Devotion, Fasting, freedom, Personal Growth, Uncategorized

Day 6: “Free From Fear”

I will not fearFear – obvious when it makes you sweat, keeping you up at night. Other times it’s subtle and heavy and creeps in like dread. Fear can cause you to make poor decisions (like marrying the wrong person because you’re too scared to wait for Mrs. Right). It compels you to overspend if you’re afraid of missing out.

That one four letter word represents anxiety as your mind anticipates unknowns and worries that your worst case scenario will come to pass.

Fearful parents are controlling parents – unrealistically believing they can protect kids from pain or from making mistakes.

If you’ve ever been hurt in a relationship, you’re too scared to risk again so all your suspicions turn to distrust. The root of your brokenness – FEAR.

You can be afraid of failure; and, equally, you can fear success.

Fear is a spirit that can manifest in every area of life. However, Jesus came to give you a full and wonderful life and you can’t have that if you’re walking in fear. Trusting your Heavenly Father is the antidote to fear. It’s the key to true rest and peace. Author Ann Voskamp says, “You have to let hope always carry you – or fears will carry you away.”

God’s desire for you is total surrender and acceptance of him and his plans. He wants you to believe in a blessed outcome with the battles you face; Jesus has already defeated your enemy. Recognise that your eternity is secure.  Believe God has your back. Learning to REST in these truths isn’t easy but it IS simple.

If fear has a hold of you in any area of your life, you CAN be set free. Slow down, breathe deeply, and allow your mind to settle on the goodness of God. Repeat. Daily. Hourly.

Maybe even minute by minute.

Live in reckless abandon alongside Jesus and see what peace it brings. Go on, I dare you! You’re strong and courageous. Look how far you’ve come and what you’ve been through and let that give you strength. Sleep well tonight and fear not.

The wise counsel God gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart. Day and night I’ll stick with GodI’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go” (Psalm 16:7-8 MSG).

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).

Contentment, Leadership, Personal Growth, Social problems, Uncategorized

Step Out of the Traffic

I love to run because it helps me clear my head and hopefully keeps my metabolism from totally shutting down now that I’m 40! The thing is, my running is dangerous at times… I’m so zoned out that I sometimes forget to look before crossing streets or I misjudge the distance of the cars coming my way.

Oftentimes, when I’m about to cross Pacific Highway to head to Fernleigh Track in Belmont, I don’t wait for the light. If there’s a break in traffic, I just go. Last week, while I was on my own, I looked to my right and realised there was no way I could cross with all the traffic coming; then, as if in some sort of superhero dimg_0692aydream, I started envisioning myself weaving in and out of the cars, running so fast that I could actually make it to the other side safely. I even actually put my foot out onto the road before snapping out of my trance and realising I wasn’t in a real life game of Frogger.

If you lived through the 80s, chances are, you owned an Atari gaming system and used your joystick to get that little green frog safely across traffic. If you made it to the halfway point, you then had to jump him across logs on water avoiding snakes and alligators. I can still hear the “beep beep” of the frog making his way and I can see him splayed out in front of the trucks on the times his judgement failed.

Some of us live our lives like we are inside an advanced level of Frogger, hoping we have five lives in case this one goes “splat.” We race out before thinking; we misjudge the speed of the truck headed our way, able to crush us under its weight. We jump into over-committing our kids with activities with no regard to whether there’s time to survive safely to the next term. We’re so busy running from one thing to tfrogger3he next that we don’t even notice our heart racing and blood pressure rising. We’ve leapt onto a fast moving log, not even aware of the snake standing next to us…

We compete and run around like there’s a one minute timer ticking down and  I’m just wondering if the everything we’re racing to accomplish is really something keeping us from having anything worthwhile.

When we don’t proceed through life with caution, looking out at our surroundings before stepping into the traffic, we risk losing what’s most important – our God perspective.

When we leap from one activity to the next with no margin, our Creator’s voice is drowned out with the beeping of horns; the smog from our surroundings clouds our vision and inhibits our judgement. Jumping out into the street each day before grounding ourselves in God’s word, praying and seeking HIM for our priorities means risking our spiritual lives, possibly even forfeiting our destinies.

Frogger drowns by staying on a diving turtle too long, letting it take him under. He can die by jumping into a “home” occupied by someone else. The game is over if the frog doesn’t make it home before time runs out. When our lives are on a shaky foundation, they can crumble underneath us causing us to drown. If we aren’t careful to choose the path God has for us, we can wake up one day having lived someone else’s life, occupying the wrong space. The Bible says our lives on this earth are but a vapour – how awful if we just simply run out of time to do all God has called us to do.

You and I don’t have to let the world around us dictate our pace.

No one can make us risk our lives by stepping into chaos God never intended. Psalm 46 encourages us to “step out of the traffic.” Our peace doesn’t have to be destroyed because of the noise around us. Learn to go to God in the quiet place, jump on his back and let him carry you through the traffic. His path is always secure, his methods are sound.

“Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth” (Psalm 46:9-10, Passion Translation).