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 with 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 your ‘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 motivated by love. 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 😊❤️

 

Love Beyond Reason

love beyond reason.png

This past week I attended Hillsong Conference Europe as I have every year for the past seven. In one of the evening sessions Carl Lentz, Hillsong New York lead pastor, preached a powerful message about God’s love. It was so significant that I think many were deeply moved and changed, myself included. If you’ve followed my blog for a while you will have seen I’ve returned to the subject of love in the scriptures often. Clearly, God is stirring something within me. This stirring should be an obvious expectation for a Christian, to linger on and develop in love, and yet sadly it isn’t. Carl’s message was based on John 13 v 34 – 35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples”. Interestingly, this passage is one Rich and I have talked a lot about over this past year as we’ve processed life’s changing scenery. I was reminded once again by his preach that there is no reasonable excuse not to love. Even when it hurts, when it’s messy and when it’s undeserved. When I look at Jesus and how He lived, and all that He has done and continues to do for me, I have no foundation to stand on that allows me not to love. To remain in Him and on this journey with Him, I must remain in love (see previous post, Remain In Love). God is love. If I say yes to Him I say yes to love, there are no grey areas surrounding this subject.

What resonated most was how important the stakes are when considering love. People will see Jesus if only we love one another. We so often focus on our ‘calling’ or purpose, our work or the gifts and talents we have and how to develop them as we pray ‘me-centric’ prayers to satisfy our desires and yet we live in a world desperately crying out for love. God delights in us fulfilling all of our potential but not at the expense of love. Carl reminded us that love is easily defined – just look at Christ, it’s simply developed – follow Christ and it’s dangerous when demonstrated – Christ changed the world forever with His ultimate act of love.

So why do we make Christianity so complicated? At what junctures, in our well-meaning efforts, have we missed the mark and gone off track? I don’t know all the answers to those questions, but I do know the simple solution to realignment and the ultimate purpose of the Church – Love; to receive love, to have love and to give love.

To love is to show grace and mercy, to forgive without receiving acknowledgement or apology, to show kindness where others haven’t and to give second chances where most wouldn’t. Love gives with no hope of return. It goes further than one has asked and extends considerably beyond the limits of worth. There’s no way we can do any of this in our own strength nor should we try. When we misunderstand or misplace love it causes problems. Our own reserves are finite and easily wasted. True Love does not exhaust us until we are dry, empty and weary. It doesn’t cut deep and leave us broken, but it does penetrate the deepest recesses of our souls. I can’t love undeservedly and even deservedly of my own accord consistently and faithfully. I must place my love in Him and look beyond the reality of the circumstance towards Him.

His love is infinite and abundant, it never runs out, it encompasses all things if we allow it. Our hurts, disappointments, misplaced hopes and unfulfilled dreams all wash away in the ever-flowing stream of His love. Not only that but this plentiful and refreshing flow allows new things to be seeded and grow, joy to replace grief, life to replace death, peace to replace anger. His love knows no bounds and it waters even the darkest and most lifeless parts of our soul if we allow it.

There’s no situation I can face that Jesus does not understand. He was grossly misunderstood by his own people, falsely accused, rejected, beaten, abused and tortured. He acutely feels our pain. He asks us to forgive not to exonerate bad behaviour, but to set us free from the bondage of bitterness and hate. Love is the better way. He doesn’t ask us to pretend that things didn’t happen but rather He offers us healing. He doesn’t excuse poor behaviour, but rather teaches us to see the brokenness in others. He’s not asking us to try and love because people deserve it, He’s showing us how to receive His love so that we can move beyond our past.

True Love is unreasonable. Reason informs me that because of this they deserve that. Reason is a good thing and applied well can carry great wisdom. But love trumps reason.

Love melts away anger and offers comfort. It has the ability to bring us to our knees because we choose it not because we are forced and then it gently lifts us up and restores.  

Love doesn’t offer us behaviour modification as prescribed by self-help gurus, although that may be a fruit of its tender embrace. Rather it offers hope, belonging, faith and security. It first pours in and only when we are full to overflowing is it required to spill out into our lives. Really God isn’t asking us to do too much more than allow Him to first love us and see what happens. To quote an old hymn, “love changes everything”. I’ve written it before and no doubt I will again because I personally need reminding of it daily, “Love NEVER fails” (1 Corinthians 13 v 8).

There’s an old Aesop fable I remember hearing as a child about a dispute between the North Wind and the Sun. As they discussed which of the two was stronger, a traveller passed by wearing a cloak. They agreed that whoever would be able to strip the man of his cloak would have the greater strength. The North Wind went first and blew and tore angrily at the cloak but this only made the traveller hold onto it all the tighter. When the sun had its turn, the warmth of its rays offered much relief and as the heat gently grew stronger, of his own free will the traveller removed his coat. This old tale reminds me of the love of God, it’s strong and powerful like the heat offered by the sun but it doesn’t force itself upon us and demand we let down our guard. Rather it warms and shines and gently nudges us to let go of our burdens.

Give Love a chance, your life and others depend on it.