19/06/2018

Side-Stepping The Ego

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 11:58 am by The Water Bearer

 

 


It was just a normal day when it revealed itself, nothing out of the ordinary. I’d just put fuel in my car and casually asked the cashier if she could break a twenty into two tens. She grimaced furiously and fumbled through her till, making out my request was a huge insult. Then I heard it. A voice from inside me, silent but powerful. It said “Don’t F@#* with me Lady! Either you can or you can’t!” Yet I just barely noticed it as I swallowed it back down.

She ummed and aah’d for a few seconds and I felt for a moment as if I could read her thoughts, she was assessing if helping me was going to hinder her in some way, and rather than just apologising and saying ‘Sorry I can’t help you’, she made damn sure I knew I was putting her out. The voice inside me spoke again, it said “I don’t remember ordering a side of guilt with my change!” As she reluctantly handed me my two ten dollar notes, she said “I will this time, but we don’t have the same facilities as a bank.” I had already thanked her and was half way out the door when I heard her final jab. I’ve learned over the years not to always voice out loud my inside voice, yet I still paused at the door, took a sarcastically curious look around the small fuel shop and said “Oh really! Why don’t you? How unusual!” and headed out the door, chuckling to myself a little. The voice said “Whatever lady. I won that round!”

Do you ever wonder, or is it just me, why deep down so many of us are extremely motivated by our self-importance, our self-worth, our self-image? In other words, our Ego….. We protect ourselves almost instinctively in these areas.

The ego is always trying to attach itself to things to try to form our identity, such as our image or status, our reputation, our relationships, our success, our career, our talents, dreams and even our trauma. It takes this job very seriously, plus its also quite an attention seeker, becoming the loudest voice in our thoughts. It can become excessive and out of hand when we fail to develop our true identity.

When I look to the cross I see none of that in Christ. I see total acceptance, no expectations, no defensiveness, no victim mentality and no identity crisis. How juxtapose I feel to Him in this state..

Still, I’ve had this feeling lately that I’m supposed to figure out how to adopt Christ-likeness into this area of my inner self.

I had a somewhat troubled childhood. There was an atmosphere of distrust, accusations and rejection. And as a way to protect myself from these ‘dangers’, I developed a specific ego-personality which my therapist and I have recently named, The Sargent Major.

The Sgt Major inside me is a powerhouse, and to be perfectly honest, she’s a little neurotic. If you’ve ever crossed her, you’ll know what I mean! She’s driven to protect me by standing up for myself, calling people out on their crap, magnifying my sense of authority and control, judging if the situation is safe or if I need to become assertive and defend myself or my loved ones. These aren’t necessarily “bad” traits, but rather inappropriate in some circumstances.

If we’ve come to recognise how untrustworthy our ego voice is, we may realise as we grow and mature, that there is no need to be so defensive all the time. Sure we need to have a level of control over our children, or those we are in charge of. We need to create an honest trustworthy social group to relax, enjoy and feel pleasure with others. And sometimes we may need to square up in the face of being bullied, threatened or falsely accused. But perhaps, like me, you’ve recognised that extreme defensive traits can be tamed, and have learned to control some of the outward reactions sparked by this ego-personality. We yell less, or avoid arguments, we stay out of violent situations, we apologise more, we learn to calm our ego and let go of some control and find more peace.

The trouble is that my Sgt Major has been around since I was a toddler, and therefore is very deeply woven into the fabric of me. So, even though I’ve learned to somewhat manage her more superficial responses, I am now noticing the subtle or unconscious ways she still surfaces. I’ve noticed this is usually in the places where I feel most vulnerable. In my roles as a parent or a sibling, when I’m explaining what my business/ministry is, or even in my writing.

It’s pretty useless trying to refresh faith and self-awareness or explain an amazing program that stretches out muscles tension, calms the mind and deepens faith when you’re unconsciously being anxious and defensive! (Sigh*)

The wonderful news is that I’ve seen this movie before and I know how it ends. Once I become aware, I fall at the feet of my Saviour. I recognise the way Christ dealt with rejection, false accusations, betrayal and criticism and I meditate on it. Through meditation we become more aware of the ego chatter in our mind and realize how little of it applies to our current situation. Paying attention to our subconscious self-talk gives us more opportunities to choose to deny ourselves, welcome the Holy Spirit and accept the cross we have been given to bear.

“Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

We have a meditation that we use often in our Sanctuary Stretch classes that soothes our inner child. We visualise going back to our child self and bring self-compassion, wisdom and reassurance to those deeply ingrained ego traits and allow God’s grace and mercy to gently ease our soul into acceptance and new levels of Christ-likeness.

It may take a while to subdue the Sgt Major to a more Christ-like state, and to teach her to know her place, yet I feel an amazing sense of understanding and awareness flooding out of me. No one said it would be easy, I may struggle occasionally but I will seek, I will surrender, I will grow, and I will share it all with you, so we can all grow together on this Crusade towards Serenity!

 

 


 

 

 

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30/11/2017

Teary Confessions – The Wilderness

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:51 am by The Water Bearer

Do you ever feel as if you just can’t be yourself? Investigating your truth, may threaten to segregate you from society. It can feel like entering the wilderness. And yet sometimes God challenges us to that very place. A place where we must stand in discomfort, with no foreseeable support from the world. Being misunderstood and persecuted, though awfully painful, can have a hugely beneficial result if you learn to trust God completely during these wilderness experiences. Let’s talk about this more in the vid linked below.

 

Please Enjoy!!! … xx

 

 

19/11/2017

But Did You Become Bitter or Better?

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:13 pm by The Water Bearer


“Sometimes your best motivation comes wrapped in sandpaper” – Lisa Nichols

This amazing quote beautifully captures the possibility of turning adversity into the fuel that drives us to become new creations.

When you suffer any form of physical or emotional tribulation it can be far too easy to become bitter and self-destructive, and fall into the trap of a victim mindset.

We can get stuck in a cycle of blaming others for our bitterness, rather than taking accountability for our own choices, and behaviour. This leads to a rut where relationships and lives remain unfulfilled.

Taking accountability means having the guts to look in the mirror and say “I am Bitter, I Am bitter, I AM BITTER and it is toxic, and its no one else’s fault! The actions of others are not excuses for me to continue in my bitterness, for then I am spreading poison to everyone I encounter! I have become part of the problem!”

See by owning up to your bitterness, you earn your license to drive it. Rather than saying “Someone else put me in this car of bitterness and I’ve had no other choice but to crash my bitterness into everyone I meet” which causes you to stay trapped on the road to more unhappiness.

When you gain your license, you can change the course of your destiny, by taking ownership of the direction of your life. You can’t avoid or escape all embittering situations, but you can learn and grow from every trial. Rather than sitting around praying that your life will change and hoping for joy and successful relationships, take Christ at His promise to resurrect and restore you!

Begin to stand and walk in that promise! Because no matter how bad things get here on earth it is only temporary, and no matter what the physical evidence appears to be right now, trust that God has a wonderful plan for your life, if you step into it.

Recognise the way your own bitterness has steered your life towards that pit, and use the promises of God to earn your license to avoid the pitfalls which Inner Enemies set before you. You can use whatever destruction you find yourself in to be the canvas you intend to wipe clean, using self-awareness you can begin to reconstruct the best, happiest version of you!

So how do you wipe your canvas clean through self-awareness?

Firstly stop holding up your ‘innocence’ against the faults you find in others, or comparing your life to the lives of those you assume have had it easier or who you think are ‘luckier’ than you.

Instead at every opportunity ask yourself “what is in my control?” Discovering that only your own actions, your words, your reactions, your choices are in your control. You wipe a section of your canvas clean every time you come face-to-face with your own toxic emotions and excuses, and refuse to let them control you any longer.

When you have the courage and the character to raise your hand and say “That was me, I did that, my bad. I own that poor choice or that bitter reaction.” When we do this without excuses, God can fill our hearts and our lives with His mercy and grace, and set us free from the unhealthy patterns those reactions have trapped us in. It then transforms our reality that being in any relationship is no longer about ‘getting incompetent love’ from others, but in giving love to others. And nothing creates fulfilment like it!

Then we can stop spreading our bitter poison and begin instead to spread Hope, Love, Faith, Truth and Joy!

 

05/11/2017

Defaults & Detours from our Best Self

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , at 10:21 am by The Water Bearer

You know when you have those days where the idea of your best-self feels like an impossible dream?

So many ideals about success, happiness and having things “all together” drive the force of our lives,  but there are often so many frustrating obstacles and unexpected detours along that journey.

Let’s dig a little into two desired defaults, wired into us, that, unless we recognise their influence, we may never reach our potential!

The first is Control, defined as “The power to influence or direct people’s behaviour or the course of events.”

Hmmm, how good does that sound? Honestly? It is the setting for every great hero/villain action movie going, the highest demonstration of power and might. A brief scan of how many of our actions are “control based” reveals how prolific this default is. Even hidden beneath the simple action of watching the news or getting insurance. Those of us with faith understand Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Yet it doesn’t prevent us from making plans and having an emotional response when they go awry.

No matter how often we surrender control over to God, this beastly default is our constant Inner Enemy. I’ve written before here about our culture of excess control, so check that post out for more factors to consider, but this is where I believe the most violent war is taking place. Inside our own minds!

The second default setting is Indulgence, defined as “To give into a desire.”

I can see us all drooling as the desires of our hearts spring to mind. It’s too easy to be feeling good and ready to celebrate, or bored and lacking motivation, or feeling lousy and need cheering up, when indulgence becomes our default.

We naturally resist and avoid suffering, despite knowing how many profound lessons we learn from discomfort. We crave enlightenment, but do everything in our power to build stability and risk free surroundings. When we break under the reality that we have very little actual control, once our angry reactions pass, indulgence is often our companion of choice. Retail therapy, binge drinking, eating junk, Netflix marathons, gadgets and gatherings, and unrestrained scrolling through social media. Or whatever your particular compulsion dictates.

So many of our frustrations and unhealthy reactions are triggered when our sense of control is threatened, yet through a deep relationship with God and access to the tools found in scripture, we can begin to see amazing changes in ourselves. We begin to attain a new kind of strength, like that of Proverbs 16:32 “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” Perhaps even the idea of our best-self begins to appear closer?

This level of surrender and self-discipline is not something we can force out of our own determined devotion to changing our outsides to appear as we aren’t. Nor it is about never having plans and never having any fun! It is more like a seed planted in the souls of our hearts that begins to bloom and grown from within. It is watered by our close connection and trust in God’s plans, and is pruned by our heartfelt repentance when we know we have gone too far. Our potential becomes unlocked when we develop self-awareness through the graceful lens of the cross, and trust God with the manifestation of our Best-Selves!

 

 

29/09/2017

Pressure Building & Perfecting

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:50 pm by The Water Bearer

I’m not gonna lie, finding my feet as a wellness instructor/entrepreneur on top of mother/wife/employee/friend, is proving to be quite the challenge. I am a girl who loves and thrives in a routine. I form patterns quickly and use scheduled habits as my default setting to help my thoughts cope with all the new responsibilities that threaten to murder my creative mind-wandering.

Funnily enough, lately, no matter how ‘responsible’ I try to be or how many to-do lists I write, there is no routine in sight! So many new (exciting) roads are forming ahead of me and I feel my feet lifting off the asphalt. I hate this feeling, it feels like spinning. I need grounding and I know it. One part of me says ‘STOP’ Do nothing, rest, throw away the to-do list and just BE! Another part of me says  “Ooh look at that bright shiny new client who needs all my focus”, or “Gee that is a great idea for a new book I could start to write” or “Wow a Sanctuary Stretch retreat would be awesome”. Then I remember how easily empathy adds more weight to my shoulders, and my other 4 unfinished books, plus the amount of work a retreat would take to set up properly. I want to cry at my lack of discipline and the idea that there is a graveyard somewhere where all my ideas and passions go to die!

Ok so it’s not quite that dramatic today!…. but don’t get comfortable, it could form into a melt down at any moment.

Running regular classes for movement and mindfulness is such a blessing! What an awesome job, right! And yet as things get busier over here, I am feeling the pressure building. Pressure of any sort immediately conjures up memories of past struggles. I am reminded that I am never my best self under pressure. I become manic easily, trying to combat and control the struggle. And yet I am also comforted by the understanding that each time I have been under pressure, I have come out a little better on the other side.

Perhaps you can relate?

Look back across your life and identify some past pressures. At the time, you may have felt overwhelmed in your lack of understanding, you would surely have felt discomfort, as your natural instincts to resist suffering kicks in. Now, see if you can identify a change in yourself resulting from that pressure. Did you change for the better or for worse?

In my own life I see the times I refused to accept the lesson, and how it led me to an even darker place. I also see the times I accepted the lesson, and saw my own personal prayers answered in subtle increments. We never really see the change happening at the time, it’s only when we look back and think ‘Woah, I am really different!’

So this time I am stepping into the pressure with a little more anticipation than ever before. I am hopeful and expectant of the miraculous changes to appear in my life, once the dust has settled.

Grounding has always been difficult for me, without routine, so then perhaps I am now transitioning into a place where I can learn to be grounded amidst a lack of routine? That idea thrills my heart!

I may not be ‘perfect’ throughout this period, I may melt down occasionally as I adjust to the newness of life, still won’t you join me? In the perfecting process? Push on through seeking the lesson, the transformation. It just may be the answer to your prayers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

02/09/2017

Religion Vs Relationship

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:17 am by The Water Bearer

People Often Misjudge

I can hear the whispers, whispers from people who think they once knew me. Now that I have begun sharing my faith in a more public forum, the whispers are hovering… “She’s changed, She’s gone all religious!”

I understand that those who never really knew me may think that I must have turned some huge corner in my set of beliefs, because I’ve never looked like your average “Christian” on the outside. I’m far too open about my brokenness, my flaws are too boisterous to be hidden away. I am much too concerned about breaking curses inside, than focusing on a mask of goodness on the outside. I try to live in the freedom of authenticity, fully aware of my lack of perfection.

The truth is, I’ve held the same beliefs for my entire life. My first prayer was answered when I was 8 years old, and I have felt a unique connection to God ever since. The reason I may not look or act like your stereotypical “Christian” may be because my faith was never nurtured in a church environment, so I find it quite bizarre, that I am now the founder of an incredible Scripture-Based Wellness program like Sanctuary Stretch!

To be completely honest, I like being called religious about as much as most people like being called “sinners”. In fact I prefer admitting myself as a sinner, far more than religious or even Christian. I have plenty of faith and devotion, Im just put off by the picture that those words conjure up. Religion did a real number on me, my family and many of my loved ones, and probably many of yours too. In my history, to be called religious was the biggest insult going. It deemed you unfit for human interaction, it exiled you from your family and labeled you crazy! 

The word ‘Heretic’ is probably closer to the right title for me. Now before you go grab your torch and pitchfork, hear me out. A heretic is someone who strongly opposes an established belief. Therefore, if the established belief is that you must look perfect on the outside, and go to a particular church regularly, and walk, talk and act like all others in that church, in order to be saved, then yes I strongly oppose!

Obviously not everyone in Christian circles are guilty of promoting this belief, many are genuine and humble, they accept that God is working with everyone everywhere. But even still, as a whole, ‘playing God’ and misjudgment is rife and much damage has been done.

1 Samuel 16:7 “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Inauthentic Connections

We are biologically designed to search for a place where we fit. A community. A tribe. We’re easily tempted to change our outsides to fit in with a particular group, rather than to stand in authenticity and risk being rejected or ridiculed. I always felt like a round peg looking for a place to fit, but everywhere I went I found people who inflicted guilt trips in order to shave a bit off me here and there to get me to fit into their square hole. A relationship with God can not be forced, coerced or manipulated, just as with any genuine relationship. It grows in our hearts as we engage transparently, more and more, which is a very difficult thing for humans to assess from the outside.

Guilt is a powerful tool to promote conformity, but the desire for external acceptance often causes us to miss the whole point of faith entirely. We were all made with extreme diversity. Billions of humans designed to be unique and complex, to have different experiences and hearts that soften under different circumstances, can not, and should not have to be all on the exact same narrow path in order to experience a true relationship with their creator. Thinking this way only promotes disingenuous mindlessness, following the herd, which scarily only pushes our flaws deeper within, where they can fester and poison us even further, and then threaten future generations dramatically.

The even scarier part is that when we have perfected our mask, and found a tribe that accepts us, we no longer desperately need a Saviour. Our relationship with God then also lacks the authenticity vital for changing our hearts.

He Came For The Broken

So if I am not “religious” why am I promoting faith? And what kind of faith am I promoting?

My faith walk has not consisted of sitting in a comfy church chair, with a neatly pressed suit, and the fruits of the spirit on show for all to see. My walk has been more like a bloopers reel. From the outside you would have seen, a terrified thumb-sucker, who grew to dabble with drugs and promiscuity for ‘tribe’ approval. A teen mum with a hideous emotionally manipulative nature. A young Mum involved in a car accident that wiped out my ability to function and achieve, taking my self-worth along for the ride, leaving me injured, anxious, depressed and battling sucidal thoughts. I’ve had numerous health concerns, panic attacks and car phobia, I’ve been dependant on countless prescription drugs and always been more comfortable around a pool table than a pulpit. Pretty much my entire faith walk has consisted of me wrestling with inner enemies, falling flat on my face, turning my heart towards Christ for His guidance and abundant Grace and being set on my feet over and over and over again.

Along this journey it may have appeared that I was far from God, and far from saved, but I can assure you that God made His awesome presence felt every single step of the way. My relationship with Him grew as my faith did, I came to depend on Him a little more, and a little more. Each time I fell was a chance to give Him more and more control over my heart and my life. He never once let me down! Every inch of suffering on that road has been filled with intention and meaning. SLOWLY refining me, as is still the case!

I have come across many people in this life, who feel far too broken to put themselves in the firing line of a religious group. Those unwilling and unable to pretend they have the fruits of the spirit flowing from every orifice. I can testify that I actually FELT the fruits of the spirits being developed and experienced inside of me, long before anyone else could see them on the outside. God knows, Men don’t!

Breaking the Myth

Somewhere along the way a myth began to surface in Christian circles, that being ‘saved’ is an attractive process. We conjure up pictures of saints volunteering their time to a worthy cause with no thought for self, we picture hands raised in worship and wide smiles on faces. We picture sanity, health and prosperity, and a multitude of Christian Brothers and Sisters united in compassion and joy. We picture political correctness and perfect manners. Truth be told, the process of becoming ‘reborn’ requires complete destruction and then reconstruction, a public death accompanied with humiliation. It is a life long marathon, not a sprint. It can not be rushed. It is never a pretty sight to become desperate for God to do a work in us. Hungering and thirsting for the Word is born from intense periods of the inner war.  God is thorough if nothing else, He is not willing for us to just sit the test, He wants us to get an A+. Which of course means being tested and tested and tested again. Each time, a new level of self-deception is revealed and a new piece of truth replaces it.

And lets not kid ourselves into thinking for one minute that once we have turned our own hearts inside out and had them purified that we are going to look all shiny and new. Absolutely not, we then begin interceding for the generational curses in our families, and after that we carry the yoke of our ministries and communities. As long as we walk this earth we have more purging to be done.

A Place to Fit

The reason I have such a passion to now share my experiences of faith in such a public way, is because everyone deserves a little encouragement to turn their hearts to God. It’s far from an easy road and trying to overcome the obsticles of life without God is something I wouldn’t want to inflict on anyone. Its one thing to be separated from God because we chose that in our hearts, but its an entirely different ball of wax to feel separated from God because we are too broken to pretend we aren’t broken. Or battling too many inner enemies to worry about how offensive our external smoke-screen is. Or put off by religiosity and misjudgment.

Intimacy with God is personal, private, and often painful. But it is only with His strength that we get through it and come out a little better each time. My hope is that no matter where you are on your faith walk, you feel the need to take time out from distractions and expectations, to turn your hearts to Him and enter God’s presence. That is what Sanctuary Stretch hopes to encourage. Whether you are needing to fill your cup in order to pour into the lives of others going through trials, or if you need your cup filling because you are being emptied daily by your own trials.

All can benefit from a true intimate relationship with God, if they are willing.

Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

16/08/2017

When God Finds Peace

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness at 1:10 pm by The Water Bearer

I think a lot about the kind of peace that comes from having a relationship with God, through His Son. It is not peace that looks like the world’s peace, it’s significantly different. The worlds peace is only prevalent in ideal circumstances and it seems to conjure images of beachfront massages and drinks with umbrellas in them, or time spent in isolation perhaps at a retreat or a place in nature untouched by human hand. Peace from the world is fleeting and dependant on comfort, or distraction from problems and responsibilities.

However, peace from God has a kind of stability to it, despite the trials and issues pounding down around it. A bit like the eye within the storm. It is not practical to find ways to simply ignore that the storm is happening, God’s peace shines brightest when we face those storms head on, and allow them to do a vital work on our hearts. The obvious way to survive any storm, is to have something secure to cling to, to protect us. Something that will ensure we come out the other side in tact. In my own walk, Yeshua, the Messiah, is the security to cling to, and the assurance that we will come out alright on the other side of it all.

I often think of peace more like a muscle, something that gets weak when we are distracted from using it, something we must exercise and develop. The more trials we go through with God, the more we see His dependability, and the more we learn to understand the process. This presents an unusual kind of peace. It is not external. In fact much of my time spent going through trials is pretty raw on the outside! I am not good at wearing a mask when life gets hard. I find it goes against my grain to pretend life is hunky dory when its kicking my arse. I write it out, I use it as inspirational fuel. I share every discouragement, every thought process, every confusion and frustration with those scarce few who I trust to not turn it against me as some disappointment of my testimony. They know how hard I cling to the truth while a million inner enemies claw at me to revert back to my old self-destructive ways. They know from my history that I will come through brighter and shinier than ever before, once the skies have cleared.

As I was contemplating the idea of this elusive peace that everyone is chasing, I had a brief moment of selfless thought (I know right, pick your jaw up!) I wondered about when God experiences peace.

Over the past 20 or so years walking with God, I have gotten to know Him a little, we chat and hangout a bit. And I have always been conscious of His Will, His precision, His trustworthiness, His Grace, His promises, His sense of Humour even, but I’ve never really had a sense of His peace. Not specifically, it’s more like an enigma. Something my mind is inadequate at fully comprehending.

It was kind of a sad thought actually as I pondered the view He has of us. Always a mission of truth to prepare for and carry out, while watching His children in a continuous state of deception and war.

Think about it……. I’m mean Really think about it.

Yet Genesis says that on the seventh day God rested and looked at all He had made a said, “It is good”. This concept of Sabbath rest brought a picture to my mind, of the peace that fills God’s heart when we take timeout to be with Him. When even one of His children sings His praises from a genuine, and broken heart. When He sees a glimmer of the potential He knows we have. When a precious lesson is learned and reveals wisdom and truth. I’d like to think that He feels peace when a group of Sanctuary Stretchers come together to listen to worship music, to push aside all distractions, to tend to our physical and inner temple, and press into our relationship with Him.

Christ is the messenger, eternally bringing God’s peace to us, and our promised salvation brings that peace back to God. Just think how comforting it must be to God, to know that Christ fulfilled His purpose! That because of His willingness to suffer and bear our crimes, God now can rest easy, as Christ stands as an advocate for us before the very throne of grace. I find so much comfort and hope envisioning that God finds the most peace in knowing that He will be reunited with us, His children, for ETERNITY! That thought makes my spirit soar!

May Gods peace be upon you!

Thy Will Be Done!

05/07/2017

Walking in Trust

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith tagged , , , , , , at 5:34 pm by The Water Bearer

“Argh God why? Why don’t you answer me? Why am I stuck in this situation, you know I believe in you! Why don’t you help me?”

I’m sure I am not the only one who has prayed this prayer more times than I’d like to count. Sometimes our situations just plainly well…. suck!

It can be so easy to focus on our sucky situation, and allow our discomfort to create doubt in us as to whether or not we can actually trust God. Trust Him to care for us, Trust Him to hear us, Trust Him to answer us, Trust Him to be able and willing to change our circumstances.

It can so often seem as if we are constantly waiting for God. However, Simply put, God is usually waiting on us.

Waiting for us to look past the discomfort, past the fear, past the physical evidence, look past our feelings and trust Him anyway.

That’s right, trust Him despite our circumstances, despite our feelings.

Perhaps we can change our prayer to something like ……

“I don’t feel like I can trust you Lord, I don’t feel sure, I feel fear, I feel doubt! But I am going to say I trust you anyway. I trust you, I trust you, I trust you!” …. Then Walk in That Statement!

Far too often we wait for our circumstances to change before we trust God and step out in faith. We wait for things to get easier, we wait for the physical evidence to appear less volatile, less unstable, more comfortable. Then we feel more capable to handle the next few steps, we feel more able to trust.

But aren’t we then just back to trusting ourselves? (Our unstable, fickle human selves!)

What if the difficult circumstances are actually our best opportunity to reach a new, deeper level of trust, of faith and intimacy with God? 

So often in fact that is exactly the case!

Don’t miss it! This your chance to discover a little more just how wonderfully trustworthy our Heavenly Father is!

Once you experience this level of intimacy nothing can shake it, because physical circumstances will come and go, feelings of doubt will grow and fade, but God will remain. He stands firm on His promises.

Go ahead and test the ground for yourself. 

You will never regret stepping out on the promises of God! 

 

12/05/2017

Mindful Love

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , at 11:17 am by The Water Bearer

Do you struggle to Believe you are Loveable?

Whispers of shame that bully our thoughts, are as old as Fig leaf skirts….. Nothing New to See Here!

Knowing we fail, knowing we aren’t perfect leaves us feeling….. well……

Ashamed!

We then believe this equation –  “Flaws + Shame = Not Worthy of Love”

LIES! LIES! LIES!

These lies cause us to focus on inconsistencies of love from others, and then to doubt the love from God.

Plus it eats away at our love for ourselves!

This is not just my battle, but yours as well….if you’re really honest.

Why do we battle with shame?

Because our purpose is growth & upward motion towards our Best Self! And every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Shame pushes us down, preventing the growth and potential we were designed for.

We have simply met our opposition…

Because We Are Human

A fun fact of human life is that we all have our Inner Enemies. Lets look at the Inner Enemy of autopilot, and automatic thoughts.

The more time we spend mind-wandering and mind-less, the more permission we give to these automatic thoughts.

Autopilot has a lot to answer for….

But all is not lost, we do have other options!

When we make mistakes, autopilot begins to steer the ship towards shame.

OR

We can steer our thoughts towards repentance and

accept the abundant Grace of God!

When people fail to love us properly, autopilot absorbs their lack of love, turn that lovelessness in our direction, and

we withdraw from love…. all in an attempt at self-protection.

Or

we can side step their lack of love, and move on

focused on God’s love for us!

WILL WE LET AUTOPILOT DECIDE OUR WORTH?

All the evidence in scripture, science and life experience tells us that we are able to rewire our autopilot, to transform our minds, to be set free. Be Reborn!

So, who else will stand with me battling hard against autopilot!

Standing at war with shame!

Silencing the whispers that tell you not to love yourself!

Ignoring the lies that we aren’t worthy of God’s love!

It will be tough, and our autopilot won’t let go of the steering-wheel easily. It has allowed these whispers to dictate our negative self-talk for so many generations…

Yet in the moment we can  Stop, Breathe and Be!

We can Remember the Cross

And Begin to feel that Unwavering Grace-filled Love

Mindfulness meditation slows our autopilot, giving us back some control.

By practicing mindful love we learn to not only be present in the moment, but to turn that moment into our sanctuary where we soak up God’s love, and allow it to trigger bouts of self-compassion.

Instead of allowing autopilot to drive us to seek our worth and approval from others, let’s start accepting it from God!

Practice building that into SELF-LOVE! Seeing yourself as God sees you… WITH LOVE! 

SELF-LOVING DEFEATS SHAME!

Right Now, stop and feel the breath in your lungs, hear the sounds around you, feel the ground beneath you, feel gravity holding you here in this place, try to be so still that you can feel your heartbeat, picture your Saviour’s Love smothering you and now give yourself a loving warm hug from your Saviour and from yourself……

You may automatically feel silly and as if you may not deserve it, but if you don’t try to accept it and appreciate it, the incredible Cross loses its value, and the war that should already be won, fights on.

The trick is that we must take back control, and the more time we spend practicing mindful love the more chance we can actually reprogram our autopilot!

26/04/2017

My Trigger Happy Moments

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 1:23 pm by The Water Bearer

I could see it happening to me, like being a distant observer of a tornado! You see clearly its destructive nature, you know there is a fall-out coming. You are aware of that voice of warning that calls from some silent place within. It cries with anguish “This is all about to go PEAR SHAPED!”

The beauty of self-awareness is that I now know what is happening to me when I begin to spiral. For those who haven’t experienced the spiralling emotions of mental illness or never felt the triggers that spark them, you may consider yourselves lucky. Yet there is something profound about the places that can be discovered when you learn not to trust yourself completely. When you refuse to give your emotions permission to become excuses for poor behaviour. After so many years developing self-awareness, I now understand that during these moments I am being forced to cling to my faith. I know that I must ride the wave of emotion with acceptance and awareness, and not make any sudden decisions. I must be prepared to repair any damage that is left in the wake of a triggered attack.

This recent episode came with familiar foes, second guessing and self-doubt, with a flood of tears and a self-critical scowl. I found a safe place to unload, my wonderful hubby, who knows how to listen without adding fuel to the fire. He leaves aside comments like “Pull yourself together”  & “Its not that bad” He knows I need validity, that my emotions are very real TO ME in that moment, and that refusing to accept them only makes matters so much worse!

Sure enough in the aftermath, I needed to debrief, and I soon came to recognise that it wasn’t quite as bad as all that. I found clarity in the long honest conversation that came afterwards, and then I received that wonderful, insightful epiphany, that nugget of understanding which made it all make sense. This spiralling episode taught me to understand yet another trigger of mine. Another inner enemy to be watchful of, I learned how to articulate something about myself which I could not give voice to before. This nugget of understanding also revealed an answer to a situation that I had been praying about, something that had been bothering me for a couple of years!

I’ve mentioned before that I despise deception! It is my biggest fear! But who else recognises the trigger of not knowing where you stand with others? A history of reactive guilt trips and emotional instability leaves us with a need for constant feedback, seeking for any thread of warning, any scrap of insight into the future mood of another person. That way you can be prepared for the attack, and place up that protective wall before the shock of rejection takes your feet from under you. And isn’t it funny that it always seems to come from those who are overly nice to your face! Full of gushing compliments and open armed invitations.

Here at Inner Angels & Enemies we recognise the tricks the enemy plays inside us, and inside others. When we have faith and self-awareness, we can use these revealing moments of insight to remind us of the weapons available to us, and once we know a little more about the battle, we can prepare our armour accordingly!

YEEEEEW!  God is so Good!!

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)


 

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