Devotion, freedom, Personal Growth, Uncategorized

Day 7: “Free From Insecurity”

free from insecurityEveryone knows a pubescent teen battles insecurities; they can own up to their self-doubt. Insecurity is a common vocabulary word in a young person’s vernacular and you empathise when an adolescent acts out. You know where it’s coming from.

When you’re all grown up (18? University graduate? Marriage? Parenthood?), it’s suddenly no longer socially acceptable to admit you’re insecure. On the contrary, it’s entirely EXPECTED that you never show weakness, that you exhaust yourself covering up your problems, and that no one knows your pain.

Women might admit they feel embarrassed in a bikini but they hardly confess how insecure they feel in bed. Men appear overconfident by dominating conversations about work yet fall silent when asked to open up about their feelings.

You cover up uncertainty by gossiping and judging… it’s so much easier to tear down others so your own short-comings are masked. You feel belittled by your wives and criticised by your fathers, so you retreat and self-medicate with porn or alcohol.

Living a life of cover-up is exhausting. Vulnerability is a scary word, one you avoid at all costs. You’re weakened by your negative self-talk and proving yourself to the world. Relaxing in your own skin is about as comfortable as a fish is out of water. You may not call it insecurity, but it is.

The opposite, (self-acceptance), stems from knowing your identity in Christ. Author and research professor Brené Brown says, “Those who have a strong sense of love and belonging have the courage to be imperfect.” Where do you acquire love and belonging, especially if you’ve ever been rejected?

God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says he has plans for your life, that you were created with a purpose uniquely yours. He loves you and says you’re created in his perfect image.

In a world longing for validity, you, as a child of God, are the legitimate and conclusive evidence of God’s love; you belong to HIS family. Your imperfections merely highlight your need for Jesus and they aren’t something to run from. There’s no greater peace than embracing the skin you’re in and loving the only you you’ll ever have.

As you go deeper with Jesus during your fast, allow vulnerability to expose your insecurities and expect God to re-define and re-align your identity.

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

Contentment, Fun, Inspiration, Personal Growth, Uncategorized

How Did I Get Here?

highway hypnosisHave you ever driven somewhere and realised when you arrived that you had no recollection of the journey? Highway Hypnosis, “also known as ‘white line fever,’ is a mental state in which a person can drive a truck or other automobile great distances, responding to external events in the expected, safe and correct manner with no recollection of having consciously done so.”

In some ways, my life looks like highway hypnosis! I haven’t felt like I was asleep at the wheel. My eyes have been open, but I wonder, “Have I responded to some external events in the ‘expected, safe and correct manner with no recollection of having consciously done so?'”

We are all prone to “white line fever” and some of the tips used to avoid it for drivers are profoundly applicable to our everyday lives:

Get Enough Sleep

The word “rest” is mentioned in God’s word over 500 times. One of our 10 commandments is to ‘Honour the Sabbath.’ God made us with a daily need for sleep and yet our world tells us to do more, go faster, stretch the limits, run down our competition, outshine last year’s numbers. Resting can be perceived as weakness.

Consciously making decisions about the direction of our lives means resting with intentionality and not beginning each day exhausted and overwhelmed. Having a rested soul prohibits twists and turns from taking us into the gutter.

Start Early

The mind is more alert when we are fresh. We have the ability to respond to our surroundings with competency when we leave margin and operate with a long-term approach rather than urgency from running late or falling behind. There’s nothing worse than the panic we feel from racing around trying to meet expectations, knowing we didn’t slow down to absorb the details.

I used to have a quote on my office wall that said, “YOUR lack of planning does not constitute MY emergency.” How many times do we get a late start, find ourselves falling into bad habits, doing what’s convenient, most familiar or accessible, never even stopping to analyse whether it’s a good choice or the best avenue to our destination?

Open Your Windows

It’s hard to fall asleep at the wheel of a car with hair blowing across our faces. We can smell the outdoors and hear the sounds of traffic around us with the windows down. Tuning into our surroundings keeps us engaged in the authenticiy of life, negating autopilot. I battle anxiety and a technique I use when I feel the familiar knot in my stomach is walking outside, looking around and naming the tangible – that which I can see, feel, smell, and hear. My concrete surroundings take me out of my imagination where people play tricks on me, chauferring me down a dangerous road.

We must not shut out nature, our family, our hobbies. Coasting down the freeway of life, unconscious of our surroundings, means we miss out on cuddles with kids, secrets with spouses, laughter with friends. We can fly over seemingly insignificant moments in everyday life, but this triviality is what actually makes up a life.

I don’t want to live in an unconscious trance, drifting wherever the road takes me, unaware. I’m committed to sleeping well, creating margin, and breathing deeply the fresh air around me. Let’s do it together!

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God” (1 Peter 1:18a MSG).

Inspiration, Personal Growth, Uncategorized

“GO GET YOUR BALL!”

IMG_3029We have the most adorable King Charles Cavalier who has stolen my heart over the last year and a half. He is kind, loyal, cuddly, obedient (mostly), and always so happy to see me. Cavies aren’t known for being the smartest dogs on the planet, but he does few tricks we have taught him and he seems to know what’s going on at all times.

I’ve never been one for lots of clutter with kids toys and I’m the same when it comes to Nolan, our dog. He typically only has one toy at a time and it gets replaced when he chews it up. The first toy he ever had was a rope with a ball attached to it and we trained him to “GO GET YOUR BALL!” whenever it was time to play. When we bought a new toy, it didn’t have a ball attached to it, but we kept on saying, “GO GET YOUR BALL!” and he knew exactly what we were talking about.

Now, after about a dozen toys from stuffed chickens to a snorting pig, to various types of ropes, Nolan knows what we mean when we lie to him and tell him, “GO GET YOUR BALL!” He is now destined to look stupid in front of all his dog friends as well as ours when he mistakenly goes and gets his toy even though it rarely includes a ball. The only way this will change is if we take the time and energy to re-teach him, to work with him to show him the truth. We have no plans to do so; therefore, Nolan will live with this lie for the rest of his little doggie life.

How many of us are living with a lie each and every day? We walk around oblivious to its deception and sometimes even other people see us buying into its power. The Bible says that the enemy is a liar and that he is constantly prowling around trying to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). You may not be chasing a silly rope around the house, but you’re chasing the approval of a parent or a boss because you believe their opinion matters more than it does (a lie). You aren’t looking in the laundry room for a squeaky toy, but you’re looking in the mirror believing you’re not beautiful or that you need some work to be more valuable (a lie).

Oh, you’re not a silly dog looking for a ball that’s really a stuffed animal under the sofa, but you’re reflecting on past mistakes believing you’ve missed your opportunity for success or that you’ll never amount to anything. You’re probably not wasting time running in circles and panting but you might be going around the same mountains in your failed relationships based on false pretenses.

I’m not interested in enlightening my fluffy dog, but I AM interested in encouraging YOU today:

You don’t have to chase after a lie.

No matter what anyone has told you in the past or what you’ve even told yourself, you are made in God’s image and you are worth everything. You’re unique and lovely and have as much potential as anyone who has changed the world before you. You can chase after Jesus and find truth at every turn. You can run into hurdles, get locked out of opportunities or even make the wrong call with everyone watching.

Your owner is Jesus, who bought you with a high price, his very own life and blood. And, he finds you worthy enough to give you a clear path of second chances and unlocked doors. And that’s no lie.

“If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” (John 8:32 MSG)

Devotion, Fasting, Love, Uncategorized

Day 10: “Love Lavishly.”

love-deeplyAs you continue to spend time in prayer and fasting, your relationship with your Heavenly Father is deepening. The closer you are to him, the more clearly you hear his voice, the more secure you feel about your circumstances, your family, your work.

Now, it’s time to look outside of yourself and begin to see how you can impact your surroundings. Look at the encouraging words of Peter:

“Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes.” (1 Peter 4:7-11 MSG)

Practise prayerfulness.

Love lavishly.

Give generously.

Communicate kindly.

Help wholeheartedly.

Fasting, Series, Uncategorized

Fasting Devo, Day Seventeen

1 Peter 4:7-11

Each of us should use whatever gift we have received to serve others. God has blessed us with unique strengths. As we walk through this life, one of the greatest ways we can fulfill our greatest potential is to serve others.

When is the last time you said to someone, “Want me to help with that? It’s easy for me and I would love to serve in that way!” WOW! So often, God’s provision comes in the form of a person. Throughout the Bible, God used people to rebuild cities, to lead his chosen people to the promised land, to conquer enemies, to preach the good news, to heal the sick, to prophesy and interpret dreams.

There are certain things that only YOU can do and God has placed you around people who can benefit from what you have to offer. One of the greatest ways we can exhibit love to one another is by serving each other. Mums can offer to help cook a meal or mind kids. We can serve in the church by offering our gifts with no strings attached. We can serve our neighbours by watering their garden, taking out their bins, inviting for a meal. Offer to wash someone’s car or pick up a few groceries. Help someone with a household project. Tell your boss you’ll help solve a problem at the office even if it’s not technically your job description.

Ultimately, God sent his own son, a person, to this earth in order to bring freedom and salvation to us all. He is the ultimate servant. Let us follow his lead.

Dear God, thank you for creating me with unique gifts and talents. Help me to see what ways I can use them to serve others, my community and my church. Show me how to love people like you love us and make me more like you each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.