I recently had the blessing of being able to go to a couple of beaches and see these beautiful natural sights….it does the heart and soul so much good to see this beautiful creation, especially after all the time spent indoors over the past long while. I hope you are able to spread your wings and your heart a little more this year, and take courage as you step on into 2022. I know a lot of people will still be feeling anxious, yet you only need to take one step at a time, one day at a time, have courage and learn to be all that you were meant to be. Take care, stay safe, and wish you love, health, and Shalom in 2022.
I wrote previously about being in different seasons of life. For a long time I had felt that I was in a season marked by suffering, then by recovery, and then overcoming (including overcoming anxiety).
Something has changed. Within me. It is almost as if the fear and anxiety has been ‘switched off’, overnight.
I had been calling out to God, I think perhaps a few months ago. Certain things felt difficult to manage within myself, some things felt like they were causing anxiety and doubt. I had very profound experiences when I first encountered Christ, but those few months ago I felt distant, dry, and I didn’t want to just be ‘going through the motions’ when I know His Love Is real, tangible, something I have profoundly experienced before.
I cried out to Him and He has answered me. I have been experiencing once again Pure Comfort, Love, His Peaceful Presence, within me and around me as I draw near to Him especially in prayer.
He has been communicating in different ways, showing me things that He has also similarly shown to a Christian friend. I am certain the ‘flow’ of these recent ‘coincidences’ are not coincidences.
Something within has changed, and there is a shift in gears, in perspective and a Peace that I had struggled to find for a long time as I recovered from and wrestled with various things I had gone through.
I am trusting this change is not a momentary one, but something deeper, longer lasting. I know my mindset may change in more gradual ways perhaps, as I step more fully into this Reality of who I truly am.
I love how God Is always reaching out to us, teaching us, and sometimes those breakthroughs are so gentle yet profound. When we stumble, those who Know Jesus as the Reality that He Is, His real and tangible Presence….He will still be leading us, helping us, as The Good Shepherd, The Living God.
In this world of trouble, He speaks Peace. The Peace that comes from being Forgiven, Cleansed, made New inside. Peace, real tangible Peace in Christ, through His Blood shed at the Cross. x
Today let us each learn to step out, however small that step may be, into something New.
When you imagine someone with a ‘dream-like’ life, what do you see? Someone with strength, courage, confidence, unwavering self-belief? We don’t necessarily have to believe in ourselves to believe in our worth. What do I mean? I mean that we all have failures, flaws, limitations, sin, and none of us can be our own Saviour. Yet, despite all that is imperfect about us, we are still of intrinsic worth as human beings.
When you think of yourself say in the future, living the life of your dreams, what do you desire of your experience? I don’t mean the external things such as money, success, nor even relationships. What do you desire of how you feel about yourself and your experience in life?
This is a journey of discovery for me, and one which I perhaps am not alone in finding that there is a bridge to cross between how I think and feel about myself now and the Truth about my worth that will lead me to experiencing Freedom.
It can sometimes feel as if clouds of negativity follow us, or that negative thoughts have seeped into our experience. It can be hard not to believe them, or to accept that certain things are lies and not the truth about who we are.
Things that cause anxiety, nervousness and fear. Perhaps not even fully-formed thoughts, but just feelings or sensations that cause us to doubt and to feel insecure, and ‘not good enough’. Have you ever felt this way? I certainly have.
Sometimes we believe that these lies are stronger than we are. But they are never stronger than the Truth.
If you are nervous, anxious or afraid, full of self doubt and hiding behind your fears, then it may be a challenge to take big strides into freedom in how you think of and value yourself.
Sometimes thoughts, images, memories from the past, of harmful words spoken over us, and things that have knocked our confidence can linger around us and affect the way we feel and think about ourselves.
It may be difficult to live in the experience of our True worth all at once, but I am a believer that small steps and changes add up over time to make a big difference. I personally know that I will have to continue with my ‘small steps’ because it isn’t easy for me to feel free from the negativity that I have experienced in life.
But what if we take the challenge today to take a ‘small step’, yet a powerful one, one borne in Truth? And what if we were to build upon this, reminding ourselves of the Truth about ourselves every day? Would that make a difference to how we experience our lives? I think it would.
So, today I set a challenge, if you’d like to join me, to simply remind ourselves that the following is True of each and every one of us no matter what we have experienced in life, or what lies we have believed that have damaged our perception and experience of our worth:
“I am a human being of intrinsic worth, I am and always have been, and always will be valuable simply because I am me”.
It’s a small but powerful step, and one we can keep taking day by day. I wonder what a difference it would make to our experience of life if we do?
The funny thing about life is that even though we all know and have heard and see it vibrantly displayed in the lives of young children, that there is a joy and freedom from living in the moment that we can’t find if we are constantly overthinking things, we still know that life has a forward momentum and we need to go with it.
We can be still…but for a moment. I love to sit at a high point of the park overlooking the city, and just be still, to pause, reflect and just ‘be’. And yet, I know I will have to get up again, my feet will keep walking and I will have to move from the stillness and from one moment to the next. The gentle or fast paced momentum of life is still a momentum that no one can escape.
You know the saying, ‘Time and tide wait for no man’. Perhaps you are also familiar with Shakespeare’s Sonnet 60:
Maybe you grew up enjoying some beautiful festive family traditions. Maybe you didn’t, but you longed for them. Either way, why not start a new tradition, whether you are single, in a relationship, have family of your own or will be sharing your time with friends. Regardless of your past or your circumstances now, you can always start anew.
A few years ago, I decided to start a new ‘tradition’ of my own, if ‘new tradition’ isn’t too much of an apparent contradiction that is! 🙂 I went to Berlin and Potsdam and visited the Christmas markets there, and I bought some tree decorations to hang on my Christmas tree. Since then, I have gone to Christmas markets more locally with friends, and each year I try to get a new decoration to hang on my tree. A few of these are beautifully carved, unique, wooden decorations, and on the back I can write in very small handwriting the date and place so that in the future I can remember where I got them. I like to add one new decoration to the tree each year, and I like it to be meaningful, and from an event or experience such as from somewhere I’ve been with friends or family (or by myself as was the case with the one in Berlin).
The decorations don’t need to be from a Christmas market (I also have some hand made ones I made myself the year I had my first Christmas craft stall), just one new item each year, and it’s nice to see these personal touches adding up, and hopefully if or when I have a family of my own I will be able to continue this on and share it with them.
What ‘traditions’ do you have, or what new things would you like to start? x
This time of year could be the perfect opportunity for you to experience personal growth, make new connections and step out of your comfort zone. It could also simply mean giving yourself the chance to do something that you enjoy but usually don’t make time for due to competing priorities, or just the ‘hum drum’ of letting daily life trundle along without being too aware of your choices and chances.
Maybe, like me, you’ve had to work hard at overcoming anxiety. Perhaps there is something you’d like to do, some event you’d like to attend, or some new people you’d like to connect with – BUT you are allowing anxious thoughts to talk you out of giving it a go.
Maybe you’re brimming with confidence but are used to doing the ‘same old, same old’ that you haven’t even thought of saying ‘yes’ to that new opportunity.
Perhaps there are people, causes or needs that you can give your time to, to alleviate someone else’s burden at this time of year.
Wherever you find yourself, think about some of the opportunities in your life coming up that you might automatically say ‘no’ to.
Think of whether it is a good and positive opportunity in your life, and if it doesn’t compete with other more important things, and if it ‘ticks these boxes’ and it is something you actually think you can benefit from doing, then try saying ‘yes’.
Who knows where that simple ‘yes’ might take you, and what further doors of opportunity and friendship it might open…..
Seek out new challenges and opportunities for personal growth.
If you want to steadfastly pursue the good, then you have to relinquish the bad – and you can’t do that on your own.
It’s the first of the month, and a new month means new potential, so stay positive and get planning!
Life as it happens to be, just now, seems to be opening up doors of new opportunities to me. Little by little, things that make for my health and wellbeing seem to be falling into place, and I am grateful. After many tough times with my health, including panic attacks at work, and after several meetings, assessments, and recommendations for reasonable adjustments, I have been moved out from the open floor into a little corner room by myself, with big glass windows, and a view of trees and sky, and the main road. Today it is a rare bright and sunny day, and I am sitting at lunchtime in my little sunny spot, and for the first time in a long time at work, my brain, my nervous system, and all that has been distressed, is being given some relief and a chance to heal, recover, and grow stronger. And at this time new work projects and creative ventures are opening up to me at work and I am finding myself feeling not only ‘safer’ but more engaged, interested and happier in the challenge.
I don’t know about you, but it can be all too easy to get ‘stuck in a rut’ whether in work, in our personal lives, with how we spend our ‘down time’, and sometimes it feels like we are just dragging ourselves through our days, feeling bored and uninspired. It’s not a great place to be. Sometimes we just have to ‘do what we have to do’ to keep things ticking over, and we may not be able to change much about a situation we are in other than our thoughts, attitudes and perspective towards it. However, as important as it is to do that ‘inner ground work’ to encourage ourselves to be positive, perhaps we are allowing ourselves to believe that we can’t make a change. That things have always been done a certain way and so we just do the expected to fit in with the ‘tried and tested’ rather than challenging ourselves and others with the possibilities to innovate.
One of the projects I am embarking upon at the moment comes from the innovative idea of a colleague to introduce something new into our organisation that hasn’t been done before. They were met with an initial ‘resistance’ as their proposal is unfamiliar territory to management who are perhaps a bit more ‘old school’ in their thinking. I was asked to conduct some research into whether and why this would be a good idea for the organisation, providing the formal backing and facts and figures to validate this great idea from my colleague – the paper is going straight to senior management having been received well at a lower level, and now I am getting the chance to be part of the creative team to design, produce and implement this new idea, a team which I’ve wanted to be part of for a long while now, because I am both a very creative and analytical person, but need creativity in my life and a variety of outlets in order to thrive, and not just survive or go through the motions.
The reason I was asked to do this piece of work is because I volunteered to help out other teams – I asked my boss if I could broaden my skillset and because I am industrious, fast and efficient in providing a high quality of work for him, he knew there’s capacity for me to do more. Sure, there are no financial rewards that go along with this additional work, but there are the rewards of satisfaction of developing my skills, engaging my creativity and working with other inspired individuals – in a word, ‘fulfilment’. My boss therefore told a couple of fellow managers in two other teams that I was available to help out, and so the knock on effect has been new opportunities and connecting with other people with innovative ideas.
Sometimes we find ourselves wishing for a change, but not taking the first step to realise that maybe it is us that needs to do something about it. Change and new challenges or opportunities may not be handed to us on a plate, but we can take our inspiring ideas, and pitch them to the people with the power to make those changes. We might be knocked back, maybe at first, but at least we tried. So if you are looking for variety, more interesting challenges, and opportunities for creativity, maybe it is a gift you have to give yourself – in whatever area of your life – challenge yourself to create a new challenge, to ask new questions, and to break new ground – you may just find you really enjoy the opportunities that you yourself create! 🙂