Being human in 2022

Hi friends,

I’m back after a little hiatus from blogging. Not an intentional one, but just a natural lull as life has been changing a bit post pandemic restrictions in the UK.

I just want to check in with you all and hopefully encourage someone out there to feel less alone if you are finding it challenging to adapt to life in 2022.

I’ve been very fortunate in many ways, yet being human isn’t the easiest of things is it, especially these days? I’ve moved back to my own flat after spending about a year and a half working from home and living with my parents. The change has been good in many ways, and I hope to be able to visit again soon, but there is a sense of adjustment too.

Hybrid working, and a world of change.

My work has us now working a hybrid working pattern and for most or many people this means working two days in the office and three at home. Over the lockdown / pandemic I had two new bosses after two bosses left, and have started work in a new team. I am gradually adjusting to working in the office and it has been good to have face to face interaction. However, that being said, some days have been mentally and emotionally tiring, and I’m aware that there is an anxiety to resuming ‘life’ in 2022 even with all the benefits of being able to meet and interact again.

I remember, and have blog posts from 2019 and early 2020 where there was a sense of excitement and anticipation and hope for embarking upon new adventures, 2020 vision etc. The big news story of the day was Brexit, and so I had hoped to get some travelling done in 2020 before EU restrictions on travel from the UK. Little did we know how much and how quickly our world would change, and how our world continues to change.

In early 2022 many of us were feeling a bit hopeful if somewhat apprehensive about ‘getting back to normal’ again. It’s been good to start doing things again, and seeing people, but I’m aware that mental health is a big issue for many and I’m aware of frustrations with my own mental health as I strive for something more ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ whatever that means while giving myself understanding that we’ve all been through many things recently even if you haven’t had challenges in the past. It can be hard to keep our heads above the parapets in a world like the one we are living in. The war and human devastation that is happening in Ukraine and other places in the world is far too big for me to write about but I know that this adds to the stress and trauma of society and individuals. Many people are adapting and coping well in their own individual lives as they ‘switch off’ from what is going on, but so many people cannot switch off from the horrors they are living through and we are faced daily with the reality of death, and how to live our lives in this world.

I’ve appreciated being back in community again with people and being able to talk and pray with others who know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I have felt such comfort in seeing His Hand at work in my life in the ways He has provided friendships and connections for me and often giving the same or similar messages to me and a friend that has been an encouragement to be reminded of the reality of the Living God Who I have encountered again and again in life. It has been an encouragement to be with other believers and to also know His Peace carrying me.

Yet, being human our minds are often wired to anxious thoughts and feelings and even though I know the hope that I have in Christ, and the Peace for those who have trusted in Him and know His forgiveness and saving grace, it can still be a challenge to live in this world.

There are no easy answers

I know that there are no easy answers to what we are all living through in these days. Of course many people are doing great and are able to move through life well. But at the end of the day there is no point in gaining the whole world and forfeiting our souls. ‘Call upon the Name of The LORD and be saved’.

In a simple and practical sense though we all need to look after our mental health and wellbeing so that we can keep going through life. We are so complex as human beings and it can mean riding the waves as we move through life.

Little practical steps

I have found it so helpful to be able to connect face to face with friends again.

Other things that have been beneficial have been going for walks which I had so missed before.

Of being aware that many people are thinking and worrying about things and that we are not alone in trying to reign in our minds to more helpful thought patterns.

Taking rest and sleep when needed and trying to eat regularly and get a bit of exercise as well as setting a timer to do a task to focus my mind and then doing something else have also helped focus on the here and now.

You’re not alone

If you find your mind anxious or thinking about past things or worrying about the future you’re not alone. It takes time to build resilience in our minds and with everything going on in the world you might be feeling like you can’t cope. Something I learned during the lockdowns of the pandemic is that I can manage the next 10 minutes. And if you are feeling unsure and uncertain about the future, think about what you can do in the next 10 minutes of this day.

Take care and know that you are not the only one whatever you are going through.

Appreciating life as it is today, not how you wish it to be…

The past few years have been quite a big learning curve for many. We may have learned some deep lessons, but being human it can be easy for us to forget what we have learned.

As humans, we often worry so much about the future or think too much about the past that we miss the day that we are in right now. The only thing that we can presently work with. We often let fear come in the way of faith.

I’d like to explore a few thoughts as they come to me.

Today.

During the pandemic, I really missed interacting with people, going for walks in the park, worshipping in church and being with other believers who know personally that Jesus Christ Is The Way, The Truth and The Life, and being nurtured and fed together in Him. I missed seeing the cherry blossom trees, and ducks and squirrels and just going with my camera out on walks and having a bit of independence.

Today I enjoyed all of these things. And I enjoyed coming home to my flat. I must admit, however, after church and spending time with some new people and a friend I know quite well, I felt a bit lonely. In the park there were couples and families walking and I found myself wondering about my own life and being on my own.

We can so often miss what is right in front of us in the here and now either by the thoughts going on in our minds that could be to do with the past, or just longing for something or someone such as companionship.

During the pandemic many of us experienced a range of emotions and thoughts, including the more pressing realisation of the shortness of time. When living in day tight compartments, and in a situation when you are faced with your own mortality, you gain perspective that any day could be the last one. Therefore, in some ways we become more present, in the present.

The now and next

We are created to hope. To hope in the future, and for believers in Christ, to hope for the reality of His coming again, and for the very real place of perfection that He Is preparing for us. Being present with Christ today means being aware of His presence and purpose in today, and of making the most of every opportunity. Yet, sometimes on an earthly level we think about the ‘what next’ of our own lives, perhaps in terms of finding that someone special, especially if we’ve waited a long time. Yet there is also the realisation that people lose their spouses or friends for a number of reasons. The only constant and comfort is Christ.

Appreciating what is, not what we wish things were.

Life is very troubled in this world at present. For those of us who are in relatively good circumstances, perhaps in those moments when we are tempted to think about what we lack, whether we are feeling lonely and want a companion, or thinking about what we think would make our lives feel better or more secure, then we should take time to be more present and grounded and grateful. The things that I missed during the pandemic, I have now.

I appreciate being able to speak to my family on the phone ❤ I appreciate my flat, my food, my health, my clothes, my friends that I can speak with in person or online. I appreciate being able to go for walks and write blog posts. I am so thankful that in this day I know that God Is working out things for my eternal good and that I can pray and intercede for others.

In a world where people are in trauma and lacking so many things and have lost loved ones, I am choosing to be thankful for all the good things that I do have right here and now.

Day tight compartments.

This life is very short. We need to learn to focus on the day tight compartment that we are living in and give all our attention and heart to it, making the most of every opportunity as it comes to us, knowing what to say no to but also knowing what to embrace. Life comes in seasons and each season will pass, so what will we do with today?

Using our gifts and encouraging others

Each day will be filled with tasks to do, duties to fulfil, but also gifts that we can use and encouragement that we can share with others. These may be hidden things that the world does not see, but that are important nonetheless. We do not know what difference it might make.

Thankfulness

So while there is so much we cannot be in control of, we can take a few moments to be thankful for what we do have. The time will pass anyway, let us, where we can, pass it gratefully. x

Photo by George Dolgikh @ Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

Some gentle advice…

It’s hard to put into words what is happening in humanity right now. It is hard to know how to react. The senseless violence that many are facing right now is overwhelming. If you are not in that situation and are affected by it all, it can be hard to know how to process and look at things.

I am writing this post with a dear friend in mind. Someone with a deep and compassionate heart who is grief stricken by what is happening.

There is no way of saying how people should be dealing with or processing things going on in the world right now, and I am seeing many people who are switching off from it and turning to look for how they can have the most fun in their lives. Others are finding different ways and means to cope with things, and there are some who are rising up to lead in relief and humanitarian efforts through acts of love and kindness big and small. I know of people who have gone into Kyiv to rescue refugees. I don’t know them personally, but through people in church who left Ukraine and who are now helping local efforts for refugees.

There is no right or wrong way to process or deal with such traumatic realities. Well, perhaps there are wrong ways when it causes harm to others, but one thing I can say is it is ok to care for yourself even if others are suffering.

It is ok to acknowledge overwhelming thoughts, emotions and the effect of seeing such human suffering and the horrors of what is happening. There are no words for this, and I am unable to spend a lot of time watching or thinking about it.

Try to be gentle with yourself, try to look at the ways you can care for and strengthen yourself and do what little you can to help in some way.

Take one day at a time, remember you are important and realise that there is a lot that we are not in control of but where we can make a change or add compassion to the world, we can try a little at a time to focus on that.

There are no easy answers. But know that caring for yourself even when others are suffering is ok. ❤ x

The Peace of Jesus

There is no doubt that the past few years have been challenging. Now the world is facing horrors and atrocities on an absolutely terrible scale most markedly in terms of what is on the collective awareness, regarding Russia’s war in Ukraine, and there are many more things going on like this in other parts of the world.

There is so much to make us feel overwhelmed, grief stricken, anxious, and desperate about.

In the midst of this I am experiencing a Peace, the Peace of Jesus Christ, and His Spirit in me, and His guiding Hand.

Most people don’t realise that there is not only a war happening in the world, but a spiritual war. Most people do not want to accept the reality of what they cannot rationalise, but this is at a great cost.

There are many born again believers in Christ, myself included who have not only had a magnificent revelation of The Lord Jesus, His Love and Light and the reality of His Presence and Person, but who have also experienced, tangibly experienced very real forces of evil and darkness. We are of sound mind. The Bible also talks of these powers, and principalities and rulers of darkness. It is to a person’s eternal detriment if they do not realise that there is a war going on for their souls and their minds.

Jesus Christ Is The Way, The Truth and The Life. People are separated from Him because of their sin, and unless they repent they also will perish. There is evil that is not of God. There Is a Peace that can hold us, and an eternal Peace in His Presence.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Jesus Christ has paid the price to make us right with God, to restore Peace and to indwell us by His Holy Spirit. He came in the flesh, and He will come again. And we all will have to stand before Him, and all the secrets of our hearts will be laid bare. Only those who are forgiven, cleansed by His Blood will be able to stand blameless without fault or condemnation.

We are eternal beings, we all will have an eternity and there are only two kingdoms, that of Light and that of darkness. We catch a glimpse of this now. Come to Christ and let His Peace rule in your hearts through faith in Him. You may not have a tomorrow to decide where you will spend the rest of your eternal life. Know the Peace of Jesus, call upon Him while you can. ❤ x

Look for the good in your day…

I listened to some teaching the other day regarding reframing our thoughts. No doubt, the mind is a battlefield and we often experience ‘fiery darts’ bombarding our thoughts, and for those who don’t then what a blessed rest you must have to not have to contend with unhelpful thoughts.

In times of trauma or adversity, it may be very difficult to ‘reframe’ our thoughts because of being caught up in the middle of highly stressful circumstances and being in survival mode.

Yet at other times, we are often influenced by messages we have taken in throughout our lives, from the noise of the world around us, and from a variety of other sources. Sometimes the thoughts can tend to worry, negativity, depression, fear, anxiety or just be seeming ‘pictures’ or images from past experiences, and these may be things we’d rather forget.

This can cloud or feelings, our mood and perspective of our day, and it can take time and effort to overcome. We need a healthy dose of Truth to be able to ‘gird up the loins of our mind’ and to ‘take every thought captive’. Sometimes we have to purposefully look for the good in our day, or create something good in our day to help with unhelpful thought patterns.

If you have believed a lie that keeps recurring in your mind, such as something someone said about you or told you that belittles your worth or ability as a person, then you will need to hold Truth in your mind to counter that and to be ready to change those patterns and it might take work over time. Thoughts such as you are valuable, beautiful as a human being, worthy, intelligent, kind, capable, etc, and sometimes we need a ‘bridge’ to get there, i.e. doing some ground work to cross over from those lies we were made to believe about ourselves perhaps as children, to being able to gradually accept and even embrace the truth of who we really are.

In similar fashion, we can reframe the outlook of our day. The teaching I was listening to showed a giant canvas painting or photograph of a sky, where on one side there was a brilliant orange and the sun’s light in the clouds, bright and beautiful, and at the other edge of the picture were some dark, grey and almost black ominous looking clouds. Overall the picture was beautiful and in balance, but the speaker took a little frame and held it up to different parts of the picture to contrast how our outlook sometimes focuses in on either the negative or the positive and this can change the outcome of our day.

How do we look at things? How do we choose to look at things? Most of us have experienced negative thoughts that may have stemmed from lies we’ve been told about ourselves, and we also face the fears and worries of the world we live in. We don’t need to ignore the reality but we can reframe our thinking and we can look for the good in our day.

Sometimes this can be as simple as accepting those difficult thoughts and emotions, letting them pass and then grasping onto Truth to replace them with and perhaps we may have to do this over and over again until we create new more helpful and true patterns of thinking. It might be taking a moment to be thankful intentionally for the good things we have enjoyed that day such as shelter, food, clothing, conversation, and it could be taking a few minutes to reach out to someone else, to be creative to give thanks and pray or do something that adds love and joy to the world and our lives even if it is not seen by others. We can be thankful, we can praise, we can take a moment to still our busy minds and focus on the good. Sometimes this is a challenging process, and for some people it isn’t an issue, they are so positive and carefree by nature, but for those of us who do think and feel deeply and sometimes experience these challenging thoughts and emotions especially if we’re feeling impacted by what’s happening in the world, then we can do certain things to shift our focus, to change our gaze. If we can’t help one thousand, we can help one.

So take a moment today and pay attention to what may be a stronghold in your mind, find Truth to replace those negative thoughts with and also look for the good in your day, perhaps turn your hand to something creative, something uplifting, something lovely and good and see how, even if for a few moments, your thoughts and mood shift. The day will pass either way, so look for the good in your day, and be thankful. ❤ x

There’s a lot going on in the world….

There’s been a lot going on in the world. At the start of 2020 many people, myself included, expected brand new beginnings, 2020 vision and adventures ahead. Perhaps we got some of those in our own lives, but the world as a whole got the coronavirus pandemic and a shock to the system.

This along with various political events continued throughout 2021, and as we embarked upon 2022 some were hopeful of a gradual return to ‘normality’, while now the world is facing a crisis of war, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and thousands of people’s lives have been turned upside down.

It is hard to know what to do with all the thoughts and emotions that come along with these events, how to help or for those going through them, how to survive.

I am thankful that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ, that in the spiritual battle that is going on all around us that many are not even aware of, He has the Victory through His death and resurrection, and because He Is LORD. For those of you who know Him, cling fast to Him, pray and fast and intercede, and stay close, His Spirit is within you. He really Is our only hope in this world. I am so thankful for the reality of His Peace and need to remind myself to keep turning to Him.

Sometimes we need to take a break, to take time to refresh our minds and take our thoughts captive so that we can take that next step, whether in faith, in work, in prayer, in helping someone or in simply keeping going.

There are so many loving people out there, reaching out beyond themselves to help those in need. Perhaps writing blog posts is a small encouragement but if it can helps one person in their thoughts and wellbeing or even to realise that there Is in Jesus Someone Who knows and cares for you, then that is something.

Oh friends, what days we are living in! Keep looking up, keep hoping, be aware of your thoughts, and try to do the next thing that will keep you going. I pray God’s hand of blessing and protection and salvation over you all. Stay safe, take care, look at the beauty you can find in your day, and never give up. ❤ x

Do your anxious thoughts need an outlet?

Life as it happens to be

Anxiety is not uncommon, especially, at the time of writing, in a global pandemic.

Sometimes our anxious thoughts and imaginings can render us immobile and ‘incapable’ of doing something useful or productive. We might even slump into a depressive state where we want to hide and retreat.

If you are struggling with your anxious thoughts and feelings, as well as the practical steps that I have highlighted in other blog posts (simply do a ‘search’ for ‘anxiety’ on my blog and you’ll find lots of helpful articles), you might feel the need to have an outlet for your thoughts.

Talk to Someone who cares about you:

A helpful thing to do to rationalise and untangle some of our difficult thoughts could be to talk to someone who knows you and cares about you and who will listen. If you feel like you don’t have such a person in your life…

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Sharing this wonderful post from another blogger. Pour Out Your Heart In Worship — Pure Glory

by Apostle Gabriel Cross As I began to worship, I heard the tears of many people crying.  Tears of people desiring to give up, tears of not understanding, tears of wondering why, tears of frustration, tears of God what are you doing, tears of wanting to know more details, tears of, “okay Father, okay I’m […]

Pour Out Your Heart In Worship — Pure Glory

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