We aren’t living in Back to the Future…

Following on from my last post I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying this week. On top of my normal time with God I have spent this week leaning more into Him then usual with a desire to cultivate a more deeper relationship with Him by fasting and prayer (more on that topic another day). This post is all about my challenge…and likely the last about The Past…

I’m sure you have heard the saying “hindsight is 20/20″…it’s always easier to look back at the past and think I should have said, or I should have done or even, I wish I hadn’t…One of the things that I’ve been learning is that I probably do that too often. I don’t know about you but I’m sure there is more than one person out there who is like me…ya? Come on, fess up…you know you wanna…

Confession: 2010 although amazing, gave me a lot of situations where I could learn from…ie. I made some mistakes or more interesting choices (and they were my choices) which weren’t all the best…(thankfully God is a merciful and gracious God and definitely makes all things good…but again, another post)…and not all my choices were bad… and admittedly a lot of these thoughts have to do with interpersonal relationships…surprise?

However, it still makes me take moments in my day and think…if I hadn’t made the choices I did, would 2011, as far as we are into it, have turned out differently?

Well, duh of course it would but I can’t live thinking or believing that different would have been better, it may have been or it may have not…I don’t know nor will I ever know; this isn’t Back to the Future. This thought pattern is kind of like “the grass is always greener”…not a healthy perspective. Instead, I want to be a person who looks at the future and goes…”Bring it on baby!”

In Genesis 19 angels instructed Lot to take his wife and daughters and run away without looking back, as the Lord was going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, Lot’s wife turned back for a last look at the city, and was turned into a pillar of salt.

The Bible warns of looking at the past too much. Living in the past means that we are not focused on the future and more importantly we’re not focused on others. Living in the past means that the central character in our story is us. And something I read on Twitter yesterday hit me: When we become the centerpiece of our own story, life becomes a tragedy. I don’t want to live a tragic tale. I want to live a tale of courage, hope, grace, mercy and freedom…and above all Love.

Christine Caine (and a few other amazing people I have had the privilege of hearing speak) have talked about how we need to be in control of our thoughts. When we start to go off on a trail of “what if” we need to capture that thought and bring it back to the future and to God.

The apostle Paul, in Romans 12, warns us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

By transforming our minds and not conforming our lives to the patterns, ways, thoughts of this world, we focus on Him and allows God to change our minds, our desires…

It’s time to renew our minds. Set our thoughts on God and He will direct our paths for He is the way, the truth and the life.

Time to say goodbye: updated…

I learned something today.
I learned that it is okay to say goodbye.
Talking to a friend she reminded me of an analogy about a shoe.
As young children we generally have affection for a pair of shoes. We wear them every day (much like the Indiana Jones costume or the ballerina tutu.) Then one day we grow out of them. Our mom forces us to throw them away or give them to our lil’ brother/sister/cousin. The shoe no longer has a purpose in our lives, but it remains precious to us.
I’ve realised that this happens in friendships. There are people in your life who mean the world to you, but then one day they don’t fit.
Every person is precious. The time that they spend in your life is precious. Each moment, each tear, each giggle, every hug, fight, word…precious.
However, not every person will be in your life the duration. My mama always used to say that someone is in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. They hold a purpose in that season and then it is over.

Last year I sat in leadership session for church where the pastor talked about how there are people who can’t be in your life in the next season. There are people who God actually winnows (Wind winnowing is an agricultural method developed by ancient cultures for separating grain from chaff. It is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain) and separates from you. When I heard that the first time it really impacted me. I love people. I think it’s a combination of nature vs nurture. My dad is a social butterfly (actually so is my mom) but also circumstance led to me being an only child, so I kind of collected friends growing up.
And since I love people, I also don’t really like saying goodbye. It hurts. Even when the situation calls for separation, it still hurts. I have a hard time letting go of people. I find it hard to move on.
But I have to. We all do. We have to move on. This doesn’t just apply to people. It can apply to a circumstance, an object, a moment. We can’t live in the past because living in the past can deny our futures.
God has great plans for you. He has plans that will prosper you and give you a hopeful future. He wants his light to shine across all the earth so that people will return to him.
If we’re living in the past; how can we look forward to our future? Frankly, if we’re living in the past (even for just moments a day), then what are we focussing on? Certainly not God.
I challenge you (and me) to look forward. Let’s move forward. Let’s cherish where we have come from. Let’s cherish the people in our lives. But let’s keep the main thing the main thing…

I ran into someone yesterday. We were once close. Very close. And now we’re not. I kept thinking, praying, hoping that one day we would be close again. And then I woke up today and realised that our time together was precious but it’s time to say goodbye. And that is okay.
Update: It’s interesting almost a year on how that the friendship I was particularly talking about in this blog has changed again. We are now good friends, who cherish each other in our lives and want to be there again. I often think of the quote “”If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.” Looking back, that process has to come with complete and total letting go of that person and situation. That’s the most difficult part, separating your heart from theirs. Unfortunately each time it happens it doesn’t make it easier but you do know and have the hope that either way, both of you will be taken care of, living good, happy lives.

a wine journey

About two years ago I went to lunch with my boss. He made me choose the wine we would be drinking with lunch. His remark to me was along the lines of “how could I take out a client and look professional if I couldn’t even choose a wine.” Two years on and I realised that I still didn’t really know much about wine. Yes, as I work in PR and part of my job is entertaining clients I should know more about these things. But actually I thought of the scene in “Runaway Bride” when the character played by Julia Roberts realises that she doesn’t even know how she likes her eggs. I reckon too often I go along with what others want just to be polite or not be fussy…but why can’t I know what I like and look a bit posher for it…

So this year is my year to discover my tastes…and first stop is Pinot Nior. I have decided this is one of my favourites…apparently you have good taste if you drink it…read more about it here.

so what are your favourites?

Expectation vs Hope

The philosopher and ex-priest Ivan Illich stated, “We must rediscover the distinction between hope and expectation.” Where expectation comes with the claim that we have a right to something, hope is a feeling that a desire will be fulfilled. Hope then comes from the heart, whilst expectation from the head really.

I often find myself in a place of expectation, which isn’t bad. There are particular areas of your life that should be filled with expectation. I expect that I should be paid each month for the work I do. I expect that if I go to the gym 5x a week then I will see results. I expect that if I get up in the morning, on time and organised I should not have any problems getting to work before 9:15 (however, sometimes this is out of my control so I’m thinking approaching the London Transport system is better to do with hope then expectation). Either way, expectation comes from a very factual, logical point of view.

Hope on the other hand is not at all logical. We hope because we want to know that there is something out there which will turn out good. We hope that we will get the job, we hope that it does not rain when we wore those pesky ballet slippers, we hope that we will find someone who loves us back and wants to spend their lives with us. (Which, to be honest girls, is really on our minds a lot…if you deny it…well…I don’t believe it). We weren’t meant to be alone…it is okay, but be realistic and hopeful in the right way.

This morning I had a conversation about love with my colleague. Apparently Thursday mornings should be filled with deep and meaningful conversations. We were talking about childhood games which involved a number of food items and how we used those to predict the future of our love lives. Case in point: turning the apple stem and reciting the alphabet until it pulled out and the initial of the next boy who would ask you out was revealed. My colleague made a good point. When we were kids we just expected that we would grow up, find a boy who liked us, date and get married. She is from a VERY different part of the world from me, so this is definitely not just some Western fantasy put into our heads by badly written TV and film.

She then went onto suggest that as we grow older we begin to see that no, in actual fact, it does not work this way. That which we expected to happen, something that we thought was rightfully ours, is not in fact. But even in all the knowing that it’s not going to be perfect, we expect it will still happen, or maybe we hope. I do this, we expect someone to march right in and just be our everything…or a lot of us have done this…

I have been reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert this week. It looks at marriage over numerous cultures and decades; how it has evolved and where it might go. Whilst I don’t agree with everything the author writes, her research is incredible and it brought up something that I love…she went into her first marriage expecting the other person to be her all and all and that marriage would make her happy. Whilst I’m not married I thought of it in a different way…looking at the steps before, the getting to know each other, the dating…

Here is where “the right hope” comes in. We so often put our hope in another person…actually, we EXPECT that because A does B then C will happen. But our hope, our expectation should not be in the form of a person. Our HOPE is in God. We expect that because our best friend found the love of her life at 21, or your dentist’s cousins’ aunt’s husband knew right away that he wanted to be with her then that will happen to you. Sorry … not so much. Proverbs 13:12 says that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.

Honestly, if we’re putting our hope in Man then it’s going to be deferred. It’s also going to put way to much pressure on someone else.

So then what can we expect and what can we hope for. Well, we can expect, we can know that God makes all things good, we can know that he loves us and knows the desires of our hearts. We can hope that yes, our desires will some day be fulfilled but until then we can’t expect that the where, when and how will be exactly as we wanted or planned.

Until then, I challenge you to start becoming the woman that God desires you to be. Be who God intended you to be in the now…not in the future. It will bring a lot less heartache and a lot more good to others.

I didn’t quite mean for this to turn into a post about relationships but it did. Oh well…I *HOPE* that you take it for what it is and apply it to all areas of your life. Put your hope in God. In all things He does GOOD.