Tag Archives: freedom

LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWN. *A Breath Of Fresh Air*.

*A Breath of Fresh Air*.

The coronavirus pandemic has stolen far too many people’s ability to breathe. It is a virus that can have a devastating impact upon the human respiratory system, however, it is not just the virus itself that has stifled many people’s lives.

The consequences of the virus, and the resultant public health policies and initiatives that countries across the world have rightly taken to stem the spread of the virus, has meant that for some, or perhaps for many, and maybe yourself included, a time of enforced lockdown has also made people feel like they can’t ‘breathe’ fully in some way or another.

The things that may have left some people feeling stifled or not being able to breathe in life fully may be physical, or a combination of the physical, emotional, psychological and other factors.

I know some people who have ‘sailed through’ lockdown as it meant time off from the busy pace of everyday life, more time to spend with their family at home, more flexible work-life balance, time to enjoy the fresh air and to spend time with home and garden projects or personal hobbies that they had wanted to do for a while.

Unfortunately, for many of us, things have not been so easy. Perhaps like me you went through 4 months of lockdown alone, and didn’t have any personal garden space to safely enjoy the outdoors, but instead had to navigate the concerns of staying safe in a block of flats and only managed to go outside for a short walk perhaps once every three weeks. Maybe you’ve had issues with your job, income, family, health, loneliness, anxiety, and so forth.

Now that in many places around the world restrictions have been beginning to ease, and also in certain places been reinstated because of covid-19 ‘spikes’, many people have taken the opportunity to get out and breathe in more of life.

In an increasingly busy world, it can be hard to find quiet spaces in nature. However, I personally feel that this is so important to our overall health and well being, in so many ways. As restrictions ease it is a good opportunity to think of ways we can safely find quiet natural places even if that means just a few minutes somewhere where the air is clean and we can hear birds singing and see the ebb and flow of natural life around us. Many of you may have been blessed to have had this all through lockdown, but many of us have not. It is important to find safe and responsible ways to do these things without travelling too far or unnecessarily and without putting other people or ourselves at risk.

Even in busy cities, there are places where there are trees or quieter areas that can have a calming effect, even if you are not so fortunate to have your own or access to some garden space.

However, going forwards, we need to think of ways in which we can breathe Life in more deeply, cleanly and freely, apart from those ways that relate to our environment.

Fundamentally, what is it that gives us the breath of life? What refreshes us deep in our soul when we cannot get out to nature or other such things? For me it Is only the Life Giving and Beautiful Presence, the Streams of Living Water from The Living God that can satisfy my soul. Only Jesus Christ’s sweet and refreshing Presence can enable me to Breathe in Life deeply and freely regardless of environment or circumstances or anything else.

And what about the other areas of our lives that we have had the chance to think about during lockdown? What, perhaps less fundamental, things help us to breathe in life more deeply, satisfy us and give us a sense of well being? As we transition (perhaps back in and out of) from lockdown, what are the things that will help us to live more fully and live less stifled lives?

Is it choosing not to worry, but to exercise our muscles of faith? Is it maintaining and caring for our bodies by getting rest, sleep, exercise, healthy food and nutrition? Is it by connecting or reconnecting with people that mutually enrich our lives rather than drag us down or cause conflict? Is it spending a few minutes a day with our hobbies, slowing down, taking time to enjoy the little things, as the cliches go, to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ or to ‘stop and smell the roses’? Is it taking time to read and find ways to look after our mental health? To continue reaching out to help, encourage and inspire others? To include more creativity in our lives? To make time for the people and things that really matter?

As we move forwards, we are all in different ways, and to differing extents, searching for purer, cleaner, and more refreshing air to breathe.

What are you looking to to find this in your own life? What time, space and opportunities do you have and how will you use them as we all move forwards into hopefully not just a ‘new normal’ but a ‘better normal’?

Stay safe. Be blessed. x

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Stepping Steadfastly into a New Hope and a Future…

There are points in our lives that ‘define’ us. That statement in itself is loaded, and one that can be debated. But in the simplest of senses, certain things in our lives change the way we see things, the world and ourselves.

Such points can happen negatively in trauma where one’s sense of identity is shattered, our minds feel like they’ve become fragmented or fractured, we become ‘stuck’ in a place of pain and fear, and we live the trauma and torment over and over again for years until we finally process it and are able to move forwards having gleaned a new narrative and a new meaning from it.

They can happen also in rescue, where once we were broken, helpless, feeling unwanted or unloved, and alone, prisoners to our own overwhelming and unmanageable experiences, we come in contact with a rescuer, someone who can help, who can revive, nurture, heal and restore. We are no longer alone, fighting ourselves over whether to try to go on living through the pain or to give up, we have others fighting in our corner, and they can help us through. (The ultimate Rescuer Who can perfectly help us is the Saviour, Jesus Christ, but people can help us in smaller ways on our journey too).

In recovery we meet change points when we move from the mental state of a victim to that of a survivor, and then a fighter, an overcomer, a warrior.

And in restoration we meet these moments when we discover a new narrative, a new identity and new hope.

God tells us that He can give us a “Hope and a future”, and Scripture is filled with the realities of brokenness and the greater realities of God’s transforming love and power to bring rescue, healing, recovery, a hope and a future, ‘beauty for ashes’, ‘the oil of joy’ to replace mourning, and ‘garments of Praise’ in place of a ‘spirit of heaviness’.

The pages of Scripture tell of the realities that many followers of Christ have lived through. Read people’s testimonies, listen to what they have to say and you will find this translation from darkness into Light, from old to new, from fear to courage, from despair to hope, from abandonment and loneliness to the rescued knowing that they have been saved by Grace, adopted by Christ into the family of God and are now Beloved, washed clean by the atoning sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) and have a new heart and a new spirit.

This kind of a hope and a future goes far beyond recovery processes, self-help journeys, 12 step programmes or positive thinking. Why? Because when we are born again, spirit filled, our very nature changes spiritually – the power of God Is within us, and we are ‘new creatures’ / new creations as the Bible tells us.

The healing journey can often be painful and take a long time, although for some people by the Grace of God it happens instantaneously such as people who have been in a moment by the power of Christ been set free from drug addictions for example. The ordinary Christians around you will have some extraordinary stories to tell of our incredible God.

It can seem like it is getting worse before it gets better, but that is because God deals with the deep rooted things within us, the brokenness, the sin, the old, which needs to be taken out just as the new needs to grow and flourish. It is because He Is transforming us perfectly, and this is a work He will bring to completion in His time.

On this road, there are change points too. A point where we cross over in our healing and restoration journey to a place of standing in our True Identity in Christ. That doesn’t mean to say that the damage has been fully healed, the battles all fought (although at the Cross they are overcome, victory is in Christ), but we no longer view our recovery, our challenges, our lives from a place of defeat, but of victory.

That is one of the most remarkable change points of our lives. And although we may stumble and struggle, we get up, renewed, our minds being transformed to know that if God Is for us, Who can be against us? He will give us everything we need, and that gives us a hope, a future in Him, in His love and eternal victory  – and that, no matter the struggle, changes *everything*!

Hallelu-jah!

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Single Minded ~ Quick Inspiration for Single People (without families of their own)…

Think of the time you have to pursue your own interests and goals that you probably wouldn’t if you had a partner, spouse and / or children. Don’t lose today wishing for tomorrow, but instead embrace this season as one of opportunities for self development, personal growth and discovery and really putting your mind to getting to know yourself, and building up your skills, talents and abilities without so many competing demands on your time, for who knows if or when those demands and commitments may come and you may not have as much freedom to pursue your personal dreams and goals.

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“Travelling Teaches You” (13)

Travelling teaches you to keep moving forwards. There is something of a momentum in travel, even when you have reached your chosen destination. For there is a certain weight to knowing that one has only a limited time in a certain place, especially when it is different to what you are used to, that keeps you looking, seeing, planning, exploring, doing and going ~ forwards, from one new ‘adventure’ or experience to the next. We seek to ‘make the most of’ our new experiences, knowing that time is fleeting and that before we know it, things will have changed yet again – maybe we will have moved on to a new place, continuing our travels around our little yet magnificent globe, a speck of wonder in this vast universe of Creation, or we will return to the ‘normality’ of our everyday circumstances, and know that we will most probably cease to look at our lives with the same wonder. Knowing this helps us to keep that forward motion and forward thinking.

However, if you are anything like me, you probably find this more challenging to do as you travel through your life generally. Perhaps thoughts about the past keep us from living fully in the present or moving forwards with greater freedom and change into the future. As someone who has been overcoming post traumatic stress primarily caused by childhood bullying, I know that this can be difficult, that one can get stuck, body, mind and heart in a certain place that is so distressing that it is impossible to get free of without help. Yet, exploring the past can sometimes be the most forward compelling thing we can do if we are seeking to break the cycle of whatever has kept us in fetters, as we face that seemingly overwhelming challenge of thinking of ourselves in new ways and moving towards freedom.

Perhaps we need that reminder that the journey of our lives on earth is limited, is fleeting and that we need to wake up to the awareness to make the most of the time and life we have. For me, for the past few years that has meant putting in a lot of hard work and effort in confronting a painful past of childhood hurt and trauma from bullying, but I don’t believe it was time wasted ~ as challenging as it is to change and heal, it is a journey and a road well worth travelling on, so that we can wake up, be free, and live in the new moments that Life Gifts us with. For me, this freedom is in Christ, and I take His Hand as He leads me on in this journey through life. xx

road sky clouds cloudy
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