Tag Archives: Faith

Are you Liked?

Social media has changed things. For those of us who are young(ish) adults, we may remember a time before the Internet (yes, younglings….there really was such a time! and no, I’m not old 🙂 ), the transition to when the Internet first came to be, and our first intrepid steps into this new world of knowledge at our fingertips. Yes, sometimes that knowledge would be a bit slow to load up on our computer screens, we had dial up modem connections and we also had a bit more patience. These were the days when our first instincts when presented with a school or university paper to write were still to go to the ‘LIBRARY’ (yes, the kind of library with books made of *actual* paper 😉 ) to do our research, and perhaps venture into the strange and novel ‘World Wide Web’ to supplement our findings.

Put in perspective of the length of human history, it is fair to say that the Internet is actually quite a new creation, and hasn’t actually been around for that long. And yet, nowadays, it seems like babies are weaned on the milk of electronic gadgets and gizmos that are rapidly changing and developing, and many school aged children, even very young children, cannot imagine a world, or their lives, without the Internet, and have never experienced such a world.

So although as adults, those of us who were growing up just as the strange language of this mysterious ‘Web’ began to enter our parlance, or who were already ‘fully fledged adults’ as it were, had passed through those fiery adolescent years of wondering if anyone liked us after all, we are still faced with this nervous desire to know whether we are ‘liked’ every time we connect to the web. Or at least, most of us are.

Social media has changed things. In many parts of the world it is absolutely and irreversibly the norm. We no longer see the Internet primarily as a tool to gain knowledge or to supplement education and learning, but as a multifaceted, ubiquitous, all things to all people, source of input, entertainment, news, gossip, stories, celebrities, fact, ‘fake news’, colours, noise, opinions, ideas, creations, inventions, innovations, trends, popularity contests and the seemingly endless list goes on and on and is daily reinvented.

Perhaps those of us who blog seek a quieter and more reflective online space, that the more fast paced social media tools that we may also use such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (and there my knowledge of such things ends 😉 ) would grant us.

But nonetheless, even the more reflective world of blogging shares the common feature of the ‘like’ facility.

How many of us log in to our Word Press accounts and immediately look at that little bell at the top right of the screen to see whether it has a little red or orange marker to indicate that someone has ‘liked’ or appreciated our content? You can be honest with yourself here.

It is a fascinating little ‘button’ that often makes me smile when I click on it, mainly because it makes me feel more connected to you. I realise that on the other side of this computer screen are real people, with fascinating stories, unique lives and thoughts, who have taken the time to acknowledge and appreciate mine. That is really something special, I think. And truly, the Internet can be a wonderful place, with some truly special people in it.

However, sometimes I wonder whether there is something about that ‘like button’ that triggers an instinct in ourselves to evaluate who we are, our value, and the value of what we have to say by how many ‘likes’ we receive. If we pour our heart and soul into writing something meaningful to us, and it is not noticeably acknowledged, does this in turn impact our self-esteem, even on a subconscious level?

Don’t get me wrong, I think ‘likes’ are wonderful. I genuinely like ‘likes’, and feel more connected with other people online because of them. However, if we find that our attention is unduly drawn towards whether something we have shared on our blogs has been liked or not, if we feel our heart sink if it hasn’t, and if we feel a glimmer of old feelings from childhood and teenage years when our likeability by our peers seemed to be a direct evaluation of our perceived worth, then perhaps it is time to take a step back.

I know that sinking feeling. And I know it has deeper roots than anything Internet related. As a child I was badly bullied for a few years, and I was worthless. I didn’t just feel worthless, but my existence was consumed by this rejection, the not measuring up, not being liked or being actively disliked, of being undesirable, outcast, rejected, neglected, unworthy, broken, hurting, isolated, ignored, overlooked, despised and alone. My broken heart and wounded mind is still being repaired and undergoing a process of transformation. No child, or adult for that matter, deserves to feel that way. And the more I think about it, the more I realise I feel passionately about encouraging other people, as well as myself, to know that although it is lovely, and a natural human desire, to be appreciated, our worth as individuals, as members of this community, and the worth of what we have to say and to share cannot be diminished by the lack of a ‘like’.

You *are* a star irrespective of whether anyone has pressed that star to like your post. You are unique, incredible and fascinating, with stories that no one but you can tell, and a world within a world of thoughts, imagination, hopes, dreams, fears and love. You can change things in everyday small quiet ways and even that in its own way is revolutionary. You are important because you are you. This is our humanity. And sometimes, as wonderful as the Internet is, the online world can rob us of that assurance. We are faced with numbers, targets, statistics, comparisons, and we are encouraged, especially by advertisers to never feel quite good enough – the next achievement, or makeover or purchase will add value to our damaged, inadequate selves.

And yet, despite our brokenness, our mistakes, our evaluations of self and others, we are infinite. And we are important. And even if we are not ‘liked’, we are created for a reason, and we are LOVED.

 

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Life as it happens to be…some reflections & plans….& future blog topics…

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Passing the yearly mid-point

Hi friends. 2nd July 2017. Can you believe we’re now more than half way through this year? I don’t know how that makes you feel, but I have a good feeling about it, which is quite a change from the anxious feelings I’ve had in previous years. This year I have been more mindful of making the most of my moments and not feeling so ‘dictated to’ by the clock or the calendar or the idea of ‘milestones’ that ought to have been reached by now. I do sometimes like to consider time in ‘manageable portions’ (don’t we all?), to take time to reflect, especially around the new year, and to plan ahead for the year to come. Perhaps you are similar, or maybe you prefer to just ‘go with the flow’ and see what happens. I think to some extent we all like a bit of both, to varying degrees. We need both stability and spontaneity in our lives. There is something about a ‘half way point’ that is a natural demarcation that can call us to reflect, or ‘pause and ponder’ and think about our life’s direction, our achievements, goals and plans for the future.

Perspectives

Sometimes passing a ‘half way point’ can make people feel nervous, unsettled, fearful, anxious or as if they have failed if they haven’t been able to achieve or get to where they had hoped or planned. I understand that. However, if you are in that place, I would encourage you to take a step back from the lens that you have been looking through and enjoy that wide expansive horizon before you.

Life is made up of different seasons, and unlike the predictability of the movement of nature’s seasons year after year from Spring to Summer to Autumn/Fall onto Winter, our lives are not like that. At twenty we cannot look across to the lives of twenty five year olds and find a uniformity in their circumstances that we can look to as a guarantee for the shape of our future. Nor can we do so at any age or stage of life. Yes, there may be certain things that hold a degree of certainty such as infancy, school years, college / university, graduation, employment, and so on. However, even then, we all have different starting points and obstacles and opportunities whether they be in the form of our health, family background, upbringing, socio economic status, limitations, abilities, temperament or whatever else they may be. We may be encouraged or hindered by the families we are born into, or by the company we keep or are compelled into by life’s circumstances. We may suffer abuse, neglect, trauma, unfair treatment, disadvantage or we may find ourselves blessed with favourable circumstances and a mostly happy or even carefree life. Perhaps the seemingly ‘predictable’ patterns of earlier years become more tangled, complex and uncertain as the years go by. Which is a good reason to refrain from harsh judgement of ourselves or others, and to avoid the ‘comparison trap’. Everyone has a story, and a ‘cross to bear’ as it were, and most times we are not really aware of what others around us are really going through however their lives may seem on the surface.

Finding Peace

Perhaps a simple prayer to ponder when life feels uncertain is the ‘Serenity Prayer’, which is simple yet full of wisdom:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

I personally love this prayer. It draws me away from being overly concerned with what is going on around me or from comparing my life to anyone else’s. It reminds me that like you, I have a Creator Who has made me who I am for a reason, and that if I want certainty and hope in my life I need only to look to Him for He Is True and Unchanging, unlike much of our experience of life in this world. And it reminds me that I am not powerless. I am not a victim of life’s circumstances, and although there are certain things that are beyond my control, still there is much that I can change. And so can you.

Who you are, and where you are now

All that being said, I’d like to remind you, yes *you*, special you reading this now, are Unique, Irreplaceable, ‘Fearfully & Wonderfully Made’ (Psalm 139) and are Special and Important just for who you are. You are not an accident, it is not by chance that you are here, right now, even reading this for perhaps you need to hear a word of encouragement. You are you for a reason, and you are here right now for a reason too.

So be kind to yourself. Know that life is not all about status or achievement or relationships or milestones achieved. It is enough that you are you. Truly. I believe that there is only One Who can love you in the way you need to be loved for you to know and experience this, and I hope that you will find your way to Him, the Lord Jesus.

However, no matter what your thoughts or beliefs, still you are important, a unique individual who deserves respect and care, and that my friend, begins with you. With how you view yourself, how you ‘talk to’ yourself, and how you treat yourself and others.

Where you are now may be a place of contentment, and if so I am pleased for you and hope that you enjoy and are blessed in this time of your life. However, where you are right now in life, may not be so great. In which case, remember from the Serenity Prayer above, that you are not powerless. You can make a change today, even if a small one, and you can keep going. This is the season of life that you are in, and inevitably with all seasons, it is transient and will change. So make the changes that you can and should, and seek to be at peace with the things that you cannot change.

So, What’s Your Plan?

Ok, ok, I’m a bit of a self-confessed ‘geek’. I like stationery. I like making lists and plans. I like seeing things written down, and I like colour coding! It’s not a crime, is it? 🙂

Over the past few years, lists and plans have been small yet very helpful tools for me to aid me through some very difficult times. As mentioned previously I have complex trauma / PTSD, severe clinical depression and generalised anxiety disorder. The past few years have been very tough health wise, yet this year has been pretty good, productive and one in which I am getting on top of my health challenges, which I hope is an encouragement to any of you out there who are struggling in any way. We can build resilience in ourselves and we can make tangible changes for the better.

So do you have a list or a plan? If so, what’s in your plan? And how has it helped you? If you think that sharing these insights with us might help someone else, then you are more than welcome to leave a comment or a link to a relevant blog post.

Here’s What’s in My Plan…

At the start of the year, I took some time to be a geek and to make up some lists 🙂 It has helped me to ‘stay on track’ as it were, and to measure my progress in areas of my life that are important to me.

I’ve never shared anything like this publicly before, however, I would like to do so now in the hope that it might help, encourage, or be a useful starting point for some of you to consider what is important to you in your lives, and how to live more fully in the days and years to come.

So here goes, ‘it is what it is’, it’s not ‘perfect’, but it was my starting point for this year. I’ll be brave and share it with you lovely people.

I categorised my life into 14 priority ‘life areas’, which I will list below, unchanged from when I wrote them in a notebook in January of this year. Further to this I made further more specific ‘sub goals’ or actions to more practically guide me in maintaining and enhancing these 14 life areas. These have been organic and involve a lot of scribbling, doodling, brainstorming and note-making, therefore I won’t share these as that would just get a bit too ‘crazy’ and unwieldy for a blog post 🙂 Notebooks, notebooks, notebooks! I also made a simple ‘accountability tracker’ for each month of the year which worked well for the first few months but may continue to change as I change.

2017 Life Areas:

  1. Relationship with God / Faith
  2. Relationship with Family
  3. Friendships
  4. Work / Career
  5. Finances
  6. Health & Wellbeing / Mental Health / Nutrition
  7. Homekeeping / Hospitality
  8. Travel
  9. Hobbies & Recreation
  10. Self Development / Lifelong Learning
  11. Life Skills
  12. Future Unknowns / Hopes
  13. Helping Other People / Outreach / Volunteering / Charity, etc.
  14. Lifelong / Long-term Goal ~ Writing.

 

‘Life As It Happens To Be’ ~ The Birth of An Unexpected Blog & The Timing of Things

As you can see from the above list, a blog could quite reasonably fit into a couple of categories (such as 9 & 14). However, I never listed it specifically in the above list, nor in any of my ‘sub lists’ (ok, already, I told you I’m a self-confessed list making ‘geek’. The world needs us! 🙂 🙂 ).

My ‘blog baby’ therefore came as an unexpected surprise. A couple of years ago I created my own website on Wix, which I was an am very happy with. It is quite different in appearance from this blog, yet contains many similar themes. However, it never really did ‘go anywhere’. There wasn’t really the same scope to connect with other bloggers as there is here, and so it kind of drifted into the background of my life, and it no longer took much place in the day to day things of my life. In May of this year, I think, someone suggested that I try blogging on Word Press. And so on 28th May 2017, just over a month ago, I did just that, I began this blog, and now here I am, and here we are. I am so glad I did.

Perhaps my previous website was a preparation for this new adventure. Although this blog wasn’t on my list of pursuits this year, it has really taken a special place in my life, even though I have barely been blogging for long. I love this creative and somewhat philosophical outlet. I love connecting with you all, and gaining an insight into your lives and adventures and experiences and learning from what you have written, photographed and shared. I often find myself thinking about things to blog about, and find that it is becoming a beautiful experience that I definitely wish to continue.

I am grateful for those of you who have joined me on this shared journey. I hope you will continue with me, but even if our paths were only meant to cross for a short time before they diverge, I am glad for this time and this season with you. I really hope that some of the things I’ve shared have been an encouragement to you. I may not have met you face to face, but I do care, and as I am moving past some difficult years into something new, I hope that together we can discover more of what it means to be ‘Living Fully’, right here, right now.

The Future? Well, I don’t know too much about that, but I do have plans for some new Blog Posts! 🙂

I’m intrigued to know whether any of you are ‘regular’ readers. If so, then thank you, I appreciate you. I also would like to know what interests you, and what I can write more of to encourage you, for I do have the heart of an encourager, and you, unseen internet friend, matter to me ❤ 🙂

In the meantime, let me share some of the things that you can expect to see more of on my blog in the near future (hopefully!):

I intend to continue my regular posts such as daily photos, daily prompts, self-care series and posts about mental health. In addition to what I’m already posting, you can look out for:

  • A continuation of my ‘self-care’ series.
  • Future LUSH product reviews.
  • A July ‘Subscription Box’ review.
  • Travel: in less than a week, I am going for a short adventure / journey on an old steam train in northern Scotland which I hope to feature in a blog post shortly afterwards.
  • More on Books! Literature reviews and posts on the books I am currently reading.
  • Future travel plans.
  • As mentioned above, more on mental health and wellbeing.
  • Faith journeys.
  • Creative writing.
  • A colouring book review: a friend has recently gifted me with a new adult colouring book, ‘Images of Hope’, which I have started working on and will look forward to sharing with you.

So there you have it, some things to look forward to, and I hope you are enjoying journeying on this adventure with me.

Much love. ❤ xx

 

Notebook image, courtesy of Google Images. All other content (c) is my own.

 

 

 

 

Elections, Choices and What makes a Good Leader

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Picture courtesy of Google Images.

If you’ve been following world news lately, or live in the United Kingdom, you will know that today, 8th June 2017 is polling day for the UK’s General Election.

The election was called unexpectedly in April this year by the UK’s current Prime Minister, Teresa May. It was unexpected as she had previously announced that she would not be calling a ‘snap election’, but clearly politicians have the prerogative to change their minds! She was voted in as the new leader of the Conservative Party by her party, and consequently became Prime Minister, following David Cameron’s resignation after the majority of British voters voted for ‘Brexit’, ie to leave the European Union, in a referendum in June of last year. It was not the result that Cameron hoped for nor anticipated.  His successor and the incumbent Prime Minister, Teresa May also wanted to remain in the EU. However, as leader of choice (by her party, at least), she is currently in the position of leading the country forwards in the direction of the voting population’s simple majority decision in favour of Brexit.

Teresa May could be nicknamed for a time, ‘Teresa Maybe’ or Teresa May or May Not’, due to her delay or reluctance to push that metaphorical button and invoke Article 50 which would set things in motion for Britain to leave the EU.  However, finally May took decisive action and invoked or triggered Article 50 in March 2017, less than three months ago.

With further decisiveness in April of this year, Teresa May, taking on the stance of Teresa Will announced a general election to take place in June – today being that day!

It is difficult to truly discern a politician’s motives from what they actually say. Perhaps May sees this election as a way to formalise her mandate and strengthen her position in negotiating a strong Brexit deal for the country and / or to increase the Conservative’s majority in Westminster. Presumably no Prime Minister would call a sudden election well before its time (the next general election wouldn’t have been due until 2020) unless they were confident that they and their party would win.

However, despite being a small nation, and an island at that, the United Kingdom isn’t altogether united. There are fractions and divisions and competing points of view that mean that the result that May is anticipating (which we will find out tomorrow) may not turn out to be what she desires.

From the division of the ‘Remain’ and ‘Brexit’ camps, to divisions in Scotland over the results of the ‘Independence Referendum’ that took place on 18th September 2014, and a narrow majority voting for Scotland to remain as part of the United Kingdom (55.3% against independence, 44.7% in favour of independence) to all the multifarious shades of the political spectrum and opinions in between, notes from this small island of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, report that Britain remains somewhat divided and uncertain about its future.

For several years, Westminster politics has been characterised by a rivalry between the ‘big two’ parties across opposing sides of the debating chamber: The Labour Party and the Conservative Party. However, in more recent times there have been coalitions between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to form a majority, breaking the run of Labour Party rule, and finally returning to the Conservatives as the simple majority party in power.

Currently of the leaders of the ‘big two’, Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, although there may be pockets of die-hard supporters, on the whole most people have very mixed feelings towards them both, their policies and their trustworthiness.

While perhaps finding some things in either leader or party that one can resonate with, there are other elements that grate against our consciences. Politics has become synonymous with corruption, false promises and even deceit. As in the United States of America, when faced with the choice to elect either Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump for President, many voters on both sides of the Atlantic feel that they are being cornered into choosing the lesser of two evils. Gone are the days where members of the public look up to their politicians as paragons of virtue, a special breed of humanity with leadership qualities that shine forth with radiance – people deserving of our trust and respect. Perhaps such days never actually existed…?

It brings us to consider, in this hotch-potch of political choices what does make a good leader, and where can we find one? They are certainly not ‘a dime a dozen’, nor does anyone in particular in the world of politics spring to mind.

I think this reality exacerbates political frustration, despondency, apathy and confusion. I would quite frankly despair of this world were it not for the fact that I do have a Leader Whom I can wholeheartedly respect, admire, trust, believe in and follow without reservation.

Everything He does is imbued with infinite and perfect Love, Wisdom, Kindness, Goodness, Integrity and Strength. He Is a Wonderful Counsellor, a Prince of Peace.

He humbled Himself to teach us that to truly be a Leader, one must first become the Servant of all. He only ever works for Good, and Is completely and utterly Faithful and Trustworthy. He lived out self-sacrificial love, doing what is good for others at an unbelievable cost to Himself. He died to bring us salvation and Is Risen and Reigns over all.

So despite the madness of the world in which we live, the frustrations of politics and the despair over the leaders of the world, I have an infinite hope.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ personally – the One Who Shepherds His people with kindness, goodness and love, this may all seem a bit strange, as if it were perhaps just an ideal to be longed after. But He has proven Himself to me time after time, to be real, and good and utterly trustworthy, and so despite the results of these elections or all the other things happening in this world, I know that I follow and serve and belong to One Whose ways are perfect, just and kind.

Even if you don’t share my faith, I am sure you would find it fascinating and encouraging in contrast to the leaders of the world today, to look into and examine the life and ways of the historical person of Jesus Christ.

Thousands of years before He made Himself manifest to us, the prophet of the Old Testament, Isaiah proclaimed:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”. (Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6).

 

 

Loneliness and Isolation…

I recently came across this lovely Blogger, who like me, is new to the blogging world.  She goes by the name of ‘notalone’ https://notalone832.wordpress.com/

I was touched by her heartfelt posts, reaching out to connect with others and to be an encouragement to others.

If you have the chance and are so inclined, please visit her Blog and say ‘hello’. I hope you don’t mind me sharing your Blog, ‘notalone’. 🙂

I also have felt the ache of loneliness and even being alone in a crowd or amongst friends, and know that many others have felt similar things also.

I have been encouraged from ‘day 1’ of blogging here by the feeling of community and connection that sharing our thoughts and a glimpse into our individual worlds brings.

I wonder if you have any suggestions as to what can help someone feeling this way? What healthy ways of coping with loneliness do you have?

I believe that God cares for us and that ultimately we always have SomeOne to reach out to. But it’s not always easy to feel or believe that. We need human companionship too.

But what happens when that is not available?

I think in addition to reaching out to God (for me, personally), we need to learn to be our own best friend, when too often we can be our own worst enemies. The thoughts we think about ourselves really do have such a powerful impact, not only on the state of our mind, but also on our mood, physical and emotional health and our ability to cope with the day to day things of life.

I would encourage you, if you are feeling alone and isolated to think about what might help you.

Here are some things that have helped me. I’d love to know what works for you, so please feel free to respond in the comments.

Much love. x

  • Prayer and reaching out to God.
  • Connecting with friends and family where possible – whether face to face, by telephone or via email, etc.
  • Positive self talk.
  • Making connections in safe ways on the online world.
  • Thinking of how I can help other people and reaching out to people in need / being an encourager.
  • Absorbing myself in a hobby.
  • Going outside for a long walk.
  • ‘Journalling’ / writing down my thoughts and ‘to do’ lists to keep productive.
  • Focusing on ‘self care’ and building myself up to be independent and resilient emotionally.

When I am in a ‘good place’ within myself, I also find solitude immensely satisfying, especially being out in nature – so there is a difference between being physically alone and being lonely….we just need to find the healthy balance and manage our feelings along the way.

Let me know what works for you, if you so wish. Oh, and say ‘hi’ to my new friend over at Blogger.

Where your feet may tread…and the fine art of ‘Staycationing’

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Good Morning lovely people,

At least it is the morning on my side of the world! 🙂  It is a beautiful bank holiday Monday, which means I can have a relaxed start to the day, a welcome novelty from the usual ‘Manic Monday morning rush’!

Recently I decided to try something that I hadn’t done before. I realised that if I wanted to really pursue my dreams, then I would have to make a thoughtful and concerted effort to make time to do so.

Like many people, I work full time, and although I enjoy my job and make time in the evenings to relax and be creative, over time stress and the issues of other people can build up and creativity becomes a leisure activity that we indulge in ‘when we have the time’, and therefore that deep focussed immersion of ourselves into a creative ‘headspace’ as it were doesn’t truly happen amid the interruptions and myriad voices and commitments vying and calling for our attention.

So, I did it. I took a few days off work and rather than go on holiday (or ‘vacation’), I decided to create my very own ‘Staycation’ and creative retreat at home.

I can write more about the process of this and what it looked like and how it took shape and what I did, if there is interest. However, initially I had set aside the time for the purpose of a creative ‘Writing Retreat’.

Writing is a passion of mine, and I am working on a couple of novels – my first. One of which I have been working on for a good few  years now, and is dear to my heart, and is an expression of my life and faith journey in an allegorical form – if you like adventure, interesting characters, deep thinking, and profound expression of life’s deepest experiences, then this is a tale that I am perhaps telling for you, as well as for myself 🙂

My second work is more lighthearted, but I’ll save that for another post.

What I found happening, for this particular time set aside at least, was that the scope of the purpose of my creative retreat both broadened and deepened.

It became a time for me to be still, to commune with God, my Creator (I am a person of faith), and to hear my own thoughts.

The solitude and freedom from the usual demands of a ‘9-5’ routine gave me a beautiful opportunity to slow down, to take time, to walk at nature’s own pace, and to dwell deeply in a creative space.

The focus was not so much on ‘producing’, but on being. Even if the creative endeavour was the feeling or thought itself and the expression of the heart in just one line, that in itself was profound – a deepening connection, and a being present and unhurried.

I found a joy in the simplicity of taking time to be, to pray, to find droplets of healing and understanding through this time. I enjoyed unhurried walks by the riverside, knowing that I did not have to ‘clock watch’ or fit myself into the boxes of the world’s schedules – at least, not for this set aside time.

I wrote, I cooked, I sang, I took photographs, I drew and coloured, and enjoyed the time, in a childlike way, simply to be. I also limited my time and engagement with technology, and I found that this was a balm and a barrier against the modern syndrome that is ‘FOMO’ (the Fear Of Missing Out), and at last I could hear myself think, and that was enough in itself.

I feel that it is an important thing to take time to listen and to be, if and when we get the chance. We live in such a fast paced and hurried world that we are often drained of the vitality to be our best selves and to truly enjoy the gift of the life we’ve been given.

Going back to work I did feel refreshed, but just as soon as I got back, I was immersed in the noise of other people’s ‘stuff’, for want of a better word. And yet, I believe that taking time to take care of ourselves helps us ultimately to be more patient and kind and compassionate to other people.

I wandered through and out of my retreat with the thread of thought that on ‘re-entry’ into the world 😉 I would continue to make small and consistent life changes to ensure that although I generally do not have vast amounts of time to take to ‘retreat’ from the daily busy-ness of the world, I can make my daily life calmer, more peaceful, more creative and meaningful.

It is definitely a step worth taking.

 

Survive ~ Daily Prompt

Survive

One seven letter word. Survive.  A sharp intake of breath. The word is potent. Tears silently fill my eyes. Breathe out slowly. Count to three. Remember what you have learned. What have I learned? I try to remind myself and my cheeks grow warm. My lip trembles.

Aren’t we all survivors, in one way or another? Don’t the jagged rocks of life cut and bruise us all? Perhaps some are more agile climbers, while others have gentler meadows to traverse, and sometimes our challenges come and go with the changing terrain of different seasons.

I close my eyes. Blink back the tears. And I remember how strong I am. One small potent seven letter word cannot shake me. Can it?

I am a survivor. More than a survivor. You want me to label my pain, my mountainous challenges, my conquered fears? I can but try, but they speak so little of the lived experience and the experienced Grace.

Daily, I survive. I survive the ongoing scars of childhood bullying, of verbal abuse, hitting, spitting, racial hate against my fragile little person. I survive nightmares, and flashbacks and traumatic memories. I survive anxiety and panic attacks and depression and fear. I survive loneliness and complex trauma, post traumatic stress – yes, like soldiers have.  I survive exploding pain and breaking down and starting again. And again.

But I do not survive alone. Yes, I am a survivor, a blossoming thriver, one among many, in a world full of woe. Yet, I do not mean this.

What I mean is there is One Who holds me. Whose love carries and heals me. Who restores and gives life and makes all things new.  I find His unfathomable love at the Cross, where His sufferings met with mine, and He took them all, and He took and embraced and saved me.  His Name is Jesus.

I do not need to survive. I am loved, and I am held, and I am renewed, and one day by His love, I will be free.