27/05/2013

Worthy of Trust*

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings tagged , , , , , , , at 10:15 am by The Water Bearer

 

Trust is a precarious venture. I have yet to meet anyone who has put their trust in others and never been betrayed. It can be hard to give our trust away over and over again. Trust is earned over many encounters, encounters where loyalty needs to win out over betrayal. It cannot be expected, or demanded or rushed. It can not be easily repaired once it has been broken.

However putting too much trust in people is a plan with a giant hole in it. People are flawed and are going to let us down, in one way or another, at some point. It is ridiculous to assume otherwise. While putting our trust in Our Heavenly Father does not come with this hole. He has clearly laid out in His word what we can expect from a true relationship with Him.

When we recognise that we are at His mercy and choose to willingly accept His will, we become aware that trusting God does not work by saying “I trust God to ………….” (fill in the blank with a desire or specific wish). He is not a magic genie sent to fulfill our every request. We must establish faith in His divine justice. Therefore our trust is not fulfilled only in our comfort, but in the whole package that God has designed. A package designed to develop us to our highest potential & fulfillment, and that includes times in the desert, times in the wilderness, times on our own cross, and times we walk through hell itself.

Many of us are too afraid to even try trusting God because we are fed lies into our hearts by our inner enemies. Lies that make us doubt He is really there, or close enough to help. Lies that encourage us to forget that He loves us, or that tell us we don’t deserve His support. Lies that tell us that we have the most control over our  lives, that lead us to believe we know what is best for us, that we know what will make us happy.

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There are many who proclaim to trust completely in God, yet many of us fall short when it comes to the crunch. Once we begin to take away all the things we do actually lean on, it leaves us shaky and vulnerable. We rely on our relationships, our reputations, our ability to control and manipulate. We lean on our knowledge, our careers, our financial position, on our talents and our addictions. When all of these things are stripped away, what is left?

See the problem with relying upon all these things is that they are a temporary solution, they can be fickle, or damaged, or destroyed. They are at the mercy of the world, of nature, of evil, and even God Himself.

You can be sure that if God wants us to learn to rely on Him, He can remove the success of these worldly things one by one, until their misconception of being supportive, is revealed and recognised.

Once we have begun to let go of the illusion of control and give God chances to show us His power and faithfulness, we can find opportunities to exercise our trust in Him, ranging from the small, seemingly trivial issues, right through to our most immense fears.

From my own personal experience I can testify that every time I have truly let go of my fear and accepted there is nothing I can do to change the circumstances, when I have desperately, genuinely, consciously put my cause into His hands, He has never once let me down.

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20/05/2013

The Pursuit of YOU*

Posted in Encouragement, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:17 am by The Water Bearer

Happy

I have come across many people who hide from themselves, they resist the pursuit of finding themselves, and miss out on growing into the happiest possible version of themselves.

Have you learned how to be happy and accept who you are, and ignore the opinions of those who set out to change or criticise you? Have you stopped the force of influence from people who you do not aspire to be like?

Are you authentically true to yourself?

Does your life and character reflect who YOU really want to be?

There are some important steps to pursuing the authentic, untainted version of you! Steps towards learning how to become the You, that YOU really want to be.

I have found these steps to be the foundation of what I have gained during over 6years of honest therapy, with a few different psychologists.

Sometimes, often even, a stigma can follow an announcement of seeing a psychologist. Those who have not had therapy, or not understood the need for it, may vastly misjudge those of us who go regularly, and wonder what is ‘wrong’ with us. Some may avoid therapy even if they think they need it, because this stigma covers them with shame. Sure, the most extreme cases of ‘crazy’ are treated in therapy, and so are a variety of mild to severe mental illnesses, mood disorders and psychological conditions. However I don’t feel you have to have a severe problem to benefit from regular therapy. In fact I think everyone would benefit from seeing a good therapist, even just once in a while.

I have found that a good therapist is a sounding board, a place to express your own thoughts, feelings, desires and concerns about who you are and how your life is going. It is place to escape the onslaught of voices from those who have taught us their own rules of good & bad, right & wrong, should & should not. It can become a place where you get to investigate and choose which rules YOU agree with, which ones you want to alter, and which to delete entirely.

A good therapist will not tell you what they think you should or should not do, but will empower you to eliminate those toxic, unhealthy influences and rules you are not benefited by. Those you have adopted through exposure during your lives, which do not improve your sense of fulfillment and self-acceptance.

Have you spent time digging through your beliefs, choices, actions and habits and figured out what makes you tick? I recommend we question everything we were ever taught and test it against what we have learned in our own experiences. What was true for our parents and teachers may not be true for us. What we teach our children is based on our own perceptions and may not be true for them as they grow into their true selves.

Once you have figured out which rules you want to keep and apply, establishing some boundaries will protect your belief system. Developing your own boundaries in a healthy productive way, gives strength and stability to your choices. Good therapists will help with this. The instability from past attempts at boundaries, I have found, resulted because they were actually walls put up reactively, out of anger and resentment etc. These unhealthy walls will probably crumble at the first sign of challenge, or cause even more of the bitterness and anger that first created them.

A healthy proactive boundary will bring a sense of peace, it does not need to be pushed onto anyone else, but when challenged can be gently, or firmly, reinforced exactly where you have comfortably placed it. It gives assurance of the ‘You’ who you want to be, because when challenged, you won’t allow someone you did not permit to influence your beliefs and your sense of the authentic YOU!

hugging

15/05/2013

Love Your Shazam and Be Seen!*

Posted in Encouragement, General, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 9:47 am by The Water Bearer

microphone

Wow! Wow! Woweee!

I have told you all before that I experience a lot of anxiety. It has caused me extreme discomfort and I have let it hold me back way too often.

I hear people say “Use your nerves” or “Channel your nerves” I have heard it more times than I can count, but I never knew what they meant or how to achieve it.

I found this Marie TV episode extremely profound, helpful is an understatement and, well to be honest, AWESOME!

Some quick simple techniques to understand and overcome fear, nerves, anxiety, shyness etc.

You may be far from calm and serene, but calm may not always be the most effective state when trying to capture attention, (e.g in public speaking, performing etc).

I was told recently that the most creative people more commonly also suffer from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, etc, and that if they could just get out there and share their creative energy without letting their negative emotions prevent them, they would be brilliant!

This information is just what I needed, and I know many of you will be blown away by it too!!

13/05/2013

Just Playing Your Role*

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:41 am by The Water Bearer

stage

One of the concepts my Dear Departed Dad always used to explain to me, has come back to me recently. It’s as though he still helping me, even after his passing.

Back when he was still around, and I was struggling to keep the faith and stay on track, He always had a phrase of comfort, or a story with stability to ground me. During series of events that made me freak out with fear and dread, events that set off all my triggers of my psychological issues, when I was filled with self-condemnation and depression etc. He knew exactly what to say to provide the support that I needed.

This is another one of his concepts that has come back into my recollection…

“Life is a play, earth is the stage. You are merely playing your role. What you face here and how you must react to it will not last forever. You are just up on stage reciting the lines, responding to the actors, the director and the plot. This is not your permanent place, this is a stepping stone to the next place. Just hold on, play the best part you can, and know that when the curtain drops it will all be over and you will never have to play that role again.”

Does that resonate with you as much as it does me?

If an actor makes a mistake on stage, they just keep going as if nothing happened (yet determined to do better next time). If the audience isn’t paying attention to them they just keep on going, doing their best, the reactions around them hardly effect the play.

In the past it helped me avoid so much dread. It helped me step aside and look at the issues without letting them overwhelm me. How I dearly miss his words of wisdom. I am so grateful that they come back to me like this so I can lean on them once again.

Even though life is tough, and gets to be too much at times, we have also been given some great roles to play that balance out the bad. The times I feel like a good mum, when I play with my girls and nurture them with kindness, approval, affection and attention. As a wife, when I can comfort and support my man. Times I feel completely loved as a child of God, Or am brave enough to share something I created. Amongst gatherings of loved ones filled with laughter and companionship, or as a servant to those in need. Even just the ability to enjoy my own company while staring deep into the blue sky above or a picturesque sunset, or the crashing waves of the ocean.

There are so many fabulous roles for us to play, let’s not allow the harder roles drag us into despair. One day all will be washed new, the curtain will drop on our time here and the next place will be where we can be our true authentic selves, not poisoned by the inner enemies we carry around with us while we are here.

It is just a play and this is just the stage!

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09/05/2013

How to be a Perfect Christian

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness at 9:09 am by The Water Bearer

This post has such a foundation of truth I simply had to share it. Freeing and funny, encouraging and convicting. I hope you appreciate it as much as I did. Blessings to you all!

Revolutionary Faith

What if you could become the perfect Christian? The kind that when God looks down from heaven, He can say, “I find no fault in that one.” Would you do whatever it takes? Travel to any country? Witness to any person? Give up chocolate and TV for the rest of your life?

Well, what if I told you that you can keep your chocolate and still be a perfect Christian? What if I told you that being a perfect Christian, while perhaps challenging at times, was completely doable? That pleasing God is totally within the realm of possibility, and it won’t require you to move to India and live in a monastery? Well, here it is, straight from the mouth of Jesus:

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08/05/2013

Turning His Face*

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:49 am by The Water Bearer

woman-reaching-upward

Through these few weeks of suffering the condition I mentioned in a recent post, I have been more focused than ever on bringing more of God’s presence into my day-to-day life. Funny that!

We always stretch further for Him when we are suffering, don’t we?

Last week I completed a 2 week fast. No alcohol, No TV, and did not touch a blog site or any social media. My intention was to meditate, and work on my novel, as much as possible (although my plans are not always His and He had other things for me to deal with).

The foundation of a successful fast, is giving up anything that seeks to control us, anything we enjoy enough to get lost in, or find a pull towards during tough times. Easy distractions or addictions, habits and weaknesses. During a fast we make a 100% non-negotiable promise, to God, to go without which ever thing we are fasting for an achievable amount of time.

Each time the tempting thought arises we acknowledge God and our promise to Him, we reinforce that promise and we ask for His help when it gets tough. By doing this we are making some huge expressions of faith from our softened hearts. (God just loves it when we do this!)

These are some things that speak out of our hearts during a fast like this – God is real, He watches us, We revere Him enough to want to keep our promise. We need his help when we are weak. We are willing to give up the pleasures of the world to acknowledge Him and invite Him in to our situation.

It is the most powerful exercise I have found to overcome the world and my flesh, and witness His presence.

The first thing I noticed during this particular fast, was how much spare time I had to get other things done. I accomplished so much, and after feeling useless for a number of weeks, I felt a great sense of achievement as I ticked off many things on my never ending to-do list.

The second thing I noticed was how much easier it was to discover God’s guidance and to find things to praise Him for. The medication I am on for this condition has exacerbated my mood disorder significantly, I am more emotionally sensitive than ever. It can only take a millisecond for me to burst into tears, or flick on the rage switch, grit my teeth and loose any place of calm. Often, in times like this, I pray. Usually something desperate like “Oh Lord help me, take away my emotions, help so-and-so see how hard this is for me and not aggravate me! I don’t want to feel like this” etc. Then I wait…with angry tears….until He changes things.

However, during this fast I found praising Him was a much quicker way to flick off that unpleasant switch.

I recommend everyone tries this, it is not always easy, but it works every time!

Right in the midst of a full blown attack, when our Inner Enemies are hitting us from every angle, rather than fighting back in anger, we can end the battle then and there. By pushing aside that tidal wave of ammunition,  which fuels unpleasant emotions, just for a second, and find something, anything to be grateful for. Praise God for that, whatever it may be. It could be as simple as the ability to breathe, or the warm bed you are about to snuggle up in… It could be the legs that allow you to walk away from something aggravating. 😉

If there is  anything that will send our Inner Enemies high-tailing it into the distance, it is Praise! Worship! Gratitude! Forgiveness! A sure way to grab onto the face of God and turn it towards you!

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