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. 

Friday, 3 March 2017

It's Going To Be OK

As I sit here life is not what I had imagined or hoped for. At times I feel tired, weary, sad and hurting. However I can still find peace - in this moment I still know that I am OK. I hold on to the promise that it will be completely calm.

I may feel all these things however I choose to not be defined by these feelings. I am able to look back and see that feelings do not last, they may be fleeting or they may hang around for a while...yet they change.

The way I feel about things today is not how I felt in my yesterdays, therefore I can almost guarantee that I will not feel the same in my tomorrows.

Here and now I know - and it is not just a feeling - that it IS going to be OK. I have no idea what 'OK' looks like, yet I absolutely know that is where I am going. What I would like to hold on to even more is that actually I am going to be more than OK because with every sun comes a new day...

Sunday, 12 February 2017

My Story So Far...

In June 1984, when I was almost 8 years old I made the decision to give my heart to Jesus. 

Billy Graham had come to Norwich City Football Ground on the Mission England tour. 

I was sat with Dad in the choir and when they gave the opportunity for people to respond I went forward knowing that I wanted Jesus to be my friend. I knew that I wanted Jesus to be part of my life. 

There wasn't a dramatic transformation and I continued on going to church and bible club. I also had the privilege of going to CUTS or Bible Club Camp as it was known then. 

Each year, Mum and Dad took us on holiday to guest houses that were run by the Methodist Guild. It was great as we made some fantastic friends, some of whom I am still in touch with and I would always look forward to going just to meet up with our friends - although I did always try and go to the morning prayers! 

To be honest I wasn't the easiest daughter in our household and I was a times a little bit rebellious. However I never let go of God, I may have ignored Him or chose not to listen or do His will...yet He stayed faithful. 

As I look back now I can see that God has always been building on to the foundation of my first choice to have Jesus in my life. What I might have seen as routine or just what Christians do, kept adding to the work that 'He began in me'. 
...going to Church
....having Christian friends
....reading the bible 
...listening to Christian music
...knowing that people were praying for me
....going to Spring Harvest, on Christian holidays, to a music conference
...attending House Group
...being involved at church 
And more recently having the privilege of working for our church.

Without all this I wonder if when my world fell apart I may have chosen to run in the other direction and leave God behind. 

However that is not what happened. I know that God is faithful and God is so good and all that He had provided in those first 30 years of being a Christian gave me a strength that I did not know I had.

Over the last couple of years my relationship with God has gone deeper. I thought I was doing ok as a Christian when actually what I was doing was keeping God in a box. I was the one in control of our relationship. What God did in my life was on my terms not His. 

Now I want God in every part of my life. I am thankful that I am discovering more and more of who God is and how much I am loved. 
A couple of weeks ago I heard someone speak about how Jesus wants to come into every room of our lives. I know that is what I want. I know that my life is fuller with Jesus in every part.

I have learnt that by inviting Jesus into every room, every relationship, every hurt, every circumstance I find myself in, means that I am held. It means I find peace. 

There is a verse in the Bible that says...

I am learning more about what it means to live by faith, I have no idea what my future holds however I do know who holds the future! 
 I am thankful that when it feels too much of a struggle God provides what I need - a hug or words or a smile from a friend, a reminder from His Word or through the wonder of creation - God knows what I need. 

When I gave my heart to Jesus I had no idea of what my life would bring. Yet as I stand here now I have so much to be thankful for. For the most part that is being mum to three beautiful children and what a privilege and responsibility that is. 
In Jesus, God has given us so much and I do not want to keep that to myself. 
I hope that as I keep on with my loving Heavenly Father I can share and show Jesus to Kate, Noah and Lily. I don't always get it right, however I am learning that you can never say I love you too much and that I should always be the first one to say sorry. 

I am discovering that I am best if I take a day at a time or even a step at a time. I believe that is all God asks us to do - when he provided manna for the Israelites and when He taught us to pray, it was just for the day. 
I hope that as I continue on in my walk with Jesus I can find the strength to lift my gaze, to know I am perfectly covered by His love. I choose to do His will through the power of His spirit in me and I hope that I can live a life that loves God and loves others. 

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Big Box, Little Box...

It has been a bit of a week! My plans were to take a week off from work and get one or two things done, however that was not to happen!

Once or twice during the week I could have crumbled. I could have chosen to make it all about me and say, 'Why, it is just not fair?' 

There was a time when I would have done that. I am not saying that now, I always make the better choice as I most definitely do not. Instead I am learning that no matter what size box I think I am in, there is always room to think outside it. 

My week off did not go as planned, yet it meant...
...I was not preoccupied whilst I was at work
...there was time to think things through
...when I chose the wrong reaction, I could say sorry and spend time considering my choices rather than burying them away
...actually all the things I had hoped to do could wait - just because I thought I needed to do them, it did not make them a necessity. 

A short time ago, I heard somebody say, "It is not 'why', it is 'what for'?"

I did not ask for these things to happen, however they have. So instead of letting them overwhelm and consume me, I shall try and think differently.

Maybe, instead of putting me (and my reactions or responses) in a box, I will put these things in the box. I shall go to them as I need and deal with them bit by bit - as I need to. I will take it a step at a time. I hope to trust and have faith, knowing it will work out as it should. 
Why is not for me to consider. 
If I look outside the box then maybe it is an opportunity for me to grow, to be stronger and to choose a new way.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Why Do It?

Love is not always the easy choice.
Getting out of bed when it is a day I would rather not tread, can be a struggle. 
Refusing to let others behaviour determine my own can be massive thing to do.
Forgiving and then also forgetting can be so very hard.

So why do it?

Loving against the odds.
Choosing the hard path.
Acting justly and fairly.
Forgiving and forgetting. 

Hard work, yes. It can seem like a mountain to climb. 

Yet it does bring peace. It takes away the need to strive and control. 
Instead, purposefully looking inward at my thoughts and actions is what I should be choosing to do. 

Slow, small, steps in all these things - whilst at times hard and I have to stop myself from running in the other direction - is the better choice.

It will bring the brighter day. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Things to do...

You may well have already guessed that I like to write! I write first thing in the morning and again last thing at night - although that does not always happen so easily! I like to write my blog. I write to remember things I have heard and things I should be doing. I enjoying writing as a form of communication and I was the one who would always go over my word limit when there was such a thing on a text message!

A couple of days ago I found myself writing these words, 'I need to let go of all my expectations and just do today'.

If I am expecting, I believe something is likely to happen or someone is likely to do something in particular. 
However, really, what do I know? 
I could spend my time anticipating something is going to happen or expecting that someone is going to do a particular thing yet I cannot be certain of anything. 

Therefore if my thoughts are preoccupied with what I think I should expect, perhaps my thoughts are not as useful as they could be. If I could be brave and do as I wrote and let go of my expectations then my 'somethings' and 'someones' will not let me down. I hope that by releasing my expectations I would also be releasing the need to control my 'somethings' and 'someones'. 

Hopefully, tomorrow's sun will bring a new day and by letting go of expectations and just doing the day it may well lead to surprises. The day may lead to bold new steps that I was not expecting to take. A day without anticipation may bring opportunities to reach above and beyond what I thought I could achieve. 

If tomorrow when I wake, I challenge myself to be free of expectations, maybe I might find myself walking through a day that brings freedom, opportunity, peace and even the unexpected!