can barely put a legible sentence together spoke clear as a bell and said that she was “no good to anyone”, that “she was useless and couldn’t do anything for herself” that “everyone thought she was a pointless old woman”. It broke my heart, and as I sat there holding her tissues and praying in my mind I tried to tell her we loved her. That we loved her for just who she is, that even though she could do so much less that before we loved her, and nothing she could or couldn’t do would change that.

It was so clear to me and the people around her that she was loveable, yet to this lady she just couldn’t believe it. Her mind was soaked in so many lies about herself that the truth had started to sound like lies to her.

Cue a Lightbulb Moment for me. That whole morning I had been drenched in thoughts that people were annoyed at me, that they wished I wasn’t there, that I should never have reached out to this or that person; I would just disturb them. Where did I get those beliefs from? People had never said this to me!

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So this morning I sorted through the cupboards in my mind. I looked all through the forgotten drawers, dusty corners and dark recesses. I found things I thought I’d thrown out years ago.

“You’re always a burden to people – you need to stop telling people your problems”

“You’re too shy – No matter how hard you try you’ll never really make people feel at ease.”

“You’ve got nothing interesting to say – Keep your mouth shut so people don’t realise how broken you are”

“You’re selfish, standoffish and rude”

“People are fed up with you – stop taking up their time”

No-one has ever said this to me. Just the nagging thoughts that pop into my head. These are lies, pure and simple; it’s time to clear them out.

Suddenly it dawned on me…. Oooooh so this is why I’ve been so oversensitive lately! This is why I’ve been struggling at Church! This is why I’m doubting reaching out to people my age about Jesus.

This is the devils plan to keep me silent. He’s a liar a great deceiver and he’s been laying traps for me.

Praise God who sets me free with Truth! I am innocent – because Jesus took my sins I will NEVER be found guilty. I am made in God’s image – introverted is how I’m made to be, and that’s ok! Jesus loves me independent of what I do, how I fail and who I speak to – He loves me when I have nothing to give. I am not unwanted – I am bought with a price into a family! I’m not just humoured I am adored!

Goodbye lies and dust and dirt – this mind has had a spring clean! Jesus is all I need.

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No Shame in Brokenness

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Yesterday was the first day in about a year that I felt like my depression had come back. Everyone has something they struggle with and this is the main temptation I face.

There is a part of me that feels ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian and can spend a whole day crying, fighting thoughts of self harm and thoroughly doubting that I have a good future. But I have no reason to be ashamed. Jesus has taken my shame away; in my weakness He is strong.

So I am praying that Jesus catches your attention through what I’ve admitted. Your deepest darkest parts, your lying, stealing, jealousy, pornography, unforgiveness, bitterness, reckless and any other temptation you fight is His strength.

Keep rejecting your temptation, keep trusting in the grace of Jesus to pull you through. Keep on telling Him how you feel. Yet at the end of the day come back to praising Him. He is our strength.

1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13 Niv

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Is saying I Love God the Biggest Lie I tell?

Am I a fraud? This is the thought going through my head today. Am I lying to myself when I say I love Jesus? Do I really, truly understand the shallowness of my wishy-washy relationship with God?

Yes, I mostly go to Church, yes I try to pray everyday, and yes I try to thank God when I remember to. I say I live for Jesus, I’ve been baptised, I tick “Christian” on forms. Hey, I even get pictures from God! I even do mission and youth work, my heart beats faster when I think of Jesus, sometimes though not always.

How long would a human relationship last if I treated the person the same as I treat Jesus?

If I gave someone the part of the day when I’m THE MOST TIRED. When I skim read their texts or emails? When I only half listen to what they want me to do and don’t often make the effort to do it. If I never really, really, properly spoke to other people about them, if I went through my whole day without even thinking to tell them how I am? What if I never, ever asked them what was important to them. Do you think this relationship would survive?

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Today I’m reminded of theses words, and I wonder if I am dangerously close to being the kind of person who hears them back from the Lord…

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23

This is my prayer today, that God will shock me out of this domesticated rut that I am in, that he will give me the electrifying passion he inspires in people to live life with God as the main focus. I want to live seeing God as my main meal, my breakfast, lunch and tea and not just a snack to fit in when I fancy it.

Jesus, show me what it means to know you, I don’t want to lie to you with my actions any longer.

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What Trouble can Teach us

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I’m not usually a fan of this kind thing…. The over analysis of difficult situations and trying to find the most tenuous link to meaning, all to help us feel in control. As the preacher mentioned at my church on sunday “In this world Jesus promised us two things; that we will have trouble, and that he will be always be with us“.

So I try not to focus on the why is this happening and look for the where is He whilst this is happening.

However through spending time with my fiancé who is going through a rough patch health-wise I have seen areas where he is growing and how trouble is growing and shaping him. Let me tell you how…

My fiancé is stripped of the things he is best at. He is in hospital after having part of his lung removed
and sewn back together. He is stuck to a bed in pain, he can’t play sport, he can’t work, he can’t do youth work and he can’t make a difference to people lives like he always tries to. His identity for the last few years has been taken….. Now he is having to find his identity in God.

He has always been a person who is upbeat, positive and jokey. He is so much fun to be around! Yet now he is on drugs that make him feel miserable and depressed. I can see his compassion and understanding growing- this man is maturing!

He is mostly alone, because he is two hours away from family and friends. God is the closest one to him and my fiancé is forced to rely on him.

There is so much blessing going on through this situation – Jesus promised us both trouble as this world is fallen, before I would have focused on the bad and collapsed but now that I am watching for Jesus I am strengthened and can pray my fiancé through this time even when I can’t be with him.

what difficulty are you facing? Have you been focusing on the why instead of the “where is Jesus?”; if so grab the promise that He is always there and look out for Him, it may take time but you won’t be disappointed.

Expecting the Worst and Terrified of Good News

So, yesterday was the first time my Dad has been home in a year, he’s in hospital for chronic depression and the last 6 years have been tough. To read a bit more check out my post from yesterday here.

I had no idea how it would go, and I was nervous, scratch that I was plain scared of what may happen to him emotionally when he came back.

It went well. I mean REALLY well! He wasn’t stressed by the small things which would have sent him over the edge, he was laughing, he even helped me make some of my invitations for my wedding. WOW how blessed were we yesterday! Yet I found myself reacting very strangely…

I was comfortable when I expected it to go wrong, yet when how well it went sunk in I suddenly became terrified deep, deep inside.

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Why would someone become terrified of good news? I think it’s because they fear the fall back to where they were before.

I love the feeling of having my Dad back, someone to protect me and care about me and not someone for me to worry about; yet the thought that I may have to go through the emotions of loss that I face when he has a turn for the worse make me want to run away from the good situation and the possibility of pain.

I have been told in the past that this is not trusting God. I disagree. This is a normal reaction to trauma and suffering and I know I couldn’t stop it if I tried. What matters is what I do with my reaction, and that I trust God with my actions.

I believe that it is not your emotional reactions to life which show your faith and character – it’s the actions you chose to live out once your reaction has surfaced.

So here are the actions I am chosing today…

  • To be thankful for the fact my Dad is alive! This is a miracle
  • To forgive myself for being afraid, that’s what Jesus has done
  • To remember the good times from yesterday and treasure them no matter what happens tomorrow
  • To think about the promises that God has for my future – they are awesome!
  • To stop myself preparing for the worst case scenario and leave Jesus in control

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