Life is a journey! It starts with each of us heading into the unknown. It has many turns, detours, delays, and stops. At the start, our bag is packed by our parents, grandparents, carers or guardians. This bag is packed with love, based on their experiences, perspective, and what they think we require.
Many of us journey through life with this same bag that was packed for us at birth. We encounter new seasons that invite us to experience varied adventures. All these adventures will test us, especially when we discover that what was packed in the bag doesn't fit any longer. We will question where we are going and who is on the journey with us. We often complain, moan and grumble. We will find that we are not content with what is in the bag.
Then there are those of us who add to our bag as we face the seasons that greet us along the way. We purchase items and often also get items for free. This can be based on other people’s opinions and ideas of what is best or looks good on us and for us. We seldom try things on for the right fit. Remember that one-size does not fit all.
Our bag is packed with the opinions, expectations, dreams, desires, anticipations, fears, experiences, values and so forth of others. What exactly happens to our own desires, dreams, and fears...? By now you possibly realise that the bag is possibly overweight for the journey.
Consider the following questions as you ponder the journey ahead from this day forward.
• Who packed my bag?
• Whose bag am I carrying?
• Do I have what I need for my journey?
• Am I willing to sort through, unpack, and repack my bag?
• Am I willing to take a close look at what I need for this season and pack my bag appropriately?
Here is a short list of things we should ensure we have packed - kindness, hope, courage, faith and determination all wrapped up with love, ready for the adventure in the journey called life.
Out of the abundance of our heart everything flows. Is that abundance filled with joy, peace, contentment or stress, worry or fear? The heart looks for connections and we are continually longing to have these connections validated. Yet, we don't seem to stop or pause in the day to make heart connections.
I have come to realise how much we are continually creating something. We seem to fit so much into our day that the 24 hours we are constrained by closes in on us. The other day someone asked me if I got their email (which they sent while we were sitting together). I responded that I would check when I got home. They assumed that I had set my phone to receive emails. The person was taken aback that I didn’t have access to emails on my phone: what if I missed responding to an urgent matter? As the conversation continued, we discussed how everything often seems urgent and how we attempt to cram things into our lives.
This got me thinking of how we have allowed technology to rule our time and lives. We live in a time when technology can be used in ways that benefit us greatly. Yet if we let it rule us, we dismiss the simple yet important things in life, such as connections.
Loneliness is growing at a rapid rate; yet on social media we have lots of friends. We can appear to be connected to people across the world and yet not be connected at all. To some extent, it is hard to be connected with others when we are not connected with ourselves. When we live distracted by all that is going on around us, we can fail to be in tune with our thoughts, feelings and even behaviour. Being disconnected from self can lead us to not being aware of our needs and that we are not living or even functioning from a place of rest.
Having healthy connections gives us a sense of belonging and ushers us to a place where we can seek rest. Living from a place of rest ensures that we have learned to prioritise what is important to us as individuals. It can further enhance our sense of belonging. In search of connections, we can miss that we have taken on more than our fair share of responsibilities and duties. Remember, we can only give out of our abundance. Consider what your abundance is that you are sharing with others.
Today, ask yourself these questions:
Here in Australia we are entering a new season; the season of winter. For those who live in Melbourne, they might say that throughout autumn we have had several winter days. The weather is not always predictable, regardless of the season we are in. Have you ever noticed that the journey through life is often like that?
Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven”. It then goes on to name the various things that take place during these times. I was away last week and had the privilege of enjoying the various colours autumn brings out on the leaves. Some trees had already lost all of their leaves, while some were just beginning the process. There were yet others, clearly not deciduous, which had their vibrant green leaves on show.
As we consider the times we go through in life, how often would you say we pause and contemplate the season we are in? How often do we take time to grieve the losses, appreciate, heal, forgive, dream, be still, etc.? Last year my husband and I entered a new season in our lives as our beloved children both finished school and entered adulthood. There was joy and there was grief. Grief because our little girls were no longer little girls (not that they had been for many, many years), and joy because this new season brought us a sense of less responsibility, offering us more time. It has now been one year since my husband and I have made it a point to go away once a month over the weekend; to enjoy, relax and be refreshed. It’s our time to stop from work, pause from schedules and dream.
I enjoy these times as it is very important to pause and be still, within both mind and body. For a long time I have had a dream to create a space for others to be still, away from the busyness of their lives. I don’t know about you, but it is hard to create space to just stop, especially when at home and seeing the many things that 'need' attention. The question is, what is more important: our state of wellbeing, or getting on top of things? On the other hand, is it ever possible to be on top of things?
So, I invite you to come away with me. To retreat for a few hours, creating time to be refreshed, renewed, restored. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in participating and want to know more details. Numbers will be limited to create space for being still. Our time together will invite some creativity and interaction on topics of wellbeing.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). How does hope lead to desire and what is this tree of life? The tree I picture is one of strength, with luscious fruit, fragrant flowers and beautiful leaves. I am certain it goes through the four seasons, particularly if it’s a deciduous tree. In winter it may look weak and lifeless but it is growing steadily beneath the surface, establishing its roots. In spring as it begins to bloom, all that it endured through winter is appreciated. In summer, its strength and protection from the elements are enjoyed by many. Then in autumn, again it displays its beauty, this time with its colours as the sun’s fire and the earth’s soil, displaying its radiance before it once again enters winter.
Are you able to picture a tree in your garden and relate it to how we go through seasons in our lives? Unlike trees, our seasons may last for less or more than three months. I have come to realise and appreciate the part hope plays throughout these seasons. Let’s consider Proverbs 13:12 from another angle.
Did you know that our heart (not our physical heart) is our intention centre? I believe the soul is what is referred to in Proverbs 13:12 as the heart. Therefore, this hope we possess has a home in our soul. Everything we say and do in life comes out of our purpose. This purpose is found through the hope we possess. The thing is, there are many of us who are unaware of where our hope comes from, so are unsure of our purpose. We go about life seeking purpose with no hope.
Let me introduce you to hope’s best friends, faith and love. You see, hope without faith is wishful thinking. We are often wishing for things, yet we don’t have the drive to go after these desires. Hope needs faith to action its desires. Faith is something we all have, often to varying degrees. Faith is like a muscle; it needs to be worked for maximum efficiency. Love is often like the silent partner, but much needed. Love takes faith to another level, especially when we realise we are loved. Love causes us to anticipate and be expectant of good things. Love overrides any fears, giving us courage and propelling us to move passionately towards that which we hope for.
Just as hope makes way for purpose/desires, faith makes way for possibilities and love makes way for our passions to develop. Take a moment to intentionally think about your purpose. Are you wishing you would find it, or are you expectantly looking at possibilities for living life to the fullest because you have hope, faith and love cheering you on?
If you’re hoping for a good day, week, year and life, ensure you take faith and love with you everywhere you go. If you need assistance finding hope, faith and love, don’t hesitate to contact us.
What is it that keeps us from believing that we are good or good enough? What keeps us doubting who we are and what we are capable of? What is it that hinders our creativity and keeps us from chasing our purposes in life? I sit with people from various backgrounds and walks of life and the first thing that I look for is what can I see? I am always looking for the potential because I believe everyone has potential.
I know that life often hands out impossible situations or at least what we deem as impossible. What is impossible is often possible depending who we are doing life with. It is our nature to always look at things from our (often) negative perspective; yet when we attempt to see through the eyes of someone who believes in us, it is possible to change our perspective. This also invites creativity and we might just surprise ourselves with our capabilities inviting us on journey of discovery and fulfilment.
This past week I facilitated a workshop called BREAK-THROUGH. In preparation for the workshop I discovered variations and definitions to the term breakthrough. How we write the word changes its meaning. In the same way what we believe changes how we see things.
What we believe impacts how we journey through life, how we face the challengers and deal with the tide. When the tide is out, it is a good time to rest and be still in preparation for when the tide comes in. Don’t use your time of rest to think of the what if, should have or could have. Use the time to meditate, create, dream and see possibilities.
You and I were created for a purpose. If you are not sure what your purpose is, consider what your passion is, and your purpose will soon be discovered. If you are not sure that you have a passion, consider what you spend most of your time thinking about. If you need assistance in discovering your purpose, passion or possibilities speak to someone who believes in you and can offer you a new perspective.
If you need assistance connecting with someone contact us and we will endeavour to connect you with someone.
Think of a child with their security blanket. For some this ‘blanket’ is not a blanket at all but a toy, a habit, a piece of cloth; essentially it is something they are familiar and comfortable with. The security blanket is often used to lead them to settle, sleep and rest. What is your security blanket?
It is said that love makes the world go around and all we need is love. Can we really live on love and fresh air? Well, firstly how many of us think about how we breathe; I think many of us take it for granted that breathing happens naturally. It is not something we have to think of until we feel we can’t control our breathing. Actually, most of us have gotten used to shallow breathing, simply because that is all we need for survival. Yet, shallow breathing causes several wellbeing issues that keep us in survival mode. This way of breathing never settles us and we find no rest; as what is in the air is fear based.
The problem is that we do the same with love, we love and often except shallow love. This kind of love is feelings based like a sugar fix. Feelings are temporary, we have feel good experiences and we settle for what makes us feel good at the time. For love to make the world go around and if we are to live on love, sustainable action is required. Shallow love, like shallow breathing has no depth, it doesn’t provide security and does not sustain us in the long term.
A child only finds the ‘blanket’ comforting or settling not because they like it but mostly because they learned to trust the one who gave it to them. We learn to trust when we encounter love. We encounter love through repeated experiences that ensure us we are valued for who we are; trust is built and then security grows when we make good connections. Sometimes our connections leave us confused, we find it hard to trust, our instincts are unsettled and we are not secure. Not all connections are good connections.
If you are still trying to work out what your security blanket is, think about what gives you the confidence and courage to rest? If it is a thing, think about why you trust it? Then go further and think about who gave it to you? What connection do you have with this person? If you find it hard to rest, if you lack confidence and courage; your security has been compromised and contradicted.
We discover security when we know and believe we are loved. This creates a blanket that covers us as a shield, protecting us internally and externally. When we encounter love we learn to rest. Love is our security blanket because love casts out fear; enabling us to thrive in life.
Happy NEW year! As we take our first steps into 2018, I wonder if like me you have plans for this year? Places you plan on visiting and things you plan on achieving? A plan is an intention or decision we make about something we want to do. The chances are that if we don’t plan we will not do, we will not go, we will not live life to our fullest. I enjoy being spontaneous, but if I want to achieve something then I tend to plan.
My plans don’t always work out the way I intend, yet that has not stopped me planning (and sometimes they work out better than I could have imagined). You see, I think I know my limits and my capacity but then there is God who really knows me. I have dreams but I am sure His dreams for me are greater because He believes in me and He knows me better than I know myself. So, I see the challengers in life as moments of learning and stretching where resilience is being built.
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans’- Woody Allen. Well, you see often my plans come out of the time I spend with God and I don’t believe God laughs at our plans. Sure, we don’t know what the future holds from one moment to the next but I know who holds my life and future in His hands – God. I believe God goes before His children, it doesn’t mean the road is going to be easy or less challenging, just because someone loves God or believes in Jesus. Yet, there is a peace and comfort that one is not alone and each step can be taken with courage and confidence because of God who is with us. I am sure God has laughed at some of my plans, just as when I hear my kids make plans. I laugh because I know that they will be coming to me or their dad for assistance to ensure their plans are made possible.
Don’t fill your life with things that keep you busy, rather plan your days where you can; be productive. Look at the things you have a desire to achieve. Before you plan, I encourage you take time out in your day to sit, to meditate, to reflect to ‘Be’. When our doing comes out of our being; we plan better and achieve more.
Have you considered keeping a record of your plans and marking them off each day. Have you considered writing each day what you are grateful; one in the morning when you wake up and one at night before you go to sleep. As with each year, you have 365 pages you can fill that outline 52 plans that you have made, 12 chapters that you can tell your story. What will the title of 2018 be? If you were to pick a title now for your book of life for 2018 will it be different when you turn the page on the 31/12/2018?
This year choose to live life knowing you are a beloved child of the God. Make plans with confidence and courage that as you plan with God, He will direct your steps as you commit your plans into His will.
On this international day of peace, I would like you to consider what peace gives to life and why is so important to us?
To simply answer these two questions, I would say; peace is important because it gives us freedom, strength and hope to live. Peace keeps us grounded and assist to take one step at a time towards our goals and even our fears. To achieve this kind of movement I believe that it is important to know the source of where peace comes from. For me this source is Jesus Christ. Jesus claimed that He is the prince of peace. Knowing Jesus and intentionally being in relationship with Him connects me to the source of my peace. Take a moment and consider do you know your source of peace? Then consider are you connected to the source of your peace?
There is a difference knowing something and then being actually connected. You may have a phone but if the battery is dead you can’t use it and likewise if you don’t have electricity to charge your phone then what’s the point of having the one. Let me go a step further, if the electricity bill is not paid the chances are you will not have access to the electricity. Now imagine you had all the excess to electricity in the world, and all you have to do is make the connection; yet with doubt or fear of being electrocuted you didn’t plug in.
I have come to understand that what keeps us from making connections is doubt. Doubt steals our peace. These are some thoughts I would encourage you to consider
Today, because of my strong connection to my power/peace source, I am doing far more than I ever imagined. I declared that I can do all things through Jesus Christ who is my strength. I discovered peace gives freedom to dream, strength to keep living and hope to make a difference. Peace stirs passions and ignites purposeful living.
I would love to hear about where you source your peace from. I invite you to share how peace has made a difference in your life. I would also encourage you to disconnect from the doubts that are holding you back from living and connect to peace.
“We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10. This scripture has grabbed my attention for over a week now and I would l like to share my thoughts with you about it.
Firstly, do you believe you are a masterpiece of God? This is an important question because how we answer this question often is based on how we tend to live life. I believe that our perspective of ourselves is the measure we use towards thinking about or how we treat others. This very perspective is then applied towards our view or understanding of God and who He is. If, however we look at God first and understand that as the creator of the universe, He looked back after spending 5 days creating and declared it is good; then on the 6th day after creating man and woman, He looked back and declared it very good. He was pleased with His work. On this premise if you believe God doesn’t make junk then regardless of your perspective or how you see things only the original creator or maker of something/someone can truly appreciate their handy work.
Secondly, do you believe Jesus Christ has redeemed you? A masterpiece will get torn and tattered when it is not under the masters’ care. When we believe and accept the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through which the Master chooses to restore us; we can once again carry the banner of masterpiece because we have been made anew. When we are able to truly grasp the value/worth that has been placed on us by God; perhaps then we can truly appreciate being under the masters’ care, rather than trying to take things into our own hands or wanting the approval or valuing opinions of others.
Lastly, for what purpose are we made anew in and through Christ Jesus? That we can do good things that was originally planned for us at creation or in the beginning. Our maker is inviting us to His original plan that through realising we are His masterpieces we can as He did do good works/things. Yet, doing good is only truly possible when we have been restored from our past. The journey of restoration is ongoing as we require tender loving care from the One who knows us best.
We are a masterpiece because we have been created by the master; individually and uniquely. We will not find another like us, there will be many similarities between us as human beings but there will only ever be one of you and me. This is only because we have all been shaped by the One and a masterpiece is not a masterpiece if there are duplicates.
Once we are able to intentionally 'be' with the master, we are then equipped to intentionally 'do' the things that will fulfil our destiny, as we live our dreams, living life experiencing adventures with Him and those we journey with because WE are God's masterpieces.
I live in the most liveable city in the world; Melbourne! I am sure that those who live in Melbourne will agree with me that it is also the most changing city and the changers start with the temperature. I am currently (dare I say) enjoying this season of winter. I am cosy and warm indoors, the sun is shinning, there is no grey skies to be seen and it really doesn't feel like it could possibly be 7 degrees celsius outside.
Yet, as I look across the landscape the trees are bleak with no evidence of life. I can't see any birds enjoying the fruit of the tree or bees enjoying the nectar from its flowers. There is no leaves to cover the nakedness of the branches. There is no identifiable markers to tell me what type of tree it is. Because I was instrumental in choosing the tree, I know what to expect come spring, summer and autumn.
In spring which is not too far away the tree will be buzzing with bees as the blossoms start to appear and transform the bleakness. Come summer the tree will be filled with birds and bees as they enjoy the juicy peaches (I hope to get some before its all eaten by the birds). Come autumn the leaves will begin to fall and not before giving me radiant hues of reds, oranges and browns of lavish colour.
I am no garden expert and to be honest I prefer to get plants that need little or no attention from me. I couldn't really tell you what the best time is to fertilise the peach tree or any such thing needed for the great results I enjoy in summer (thanks to my husband and nature). What I can tell you is that to enjoy the fruit; time has to be invested in pruning it, fertilising it etc The tree needs care in order to produce large, juicy fruit.
You and I are not trees; I am hoping you will agree with me that we are more valuable than any tree. However, I like to use trees as object lessons. Our ability to live, grow and thrive depends on how well we take care of ourselves. We need to pay careful attention to the environment in which we place ourselves. The people who shape us and the way we think and more so what we believe will ultimately determine our capacity to be fruitful or successful.
I encourage you to view every season of your life as an important time for rest and reflection. Your ability to produce the results you want in life is dependent on it. Ensure you invest time wisely in relationships, make time to cut back or prune the things that have not aided your development. Create quality time to assess your goals and develop your gifts and skills.
"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven" Ecclesiastes 3:1. This was written by King Solomon, a person known for many things and one of those was wisdom. So don't lose heart and spend time dwelling in discouragement when things go wrong. Learn from it; see it as a time to pull out the weeds.
Today the first day of August 2017, consider your season; what activities are you undertaking to be fruitful? What does fruitfulness look like to you? If you were a tree would you consider one fruit a success or many? How do you plan or choose to intentionally engage and participate in your current season.
I would love to hear about your season and the steps you are taking to ensure your next season is fruitful/successful? What does success look like to you? If you have been stuck in a season for too long, what is keeping you stuck?