Being more present.

 

I am not good with change and I never have been. It is not that I believe change to be a bad thing, it is necessary. It is just uncomfortable. Over the past week or two I have been made aware of how much I pine for the past. The days where life was more fun and had a simpler structure to them, it has left me feeling unfulfilled. It has made me complacent and less imaginative. The ambitions that I had, have taken a back seat. I am unhappy with how my present situation is… living back in a town I said I would not come back to. Plans not working in my favour. Instead of pushing myself on I have just accepted this is my fate, so I have just settled.

I have become annoyed with myself because of becoming so complacent and living in the past, meant that I was not living at all. Over the past few weeks I have started making lists of ambitions I want to achieve, applying for new jobs and making plans to move out of this town. I am ambitious to want to do this in the next few months. I have faith that if I am proactive then there is always possibility. It may not work out in my time frame, but I trust that in time it will all fall into place.

It made me think of how dangerous it is for us to live in the past. How much of our lives that we miss because we are not present? If you constantly chose to live in the past and allow that to define you, then I think we miss the point of living. I wanted to look at some Bible characters who could have lived in the past. However, they allowed their present circumstance to define them.

Firstly, Joseph. The beloved son out of twelve brothers and the highly favoured by his father. He was also the one who had dreams where he would rise above his family, He was hated so much by his brothers that they sold him to some travellers. Who then sold him into slavery in Egypt, into a land that was completely different from all that Joseph knew. All that Joseph knew was torn away from him by one cruel act of hate. Joseph could have chosen to get distressed and give up. Instead, he chose to keep his faith in God. Through all the highs and lows: slavery, accused of sexual assault, imprisonment and famine and he chose to keep God at the for front. In continuously moving forwards, Joseph was able to accomplish so much including saving many nations from starvation. It even ends with Joseph being reconciled with his brothers and father.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19-20)

If Joseph had not been so faithful, and lived in his past how would these things have been accomplished?

Another figure is Saul/Paul. He was known as the persecutor of the early church, who then became one of the key figures in spreading the gospel around the world. He was so influential because he was faithful to the promises of God. He still met with opposition because of who he was in the past. Ananias who was asked by God to got to Saul to return his sight, which he has lost during his conversion. Ananias is reluctant to go because of Saul’s reputation. The Lord replies ‘Go! This man  is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and to their Kings and to the people of Israel! (Acts 9:15-16).God had big plans for Saul which would not have been fulfilled if his past had defined him. Paul suffered greatly in spreading the gospel, he never let that stop him. He knew the redemption and salvation of the love of God and he wanted others to know it too. Many of the letters found within the New Testament are Paul’s instructions to the early churches so they could continually build up their faith and know the truth. Paul was continuously present in each situation, using his past only as an instrument to encourage and support others.

Paul is an amazing example of how our past does not define us in the eyes of God. If we are willing and faithful, then God can use us in amazing ways. There are so many examples found within the Bible of people whose past could have defined them. I encourage you to read through these stories and find inspiration from them. I truly believe that God has so much planned for our lives. This is his promise to us through his word. I do think we need to continue dreaming big dreams. God has made us so creative, we should be using those to bring more people to know the salvation of Jesus. Using our pasts to encourage and build up people, letting them know they are not alone.

Getting so lost in my past stopped me from being who I was meant to be and pursuing the things I love. That is not going to be the case anymore. The present is not a scary thing anymore because it is in the time in which I get to develop who I am. The past was fun, and it will help me to become the person I am but it no longer has a hold on me like is use to. The past few months have not been easy, but it is about doing what I can to continuously pursue what I love.

May you have a blessed week. xx

The Abuse of Emotions

Emotions are controlling your life too much at the moment. They are getting in the way of the truth, they are blinding you from reality. They will whittle you down until you feel so incomplete and so unworthy. They will continue to whisper lies of how people hate you because of the things you have done. They will continue to tell you how powerless you are because of where you stand in life. They will continue to tell you how ugly you are because you are never satisfied with what you see in the mirror.

Too many people have and have had control over your emotions. You have allowed them control of your happiness, instead they tore you down and emptied you of all the things that bring you joy. You have given your love to people who have only ever abused it. Your perspective on life has become so darkened and fractured. Your life feels like it has been torn into too many pieces, you do not know how to put them all together again.

What happens now? How does life go on?

You take control and you take your time. Healing is a painful but a beautiful process. It is not okay that you were allowed to be broken and damaged like that. You realise now, that no one is control of your happiness and life. EXCEPT YOU! You let go of everything that has burdened you.

You shatter the mirrors that have only ever told you lies. That includes the social media that has only ever fed you a very processed and belittled perspective. You learn to find contentment in the quirks and the features you have.

You learn to find peace with your past, you let that power you on to who you are determined to be. You stop listening to those who only ever want you to fail. You take charge, you give purpose to the beautiful life you have been given.

You learn that the world can never give you all the answers. Neither can the church or any other institute, they are human, they make mistakes. One person that will always give you life and will love you unconditionally is Jesus! Jesus has been with you through it all, the highs and the lows. He has felt every tear you have cried and knows every lie you have believed. Your past is forgiven through Jesus, he wants you to know freedom from the guilt that grips you. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.’ You are so loved, you were worth dying for.

Allow a faith to be sparked, allow trust to be built “You are rebuilding me, piece by piece” (Worship mob). You come to Jesus as you are, Jesus is not looking for a specific perfect person. Jesus looks for someone who will be faithful regardless of the mistakes they make, that will trust that Jesus walks with them through their whole life. “… Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

You do not have to fear people, nor give them control over who you are. You get to make the choice of what you believe and what you hold dear. You are wonderful and so loved. Believe and always have hope.

Stop burdening your faith!

I wanted to write about how we can truly burden our faith, this incredible gift of salvation and grace that we were given and sometimes we do not what to do with it? As people, we are not used to getting something for nothing as there always seems to be some sort of catch. With God, there is no catch, his gift of love and forgiveness is available to everyone. When we read the gospels, Jesus came to save those who were rejected and those who were ruled by their sinful nature. Jesus came to give light and life, to people who had only ever known darkness. To give peace. Matthew 11:28-30 proclaims ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’ This is a promise from Jesus, that when we come to him he wants us to receive rest. All the stresses of the world that so easily burden us, Jesus wants to be a part of that and wants to help. Jesus wants you to know that you are not doing it all on your own. Why, when we come to worship and to live out our faith do we make it so burdensome?

The question I have for you is, are you a Martha or a Mary when it comes to your faith?

If you are not familiar with the account of Mary and Martha it can be found in Luke 10:38-42, Martha opens her house for Jesus while he passed through the village. Martha busied herself with preparing all that was needed to be done for her guests. As for her sister Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to what he had to say. Martha questions the Lord about how Mary needed to help her as she was left to do all the work for herself. Jesus replied ’Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her,”

Martha believed that what she was doing was right, that was the normal custom for when people had guests. As for Mary, she disregarded the norms and sat at the feet of Jesus and listened. Honestly, she would have been able to gain that peace and rest that was promised. A lot of us have become like Martha and just allowed our faith to become a routine. If we do certain roles within the church to serve and we read our Bibles and pray, then job done for the week and we just carry on in this constant cycle. It becomes repetitive, it is boring, and it also is burdensome.

We need to let our faith be our own personal journey, which will not always meet to the standards that other people understand. There will be many people along the way that will be like Martha, questioning why you are not doing what everyone else is. Do not get me wrong, Martha is an important figure too her role is still pleasing and helpful. Martha has just got a misled in where her intentions lay regarding the duties she was performing. The important lesson to remember is that God will use us all differently to bring about his salvation on earth. None of us are the same, that is the beauty of individuality. We must be careful that we are not sucked into doing the same routine that everyone else is following. Like Mary, be willing to listen and be willing to serve in the way you have been called.

In regards to, are you a Mary or a Martha? May you always remember that there is nothing you can do to earn your salvation nor make God love you any greater. Jesus has already paid the price for your freedom so do not allow yourself to become engulfed by the many rules and regulations that have come to plague the Christian faith. Be obedient to the will of God in your life, spend more time sitting in his presence. Jesus will lead you to what you are meant to be doing, you need to only be still and listen. In the end, I think we need to have part of Mary and part of Martha within our faith. Be willing to sit down and spend that time within the presence of Jesus. However, also not willing to just receive but also to give to those around you. Through the grace and the love that has been shown to you. May what we do not be out of duty or obligation but with a thankful and gracious heart.

Have a blessed week. God bless. xx