Monthly Archives: August 2009

You mean I can enjoy serving God?

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Your vocation is where your greatest bliss encounters the world’s deepest need.

 – Frederick Buechner

What beautiful words.  I assumed that my ‘calling’ or vocation for God meant doing something I hated.  I thought that all the stuff about God having a good plan for your life and all that was just hype.  I never believed till reading this that I could actually enjoy serving God.

Awesome!

So what is your vocation?  What do you get passionate about?  Where do you want to help create change?  Let me know.

Jo x

Resilience – or rather, the lack of it

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chainThis morning I was desperate to run away. I wanted to be in a place with no responsibilities and no-one making demands on me. I wanted to take myself away from the world run and ‘just’ rest.

But deep down I knew that a bit of space was not the answer.  I was too agitated to rest. I was worried and felt overwhelmed by silly little things.  Things that wouldn’t bother most people.  But I am not most people.  I worry about many things, mostly to do with change and my ability (or rather inability) to cope with situations.

Life has taught me that I am not a resilient person.  I want to run away because in my mind it is not ok to say that I can’t cope.  I have to be strong and be seen to be strong.  It is not ok to say I am tired or weak. 

Most of my fears in life are related in some way to the fear of not being able to cope.  And today was no exception. 

Being an anxious person has crippled me as a Christian for many years.  How many times have I heard that the phrase ‘Do Not Fear’ is the most repeated instruction in the Bible? 365 times – one for each day of the year.  Yet what is the thing I struggle with the most?  Fear.

For me to admit fear is to have a deep sense of shame because I am failing at one of God’s key commands.  I have tried to ‘Feel the Fear and do it anyway’ and CBT type mind mantras but neither seemed to work.  The gnawing ache inside didn’t shift one bit.  Instead it adds the sense of shame for not being strong enough to overcome my worries.

As I bumbled around the house, phaffing about in an attempt to ignore the feelings God gradually brought to mind the lessons He has been teaching me.

The only thing that works for me is to acknowledge both the fear and the shame.  Be open and honest about it all both with myself and with God.  When Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1

NIV) he wasn’t telling me off for being fearful.  The title of chapter 14 is ‘Jesus Comforts His Disciples’. Instead he is gently comforting and reminding me that I do not need to fear because he is at hand.  I am not alone in this.

Never will I leave you;
      never  will I forsake you.”

~ Hebrews 13:5 NIV

I do not need to fear: Jesus is near.

Also, I have come to realise that the toughest part is facing my fears.  Once I have acknowledged them they no longer seem so daunting.  It is like being a child and imagining monsters under my bed at night.  When someone turns on the light they are seen for what they are: figments of my imagination.  Not that all my fears are illusions.  Many of them are genuine, but kept hidden away in the dark recesses of my soul they multiply and seem insurmountable.

1 John 1:9 tells us to confess our sins, yet it is not only our sins that we need to admit to God.  He desires that we share with Him our needs and our longings and our fears too.  We are to bring it all out into God’s light because 

“God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”

~ 1 John 1:5 NIV

It is ok to be honest with God – He knows it all anyway.  With Him we can learn to expose and deal with the darkness within.  Keeping it hidden away and festering in the dark is one of Satan’s best tricks.  He tells us that it is too dark, too terrible to share with God but that is a lie. Nothing is too awful to share.

For years when I apologised to God I would hang around with head bowed low waiting for a word of rebuke and chastisement.  Yet instead of words there was nothing but silence, total and utter silence.  At first I thought that this too was God’s way of showing me he was still angry – the silent treatment.  But slowly, ever so slowly, I realised the truth.  The silence was good; it was God’s way of saying it was gone, forgiven and forgotten.

He ‘remembers your sins no more.’ 

~ Isaiah 43:25 NIV

I will never be a resilient person who just breezes through life and bounces back but then God never created me to be self-sufficient.  His often repeated instruction to me is:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  

~  2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

My inability to stand on my own two feet is a good thing because it makes me so dependant on Him.  When I am weak then I am strong.

 

Is resilience something that you struggle with?  What helps you to deal with your weaknesses?  Let me know.

Jo x

strength