Tag Archives: Choices

Guide us, O Lord,
When we have lost our way.
When we are stumbling from one path to another
Because we took our eyes from your lights on the path.
When we are no longer certain of our direction
Because we are confused about the purpose of our journey.
 
Guide us, O Lord,
When faced with an abundance of options
We are paralysed with the fear of failure.
Having fallen in love with holding out for the best opportunity
We have forgotten to be thankful for the freedom of choice.
And in our efforts to do your will
We have forgotten that burning bushes are not an everyday occurrence.
 
Guide us, O Lord
When we boldly dare
To renew our search for your lights on the pathway.
When in following your word
To the pathway of holiness
We shall find the gateway of the narrow path
 
We ask you to remind us of our identity with You;
And to guide us in re-imaging our future
In strength, courage, hope and love.
 
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

Based on Disturb us, O Lord by Francis Drake. Part One: Comfort us, O Lord

So, it’s been six months of Exile already. Time to stop collaborate and listen pause and reflect.

There is much to be learned in Exile.

I’m learning new ways to block out that annoying thing called light when you’re on your way to work.

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Using time wisely

I’m learning that celebrating International Womens' day by choosing to spring clean my bedroom and buying myself flowers is just as revolutionary as not shaving your legs (or armpits if you're Madonna) – because I am privileged enough to make my own decisions about how I live my life (thank you Destiny's Child and the Spice Girls for lessons in being an Independent Woman). But there are millions of women and girls who do not have that privilege, here's why its important...

I’m learning that one of the purposes of Exile is to show God’s provision. There can be new life, new meaning, new dreams, new routines and new community in Exile. There is life in the seemingly barren places.

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I’m learning that not everyone has a problem with clipping their nails on the DLR whilst on the way to work.

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Eww

I’m learning that in the same way that faith produces good works, Love Does. Love doesn't stop at thoughts and feelings. Love takes action. Love enriches others' lives. Love Does. Bob Goff has this down to a T.

I’m learning that life without risks where you have no option but to depend on God, is boring, stagnant and uncomfortably comfortable.

Shout out to Jessica Hagy for this creation.

I’m learning that revolution in the suburbs isn’t always that subtle – don’t like the fact that they’re digging up half the street to change the electrics or something? Simply don’t move your car.

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I’m learning that though the love of money can be the root of all kinds of evil, the joy of generosity can overcome it.

I'm learning that dancing in the hailstorm is so much easier after you've praised Jesus first.

I’m learning that streams in the desert and ways in the wasteland can be hard to find, but once found, following the path and drinking from the stream brings Life, in abundance. Hallelujah.

Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.           Ephesians 4v29

Over the summer I had forgotten about how little  Michael Gove is respected by the educational community. A couple of hours back in school and I was swiftly reminded  of their complete lack of faith in his stewardship of our educational system. I've wanted to blog about it before but until now it hadn't been personal enough (despite working in a school). But after one complete misunderstanding of foodbank clients too many I picked up my keyboard and started typing.

I did my research. I read more about some of the crazed policies he's suggested - ranking primary pupils nationally at 11 years old (because it will be so helpful and encouraging for 11 year olds to know that they're academically in the bottom 10% of the country. You think they don't already know that there are some kids in the class who are 'cleverer' than them?). I tried to look at it all objectively. And then I wrote 500 words on Michael Gove and our educational system.

It was excellent (even if I do say so myself). It was witty. Well reasoned. Well balanced. Concise. Satirical. Witty (did I say that already?). In less than 500 words I managed to dissect Gove and his advisors, tear their policies apart with good old fashioned common sense and inform my reader that I have a much better future envisioned for our children. It's a 500 word masterpiece. That also happens to be scathing, insulting, dismissive, disrespectful and rude. You know. the kind of thing the Daily Mail writes about Kerry Katona or people who have won the lottery and are spending all their money feeding their 25 dogs guinea fowl imported from Sweden but are still claiming job seekers.

In no way is it good or helpful or encouraging.

As someone who claims to love Jesus, as someone who claims to follow Jesus, can I post something that seeks to inform you of my opinion through  such pointed sarcasm and distain? Can I post something that seeks to tear another person down?

I want you to understand, I want you to see my point of view. But I don't think I can remove my anti-Gove glasses long enough to write something that is wholesome, helpful and encouraging.

And so I'll leave you with this: what Gove does now affects the future in big ways. What Gove decides now affects hundreds of thousands of children, teenagers and their families across the country. What Gove decides now affects the hundreds of  thousands of staff that work in our educational system and their families.

What Gove decides has a big impact. #Lordhavemercy

Sensible people, I salute you (or something a little less...military. Rephrase: Sensible people, I raise a slice of cake to you) because it’s not always easy, being sensible. 

A lot of people would disagree, confusing the sensible with the safe, easy or boring option. But there is a big difference between safe, easy, boring and sensible:

Not jumping off a cliff if all your friends were doing the same, just like your mother questioned you about – safe.

Getting a takeaway instead of cooking actual food – easy/lazy.

Not skydiving from a plane into the ocean – boring to the max.

Choosing not to be one of those crazy people that runs 12 marathons in a day - sensible

You see, there's a difference. Make the wrong decision and you could end up being scraped off the side of a road three quarters of the way into your sixth marathon of the day (5 points for making it that far though).

I am sensible (most of the time - ignore anything my family might like to tell you)*. I can’t help it. It’s part of who I am. When it comes to those pivotal moments in life I seem to always take the sensible option, quite often without even realising it was one. 


But sometimes being sensible requires you to look at the choices at hand, weigh the possible consequences and then make a decision. 

Sometimes being sensible requires you to look temptation in the face and walk away. 

It's not always easy being sensible.  

And we are an unsatisfied people. Choosing to look at life through the rosy glasses of hindsight and sigh over 'If only I hadn't...' or 'What if I had...'


I think C.S.Lewis (what a ledge) got it spot on:

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all...you find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.”

On the days in which sensible prevails, I thank the God who makes us stronger than we think we are. 

On the days in which temptation wins, I am thankful for a God who understands temptation and accepts pleas for forgiveness.

*Sensible is right up there next to 'nice' in my list of least favourite character descriptions. nice is so bland - its like frozen yoghurt without the fun toppings or flavours. 

So you’re wondering what’s next, what do to with your life. Join the club. This has been my most FAQ for the past couple of years. When I was in New Zealand we had many many conversations about calling and identity. We had one speaker tell us that we should pray like crazy and not do anything unless God tells us to do it. Another said that we’re not idiots and God knows this so we should figure it out ourselves. I was totally (to use an old skool phrase) confused-dot-com.


And since then it hasn’t gotten that much better. Over the past couple of years I have received a lot of advice on future plans and what I should be focusing on. Some of it has been really helpful and some of it not so much – one friend told me that I should “do something irrational. Have a family.” Thanks. Good Plan. That would solve all my problems right now. And I've even had that awkward conversation of “God told me you should train to be a missionary and then come and join me on the mission field in Asia. Just kidding. But not really. Just kidding. Hahahaha.” Excellent. Ha. Ha. Ha. I just threw up from laughing so much at the hilariousness of that comment, you should really consider becoming a stand up comedian.

Talk about first world problem – too many options and don’t know what to do.

Here is a collection of advice and thoughts and bits of conversations I've has over the past couple of years on how to figure out what's next:

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind...Love your neighbour as yourself. Matthew 22 v 37-39

0 to 25 - Try everything but sin (rock climb, play sport, study arts, study science, write a book).
25 to 30 - Focus on ten things.
30 to 40 - Do two things really well.
40 onwards - Mentor and invest.

So do not worry about having enough food or drink or clothing...Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. Matthew 6 v 31-33

God’s will is all over scripture, we know what He wants so why do we keep asking what His will is? Why don’t we instead try and figure out how we, in the fullness of how we've been made, play a part in it? 

How do you want to be living? What are the values and rhythms you want to be living out?

I think we assume that everyone knows what they want to do. It’s much closer to the truth to say that most of us somehow fall into the jobs we have. And only half of those people end up doing something that they like, and only half of those people do something that they love.

We’re not really given space to wander. Some people try out a number of different career paths before they find one they’re comfortable with. But we frown on this and say that they’re flaky. When maybe they’re the ones brave enough to try new things in search of what they enjoy. 

We’ll probs be working till we drop dead on the job, so do something you enjoy. If it takes ten years of wandering to get there then don’t sweat it, you still have another million years until retirement/dropping dead. So don’t be afraid of wandering, but do be intentional. 


Who do you know? Who do you enjoy working with? Who inspires you? What work environment suits you best?

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Maybe there’s not one perfect career for you. There could be several different things that you could really enjoy doing and that you could thrive in. So there’s not necessarily one right option. So don’t worry about making the wrong wrong choice.

Go to New Zealand.


Don’t forget to b r e a t h e.

 

 

I have been all over the place with this. I’ve had days when I’ve been super excited about the future, days when I’ve been so stressed I couldn’t do anything but try to run from my own thoughts (well, more kind of like baking than actually running) and then there’s been the days when I’ve not thought about it so it’s been fine.

The most important thing I have learned about this is that God is there no matter what. Whether I come up with a five year plan in the next week, or whether it takes one/two/five/ten years, God will be there no matter what I end up doing. He does not change. I can count on His character and His promises no matter where I am or what I am doing. And at the end of the day, I’m only visiting this planet.


"And be sure of this: I am with you always, even until the end of the age" 
Matthew 28 v 20

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I've been asked quite a lot lately about what living ‘as a community’ actually means. My father thinks I live in a commune – I’m not that much of a hippy just yet (but I have started wearing more tye-dye clothes whenever I go home, just to freak him out a bit you know).
Each week living as a community means something different.
Last week was definitely about choices & being intentional.
Sometimes it’s just carrying out decisions that you’ve already made as a group:
  • Choosing to share incomes and contribute to living expenses on the basis of what you earn and can afford
  • Choosing to buy food as a household and cook together (one simple rule avoids confusion and the crushing disappointment of opening the fridge to discover the food you were dreaming about all day has gone - if you wan’ it then you gotta put ya name on it)

Or decisions that you need to make together:
  • Choosing to spend time together (you know your lives have gotten too busy when you have to schedule 8am breakfast meetings with your flatmates so that you can all get your diaries out and book in time to spend together over the next two months)
  • Choosing to pray with each other
  • Choosing to pray for each other
  • Choosing whether or nor to invest in a tumble drier ( with four girls a tumble drier is definitely for the win!)

And then there are the daily decisions:
  • Choosing to not throw a book/table/chair at you roommate when she sings that one line from that really annoying song for the millionth time that day
  • Choosing not to throw your roommate out the window when she tries to have a conversation with you before you've had breakfast, even though she knows you can’t deal with it (for those of you wondering - I had breakfast half an hour before our breakfast meeting)
  • Choosing to forgive your flatmates when they don’t even realise you feel wronged
  • Choosing to say sorry when you don’t understand what you did wrong/knowingly did something wrong
  • Choosing to invite people into your home when you really need a night off to watch Gypsy Weddings
  • Choosing to clean more often than you think necessary because you know that in the same way you can't deal with mornings, your flatmate can't deal with mess
  • Choosing to share your burdens with others and help others carry theirs'
  • Choosing to sing along to Bryan Adams at the top of your voice while you cook dinner with your flatmate (Bryan Adams – For shame! Minus 5 points to Rachel)

But then there are the days when the sun is shining, life is perfect (enough) and the harder choices, that require more courage and greater love, are o so easy to make. 
And then community is less about making choices and more about just living your life, with maybe a bit more grace and depth and love then you might otherwise have done.