Surrender: one dash vulnerability, take away the pride

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Sometimes I hate social media.

Funny, as my work, my audience, my connections around the world, very much rely on this form of media to connect, maintain and grow all sorts of relationships.

This isn’t a post on the dangers of social media, or SoMe, but only as a catalyst to illustrate my recent lessons.

But we’ll get back to that.

Some of you may remember a book written a few years ago called “If you want to walk on Water, you got to get out of the boat“. Well, boy have I stepped out of the boat recently.

Last week I gave up my apartment here in Stockholm. (This will come as a surprise to some of my local readers)…sorry I haven’t had the chance to tell you.

I gave up my apartment, I’m putting most of my belongings in the storage and moving in with my bestie (in a tiny, studio apartment).

Why?

Because when you want to walk on water, you need to get out of the boat.

AND DANG, that boat is really, really, really hard to get out of. Like, people, I am pretty sure I had put up military-style fencing around the edge. I liked my safe life, my beautiful life, with my pretty apartment and my gym membership and my monthly mail order make up. Except that it wasn’t moving forward. I wasn’t really living my purpose. Too often over the last couple of years things were going off kilter and a line had to be drawn.

So, I tore that fence down and jumped in.

The truth is, aside from a freelance writing contract and a few bits and pieces, the future is a beautiful blank canvas. God has given me tools to impact people around me, make a difference while I am here and a shift needed to happen.

I have to admit, and this is hard, that it’s so easy to look back and go “oh, okay, so I was on purpose here and then…oops I stepped off”. Except, that’s not actually the case. We spend, oh, maybe I just spend too often looking at what we see as missteps, what in actual fact, God has used, planned or not, to refine me.

In order for me to really get out of the boat I had to get to this point. Stubbornly, it may have taken me longer than He wanted, or perhaps, it’s exactly the right time. I don’t believe it’s my concern. I believe only that God has me here, now, in a place I can be completely moulded by Him.

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

If you look up how to make a clay pot you will see that the potter has to have a strong hold on the clay, gently, but slowly applying pressure so that He or She can shape and refine the clay into the desired shape.

The clay, like us, in order to be moulded must surrender it’s natural shape in order to become the master’s design.

We too, have to completely surrender, allowing God to apply pressure and constraints in our lives, in order to become who He desires us to be, in order to best live our lives for His purpose, our purpose.

So what’s the formula? Well, I reckon this is where it comes down to two main areas.

Remove the pride and add a dash of vulnerability (a very big dash).

This is my experience, and feel free to argue. Let’s go back to the SoMe example. We are inundated with images on Instagram and Facebook, and texts about everyone else’s lives. We see the new boyfriend, the new fiancee, the big house, the better job etc…ALL THE INTERNET and our pride swells up. Why doesn’t my life look like that?

Well, first of all because that’s not your life. And secondly, it probably does, to someone else. But that’s a whole other blog…

Pride takes us on a path that is often not ours to take. I have this great sweatshirt that says “Thou Shalt Run Your own race”. When pride takes over, we end up running towards someone else’s goal, we run in their lane and run against where we are supposed to go.

But when we keep our eyes focused on the main thing and ask for, listen to the Holy Spirit things change. Our course changes.

Seriously though, this is hard. Especially when maybe our track was always meant to go this way and then that, but we are still running the way we were meant to last year. Pride sees only what WE as humans see…what we can accomplish. It takes us off track or keeps us on the path when we should have taken a left.

So, now that we are working on pride…let’s make it a bit more difficult and really get in there.

Vulnerability.

Dang that word hurts. Vulnerability, we think, means putting our trust in someone else. In fact, I am realising that it’s so not about other people. It’s about being vulnerable enough to really hear the Holy Spirit whisper and then act on it. If God opens doors that no one can close and closes doors no one can open, then it doesn’t really matter if we are vulnerable with the humans in our lives. Of course they’re the vehicle, but listening to the Holy Spirit allows us to understand where, when and with whom we should be vulnerable with.

So, truthfully this is a blog that has no real ending. These are daily and even hourly lessons I am currently learning. The good old “lay it down” and surrender it all is a constant journey and one that isn’t a chore, but a path to glorious freedom.

To be continued…

 

A Question of Comparison

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I once sent a friend a text with a message that went something like this:

I wish you could see yourself the way that I see you. 

She was having a really bad day and was frustrated with her dating life, or something that may have felt trivial to me, but was breaking her. I, equally as frustrated with the fact that she couldn’t see what she had to offer, sent her that little reminder.

Fast forward to last Saturday night. Having given into hormones, succumbed to the effects of what a detox of sugar can do to you, and in the midst of a rather stressful time in my life, I broke down.

I hate admitting that I am not strong all the time. I truly wish the Super Woman keychain I have was identification. But alas it is not and since I had done everything on my list to get myself back to normal and I wasn’t succeeding, I called a friend.

Because sometimes we need a reminder of who we are and only someone else can tell you that.

You see, caught up in circumstance, it’s easy to look at the now and believe that we have somehow failed, that we are somehow not enough. We validate our worth by our current circumstance instead of by who created us.

This is something, I have personally lived with all my life. Call it what you will, diagnose me what you want, how I am made, can often influence the degree to which and the speed by which I forget my value and spiral into what I like to call “my little alternative universe”.

And sadly, as we live in an age where more information is available. Where we can easily find evidence of others doing better in life than us and, I believe most unfortunately, while we are a very blessed generation in many ways, we are also finding it more difficult to find stability. Therefore, with all these pieces together, the comparison, the frustrations, the would haves and should haves and why aren’t I there yet, can easily become too much.

 We do not have the audacity to put ourselves in the same class or compare ourselves with some who [supply testimonials to] commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they lack wisdom and behave like fools. 2 Cor 10:12 (AMP)

I know I can’t be the only one. I know I am not. Obviously people living in biblical times had issues with comparison!

And the funny thing is, comparison isn’t always so obvious. It’s not as if I sit and look at Instagram and go “oh my gosh, I can’t believe I am not there yet”. ok. I do sometimes. But I notice it and then tell myself I am stupid.

So instead of comparing ourselves to what we see on social media or hear at the lunch table. We need to start looking at our own lives and what we have accomplished. We need to look at our now and compare it to our before and realise the beautiful journey God has each of us on, the great achievements he has given me talents for, the path I have walked, the race I have run.

Look at the hurdles you have jumped over. The shyness you overcame. The fitness goals you have achieved. The differences you made in someone else’s life. The impact you have already had on this earth.

Somedays we need a reminder of where we have been and a smack in the head (with a chair) of how far we have come and what we have accomplished.

Give yourself a little credit.

See yourself like others see you.

And then keep moving forward.