Unwarranted Forgiveness

Forgiveness. An aspect of human nature which can be easily demanded, harder to be implemented. Especially when someone has done something, or said something and they don’t even realise the effect it’s had on you. 

A flippant comment,

A judgemental word,

A word that cuts deep into your heart,

A message which threatens to steal your peace,

A conversation which lacks understanding.

It is in these moments when forgiveness needs to be extended, way beyond our human comprehension of what forgiveness is, and touching the true forgiveness we receive through Jesus, “while we were yet still sinners”. Even before we knew we needed forgiveness to be given to us, Jesus gave it. 

So don’t hang on to something someone said to you flippantly. They have already discarded the conversation from their memory. Unless you challenged them there and then, they won’t even realise they have hurt you, caused you pain, or hit that place God is ministering to.

Some might argue, “That’s because God is working through them to minister in you.” Sure, sometimes that happens. But my God isn’t One Who intentially causes pain or hurt. He is a God Who heals. 

Having someone pressing on a bruise isn’t God’s way to bring healing. 

Having someone negatively remind you of what you’ve had to carry, isn’t God’s way to bring healing. 

Causing you to feel condemned or judged isn’t God’s way to bring healing. 

If you are needing to be challenged in an area of life you refuse to deal with or are clinging to, is different to living with something to which there seems no end. Faith rises way beyond the situation you are in. Hiding from your pain, and working through your pain are both reactions to your situation. But if you are hiding, expect God to walk through the garden of your life asking, “My child. Where are you?” Because He wants to restore, He wants to revive, He wants to heal. He doesn’t want you to hide away from the burden, the pain or the heartache. He wants you to feel the fear, or feel the pain, and trust Him anyway. Have faith in Him anyway. 

No one can understand the journey you’re on, but God.

No one has the healing you desire, but God.

No one can really say the right thing at the right time….except for God.

So if someone says something out of their ignorance of your pain, don’t hold unforgiveness against them. Forgive and let God do what He needs to do in the middle of it all. This is unwarranted forgiveness. This is the very nature of Who God is, in Whose image we are made.

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No Scrubs!

Do you remember that 90s hit, “No Scrubs” by TLC? I have recently had it playing fairly loudly, while driving up and down the M1, with the windows down, in the sunshine. It’s a good song to bellow at the top of your lungs… or maybe that’s just me.

I’d been thinking, before this song appeared in my Spotify list about some of the guys who have recently tried to approach, and that maybe I should help some of these poor boys out. I know I’m not perfect, but come on, give me a break!

So, here is my own list of “No scrubs” which I am more than happy to add to, because right now, I really don’t need the hassle!

1. Any guy who thinks it is acceptable to approach wearing joggers….don’t! Ever. Especially if stepping foot in a gym is as alien a concept for you, as stepping foot on Venus is for humanity. As TLC declared, “I’m looking class, and he’s looking trash.”

2. Any guy who doesn’t have ambition… don’t! In case you try to hold me back from achieving mine. I’ve come too far to let you stop me now.

3. Any guy who hasn’t learned to drive…don’t! Right now I have my own life, and don’t need to play taxi service to yours. If I wanted to start up a taxi company I would – but I wouldn’t be one of the drivers 😘

4. Any guy who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus…don’t! I will not be distracted by a relationship with you, and you might grow jealous of my relationship with Him.

5. Any guy who doesn’t know how to handle his finances…don’t! I’m not here to carry you financially. There are many shoes out there yet to be discovered!

6. Any guy who is still living with, or has gone back to living with his parents…don’t! I am not here to be a replacement mother for you.

7. Any guy who has an old banger…don’t! There’s a difference between classic and clapped out, and I prefer classic to plain, old! Yours needs to sit perfectly alongside mine!

8. Any guy who puts so much emphasis on his outward appearance, he forgets to correlate his inner heart…don’t! Ugliness is more than skin-deep.

9. Any guy who thinks playing a game and saying the right thing is going to work…don’t! Life is a partnership, games are for kids.

10. Any guy who doesn’t have his own opinions…don’t! You’ll probably be annoyed by not being able to keep up with mine in conversation, and try to box me in. Guess what – you’re can’t.

11. Any guy who wants to hold me to ransom to my past…don’t! Only God can do that, and I know for a fact you are not God. And anyway, He doesn’t, so why do you think you can?

12. Any guy who is content to lie to me…don’t! How do you expect me – or anyone else for that matter – to trust you with my heart, if you can’t honour me with truth.

Hope this helps, and helps some of the muppets out there are able to avoid the rejection likely to be incurred. Life is too short, and I am too busy! 😉

Fears About The Election

The problem with democracy, are the muppets who don’t treat democracy with the respect and depth it deserves. There are so many countries which are not democratic, who would love to have the chance to vote, and choose those who represent them, but are trapped in a dictatorship.

And it scares me. Because it seems to me there are too many people on the streets who are clueless about what it really means to be able to actually vote. There is no thought, no consideration, no weighing up the various candidates and what they really represent. No digging into who they really are, beyond the words they say.

Too many times I have heard people being interviewed on the streets across the UK, saying, “I’m voting…because I always have.” Or, “I don’t like the leader, but I always vote them. Not changing now.” Or, “I have no idea what they stand for, but my family has always voted for them.” Or, “I don’t agree with some of their policies, but I am them through and through.” Or, “This is a … area, so I’m just gonna vote for them.”

Is it just me who is concerned?

Is it justifiable?

Is this what democracy is really about, for people to vote without thinking?

When I think of what people have endured in the past just to have the right to vote, from women, to people of other races, it frustrates me so much there are people standing in front of the camera making ignorant statements like these, without any real thought or consideration about what they’re actually doing, when they place their X in the box next week.

Lord have mercy on this nation!

De-Clutterisation

I recently wrote about the epic challenge of de-cluttering my life, and how it seems like the same message is coming up over and over again, about how to do it.

Now, I have come across an article about the benefits of de-cluttering, on the Psychology Today website. It seems there are some of us who need the statistics of an official study before we will accept the psychological benefit to addressing the amount of clutter in our lives.

The number one benefit, surely, is the fact it removes the pressure, and creates a deeper sense of contentment, because we don’t feel as though our lives are out of control.

I am prepared to test this for myself, and as June rolls into July, and summer rolls into autumn then winter, as life continues to rebuild and become more settled, it is my hope I will achieve some sense of de-clutterisation (I think I just created a word!).

No doubt we will work this out together, as I journey this path. Feel free to comment below with your de-clutter advice, tips and suggestions.

 

Imitating Einstein

Imitating Einstein:

I was at the hairdresser’s recently, laughing with her about my Einstein impression. You know what I mean? That look where people could be forgiven for thinking I’d stuck my finger in a socket, or something.

I don’t mean all of my hair, most people probably wouldn’t have noticed. If you did notice, I promise I wasn’t trying to create some weird style I hoped would catch on for the summer!

It basically came down to the fact I had lots of baby hair: Regrowth, which was too short to fall flat with the rest of my hair, and which refused to be tamed by hairspray or mousse products.

What it meant to me was one thing. After an incredibly difficult season of intense stress over the last couple of years, my body was in alignment with my spirit that the season had passed.

There have been two occasions when my hair has fallen out as a result of the intense pressure I have been under. The first time was when I discovered a lump in my breast when I was in my twenties. The second was as a result of an emotionally damaging relationship.

So the fact my hair was doing its best impression of Einstein’s wild locks was confirmation the storm has now passed, I had survived, and not only is God rebuilding my life with me, my body is being restored physically, as well as spiritually and emotionally.

So if you don’t mind, I really don’t mind while my new hair settles into place and learns where it needs to fall. To me it’s a beautiful reminder of the new season I am in, and if my hair was going to stand proud on my head as if followed by a balloon, then I definitely was’t going to slouch around hoping it would go away.

You can’t slouch in heels, and there’s no point in trying to hide from the little triumphs your body and spirit make along your journey. Celebrate where you have come from.

Time To De-Clutter

I’m reading a lot at the moment about “de-cluttering” your life, and it’s not even by choice! Whether it’s through the challenge of a friend, in books I currently seem to be drawn to, and random articles in magazines…. do you ever feel like God is trying to tell you something?!

My dad, who I kinda take after to an extent, is a bit of a hoarder. By a bit – I mean a total! I’ve not reached the same level as him, and as competitive as I am – I will never try to! But last year, when I emptied all I had into boxes – things I wanted to keep and things I wanted to get rid of, it was quite a liberating experience. I realised some of what I was boxing up to throw, weren’t as important to me as I’d once thought.
I’ll be glad to get into my new place, and empty out the boxes I still have taped up from last year, while I lived in the TP. It begs the question though: If I’ve not brought it out of the box for over six months – do I really need it???

De-cluttering is not just about sorting through the physical stuff our lofts, spare rooms, and cupboards are filled with. De-cluttering is about getting rid of the stuff which is grabbing our attention, filling our mind-space, and holding our emotions to ransom. This is all part of the journey I am on. Working out what are real priorities. What really belongs in my future? What do I really need to give my time and attention to? 

Hopefully as I make steps to rebuilding my life, I’ll make strides towards de-cluttering in every sense of the phrase, and take back control of my life! 

Number 1 Lesson For Surviving Life

Number 1 Lesson For Surviving Life:

Now, having reached the grand age of 40, I’ve learned some very important lessons along the way. But the number 1 lesson for today?

Do not, under any circumstances, allow anyone else to define you, only let the Holy Spirit refine you.

This is my number 1 lesson for not only surviving life, but for also enjoying life.

Let me explain.

I used to be really shy growing up. It came from growing up in a family which moved, on average, every three years. Sometimes we moved to a different area within the same locality, but otherwise it was a move around the British Isles.

This made it difficult to feel connected to people, and forging long-lasting friendships which were safe and could naturally develop, was nigh on impossible. I ended up having quite a few pen pals though – which clearly helped my love of writing!

The main issue is that as we moved from one town to another, I tried to fit in with anyone who would invite me into their friendship circle. This ranged from one group of friends who could be classed as “Mean Girls” in Gateshead, to another group who would be the somewhat vacuous “It Girls” of Barry, or there was the “goth/hippy” phase with my Best Pal (BP) in the Midlands, ohhhh and “Bible Basher” in pretty much everywhere!

IMG_6145When we’re young, we want to feel acceptable, and be accepted. So we do what we need to do to try and fit in. It’s when we’re unable to formulate a firm idea of who we are, that we can be easily led astray, because we try to adjust who we are to fit in with who we’re with. In other words, we allow others to define us.

I am glad that actually, I didn’t get caught up in the “wrong crowd” which could have happened so easily. Being an awkward, shy, quiet (I KNOW!!! Difficult to imagine!!!), Church girl meant I was on the fringes of many groups who felt I was not “one of them”.

This gave me the freedom to be me, instead of trying to conform, and for that, I am grateful! Pros and cons of being in a family that moves a lot!

By allowing others to define us, we end up giving them the authority to control our lives, and the direction we go in. Which means we could potentially end up being no one when we’re apart from those we allow to define us. And when they move on, we stand in the dark with our hands up saying, “but what about me?!”
You define you.

And with the Holy Spirit, you become a richer, more fruitful version of you, flourishing and empowered in whatever you do. Why? Because you know who you are, where you’re going and your own mind.

Don’t follow someone around like a shadow. Know who you are. Ask God to reveal the hidden person within you, and grow into that person. Step out of the shadow, walk in the light, and be proud of who you will become.

Because…. you – the real you – are awesome!

Standing as Authentically Me!

Authenticity is one of the most important aspects of how we are received by those around us. True authenticity leads to trust and openness, while those who are not authentic, end up being held at arms length and seen as untrustworthy. Most people aim for being seen as authentic – but what does this truly mean? What or who are you authentic about? This must come from really knowing who we are and dealing with the stuff we hide from.

We’ve all come across those people who say one thing and behave in a very different way. Or those who say the right thing at the right time, but there just seems to be something you can’t quite put your finger on which doesn’t sit right. Or those who seem to have experienced what you’ve experienced and thrive on drama and issues:yours, theirs, someone else’s, anyone else’s.

  1. IMG_8234Having walked run away from a challenging relationship where I was constantly being told I “was not who I try to portray myself to be, and if people really knew who I was, no one would want to be around me!” for a while, actually caused me to believe what he was saying. So I stopped being me, and tried to be who I thought I should be in order to be more the me I was being told I should be, and actually not even being me at all, and not even recognising nor understanding who I was being. And the version of me he was seeing seemed so far from the version of me I thought I was, that it was confusing trying to relate to which me was actually in that relationship. A real me? A perceived me? A fabricated me? Who is me??

If you made sense of that confusing paragraph, you can probably read between the lines of how messy it became.

When we are not ourselves, we begin to lose sight of who we really are, and the mind, the spirit, the essence of who we are can only deal with that for so long. Either we give in to it, and totally become an inauthentic version of ourselves, or we fight against it, and re-identify the “authentic me” among all the darkness of being forged into someone else. Don’t let anyone redefine who you are.

In my case, the resilient fighter within began to reclaim who I am!

In an interesting post on the Psychology Today website, “7 Qualities of Truly Authentic People“, author, Stephen Joseph mentions the human characteristics which, to him, define authenticity in people. These are:

  1. Have realistic perceptions of reality.
  2. Are accepting of themselves and of other people.
  3. Are thoughtful.
  4. Have a non-hostile sense of humor.
  5. Are able to express their emotions freely and clearly.
  6. Are open to learning from their mistakes.
  7. Understand their motivations.

A pretty good list! But how easy are they to attain?

It seems to me, that true authenticity has to start from the inside out….but not in a narcissistic, egotistical kind of way, nor in a self-loathing, insecure kind of way either. But rather in a being honest with yourself, real dealings kind of a way.

A bit like when King David writes,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalms‬ ‭139:23-24‬ ‭

imageTo be truly authentic means we have to get real about the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves. For Christians this means learning how to allow the Holy Spirit to shine a light on there. Not to shame us, but to help us work through who we are, as we become even better with His help and leading. Because, let’s be honest, none of us are actually perfect, and recognising this is all part and parcel of authenticity.

How can we be authentic with others, if we can’t be authentic with ourselves. And how can we expect our friends, and those closest to us to really trust us, or our word, if we are unsure of our own hearts and minds.

Re-establishing me, above the messiness of what had been thrown at me wasn’t an easy journey, but here I stand, with my head held high, not hanging low, with the fresh understanding that what you see is authentically me.

 

 

Ignorance Leads to Insensitivity

You know there is nothing more annoying than insensitivity – except insensitivity which stems from complete and utter ignorance! Actually, there probably is, but for the purpose of this post…there isn’t!

I couldn’t believe the person who thought it was appropriate to ask Theresa May, one of the biggest competitors for the most ignorant question I have ever heard, when she was interviewed on LBC radio this week.

But, my respect for Theresa May has increased. Whereas I might have been tempted to climb over the desk and face palm the offending questioner on his own face, she didn’t quite do that….physically anyway. Verbally, I think she definitely did!

But this comes down to the gap between those who have children and those who don’t. A huge gap. A chasm as wide as an ocean, at times, it seems.

Let me lay it down, The current situation is that there are currently 1:6 couples who are trying to conceive, but are not able to, for various reasons known and unknown. As well as the countless men and women currently single who also know they have fertility issues, and are unable to even try!

We are well aware we are missing something in our lives, trust me. We don’t need someone to remind us and ask the most stupid questions, like, “How different a person do you think you might be if….” Many of us have asked ourselves that very same type of question over-and-over…. every Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, summer holidays, random days… you can see how the picture builds.

I respect Theresa May’s grace in handling such stupidity, and I would love to have an opportunity to glean from her, for my own journey. “How has your faith sustained you through some of the most darkest and most difficult days of being a woman?” For example. Or “What can I learn from your walk for my own walk?”

The fact that there are as many as 1:6 couples means that most of you who read this,  if you are not one of this special statistic, will definitely know of people who are. All we ask, is that you don’t hide from what we’re dealing with, but likewise, hold back on the stupidity now and again!

We don’t want to have a negative affect on how you enjoy your life, so cut us some slack and treat us in the same way, if that’s ok with you!

 

 

Click here to hear the question and reply.

Ladies What Lunch

IMG_7954I have just had the honour of speaking to a beautiful group of women at Mansfield Calvary Chapel, at their Spring Afternoon Tea. Complete with the cutest China teacups and plates! And #GlutenFree food for me.

It never ceases to amaze me how God finds me, in my cutest heels, and manages to speak from His heart into the hearts of those I am sharing with. Having been away exhibiting at AOG and Elim leaders’ conferences didn’t leave much preparation time…no where near as much as I would normally like to do. And yet, the notes I had prepared weren’t really referred to anyway, as the Lord ministered in spite of the time pressures of my life!

Not that I particularly like working that way….control freak that I am!

There’s just something about knowing that you are being used as a vessel to minister, inspire, encourage, restore, help or touch someone right in the place they need it most.

But it’s not just about someone standing on stage, delivering a talk or a message – it’s about you, whoever you are, being available to be authentic and open about who you really are. In a world which is fascinated by the outward appearances of people they want to be like, break the mold! Be different! Let YOU shine out in the darkest places. Even if you are walking through your own darkness.

It is through our authenticity, the world can actually see the light, recognise the hope we cling to, and feel there is something about that inner strength which allows you to get out of bed each morning. You can be that person anywhere, at anytime. You don’t need an invitation to speak – or if you do, consider this to be your invitation:

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. 2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬

So don’t hold back. And don’t be afraid to be different. Rock up in those heels in a world of grey suits, and SHINE BRIGHTLY, as someone who is reflecting the Son!