On the last day of a recent 3 day blog fast, my girls asked me to watch a movie with them. The movie was a Japanese Anime Film and the boy in the movie had no technology in his home. They only had a dial-phone and lots of books.
My youngest daughter (9yrs) was fascinated by this film, it inspired her to want to take a break from technology herself. She expressed to me her desire to go on a technology fast. This little angel had ideals of lasting a whole week with no TV, no Nintendo DS, no Wii, no computer, no mp3 player, no DVD’s, nothing!
We discussed this at some length, I explained that a whole week is a very long time for a little girl and perhaps it could be something she works up towards. I explained my theory about 3day fasts. They are achievable yet still a trial. We have more chance of hanging in there and keeping our promise, than risk being tempted into breaking our agreement with God. She seemed quite happy with this, wrote out her agreement in her prayer journal and the next morning began her task.
As my fast had now finished, I was sitting in my office replying to comments when her little face popped up over the back of the couch at me.
“Mummy! Guess what I just nearly did!” She blasted at me at top speed.
I gave her an inquiring look “What did you just nearly do?”
“I just turned the Wii on because I am finished getting ready for school. Good job I realised in time hey!” She grinned as she flipped around to turn it back off.
“Well done Honey” I cheered, “Good for you! It’s easy to slip-up, but well done for being strong enough to catch yourself.”
She grabbed her Children’s Bible, curled up on the lounge and read it until we left for school. When she got home she was heading to her room and had to pass the TV, which was on. She got caught up, it was like it reached out and grabbed her, after a couple of seconds she shook her head and kept on her way (Bless her).
This kid has so much faith it astounds me. For the next two days she kept to her word, she read books, drew pictures and played outside. I taught her how to play Gin Rummy, which we played a lot.
On the third day she started to struggle. It was a weekend and the day was dragging, we had tidied up and completed some chores, but she was being tempted with dreams of Mario Kart. I reminded her that this fast was her idea, that she had wanted to go a whole week and here she was struggling on only day 3. I encouraged her to ask God for help and explained that if we can resist something when it is hardest, in those times we really really want something, it gives our faith a huge boost. Plus, we show God how much we really want to keep our promises to please Him, rather than pleasing ourselves and our flesh. She said a prayer and then began reading a hefty novel, which she had been too overwhelmed to attempt before.
As the day turned to night, I was getting ready to head out to a friend’s birthday, and my daughter began yearning again. Snuggling up at the end of a Saturday with a movie is a common practice for our family, and she was itching for it. She didn’t want to just ‘break’ her promise so instead asked me if she could. I told her if she wanted to break her fast it would have to be her choice, and that I wasn’t going to give her permission so she could blame me for not reaching her goal. I reminded her of all the things I had said earlier, that she was so very close now and that is always when it gets hardest. I explained that if she broke her promise now, before her agreement was fulfilled, then the past 2 and a half days would be wasted.
She went back to her room to pray for more help and I left unsure of how strong she would remain without me to support her. So I said my own prayer asking for the Lord to keep her strong and keep the enemy from tempting her. When I arrived home later that night all was quiet, everyone was asleep. I wanted so desperately to wake her up and see if she had achieved this monumental goal.
I waited until my eyes sprang open then next morning, “How did you go Honey? Did you end up watching a movie or did you manage to keep your promise?”
Her little face beamed back at me “I didn’t watch a movie Mummy. God helped me keep my promise and I read this much of my book” She held up her novel and showed a quarter of it sectioned off with a bookmark.
I was so overcome with joy as tears ran down my cheeks, I made such a big deal of her triumph. Throughout the day I kept reminding her how very pleased I was with her, because it is one thing for a parent to discipline a child, but for a child of 9 years old to discipline herself was a huge accomplishment. I don’t know many adults who have that much self-discipline or faith. I strongly feel that exercising faith and self-control is extremely important, especially in a day and age when self-indulgence is so widely encouraged. Proudest Mum ever!
As someone who values truth, I can at times get quite protective of it, and will defend the responsibility that comes with sharing it. This post reflects such a time.
Over the years, I have come to see that there is a very real difference between the ‘painful truth’ and the ‘harsh truth’, yet they are often confused as being the same.
A painful truth is a reality that is difficult but must be faced.
A harsh truth is a piece of information, relative or not, that is delivered in a harsh manner and can cause more damage than is necessary.
So many countless times the ‘truth’ is used as an excuse to criticise and berate.
Pointing out imperfections over and over, hoping to ‘help’ someone alter themselves according to our opinion, is not the same thing as telling someone a painful truth.
If we deliver an opinionated criticism and receive a bad reaction, it becomes common to believe that the one rejecting the statement couldn’t handle the ‘painful truth’, when often this is not accurate at all.
Defending ones right to be at peace and accepted in their own imperfection, is not the same thing as reacting badly simply because they don’t like the “truth”. Misjudgments, lies and false accusations have the power to cause pain and negative reactions, just as much as, if not more than, the truth does. This needs to be considered, rather than making assumptions, when assessing a response.
Before we begin sprouting opinions willy-nilly, or giving weight to ‘harsh truths’ from others, we need to seriously ask ourselves, how many unsavory traits are actually sins that need to be ironed out by another imperfect human?
(Prophetic note: This is in no way attributed to times when God uses His prophets to deliver His direct word to identify actual sin. That would be another post on ‘painful truth’ entirely.)
In our youth we often assume we know it all, we have it all going on. We move out from under our parents control and the power to make our own decisions can cloud our self-perception with pride. In this state it is easy to believe our reasons to be harshly critical of others.
Having an honest opinion doesn’t automatically make it a truth that needs to be shared, unless perhaps you are asked directly to express that opinion.
As we get older we have the opportunity to develop self-awareness. If we can accept the truth about ourselves, it opens a door for us to realise that we don’t know it all, and we don’t have it all going on. Reaching this level of humility helps us accept people and their faults. It eases our expectations and our desire to manipulate others. It also helps us learn to be gentle when delivering a potentially painful truth.
We are all uniquely made, our personalities, talents and weaknesses are a mixed bag of specific traits. Some of these traits rub others up the wrong way, some are over-powering and cause discomfort, some are appreciated and even admired, some are abhorred and reprehended. Any one trait can cause different reactions from different people, depending on their own mindset at the time. One particular trait may be what people love about you, and others may be put off by the very same thing. And we can’t please everyone, we will only cause ourselves more misery if we try.
The rights and wrongs of someone’s individuality is a grey area, and opinions should be taken with a pinch of salt and not become something to condemn oneself about. Honest self-assessment and the company of honest, yet tactful and accepting people can help this self-assessment to grow in a healthy way.
The truth has gained a reputation of being harsh because of those who deliver it in a harsh manner. Truth is a blessing when delivered properly, with timing, tact and taste (according to my fabulous blogger friend T.K. Coleman), and is more likely to be received properly when these things are correctly in place…Yes there are still times when a truth said with tact is still rejected, but that is a position of possible rejection those, who share the truth, must be willing to take. While expressing any truth at inappropriate times, with little or no tact or taste is extremely damaging and will usually cause defensive reactions and not be received well at all.
We must avoid using the ‘truth’ as an excuse to condemn and manipulate those around us. Decades of misuse of the word “truth”, has damaged it’s reputation and people’s desire to pursue it. Be responsible with the truth when you must deliver it, and avoid listening to those who tarnish it’s pure and freeing nature.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (NLT)
“Lilly sit still” My mother’s voice rings out
“I don’t want to” I say, as I punch and shout.
The fat jolly man on who’s knee I was sat
Thought it ok to give a soothing pat
But his touch didn’t soothe my flighty fight
In fact it didn’t feel quite right
And when I tried to sleep that night
The thought of him gave me an awful fright
I’d heard of Santa Claus and his right
To come into my home at night
Our security screens were in doubt
And wouldn’t keep this stranger out
My parents said “sleep” I must
For “Santa Claus we sure could trust”
But everything else they had taught before
Lay open in warning all over the floor
I knew I hadn’t done my best all year
So why were there so many presents here?
They told me he viewed me from all ranges
This proves I need to make no changes.
The kids at school told me it was all a lie
“My parents lied?” I wondered why…
So if that fat man they forced me to love
Wasn’t really watching from above
Perhaps there is no God there too
And why should I believe in you?
When I grew up and became a mum
I told my kids that was no fun
I wanted them to know I would tell no lies
Not of fairy’s or Santa or the bogey man’s flies
The birth of Christ is our Christmas story
A babe who came with hope and glory
His purpose here is losing impact
Diluted by a man with toys in his sack
I see these tricks now so much better
and it comes with the change of just one letter
Santa’s ‘N’ makes it’s way to the end
as Satan’s name is sure to offend
In a world so full of broken trust
A parent’s truth is a vital must
So before you tuck your kids in this eve
Be sure of what you make them believe
Here is one for the dreamers, the artists, the creative segregates who recognise their vulnerability to the instability of mental health, especially surrounding their creative success.
For anyone and everyone with even a smidge of creative desire, this clip is for you…
Best Selling Author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, Elizabeth Gilbert, shares her philosophy to contravene the downward spiral as a direct result of fear of expectant failure, by reevaluating taking complete ownership of all creative inspiration.
The TED website accompanied this brief talk with the following description:
“Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.”
This talk had me nodding my head over and over in agreement, and saying Ole’! (which you will understand when you watch it). It also helped me take off some of the pressure I have put on myself for the responses of others to my writing. I for one would like to join that elite group of artists, who took the inspiration given to them and refused to let the ignorance of those around them stop them from baring their creative souls to the world, and faced the battle against self-doubt along the way.
A must see for all creative people… Either watch below or click the following link Your Elusive Creative Genuis by Elizabeth Gilbert
Enjoy! Blessings to you!