Sunday, 2 July 2017

Life Is What You Make It

Today, when I turned over my calendar this is what I read, "Life is what you make it, always has been, always will be." As I read the quote, I smiled to myself as it was exactly the reminder I needed.

My life may not be where I would have liked it to be, however it is where it is! So instead of dwelling on the why and the what if's, I choose to learn how to embrace this season I find myself in.

How exciting could each day be, if I live knowing that my day will be what I make it?!

It is not possible to go back and make alterations to what has already been. However, I can make a difference today. Instead of looking to others to make a day good, bad or somewhere in between, I should be looking to myself to make something of each new day.

That something could be seeing new opportunities in the day ahead - committing to speaking kindness, love and encouragement over the people in my life, committing to putting someone else's needs before my own. Seeking to make the most and the best out of all this new day brings. Opening my eyes to living life differently and choosing to have hope in this brand new day.

Choosing to accept that 'life is what I make it', let's go of expectation. No-one, other than me, can knock my day down when I accept that I am the one who is making my life what it is. When the knock downs come, I can take a deep breath, let it all go and remind myself that I am 'making' this new day.

For me, the best part is that I do not have to do all this on my own. Each day brings along moments which are new and bright, I believe that I just need to open my eyes wider to see and to not believe that I already know it all.
The One who encourages me to see each day as new, is One who is trustworthy and good - my God who walks right beside me as I discover more and more that, "life is what you make it, always has been, always will be."

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

100 Days of Thankfulness

I think I am a cup half full sort of person. Most of the time I do try to see the positive in a situation or person.

Just over a week ago, at Church, we were challenged to spend the next one hundred days being thankful - to find one thing from the day that we could be thankful about. We decided to take up the challenge and have begun to include 'thankfulness' into our day.

As a family, we often think about being thankful, however making a point of going over the day and then writing down our thanks for that day has made such a difference. For me, looking back over the day in a thankful way has really changed my mind set. It brings the opportunity to consider every new day through brighter, more positive eyes. As the day comes to a close the challenge to look back with a thankful heart really lifts my spirit as I see so much to say thank you for.

Tomorrow is #10 and I am excited about what the next ninety might bring. I hope that I will become a person whose cup is full to overflowing with thankfulness.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

It's OK Not To Be OK

Honestly, of late, there have been a lot of times when I am not OK. Life has taken me down a very different path to what I had expected and it feels like there have been far too many moments that have not been OK.
At times, life hurts or it can feel just so unreal or it is simply just really hard work!

However, overtime I am realising that it really is OK to not be OK. 

There are times when something hurts and my immediate response is to push it aside whilst putting on a brave face. Or, I find the strength, in that moment, to be still - to breathe in and out and then let it go. 
Yet there are times when I am not able to hide the pain and the hurt and I know I am not OK. I may be alone or I may with be others and the 'not being OK' is about to spill out...
What I am beginning to appreciate is whilst it is OK for me to not be OK, no-one else should have to bear the reaction to my hurting.
Yes, I might get frustrated, however if I overstep the mark with my words or my tone then I must apologise. I should also consider how I would like to be spoken to and speak to others in this way. I may feel overwhelmed and even though I pause, I am unable to find the strength to let it go, so instead I can try to show gentleness in my response. 
The day may be a tough one, yet I must remind myself not to take that out on the people around me. However if I am honest and admit I am struggling they may well respond by supporting me through a hug, a prayer, a kind word or a smile. 

In choosing to be open about not being OK, I am choosing to be real and true. I am choosing to accept that in that moment, there is pain, however I also choose to hope that in the moments to come there will be things that are brighter and new. 

There is vulnerability in standing up and saying, "in this moment, I am not OK." I guess I would rather people thought I had it all together, yet the truth is I do not! I wobble, I stumble, I hurt, I cry, I shout and I despair. 

Through it all, I am so grateful that I have discovered the beauty in knowing that with every sun comes a new day. For I know even though this day may be one that is not OK, tomorrow is a brand new day, full of opportunity for things to be more than OK. 

Friday, 12 May 2017

What Takes Up My Space?

I think Pinterest is fab! A search on Pinterest can lead to the discovery of all sorts of wonderful things. Pins that help in so many ways - being mum, my job, and even what nail colour I might have next! What I find particularly helpful is, that as I scroll through the home page, the quotes and verses I come across can really lift my gaze or bring a smile or even make me laugh out loud!

Just this week I realised that sometimes I really do not do myself any favours. I have given too much space and time to negative words and thoughts even to the point where I had started to believe them. Setting off from a negative place where insecurity had begun to guide me, was not proving useful and my steps were not very productive.

So as I was scrolling through Pinterest I suddenly realised that I am the one who allows this negativity room in my thoughts. Each of these positive quotes and verses should be the truth I give space to. Instead of being discouraged, I would like to be encouraged - then I am able to encourage others. Rather than allow myself to feel that I am not good enough, I shall stand on the truth that tells me 'I am loved' - then I am able to love others.

With every sun comes a new day and what I find exciting is that there is opportunity to keep discovering something new. The negative thoughts and words are still likely to come, however when they do, I hope to run from them and instead run toward truth along the brighter path.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Take The First Step...

Over the last few days I have been reading the story of a man called Joshua, who was the guy who took over from Moses. Joshua was given a task to do and not only was this task absolutely huge, it may also have sounded a little bit crazy!

God asked Joshua, along with his army, to march around the city of Jericho for seven days and then the walls would fall down and Joshua and his men would take the city. These walls were between four and five metres high and almost two metres thick.
I wonder if I was asked to do the same whether I might have just laughed out loud?!?!

Yet, Joshua did as he was instructed. They marched around the city once a day for six days and then on the seventh day they marched round seven times and at the sound of the trumpet and at the shouts of the men, the city walls collapsed! WOW!

Joshua faced a monumental task yet he doesn't appear to argue, instead he simply follows the instructions he has been given and also inspires others to do the same.

I would like to find the courage to follow Joshua's example. I believe he saw with eyes that were wider than the situation he found in front of him. Joshua had a faith and a trust that was steadfast because, when faced with what seems a crazy solution to the situation he and his men were facing, they still marched on out.

As they stepped out to take new ground, they went boldly because within them, they had confidence in what they knew about God and what they had seen Him do - deep inside of them must have been the courage to trust. This gives me confidence as I step out into a new chapter of my life.

Sometimes thoughts overwhelm me as do my feelings of fear and insecurity. I can get caught up with feeling that I cannot possible take on this huge task in front of me because I feel that I am not good enough.
However, deep within me, I am able to find the strength to trust and to know that is simply not true. I am able to step out and collapse my wall.
With every sun my faith and trust grows and my eyes see further than the situation I find myself in. My heart has hope and I feel able to march on believing and experiencing that I am held.

I do not know where my marching will take me, yet I will continue on because I know that the One who marches alongside me has also gone before me. I will bravely step out into the newness with expectation and with hope because He makes all things good!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

What I Think

There are times when I just want to not have to think. When I would like to switch off my brain because all the thoughts running through my head are 1) taking me in the completely wrong direction and 2) painful. 

Usually, in moments like this, I will reach for the iPad and play Suduko or watch something on TV - although TV is not currently an option as I gave it up for lent and I have come to the conclusion that I play Suduko just a little bit too often. 

So, I have been trying to use these moments more constructively. Sometimes it works other times I manage to convince myself that I really do need more practise at placing the numbers 1-9 in a square!

Although when I do persevere it often brings blessing. There have been times when I have picked up a book instead of the iPad and I so needed to read the words of that particular chapter. Sometimes it may be a chapter I have read before but because I could not remember where I was up to, it is now a chapter I have read again! Yet, those words were meant to be read again because they were the words of encouragement I needed to be running round my head - far better and more helpful than the negativity and fears that had been chasing around previously. 

It is an effort, however when I talk myself into talking to God rather than just listening to my voice, I find myself fixing on truth rather than on unhelpful uncertainty.  

When things happen of which I have no expectation or seemingly no control over, the first thing I tend to do is think. These thoughts often go into overdrive and when there is no one there to interject or to give support, then there is no telling where these thoughts may take me. 
However if I stop. If I change direction rather than just trying to switch off then I give myself an opportunity to find those better thoughts. 

It's almost like having a little supply of 'good thoughts you can go to when negative ones are dragging me down'!!

If I choose to not make the effort to read and absorb these words of truth, then how will I top up my supply of what is good? Instead if I build up that supply I have a better chance of being able to deal with whatever it is that is causing the need to feel I want to switch off. 

This treasure that I am learning to build my foundation on provides the opportunity to fix on what is good and true, which can then bring peace. When fear and worry is chasing round my head I do not have peace. Thinking negatively is not helpful and leads me in completely the wrong direction. 

One of these treasures I am continuing to learn is that with every sun comes a new day. So in this new day I will aim to not take myself to a place where I feel I need to switch off my thoughts. Instead I will switch my thoughts to what I know is true and good and I will hope to keep these things running round my head, however tricky that might sometimes be. 

Friday, 31 March 2017

Fixing My Mind

As I look back over today I see that on a couple of occasions I could have reacted completely differently and my day could have been a whole lot worse than the good day that it was. I am not saying that I got everything right today as I so did not! I most definitely made some not very good choices as well!

Often I find myself at a place where I need to make a choice. On the odd occasion that choice is made with no thought as the response I choose is 'just something I do'. Yet, more often than not the choice needs more thought and consideration to make the better response. Sometimes I need to give myself a real talking to in order to make the better response. 

Today, almost unexpectedly, I found myself quite overwhelmed by everything. I could have fixed on being overwhelmed and let my day become a gloomy one, however encouraging words from a beautiful friend meant I was able to lift my gaze and not be swept away by my emotions. This conversation happened at exactly the right time and because they were brave and kind enough to take the time to speak those words, in that moment, my day took an upwards turn rather than a downwards one. 

I am realising that I have the potential to determine in which direction my day goes and all this can happen in a split second moment. I also realise that it is not always easy to make the better choice. So do I just hope that on the majority of occasions my choice will be the right one or is there something that will help me along the way?

Yes, I believe there is something...fixing my mind on what is true and on what is right and on what is lovely. Filling my mind with things that are excellent and praiseworthy surely leads to a better place. A place that gives strength so that when my gaze falls, as it certainly will, I can find so much to lift it back up again.