Sunday, August 22, 2010

Developing Faith - an introduction

This time last year I was finishing a trip to Cambodia. Prior to the trip I was living in Sydney, working for a firm I loved, doing the kind of work I had always wanted to do, I was falling for a man who reminded me of who I truly was but who would never be mine (disaster). At the time I thought I was pretty happy, at the very least I was living my life to the fullest and taking every opportunity that presented itself but I had this feeling that something wasn't quite right. This feeling that this was not my life, that this was some other person's life and I just happened to be living it. I remember praying before I left, I remember that I asked God to change my life, I asked that I would come back from Cambodia different.. Oh how little did I know, this simple prayer sent me on quite a journey!

Now just over 12 months on, that prayer has been well and truly answered! I am different and my life is soooo different even my dreams for my future are different. I am honestly happy but the journey to here hasn't been simple or easy, I have had to trust God completely, to block out all of the noise and listen to what's in my heart. I've had to develop my faith and become rooted in God. I am so thankful that I am rooted in him.

In the last few days my family has just been rocked by some pretty awful news (the kind with the potential to destroy lives), we are in the midst of a storm, it seems like just when the wind calms another sits in the wings waiting to rage against us. I know that this storm will ultimately clear but when it clears we will all be different, each of us will have been moved in some way. As we face this storm together I find myself leaning into my faith and drawing my strength from God, my faith is strong and has become the rock that I am standing in. This immediate need to rely on my faith got me thinking about where my faith has come from and how it has developed.

I am not 100% sure of how I went about developing this faith but there were definitely some key moments, decisions and people that have helped shape it and I would like to spend the next little while reflecting on some of these moments.

To me faith is fundamentally important and you could say it's because I am religious but it's not. Faith is something we all have but we don't necessarily understand or even question, that is until we are forced to rely on it.. Where do you place your faith? Is it in God? In money? In your job? In your family? In _____?

We are all given the same measure of faith, what's important is what we do with our measure... It's about what we place our faith in, how we build it and whether it is going to be there when we need to rely on it.. As I share and examine my faith, I pray that each of us will take a moment to consider our faith, to examine it and to try to work out how to build this precious gift xo

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eyes of fear

So I have that uncomfortable feeling that I get when something big is going to change. My body is stretching and growing, getting ready for _________.  I don't know what it is but I sure can feel it coming. I have this overwhelming sense of clarity in my mind, I feel sharp and alert like my mind is looking for something. My spirit feels peaceful, almost too calm.. like it too is preparing for something.

I can sense this thing and it's right there, it is so close. I feel like if I reached out in front of me I could almost grab it except that I don't know what I'm reaching out to grab. I can sense myself taking steps closer to this thing but for some reason I can't see it. I pray, I write, I try to open my eyes, my heart, my ears! I try to see it but I can't! Something is stopping me from seeing what I need to see and I have this terrible feeling that the thing stopping me is me..

You see I also feel this strange fear wrapped in a blanket of overwhelming doubt. The tape player in my mind begins with the "you are not enough", "you don't know enough", "who do you think you are" and moves on to thoughts of "but I'm not ready", "but I like my life", "I only just feel like I found my groove, I don't want to change". Mostly my mind is just afraid. What if I can't do this? What if I'm not who I think I am? Or worse what if I am who I think I am? What if I am supposed to be more than this? What if I am supposed to make a bigger difference? What if I am destined to be great?

Fear, fear and more fear. I used to be fearless, I used to long to be great, I used to dream big dreams and believe that I could do anything. I used to hunger to be chosen, to do that which I was born to do.. I wonder when that changed.. Did it even change???

Honestly I don't think it changed, I don't think that I went to bed last night one person and woke up today a different person but I did wake up with eyes of fear...

These eyes of fear are blinding me and I can't see my world, I can't see my life and I can't see the change that I so desperately need to make! All I see in this moment is the fear but I want to see so much more.. I want to be in awe of my God and what he's doing in my world but I can't see those things while I'm focusing on the fear. I must look beyond my eyes of fear, I must refuse to focus on the fear, I will not to be in awe of the fear because I refuse to walk around blind for another moment. I am taking off my eyes of fear!

Eyes of fear blind us, when we look at the world with eyes of fear we cannot see anything except the fear. We do not see life or possibility, we cannot even see the opportunity that is right there in front of us waiting for us to grab it. We are blind. Eyes of fear cause us to only see the fear, to be in awe the fear and once the fear has our awe we are paralysed from acting. I pray that we take a moment to recognise the areas of our life where we see with eyes of fear and that we have the courage to look beyond the fear to the opportunities that await us xx

Monday, August 9, 2010

Taking a step to nurture me

So I am generally a selfish person. When I consider my life and my choices they are (for the most part) selfish and self-centered. My life has been a series of choices based around one fundamental question: what will bring me pleasure. If I am honest even my decision to walk the path that God has planned for me was a selfish decision, it started out as a quest for peace and happiness (ie all about me). Trust me when I say I am selfish. Anyway you would think that amidst all this pleasure seeking that I would have learned how to nurture myself, how to really look after me and feed my soul but I realised over the weekend that I hadn't learnt that at all!

I know what I like, I know what makes me happy but I had never stopped to say how do I actually look after and nurture me. What of all of these things that I have discovered that I love actually brings me peace, rest, healing, relaxation? When I am fragile (or "special" as my best friend calls it) what do I need? How do I nurture me in that moment? Do I even know what fragile looks like for me? And if I discovered I was feeling fragile what would I do? Would I admit it? Would you?

I was sat in my room at lunchtime on Saturday with my sister and my dearest friend and the topic of being fragile came up and in a moment of absolute freedom and honesty we were all like "yes! I feel fragile today." It completely changed our day, the freedom of saying I am fragile allowed us to slow right down and we did. We openly looked at what was presented to us and went I don't think my spirit can handle that right now or I can do this but we need to do it slower or right now I really need to sit for a minute. I have never felt so liberated in my life. It didn't mean we did nothing but it meant that we moved at a gentle pace. For me this is radically different from my usual life experience but I loved it and realised how important it is for us to realise where we are and make smart decisions that nurture our souls.

I am in the middle of a storm season and yesterday was a hard day. I could have come home, ate toast and went to bed but that wouldn't actually have nurtured my soul. Instead I came home, cooked myself a nice healthy dinner, had a long shower, washed my hair, read my bible and wrote in my blog. I took some time to nurture me. Then this morning when I woke up after a sound and peaceful sleep I was able to say there is so much going on and I need to look after me and my world this week and I can't do that while being pulled in 100 directions so I took a step that will allow me to nurture me. I've decided to stop being superwoman and to just let myself be a woman. For me today being a woman means taking time off so that I can nurture me and my family.

I pray that we take a moment to look at ourselves and be honest about where we are so that we can work out what we need. I pray that we all take a step to nurture ourselves xox

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A different kind of season

This year has been an amazing fruitful year, I have loved every moment of it :) I made a commitment not just to believe in God but to walk with God, my walk so far has been delicious and wonderful and I would not change a single moment. Sure I have made some difficult decisions about the way I spend my time, my energy, my resources, decisions about what I put into my body, into my mind and the way I choose to nourish my spirit.. I have made big changes! This year had been just about me and my journey and I was loving it but then something happened, my life entered a new season and suddenly my world got a whole lot more complicated :s

This season is a different kind of season to the one I had become accustomed (well different to the first half of this year), this season requires something new, something I'm not sure I possess, something bigger, stronger and more mature than me.. I don't know how to navigate this space. I am lost. I am currently in a place where the people I love are hurting (not little hurts but the real earth shattering I'm not going to be the same when I get through this kind of hurting), everywhere I turn I seem to be visiting hospitals or talking to doctors or consoling someone who has just received bad news.. I am trying to be strong but I am exhausted. The world as I know it is suddenly a very, very different place and it requires a different strength to the strength I am used to and I don't know how I do this.

How do I navigate this scary place? How do I remain strong and fighting when all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep until this bad dream goes away? Or to drop to my knees and cry to God because I don't understand this place.. How do I fight in this space? I'm tired, I'm weary, I'm fragile and need to rest but this season is not the season to rest this is the season to fight, I must fight, I have been called to fight. So the question is how do I find the reserves I need to fight? Where do they come from? Where do I turn? Who do I turn to? Where do I start?

The answer to all of these questions is really very simple it's God. I find the reserves I need in Him, I turn to Him and I start with Him. When I face Him and not my situation I see the good He is doing in these situations.

When I look for Him I see the relationships that are being healed, the way that differences are forgotten when people unite, I see the way that old grudges disappear when we need to work together, I see relationships and new kinds of love. I am so thankful for this healing.

When I look for Him I see the people He has placed in my life to help me navigate this season, the people that can be strong for me when I am fragile and weak, the people who can believe for me when the dream seems really far away and the people who love me no matter what. I am so thankful for those people.

When I turn to Him I find a strength deep inside that I didn't know I had, I find words I didn't know I could say and I find a wisdom beyond my emotions.

But most importantly when I turn to Him I have faith in something more than this moment, I have a hope for the future and I have all the love that I could ever need. When I turn to Him I see this season through His eyes and it is with this vision of faith, hope and love that I find the strength I need.

For me this is a different kind of season and it is not easy but I can see the hand of God restoring my world, I see Him working these awful moments for good, for glory and I am thankful for Him. I pray that each of us takes a moment in whatever season we are in, be it good or bad, to look for the good that God is doing in us, in our world and in our loved ones. And when we find the good I pray that we take the time to thank Him for He will use these moments for His will and purpose and His plan is good xx