Tuesday, 3 November 2015

God first, then chocolate

Hello internet friends! I apologise for my lengthy absence. It has been a very busy semester but I am back (for the moment) so yay!

Hands up if you love chocolate? If you don't (madness!) I imagine there are other indulgences in your life, be it Netflix, coffee, gardening or particularly scrumptious crumpets with butter and jam (I could really go for some of those right now).



And it's not bad to enjoy these things!

But we must acknowledge that they do not solve the problem. Yes, despite what the television tells you chocolate will not make everything better. Nor will delicious crumpets (*sigh*).



It's not even necessarily bad to have these things when you're feeling bad. My dad's go to "cheer-up-crying-daughter" solution is hot chocolate. But lately he started praying for me first and then administering the delicious brew.

His reasoning was this: Yes, hot chocolate cheers you up but what you really want is not the actual beverage but the feeling of love and care when I make it for you. That's fine but what you really need is God's love. So I'm still going to make you hot chocolate but I want to pray for you first.


An interesting effect of this is that I have since stopped wanting hot chocolate as much. I still enjoy it and get all the warm fuzzies when someone makes it for me but I don't crave it in the same way.

To me this indicates that dad was right and what I was really craving was the love of God.

It is not unusual for me to turn to food or other sources of comfort when I am sad or stressed. But before long I will find that it does not satisfy and the negative feeling is not displaced. This is especially true when I am feeling particularly depressed and having a bad mental health day. I will drain people dry trying to fill up the emptiness and hurt inside but it never works.

I thought this was a beautiful quote from Nick Vujicic.

Lately I have been disciplining myself to turn to God first, and then chocolate. Within reason it's okay to have the chocolate:

"All things are lawful but not everything is profitable."

But chocolate will not solve my problems, it will not love me and it certainly will not save me. So, let us turn to the one who gives us rest for our souls (Matthew 11: 29) before we take another bite of that Hershey bar.

I was inspired, in part, by this great post by Eva Bridges who is a Christian missionary in Israel. I've referred to this post before, and it continues to have an impact on me! I encourage you to give it a read.

God bless and have a wonderful week.

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Photo credit:
(1) Image by condesign. Public domain.
(2) Image by Church Iglesia. Used under CC license.
(3) Image by jubileelewis. Used under CC license.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Welcome to adulthood!

"It's not that you're bleugh, it's just that you feel bleugh. . . Because the situation is bleugh. You know?"

Hands up if that makes sense? No? Honestly, it's like you need context or something.

Dating.

Oh yes, the dreaded 'D' word.

I am beyond the age of simple and sweet high school crushes:

So do you like, like him?? 

Weeeell, I like him but I don't know if I like, like him.

I don't think things are much clearer now. Sure, my vocabulary and syntax are a little more sophisticated but it's still terrifying, uncertain and messy.

Add in my delightful baggage and you've got yourself a gen-u-ine adult relationship!

Attempting to navigate these waters is little like a "blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there" (thanks John Waller). I must constantly come back to God and entrust myself to Him or I am liable to go insane. I need Him to remind me again and again how valuable I am and that rejection does not mean I am "unlovable."

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." 
(Luke 12: 7)

To any young women reading this: You are valuable. You are precious to the Most High God and nothing and no one can take that away from you (Romans 8: 38-39).




And don't forget Gloria Gaynor ;)



What advice can you offer on the dreaded D word? Any good lesson learnt along the way?

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Photo credit:
(1) Image by whology. Used under CC license.




Monday, 31 August 2015

The blessing in saying you're sorry

I have been known to be more than a little judegemental of my friends. I'm ashamed to admit it but also oddly grateful as it reminds just how much I need God's grace. Like, seriously. 

I remember a pastor saying that if we ever knew what really goes through his mind we wouldn't want to be his friend. I imagine the same is true for all of us at times. It certainly applies to me. 

For a long time I judged one friend in particular. I held her up to a particular standard and made her feel condemned when she didn't meet it. She became a Christian a few years ago (hallelujah!) but has gone through dry periods, as we all do, and had to deal with family opposition to her new found faith.


As I learnt more about God I had this expectatinon that she should have learnt more too. She should know that lying to your parents is wrong, that you should go to church and spending time with God was more important than study.

Basically I was saying to her, "Why can't you be as righteous as me??" Praise God that I can laugh at myself now. It's completely ridiculous.

Many of you will be familiar with Jesus' parable about judging others in Matthew 7:

'Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.' (Matthew 7: 1-5, emphasis added)

And let me tell you, I had a whopping great plank in my eye. 



As a consequence of this we were drifting apart. It was quite painful and I judged her for that too, thinking she was being inconsiderate and didn't really care about me (hello Rejection Monster). 


So fabulous. 


The truth is my "holier-than-thou" nonsense had alientaed her and, understandably, it was harder for her to relate to me as I kept riding around on my horse Self-Righteousness (fun fact: she actually rides horses, unlike me). 

So what changed? 

To be honest I'm not entirely sure. For a while my parents had been calling me out on my judegemental attitudes, but I put up my defensive shields and hid behind my hurt. Eventually though God, through His Holy Spirit, led me to a place of repentance.


As we caught up for lunch one day she told me, somewhat defiantly, that she wasn't going to meet up with a mutual friend for a Bible study. I felt my usual disappointment and muttered something about understanding but hope she does it anyway, blah, blah, blah. By the way, nothing wrong with those statements but trust me when I tell you that my heart was not in the right place.


I decided to talk to her in greater depth about her decision towards the end of our lunch. I prayed
 silently that God would grant me wisdom and help me to be loving (at least part of me knew I was 
doing something wrong!). When it came time for that little chat I found an entirely different speech emerging from my mouth.

I talked about our friendship, that I cared about her and I knew she cared about me. I said that I still
wanted to be friends and how she felt was important to me. The upshot was that for the first time in a long time she was able to open up to me.

She explained that she often felt like she was disappointing me when she missed church, for example, and that made her feel bad. She felt like she couldn't really talk to me and it wasn't that she didn't care about me but that she didn't want to be judged, 

"I'm sorry." 

Those words mean so much. When we come before God and say "I'm sorry" we are entering into a place of forgiveness and ultimately greater freedom from sin. I was so blessed to be able to apologise to my friend and be forgiven. God is good!!!

What about you? Do you have any stories of forgiveness you'd like to share? 

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Photo credit:
1. Image by QuotesEverlasting. Used under CC license
2. The Mote and The Beam by Domencio Fetti via Wikipedia. Public domain. 
3. Image by copyDude101. Used under CC license

Monday, 17 August 2015

Writing the "perfect" post

I remember reading Rachel Madden's post on this topic and just getting it, you know? It made so much sense to a fellow (recovering) perfectionist. I want to have the perfect post, a beautifully crafted manuscript of exquisite aesthetic value (getting my money's worth out of that thesaurus ;) ).

I'm almost drooling thinking about it. Sigh...


Perfectionism is a pretty lie. It reminds me of a South American Dart Frog. Those vibrant colours are gorgeous but they are oh so deadly, much like the toxicity of perfectionism I discussed a few weeks ago. 

So, if I can't write the perfect post what can I do? 

There's the usual tips, like breaking up dense text with pictures. You can see in my earlier posts that I didn't always add images but now Creative Commons is one of my bestest friends :)




But really this post is about not worrying and giving up the desire to be perfect. Sorry.


Let peace, rather than worry, rule your heart.

Collaboratively I bet we could write pages and pages of the little tips and tricks we know about blogging and writing a killer post. But how often do we say "don't worry about it?" I don't mean in that namby pamby blasé way but a down to earth, God centred plea to just stop worrying. Seriously. Stop. 

My second semester started a few weeks ago so my blog has gone on the backburner for a while. This is generally considered to be a reasonable thing to do but it's still been a nagging worry.

Instead of getting on with my studies I'm wasting energy worrying. I'm constantly justifying my actions and reminding myself why blogging can wait another day, another week (or two.. *cough*). But it feels like I'm letting someone down. I don't think it's a specific person, more likely that nasty idol of perfectionism

Me, hiding from the nasty idol. 

"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3: 3-7)

Jesus came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). Through Him we are freed from those passions and pleasures and by working out our salvation (Philippians 2: 12) we become more like Him: righteous, holy and sanctified. 

My prayer: Lord, let us no longer be deceived but earnestly seek your face, to walk the narrow path and be filled and renewed by your Holy Spirit. 

God bless and have a wonderful week (or two/three/until I have a breather from study)! Oh and, as a moment by moment lesson in letting go, I accidentally lost half this post . . . half of my beautiful, exquisite post *sob.*

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Photo credit:
1. Image by Sascha Gebhardt. Used under CC license
3. Image by black panther. Public domain. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Shaking the hold of perfectionism

I used to see perfectionism as something of a virtue. It was one of those qualities you'd admit with a wry smile and a quiet chuckle. It wasn't a bad thing per se. Sure it could be a little exasperating for people around you at times, and that was unfortunate, but it was just part of you. You couldn't help it, right? 

We should come with a warning label. Seriously.


In the past I would meet such admissions from my fellow perfectionists with that same wry smile. But more recently I have responded with a sad expression and a shake of the head. Whether or not I actually say it aloud I have come to the stunning conclusion, by the grace of God, that perfectionism is just no good for you. 

In fact it's toxic. As toxic as any other sin. 

A lot of Christians around the blogosphere write about perfectionism. I was surprised by this as my perfectionism had seemed unique. Turns out I was wrong... Again. 



But I suppose that feeling of uniqueness is what happens when something becomes, or seems to become, part of you and your personality. It is so ingrained that you can't imagine life without it. It's unique, it's special, it's ME. 


So why would I throw a piece of myself away? 

That bring me back to my original point about perfectionism being rooted in sin. The easiest way to see it is the standards we set for ourselves, and more importantly why we set them so high. 

We believe that our lives must be perfect. We must achieve the perfect grades, be the perfect friend, family member or romantic partner. Getting something "wrong" is a disaster, a blemish upon our record. And just to clarify "wrong" is defined as anything less than perfection.

Our value and self-worth lies in getting everything right (perfect) and we will bend ourselves over backwards to achieve this. Take the example of when I was determined to get both of my friends to church, even though dad had told me we could only take one. I had to be a "good" friend and couldn't stand to be seen as anything less than exceptional. 



In all of this you can see I'm something of a silly goose but that whole toxic sin part may not be obvious so I'll make it clear: In seeking perfection I am living in rebellion against God. I am embracing the lie that I that I can save myself. Afterall all I had to was get everything "right." Jesus is great and all but I can do this on my own, thanks all the same. The consequence of this is that I am telling God "your love and your salvation is not enough." Rejecting God and His truth is living in rebellion

Perfectionism has had a hold on me for a long time. It's hard to let go. But I remember those moments of brokeness before God where I've told Him how much I hate it, that I despise it and curse it as sin. God hates our sin, but He loves us. It may sound odd but I want to hate my sin more than I want to hold onto it. 

So how am I shaking the hold of perfectionism? By choosing to hate it and love God and His way more. His way is the narrow path, where I must daily crucify my flesh and choose to follow Him. At this point putting to death perfectionism feels like I'm killing part of myself but even then... I don't want it anymore.


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Photo credit:
1. Image by geralt. Public domain. 
2. Image by Anthony Will photos. Used under CC license
3. Image by benhewittcreative. Used under CC license
4. Image by jill111. Public domain. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Hey you, don't give up!

So it's that time of the week again where I share some thoughts and seek to love those around me.

<insert cheer here>

It's also that time of the week where I think I'd like to be a craft blogger and write about all the nifty little things I make, or a book review blog and share my reflections on whatever I'm currently reading.

So fabulous.

But that's not why I started this blog

I started this blog on a self-admitted whim but with a genuine heart desire to reach out to people and to demonstrate Christ's love. 

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13: 35)

In a short period of time I have been able to connect with people with that same desire. I have admired their way with words and been inspired by their commitment to Christ. There are so many wonderful bloggers and writers (I draw a distinction and place myself in the former category) out there, all with a voice and something to say.

As a small-time indie blogger, who only started a few months ago, it's tempting to feel insignificant and unimportant. But I don't. I refuse to give into that temptation and allow those lies to gain any ground.

We face those kind of temptations on a daily basis. It is with much fervor that I pray the Lord's Prayer, especially these lines: "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one." Oh Lord, deliver us!

There is so much evil in the world, so much injustice.

But before my mind gets into its depressing rut of "so let's all just pack it in and go home then" I want to say, with utmost certainty and conviction, that there is hope



Today at church we read Luke 18: 1-8 in which Jesus teaches us to pray for justice, like the widow pleading her case before the judge, and to persevere in this. Our judge is not the apathetic and godless man presented in the parable but a loving, merciful, perfect Father who cares for His children.

Similarly, in last week's sermon, we looked at God's love in Luke 11: 1-11. To understand the Lord's provision and love for His children we can observe the love earthly parents have for their children, and then times that by infinity!!
Explanation of this meme (because I know a lot of you probably won't get it [and that's ok!]).
The Lord hears our cries for deliverance, for justice and in His love and mercy. He will answer. 

How do you persevere in prayer? What helps you to keep going instead of giving up? 

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Photo credit: 
1. Image by Mike Licht. Used under CC license.
2. Image by Mike Licht. Used under CC license.
3. Image by Adam Dachis. Used under CC license.



Thursday, 16 July 2015

IntenseDebate and the Mystery of the Disappearing Comments (UPDATED)

Comments missing or showing up as deleted on my blog? Here's why


Short version 
I made a mistake.

Long version 
I've been having some problems with the IntenseDebate commenting system. I was following this solution from iSophie. In an attempt to recover my precious missing comments she recommended deleting the Blogger form comments and the IntenseDebate comments should reappear...
Yeah, that didn't happen.

So, IntenseDebate comments from several posts are still missing and now all the Blogger comments have been deleted... by moi. And no, you cannot recover deleted comments unless you moderate your comments (I don't) and keep the notification emails.

I'm sure the tech heads will get a good laugh out of this rookie error ;)

From what I've read around the interwebs my changes to the mobile template should stop this problem from happening in the future. However if it continues to occur I will admit defeat and uninstall the IntenseDebate plugin.

So, if your comments are missing or that oh so lovely "this comment was deleted by the blog administrator" is showing up I'm sorry! I'm a blogging newbie and made a mistake.

To be honest I'm just really proud of myself for getting through this whole experience without crying or beating myself up for not being perfectly wonderful at something :)

Happy blogging!

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UPDATE

The IntenseDebate comments can now be viewed on previous posts, huzzah! However, I still cannot "un-delete" the Blogger comments I removed earlier. Who knew, deleting something actually, like, deletes it.

The only way I could get back my missing IntenseDebate comments was to tick the "Remove forever" box when deleting a comment. See below.

Removes comment but leaves some details (read more below)

Removes all traces of the comment.
Necessary to regain lost IntenseDebate comments.

Note: In the original post when I said I deleted my comments I did not select the "Remove forever" option. This removes all traces of the comment including the "this comment was removed by the administrator" notice, the commentator's name, etc.

So I'm sorry to all the readers who have had their comments removed. I truly appreciate them and very much enjoy interacting with you all. Please feel free to add your comment again (although of course I don't expect that!).

Ideally this will be the closing chapter to IntenseDebate and the Mystery of the Disappearing Comments.

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Photo credit:
1. Image by www.pexels.com. Public domain (CC0).
2. MB. Comment taken from Josh Duggar and Forgiveness.
3. MB. Comment taken from Josh Duggar and Forgiveness

Sunday, 12 July 2015

God's Stubborn Love

The last few weeks I have been doing my utmost to avoid God, which is a neat trick when you run a faith blog. I also manage to attend church and Bible study, and do my daily Bible reading. I'm going through all the motions without actually connecting.

Because that's what it's about: connection. It's a relationship and not just my "ring and run" prayers and hastily read Psalms. 

But despite all my efforts to hide God still manages to find a way to reach me. Honestly, it's almost as if He actually wants a relationship with me... 

I'll share a few examples with you (for there are many). Psalm 136 was part of my Bible reading a few days ago:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the God of gods
His love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord of Lords:
His love endures for ever

That's just verse one to three but you may notice a pattern in its construction. By about verse nine or so the words were practically leaping off the page and shouting in my face: HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER. ARE YOU LISTENING YET?



*claps hands over ears* la, la, la, can't hear you! For I am a foolish mortal. 

Another example occurred during church. Putting aside the sermon on our father-child relationship with God (oh it was a doozy. The words were yelling in my face again), there was one particular song that threatened to knock me sideways.

The gentleman who led us in Communion (he has a wonderfully esoteric blog, Like Trees. Like Spears) shared with us from the book of Hosea. Hosea, a prophet in Israel, is commanded by God to marry a prostitute. God commands Hosea to do this in order to symbolise His relationship with the nation of Israel. It was in this context that we listened to Stubborn Love by The Lumineers

She'll lie and steal, and cheat, and beg you from her knees,
Make you think she means it this time
She'll tear a hole in you, the one you can't repair
But I still love her, I don't really care

His love endures forever

I don't believe it is a Christian song but nevertheless Stubborn Love goes some of the way in portraying God's love for us foolish mortals. Do yourself a favour and don't hide from God. He always finds you anyway :) 

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Photo credit: 
1. Image by Art4TheGlryOfGod. Used under CC license

Monday, 6 July 2015

Three things I wish I was better at

Despite what you may think I am not perfect. Shocking, I know. On a daily basis I am confronted with this horrendous fact. Oh how it irks me.

Yeah. The sad thing is I'm only sorta kidding. 

So, in an effort to engage in some good ol' self-deprecating humour I thought I'd share Three things I wish I was better at, ideally in a fabulously (perfectly) humorous fashion.

Number one


Painting. I like painting, I enjoy a variety of arty activities but I would hesitate to say that I have a particular talent for any of them. That being said, I also don't work my butt off to produce stunning works of art like abstractedallure, Janis Cox and A. L. Romero whose blogs I all follow.

According to my source image this is a delightful waterfall scene. 
Methinks dad was correct to suggest that I lighten up the foreground.

(It's making me feel slightly ill sharing this with you all. I seriously struggle not being good at absolutely everything in the universe.)

Number two


I almost wrote "photography" because as you can see from my delightful waterfall/forest impressionist (yeahhhh, let's go with that) painting it is not my strong suit. However, I have no particular interest in photography so it doesn't really count. 

Part of me wishes I was better at sport. I live in a sport-mad country and being the book-loving, studious, nerdy girl that I am kicking a footy around isn't my idea of fun. But maybe Phys Ed wouldn't have been quite so torturous if I was better at all this sport stuff? 

Number three


Being at peace. This is actually something I'm getting better at (yay). Unlike my football skills (aww). It's a fairly broad one but I do believe that the more we can be at peace the better off we'll be. Lord willing we will all reach that perfect place of peace one day.

Oh, and, as many of my readers are American when I say "football" this is what I'm talking about:

This is AFL (Australian Football League)

This list could have gone for foreverrrrrrr. But three is the magic number so I'll leave it there. While I would love to be super talented at absolutley everything it wouldn't make people love me any more. In God's eyes, I am His masterpiece and all my shortcomings are covered by the riches of His grace.

What are some things you wish you were better at?

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Photo credit:
1. MB
2. Image by Tom Reynolds, via Wikimedia Commons. Used under CC license

Monday, 29 June 2015

Sometimes friends let you down. And it sucks.


I don't cope particularly well with disappointment. I don't think feeling disappointed or let down is wrong per se, but I do know that dissolving into a puddle of tears when things go askew isn't always the best reaction. 

I am gradually building my resiliency though and learning to cope more naturally with the ups and downs of life. We will always experience disappointment in this life, we will never be fully satisfied... Otherwise why would we need God? 

Still, when friends let you down it hurts. Sometimes it hurts a lot. And on that note I'd like to share a recent experience with you.

A group of Christian friends from uni had arranged to have dinner and see a movie over our mid-semester break. Naturally this was all organised through Facebook but as I had recently deactivated my account I planned to call one of the invitees prior to the movie. I know right, verbally communicating to organise an event. How quaint.

Anyway I was pleasantly surprised to receive a text from the host, filling me in on the finalised details. I say "surprised" because this particular group of Christians can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to following through and really seeking to love and include others. 

Now I don't know exactly what happened that night. I know I was a little late (my bad) but in the past friends would wait or call to see where you were, or you would call them. I didn't have any credit on my phone (my bad again) and that made things tricky but hey, I had betted on finding my friends and had gotten used to not being plugged into my phone all the time.

My friends were nowhere to be seen. 

Unable to locate them or a payphone I decided to go home. By myself. In the dark. Via public transport.

You get bonus points if you made this face upon reading of my daring antics. 
At this point in the story about a million other things could have gone wrong, beyond the initial (mildly crushing) disappointment of not being able to find my friends. Part of me was questioning my judgement but I prayed and asked God to "help me."

This was a somewhat vague request. Without articulating my thoughts to Him I had various answers to that prayer in mind, including (a) "help me" find my friends, (b) "help me" find a payphone and (c) "help me" not to burst into tears in public and (d), which was becoming increasingly more urgent as I walked to the nearest busstop, "help me" not get into some serious trouble with some unfriendly strangers. 

The Lord heard me and answered my prayer.

The bus arrived shortly and I arrived at the station just in time to catch the next train. Dad even picked me up from the station (I know where the payphones are in my suburb ;)).

The next hour was spent alternating between crying, rationalising with myself, getting angry with God and a mix of all three at once.

I know that might sound really bad but please believe me and all the professionals involved that I am getting better. Even when I feel like my life is a complete mess apparently this is not the case and only my negative perception. Because that's never skewed my perception before... *cough*

So what did I learn from all this? Firstly, I can cope a heck of a lot better with life's curveballs than I could, say, six to twelve months ago. Secondly, the Lord is faithful to me and answered my prayer even if it wasn't exactly the answer I wanted (i.e. find my friends, and have a smashing time despite the intial disappointment). And, as a caveat to the first one, I coped because God was with me. Oh boy did I feel let down by my friends but He didn't leave me. And He never will. 

What about you? Have you had a similar experience? How do you cope with the disappointment? 

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Photo credit:
1. Antranias via Pixabay. Public domain.
2. James Vaughan via Flickr. CC license
3.  Kaboompics via Pixabay. Public domain.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Why I'm (temporarily) quitting Facebook

Image by AdorkableAznBunny. Used under CC license.

Ah, Facebook. The silent blue giant that lurks on our phones and computers, slowly sucking all joy from our lives. At least, that's been my recent experience with the one of the world's most popular social media sites.


The only other time I have deactivated my account was during my final year of school. By the way, if there's any students reading this I highly recommend having a final year Facebook break. It's a huge distraction and no, you cannot effectively study and be on Facebook at the same time. Such practices have a significant negative impact on your ability to concentrate and absorb informationTrust me, you have enough distractions without checking your Newsfeed every five seconds. 

Anyway.

I'm not in my final year of school and I didn't even have end of semester uni exams this time around (my condolences for those of you still studying. Now stop reading this and get back to it! ;) ). So, why give up the big blue monster?

It was making me miserable. Regular readers of this blog will know I have my "off" days. While I try not to make rash decisions when I'm feeling bad I decided I needed a Facebook break during one of those "off" days. 


Image by dugg simpson. Used under CC license
I realised it was exacerbating feelings of loneliness and despair. The despair was particularly acute when seeing updates from some of the causes I'm passionate about and seek to support. I was being fed constant reminders of how harsh and cruel this world is and I felt powerless in the face of all the suffering.

In direct opposition to these stories were updates from friends about all the good (or bad) things happening in their lives. Facebook allows us the create a perfect, happy image of our lives. Or to vent about our frustrations and pain (perhaps through blogging hmm? :P ).

So on the one hand I was constantly being told how great life is while on the other being made aware of some friend's struggles, and the crises occuring around the world. 

I took all these cares and burdens on myself and it was having a significant impact on my mental and emotional wellbeing.

Recently I have been made aware of my rebellion against God. While I'm not going to go into details in this post my rebellion has been making me miserable and I imagine taking on all these burdens was a symptom of my sin. 

So while quitting Facebook is only treating a symptom it is at least removing a significant temptation. The temptation is to maintain control of my life and create my own kingdom instead of relinquishing control to God. 

Instead of entrusting these burdens and cares to The Management I declared myself king because I needed to maintain control, I needed to hold onto these burdens. Why? Because I did not trust God. 

Again I'm not going to go into all the nitty gritty of why I haven't been trusting God but I hope you at least understand that control stems from rebellion, and this can make you miserable, anxious and afraid. Freedom is found through repentance and forgiveness. 


Image by geralt. Used under CC license.
Lord, I'm sorry for my sin [naming the specific sin helps. Do not let shame trap you anymore]. Please forgive me and help me to trust you more. Today I commit [make the choice!] to trusting you and letting you be Lord of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.





Monday, 15 June 2015

What to do when you feel like giving up

Tough day? Tough week maybe? Heck right now it may feel like a tough life.

Sometimes we feel like this little guy
Image by Sachin Sandhu. Used under CC licence.

We've all been there at one point or another. Mental health professionals are quick to tell us that highs and lows are a normal point of life. And it's true, Jesus didn't promise us an easy ride.

"I have told you these things so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble..." (John 16: 33a). So what do you do when you feel like giving up? 

First, take a breath. Just breathe. Breathe in, hold . . . . . breathe out.

The short, shallow breaths caused by stressful situations can make it harder to think. Our brain starts to think that we're in real danger and our "fight/flight" response starts pumping us full of adrenalin, which is great if we need to run for our lives but less helpful if we need to think critically. There's a good summary here, with all the fun technical terms. 

Ok so that probably hasn't made the problem go away but now your brain is enjoying some much needed oxygen and you may be feeling calmer and able to think more clearly.

This image seemed appropriate.
Image by dasroofless. Used under CC licence


*Sarcasm powers activate*

I find I have something of a flair for drama. No don't laugh, I'm serious. I can turn anything into a world class melodrama in five seconds flat. I should win an Oscar, I'm telling ya. It's me and Merly Streep all the way.

*Sarcasm powers deactiviate* 





The truth is, if you're still reading at this point then we can safely assume you are not dead and thus still able to take action. And maybe you wish you were dead but please keep breathing darling.

You are here for a reason. Your life is not shaped by this problem. And you can overcome it.

Don't tell me you "can't " because when you say that you are not only calling me a liar, you're calling Jesus a liar. 

"God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Numbers 23: 19)

So when Jesus, the Son of God says: 

"But take heart! I have overcome the world," (John 16: 33b) and that, "...we are more than conquerors through [Christ]" (Romans 8: 37).

Then how is it that you cannot overcome? How is it that you are the exception to the rule, God's rule, that He will never leave us nor forsake us? 

God does not lie. Jesus does not lie. So if Jesus says you can overcome this he is telling you the truth. Maybe the way out isn't obvious right now but he is never ever going to let you go.


Image by brett jordan.
Used under 
CC licence.



I know it's hard right now but you're still here. And you are here for a reason. You are precious and you are loved. Don't give up because God isn't giving up on you.

Sometimes, when the Rejection Monster comes to visit, I worry that secretly everybody hates me. Oh I know it sounds ridiculous but the feeling can be very, very strong. That's just it though: it's only a feeling. The truth, the evidence is friends and family who love me dearly and a Saviour who died for me.

Remember: God does not lie. Period. 

God bless and have a wonderful week. Let me know in the comment what you do when you feel like giving up. For example, a friend of a friend has a shower because it feels like she's starting the day again :) 

Monday, 8 June 2015

I'm on Goodreads! And some thoughts on life

Hello there blogging world.

I am now on Goodreads. I never intended this to be a book review blog and I'm happy with how things are going buuuuut...I really like reading.

Sooo pretty... Must have books!
Image by timetrax23. Used under CC license.
So I compromised and set up a Goodreads account, yay!

If you would care to connect with me you can view my profile here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/43780824-mb

And, more in keeping with this blog, I also have a few thoughts (just one really) that I'd like to share with you.

I've been quite down the last few days. Mum suggested a trip to the library, partly to get me out of the house (the couch/my bed were my new friends) but also because she knows I enjoy reading.

Now this isn't anything groundbreaking but it really helped me just to get out and do something. And libraries are nice, cool and quiet. Not too stressful right? So it worked out well.

I also had a bit of fun finding books according to this summer reading challenge I found on StumbleUpon (oh I have an account there as well..so many distractions). It's from a few years ago but I checked out the author's blog and she still ones a challenge every summer and winter.

You can find the current challenge here. It's a little late for me to join now but something to keep in mind for the future eh?

And if you've been having a hard week too maybe there's something nice you could do? You sit out in the garden, go for a walk, have a coffee with a friend. It doesn't have to be a big thing, just something to get your mind off things for a while. And always remember that Jesus loves you and is with you in the messiness.

Lots of love,

MB


Friday, 5 June 2015

An appeal on behalf of a friend

Yes I'm about to ask for money. 

Ok now that's out of the way allow me to outline the situation for you. My friend, Eva, has recently encountered a fairly significant snag in funding for her studies at university.

As an Australian citizen we are entitled to government "loans" (it's not really a loan, exactly, anyway that's not important right now) to pay for our university studies. My friend is, however, a Permanent Resident. Her university, Notre Dame (note: prounced Not-ra Dame if you're an Aussie and not Not-er Daym ["said in exaggerated American accent"]) was kind enough to waive her fees, due to her family and living situation, until she was able to become a citizen.

Next Eva, beautiful girl that she is, went on a mission trip to help victims of typhoon Yolonda in the Philippines. What she didn't realise is that one needs to renew Permanent Residency status every four years should one desire to travel overseas.

The result is her citizenship application being pushed back until a later date and Notre Dame requiring that she now pays her fees upfront...To the tune of $5000. Ouch. To top it off she only found out now, two months before semester starts. As a recently married woman $5000 is a little hard to come by.

Eva is a woman of great faith and believes that God is calling her to use her studies for the furthering of His kingdom. I support her in this and that is why I am asking you to consider making a donation.

You can view her Go Fund Me page here: www.gofundme.com/w8bb6g

Thank you for your time. You may now resume your day ;)

Need motivation to give? Just see Matthew 25: 35-40.
(Image by contemplative imaging under CC license)