Do It Anyway

do it anyway

A few years back now, I trained as a professional dancer. The entertainment industry can sometimes be a negative and ugly space that offers huge highs and equally deep lows. There are often more performers than jobs available which can breed comparison and bitterness if left unchecked. What I noticed after graduation is that it wasn’t necessarily the ablest and talented that found and kept work. Rather it was those that continued to work hard and persevere. It was those tenacious in their self-belief and/or pursuit of work that enabled them to find success. It made me realise that our beliefs are so crucial to our victory. We hear it all the time from self-help quotes, podcasts and books and yet I wonder how many of us actually take note and do anything to actively guard our hearts and train our minds. When we get to the edge of ourselves do we give up or keep going? I once saw a greeting card which a picture of an elderly couple on it that read something along the lines of, “People often ask us how we’ve managed to stay married all of these years, we answer, ‘we come from an era where if something was broken we’d fix it’”

For some reason, we’ve grown up in a western culture that can feel entitled, that feels like just because, we want something we should have it, just because we’re passionate about something we should be able to do it. Previous generations who fought wars for our freedom were just grateful to be alive. No doubt they fought for the freedom of opportunity that we have today, and in many ways, it’s a blessing. However, our ease of opportunity if we’re not careful can lead us to lose the fight to make things work. We must remember and learn from our elders that victory doesn’t just happen.

So today’s slightly late #wednesdaywisdom which is now technically a #thursdaythought is a bit of a throwback to an insta post I did a while back entitled: DO IT ANYWAY! Whatever you ‘it’ is – keep going and do it anyway.

Do it anyway

When it’s hard, when it’s going well and when it’s not, if no-one notices, if it’s slow going, if it feels like you’re not making the progress you thought you would, if it’s scary, when people don’t understand, if you’re standing out there on your own..

Do it anyway

Keep going, persevere, keep your head down and plough on. If it’s a labour of love it will require some pushing. Speaking as a Mum I can tell you that actual labour isn’t fun! In fact, it’s a lot of hard work! Sienna wasn’t birthed in the ‘natural’ way, I had a c-section after a looooooooooooooooonnngggg labour without my preferred result. So even when things take an unexpected detour, and the road doesn’t look like what you envisioned – keep going and DO IT ANYWAY

Three ‘W’s to help keep you going

Know Your Worth – your validation doesn’t come from others, culture or any outside influence. It’s an intrinsic value you’re born with as a human and discover when you know Him who created you for purpose and died for you out of love for you. He believes you are worth His sacrifice. Before any success or accolade, triumph or failure you’ve made or will make, before any kind or ugly words were spoken over you – your worth was already established

Know Your Why – why are you doing what you’re doing? You started because you thought it was worthwhile so remind yourself of that often – like all the time! “Your vision could be someone’s only hope”

Know Your Where – what’s the vision? “Without vision, the people perish” or in some translations “they cast off restraint” Proverbs 29 v 18. In other words, without vision, we lose sight of things, forget the goal, let it slip, don’t care. Set the vision ahead and look at it often as you take each step

Hope that encourages someone today. I’m encouraging myself to. Tag someone who needs to hear it. Love y’all 😊❤️

 

#wednesdaywisdom

#wednesdaywisdom on a Thursday! Why not!

This quote speaks for itself really! What do we believe? How do we feel about ourselves and others? Important things to assess because they determine how we act every day.

If we believe we can then we will and are more likely to try again and see failure as part of the process rather than a final destination.

Is each day a gift or a burden? We choose.

Choose life

#wednesdaywisdom #thursdaythoughts #believeyoucan #feedyourmind #encouragement #faithdiariesblog #lifestyleblogger #christianlifestyle

Validate Me

VALIDATE ME

There’s been a lot of coverage in the media over the last year regarding social platforms and the detrimental effects they can have on mental and emotional wellbeing. Statistics for anxiety and depression continue to grow at an alarming rate and male suicide is at an all time high. Social media sites aren’t bad things, and in fact, when used for good can have a positive social impact and be a useful marketing tool. However, I do believe they have highlighted some of the deeper heart issues that affect us as a society. They are platforms which magnify the void of their users. The truth is, we all long to feel important, loved and that we have something significant to offer. Social media, along with the constant access to a continuous stream of everyone’s consciousness, helps magnify the brokenness of our humanity which seeks validation and value in the wrong places and for the wrong things.

Little children are the greatest truth tellers because they are unable to mask their feelings like adults. Sienna often searches my gaze for approval when she’s built a tower or swooped down a slide. She now preempts my response with self-applause followed by a proud exclamation, ‘wow’, before I even utter a word. In her little mind, she’s developed a confidence in my affirmation after consistent reinforcement.  Naturally, children seek approval and validation from the significant carers in their life. I’m sure most of us would agree that giving praise and encouragement are an important part of raising healthy children and therefore hopefully healthy adults. As a parent, I’m acutely aware that the way in which I respond to both good and bad behaviour, success and failure, will set the foundation for how she approaches life. As I observe Sienna’s innocence as she gleefully awaits my praise, I can’t help but think that wanting and needing approval isn’t such a terrible thing. Maybe it’s even innate.  However, what’s more important than me praising her achievements is the reassurance of my love in all circumstances. Whether she’s succeeded or failed at a task and whether she’s exhibited good or negative behaviour I try my best to always let her know that no matter what mummy still loves her. What she’s ultimately looking for is acceptance.

Validation:

The action of making or declaring something legally or officially acceptable.”

“Recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.”

It’s interesting that the word ‘validation’ finds it’s meaning rooted in legal terminology. When something or someone is validated, it brings credibility and right standing. In a court of law validation of a person’s testimony or innocence could be the difference between freedom and imprisonment, for some even life or death.

When we look for likes and comments on social media or rewards and praise from external sources, what we’re really hoping for is that someone will justify our existence and efforts. The trouble with this is that we will always be required to do more and to be better in order to feel that our existence has purpose or that someone somewhere cares.

The good news for all of us is that there is Someone who always cares, always sees and always approves because we, His children were created in His image and He longs to be connected to us. His approval and acceptance aren’t based on our achievements and what we can or can’t do for Him. The truth is we would never measure up. Our validation is assured because he stood in front of the Ultimate Judge and took all of our pain, shame and guilt upon Himself in order to make us eternally in legal right standing with Him. We are legally approved and accepted with full access to to the goodness of His Kingdom.

Let’s work hard, make goals, post our highlights for family and friends but hold everything lightly and remember that there’s a big fat tick that presides over our lives whatever season we’re in.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Romans 8 v 1 – 4

 

#wednesdaywisdom

INSPIRATION NOT IMITATION

We often hear the phrase “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery..” which is taken from a quote by Oscar Wilde. Usually, it’s spoken in the context of frustration or pride as someone attempts to imitate another or their work. However that’s only part of the quote, here’s the full sentence,

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

Ouch!

It’s good and quite natural to look up to others, to aspire to be like those further along the path. Children do it naturally as they learn from their loved ones. It’s also important and necessary to be teachable and glean wisdom from others, to seek different opinions and keep a keen eye on experts.

What’s not ok is when we start to imitate others. Imitation can stem from comparison, insecurity, laziness or even admiration gone too far. When we imitate we will only ever be second best or second rate and an incomplete version of ourselves. Imitation only takes away from who we really are. We will never fully and truly discover the light within ourselves whilst we’re mimicking someone else or what they do. We must trust in our ability to bring our unique expression to any given situation. It might be similar but it doesn’t have to be the same.

Just as children grow in the discovery of themselves so must we continue to do so as we grow older.

Fortunately, we are connected to and created in the image of the ultimate Creator. He is the ultimate Artist, Physician, Communicator, Scientist, Teacher. We have free and loving access to His unlimited resource. The only person we should imitate is Christ. Beyond that, we can trust Him for what we need in order to fully be free to create and use all that He’s placed within us.

#wednesdaywisdom #inspiration #inspirationnotimitation #encouragement #faithdiariesblog #beyou #unique #aspire #aspiration #christianblog #christianblogger #faithblog #lifestyleblog #lifestyleblogger

A Father’s Heart

A FATHER'S HEART

Part of Rich’s current work involves quite a bit of travel. For Sienna, our two-year-old daughter, this can be tricky to understand. Sometimes Daddy is here consistently to get her up and dressed in the morning, play, count with and shout bird together and sometimes he isn’t. Sometimes he bounces her down the stairs to breakfast tickles her feet as she giggles hysterically and other times he’s not and it’s just her and Mummy.

Rich is an extremely hands-on Father and he loves both Sienna and me very much and very well. Each parent has their own sacrifice to make when raising children.  For Rich, in this season, as he travels to earn money to keep our family, his is not always being present in the daily routine. Despite enjoying his work, he desperately misses us when he’s away and we both do our very best to keep him in Sienna’s mind. We video call and look at pictures and talk about and pray for Daddy. Whether Sienna is in a stinky mood or full of excitement to see him walk through the door on his return, he still loves her consistently.

Watching Rich pursue Sienna over and over again not only sets her up for high expectations in a future spouse but also I believe reflects the heart of a loving God who so desperately loves his children. Time and time again God pursues us, is patient with us and is faithful in His love for us despite how we might receive Him. And, just as Rich loved Sienna first and initiated their relationship before she was even aware of what a ‘Daddy’ was, so our heavenly Father also first loved us. Before we even knew of His existence, He spoke ours into being. He chose us to be His own and He set into motion Heaven’s plan.

Sometimes it might feel like God is distant, but be encouraged that He’s already put so much groundwork in so that we need not doubt His heart towards us. The famous John 3 v 16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son” is the foundation on which we pin our faith and the good news of the gospel. We can find assurance in the lengths He’s gone to in order to make clear to us the pursuit of His heart. Us. Even death wasn’t too much for Him! 

This work season won’t last forever and as Sienna’s language and comprehension improve, she will be able to understand where he is and that his love for her is consistent regardless of his location. He’s laid a strong foundation already in her short life so that when he calls she’s excited to see her Daddy. Whilst she can’t quite grasp why he’s trapped inside my phone, she recognises his face and his voice. With increased age, they will be able to have regular conversations and their relationship will continue to grow. He will never stop pursuing her with his Father’s heart. Whenever she stops to think of her Daddy, she will know him as available loving and consistent based upon her experience of him regardless of whether she can see him or not.

Whether or not you have a consistent and loving earthly Father or not I pray you’d know you have a Heavenly one Who is always on speed dial.

 

#wednesdaywisdom

worry

A little injection of encouragement into your inbox this Wednesday lunchtime 🙂

Rich, Sienna and I over the last few months have been traveling back and forth, living out of suitcases, starting new jobs and nursery whilst also selling our house and buying a new one! Pretty much every weekend since February has been spent either showing people around our house of viewing prospective new ones. Before that, it was clearing and decorating ready to sell.


We knew this would be a crazy season and so we decided from the offset that we wouldn’t panic, we would trust God and have faith.


Worry is a choice and faith is a choice. I can’t say we’ve had a 💯 record of worry-free days but by and large, we’ve felt calm as we’ve DAILY relinquished control of what the outcome of each endeavour might be. In doing so we’ve left room for God to move and honestly, He has, in every way! In provision, timing, and peace. I can’t say it’s because we’re super wise or holy but we looked at the future and decided who we wanted to be and what we wanted to have achieved by the end of it all. AND what we didn’t want, which was to only survive to the end of this having clung on by our fingernails with full heads of unnecessary grey hair.


What I’ve learned is that when we panic we plan our way out of miracles. It’s really ok to just take one day and week at a time and do what you can and hand over the rest to God. We either live by faith, or we don’t.


I just started Erwin McManus’ book, “The Way of The Warrior” on Audible today. As I was driving to work I heard the above quote amongst a plethora of golden wisdom that the book contains. His words just rang so true.


How will you act?



#faithdiariesblog #dontworry#encouragement #christianblogger#lifestyleblogger#wednesdaywisdom #faithblog

No-Man’s Land

Spring is here!

There’s a place I remember from childhood that is approximately a metre squared and can be found at the end of two adjoining roads. Amongst friends we used to refer to this small section of real estate as ‘no-man’s land’. Whilst it lay between two street signs it belonged to neither one. If we straddled our legs from one side to the other we would proudly declare that finally, we could be in two places at once. However, being neither fully in one street or the other turned out to be more novel than practical as having one foot in both streets allowed the opportunity to do little other than stand still.

Perhaps the absence of regular blog posts over recent months can be accredited to the navigation of our own ‘no-mans land’. We’ve made some key decisions as a family over the past year that have propelled us into a transition period. Reaching an ambiguous crossroads we have had to redefine, rethink and revaluate what’s important to us as we move forward. A process which takes time and is easier to type than do.

It’s an odd feeling to find yourself in life’s ‘no-man’s land’. To a soldier, the term ‘no-man’s land’ refers to a piece of unoccupied territory that few dare to enter for fear of the uncertainty that lies within. Stepping out in faith often sounds more glamorous and adventurous in concept than it actually turns out to be when walked out, and almost always leads to some kind of ‘no-man’s land’. To venture into unchartered territory is daunting and inconvenient and sometimes lonely. To leave the comfort and perceived safety of the known takes courage, and not everyone will understand the reasons for your venture, or be willing to come with you. As is often the case when daring to step into the unknown, our own in-between season came with neither clear direction nor defined timeline. Living in a culture that is constantly bombarded with information and glorifies busyness, it can be disarming to find yourself temporarily at a standstill whilst in search for clear direction.

What I’ve discovered is that ‘no-man’s land’ can be an uncomfortable place to inhabit. Yet, as uncomfortable as it may be, I believe it is necessary to enter if we wish to make any type of change for the better of ourselves or others. As disruptive as it may be, it can be significant, as lonely as it may feel at times, it can be illuminating. On the other side of ‘no-man’s land’ lies new territory to be taken and new freedom to be attained. If we commit to the process of allowing ourselves to temporarily belong to nowhere, we can find the freedom to choose where it is we wish to eventually settle.

We’ve been navigating this area for a while now, and are hopefully nearing the end of this particular journey through the unknown. There have been lots of things learnt, some ideas challenged, a few things left behind, and much gained. At times it’s been exciting and full of hope and at others, it’s been confusing and overwhelming. The intricate details of our expedition are personal to us and no doubt mostly irrelevant to you but there are some anchors that have kept me going. The following nuggets have lifted my head and helped me to travel through the void rather than get lost in it.

  • Find joy, it brings strength. Amongst change and uncertainty, it can be difficult to find joy and easy to see chaos. It requires practice. Joy is a plumb line and perspective giver. I try and think of three things daily that I’m grateful for. This keeps my eyes up, my focus forward and my heart grateful. Each day is a gift and I’m learning to treat it as such. See my previous post written about joy here.

         “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8 v 10)

  • Deal with what you know and don’t dwell on what you don’t. Overthinking and over-talking allow worries to fester. Worry blocks faith and feeds anxiety.  Plan for what you know and have faith for what you don’t. 

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What        shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6 v 31 – 33)

  • Take one bite at a time. An ancient African proverb asks, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite a time.” When our only focus is the large elephant ahead of us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and want to walk away. Any change, of lasting significance, has to be dealt with one small bitesize piece at a time. Jesus taught us to ask for daily bread because He knows better than we know ourselves. Tackle ‘no-man’s land’ one bite and one day at a time.

“Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6 v 11)

  • Trust is a doing word. Trust isn’t passive, it requires courage and practice. When all else is swirling in the storm, there is one in Whom our trust will never be misplaced.

LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” (Psalm 84 v 12)

  • Sometimes you have to lose to gain. Not a weight loss slogan, although it could be. Transition requires moving from one thing to another which often means leaving something or even someone behind. Fear of letting go is possibly one of the greatest inhibitors to change but a closed hand is not able to receive a new gift. It’s not always easy and it shouldn’t be taken lightly, but with wisdom and care shedding some things can be the greatest liberator.

 

 

Misplaced Joy

MISPLACED JOY

Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, months or even years when you feel like you’ve misplaced joy? No matter how hard you try to find it, to conjure up a smile and ‘fake it ‘till you make it’, happy moments pop up now and again but joy never appears to transpire. Circumstances don’t always dictate this joy dilemma, people can face the worst of seasons and still manage to retain an inner peace and positive outlook. Others whose life bears the appearance of outward success find that contentment remains elusive. Even I, as a Christian who believes with every fibre of my being in the goodness and power of God, have had seasons of scrambling around in the dark wondering where I’ve mislaid it. Such times can leave us dumbfounded, confused and weak as our downward spiralling feelings begin to inform our decisions rather than our beliefs.

Scripture makes it clear that we have an enemy whose sole purpose it is to kill, steal and destroy (John 10 v 10). Nehemiah 8 v 10 informs us that, “the joy of the Lord is your strength” so it makes strategic sense that he would target our joy as part of his battle plan. So how do we counter his attack and take care not to leave ourselves vulnerable? How can we hold onto joy when dark clouds hover over the horizon. “In order to have joy, you have to sow joy” is a statement I heard recently during a preach. Easy right? Of course, we reap what we sow, it’s a foundational law of nature, I can’t plant an apple seed and expect to grow an oak tree. Yet despite this simple anecdote I couldn’t help but wonder why if it’s really that obvious, do so many of us regularly find ourselves lacking in real joy? Why is joy something we experience sporadically rather than consistently? More importantly, how do we actually sow joy? How is it that Paul states in his letter to the Philippians that he’s found the secret to being content in all circumstances? (Philippians 4 v 12) Paul could easily be forgiven for misplacing his joy given the many life-threatening experiences, beatings and imprisonments he encountered during his life. Yet despite all of these he closes his revelation in verse 13 with, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” So God is the source of Paul’s joy and strength, but what does enabling this fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5 v 22 – 23) to manifest in our lives actually look like practically on a day to day basis?

Interestingly I have been reading Dare To Lead, Brené Brown’s latest book which is a compilation of her findings from over 20 years of leadership research. Whilst detailing the differences between what she describes as armoured leadership and daring leadership, joy is listed as a key attribute of the latter. Here’s what she discovered,

“What is the one thing that people who can fully lean into joy have in common? Gratitude. They practice gratitude. It’s not an ‘attitude of gratitude’ – it’s an actual practice. They keep a journal, or make a note of what they’re grateful for on their phones, or share it with family members.” 

Dare To Lead, Brené Brown

According to Brené’s research, joy is manifested by gratefulness. As this truth leapt off the page and induced a ‘light-bulb’ moment, I was eager to look up all the verses I could pertaining to joy. As I circled back to Paul’s words in Philippians 4 and read the verses preceding his statement of contentment, I came face to face with one of the most well-known scriptures that I’ve no doubt read and indeed journaled many times over the years,

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4 v 4 – 8 (NIV, emphasis added by me)

Right there in the midst of Paul’s ancient encouragement to the Philippian church, he instructs them to always present all requests in every situation to God with thanksgiving. In other words to practise gratitude in our daily encounter and conversation with God.

Here are three quick practical tools we can take from Philippians 4 to help restore and maintain our joy:

  • Rejoice in the Lord – Or delight in the Lord. Whatever life throws at us we can always find something to be truly grateful for in Christ.
  • Give Thanks In Every Situation – Why? Because when we pray, speak, think, write and act from a place of thanksgiving our requests, thoughts, petitions, prayers and actions become focused on His goodness rather than our lack.
  • Think on Good Things – “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23 v 7 (NKJV) As we train our thoughts to think on good things, they become our beliefs which in turn dictate our actions. 

Joy doesn’t negate difficult circumstances and it doesn’t require us to pretend that everything is ok when it’s not. Rather it forces our eyes heavenwards and makes way for the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds in Christ.

Each morning Rich and I have started to text each other at least 3 things that we are thankful for. Taking the time to stop and think about what we are grateful for each morning determines our position and perspective for the rest of the day. What will you do to practise joy today?

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

Worship the Lord with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.

It is he who made us, and we are his

we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Psalm 100 (NIV)

One Year On

ONE YEAR ON

This week marks one year since starting Faith Diaries Blog. I set out with no other ambition than to encourage others with my journey to motherhood, the disappointment and hope discovered along the way. It’s crazy to think that birthing the first post, which in retrospect was way too long and took me forever to write, seeded what you now see as this blog. A somewhat devotional style collection of thoughts written in short posts to bring inspiration, challenge and hope with the odd dose of humour. At least I laugh at my own jokes.

I’m an encourager, it’s part of who I am, it’s in my DNA, it’s one of the gifts I’ve been entrusted with and must steward well. I didn’t always know it but it’s something I’ve discovered as who I am in God has become clearer. I love to encourage, most of the time (let’s be honest). Motherhood is a gift that provides a daily opportunity to encourage and nurture a gorgeous tiny human (and mostly myself to keep going!), but there’s more. More within me to give, whether I like it or not. I’ve also grown into a better thinker since marrying Rich who has a brilliant brain. Apart from the trappings of overthinking, I like this in me. I would consider myself an ideas person who is fairly resourceful (apologies for this sounding like a CV – there is a point) and I require some form of creative outlet. Early motherhood presented me with reduced opportunity to be physically present at many things and so part of the reason for continuing to write this blog is so that I don’t spontaneously combust from ideas, thoughts and encouragements swirling around in my head!

I used to apologise for the things that I felt God had placed within me, not verbally, but often by shrinking back with false humility, I’d subconsciously step back, step to the side and push others forward. I don’t believe in self-appointed leadership which is a funny thing to navigate in the online world. Neither do I advocate overzealous self-promotion, but I have discovered the importance of us all bringing our voice and experience to the table in the name of making a positive difference, even if just to one person. In fact, always for the one person.

So to mark turning one, because it’s important to celebrate and evaluate, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learnt over the past year. I’m still a baby blogger and amateur writer so these are reflective points regarding my learning, life and blogging from the past 365 days. This is my journey, but I hope it inspires yours too. Notes to self:

  1. I must write shorter sentences. I’m still learning.
  2. Frustration is often related to passion, I need to run with it, allow it and explore it but ultimately transform it so that it makes me better and not bitter
  3. Love never fails – in all areas of life. This I’m still learning about, growing in and pondering. God is love.
  4. Ministry is life – Romans 12. Everything I do, everything I say, counts. It matters to someone, somewhere whether now or in the future, even if it’s just me and my family. Mundane, small, large and exciting activities all have significance.
  5. Discipline is key – Discipline makes the difference. There’s talent and there’s gift but without discipline and refinement, they lack purpose. Discipline in small things and everyday tasks breeds discipline in all aspects of life. Discipline brings freedom.
  6. It’s always about the one – connection to and love for people must be the start and end point to all meaningful endeavours and interactions.
  7. Curiosity and learning make us all better and are good for the soul. Expand, stretch, grow. Let’s not be ignorant or arrogant, but remain teachable.
  8. A bad day, a bad post, a bad circumstance aren’t the end. Failure and disappointment don’t have to be the final destination. Get up, keep going, move forward, try again.
  9. Stay true to who you are – Learn, follow, glean wisdom, seek counsel, but don’t get distracted by comparison and what you’re not. Do you.
  10. Practice makes you better – the aim isn’t perfect, perfection requires an end, better means continual growth. Practice makes me a better writer, friend, wife, mum, leader, learner, and so the list goes on.

As I sign off this post here are some fun facts and stats from my blogging year:

  • Top 3 Most Read Posts:

Busy Is Not a Badge of Honour

My Journey To Motherhood (also first ever post)

Serious Fomo

  • Favourite posts to write:

The Rose

365 Days Later

  • Posts I felt were most important to write:

Busy Is Not a Badge of Honour

Radio Silence

Why Mums Make Great Leaders

Love Beyond Reason

Love Thy Neighbour

  • My Mother-in-law once replied to the email version of a post with a typo correction and accidentally posted it as a comment 😉
  • I make my husband read/listen to all posts before I publish, thanks Rich! It’s his pleasure of course 😉
  • I use Google to find synonyms, thanks Google!
  • I knew nothing about blogging when I started
  • I owe a lot to CBeebies programme ‘Hey Duggee’, loved by Sienna, it allows me an uninterrupted tea and thought sorting time

So that’s it, I hope it’s been as interesting for you as it has for me! Here’s to another year! 

Radio Silence

RADIO SILENCE

Radio Silence –  “A period during which one hears nothing from a normally communicative person or group” (definition found via Google)

There’s an attack on our senses in modern western society with so many media vying for our attention 24/7. A world of organised chaos ready to sell us the latest products or opinion as they lure us in with well-executed campaigns. We don’t even have to leave our beds to be up to date with the latest trends and information, we just check our smartphones. It can be difficult to find quiet amidst the noise. This noise on the outside can often perpetuate a noise on the inside as we find it increasingly difficult to switch off our over-thinking, over-planning brains. We become quickly frustrated if we wait longer than a minute for anything, a coffee, wifi, phone signal, a text message. We import and export food and goods so that we can enjoy them all year round as it would be unthinkable to only have access to them once a year. Online shopping and next day delivery add to the message of instant gratification.

It’s easy to let our present culture dictate our view of God and our relationship with Him. We can rapidly become frustrated at an apparent lack of haste in His dealings with us. Have you ever been waiting for an answer to prayer or hoping for an open door only to feel like God seems to be transmitting nothing but radio silence? To counter our impatience we keep going, we build anyway, strive anyway. We create events and empires, products and programmes, always looking for the increase as we perpetually tick off our weekly and yearly to-do lists as we navigate our increasingly full calendars. We figure we haven’t heard anything contrary to what we’re doing so we’ll just keep going at an accelerating rate, according to whichever voice, trend or structure we are currently following. We struggle to carve out meaningful time to sit, listen, pray and worship outside of our Sunday experience as we assume that stillness and silence mean wasted time. We want drive-through healing, provision and relationship, “I’m just stopping by, but you know I love you right?” If we have to pray and wait for anything longer than a week, we give up the fight and get back to doing. Desperate to keep up with the fast-moving world around us we become frustrated at having to delay what we believe will satisfy us. If we could just do this, see that, be there or achieve that by yesterday we’d be happier, more fulfilled, full of a sense of purpose. We’re constantly looking for new ideas and innovation, never letting anything take root long enough to have a significant impact and see if it actually works. We think a year is a long time and if we haven’t seen our preferred results by then, everything must change.

I’m not an enemy of progress and I enjoy many of the benefits of the forward-thinking culture we live in. I’m also a big believer in getting on with things. We don’t want to swing too far in the opposite direction that we never do anything because we believe waiting for God to speak is passive. No, Psalm 37 v 23 remind us, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD:” This infers movement on our part. I’m also an advocate for necessary change which enables us to grow individually and corporately. Change for the right reasons is good. Change that benefits our lives, our communities and the world around us is needed. I just wonder if we pause long enough to check that we’re still tuned into the right wavelength so that our steps can be ordered correctly. So that the change we seek is built on well-thought-out, prepared plans that have been carefully considered and founded on the right principles. Change for change’s sake is exhausting.

What if the radio silence we felt was distancing us from God wasn’t actually silence at all? Rather somewhere along the journey, an interference with the signal occurred and He’s waiting for us to take the time to tune back into the correct channel. What if we are moving too fast to notice the white noise ringing all around us? What if God is transmitting but our spiritual antennae aren’t correctly positioned to receive what He’s putting out?

If we ‘do’ more than we pray, there’s an issue. In our jobs, we regularly connect with our boss to ensure that our work is on track. We have weekly meetings with colleagues to give updates and check workflow. We regularly converse with spouses, friends and family to make sure our schedules for the week allow space for meaningful encounters. How much more then do we need to connect with God to ensure that we’re correctly aligned with His vision and will? To check that the right things are important to us, that His desires are our desires. That we are loving Him and others correctly. That we’re not moving on until we’ve healed, not changing direction until He says so.

We need to make sure we’re defining culture and not chasing it, always struggling to catch up. We can utilise the good without succumbing to the bad. Sometimes it requires the courage to be misunderstood to make the right kind of changes. To pioneer, we have to do something never done before, not add on to what’s keeping us on the treadmill of misguided success. We need, and the world needs us to stop, tune in and check the transmission. Often. In fact, this more than anything else needs to be the top priority of our weekly agendas.

Despite the fact that we’ve never been more enlightened, had more tools and opportunities to succeed with plentiful available resources, figures show that anxiety and mental health issues are on the rise with not much difference between those inside and outside the Church. This is sad. Our perpetual want for more stops us from failing to see, feel, talk with, linger a while with an amazing Saviour who can lead us on our daily salvation journey.

I don’t know who needs to hear this today but if it resonates with you, please stop, talk to someone, tune in and drown out all external noise so that you can focus in on the one voice that matters.