I will be a better me

A better me

1st of January.

I love that day. Growing up in the Northern Hemisphere, January is generally crisp and cool. The air feels clean and clear and full of expectation.

Around the world people are waking up with hope and expectancy. Some have said goodbye to a year of pain and for others the year will begin with blissful memories of a year gone by. Whatever 2012 was, 2013 is a blank slate, ready for the artist to create a beautiful piece of art.

I wrote in my previous post that 2012 was nothing that I imagined it to be; change was the word of the year. Truthfully, I spent most of 31 December excited to say goodbye to 2012. It was not that it was the worst year in the world or that nothing good came out of it, so much good came out of it. It was simply that there was little rest in 2013.

So this year, I plan to rest.

REST

Verb 

1. Cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or to recover strength

2. Remain or to be left in a special condition

Noun

1. An instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity

2. The remaining part of something

For me, resting does not mean doing nothing. Instead of being the instigator of more change I will build. A house stands because it is built on a firm foundation and this year my resolutions/goals are based simply around building…

I simply plan to be a better me…in all areas of my life.

I look forward to 2013, with great expectation. I know that there will still be change, that life will move forward, that the unexpected may knock me off guard and I’ll celebrate the joyous moments as well…but I also know that this year is not a year to instigate but to rest, to pause, and to consider…to Selah…with hope and expectation that He who created me, brought me to exactly where I am now and my responsibility is to honor that.

I wonder what YOUR 2013 will be. Is  it a year of change? It is a year of rest?

Why not take some time to stop, think and pray…and consider the year ahead.

do not just let life happen around you.

love x

dear past

Pride before the fall…or the Voice Within

work hard stay humble

A simple warning: this post is raw, it’s truthful and you may not like what I have to say…but hear me out…

Do you ever wonder why you have been given a gift and not been given the chance to use it? The kind of gift that when you knock on doors and try to take opportunities, that every door is slammed in your face?

Now, I am not talking about someone whose grandma, uncle, second cousin or dentist said that you could be famous and frankly, were just being nice. I am talking about real talent and gifts that seem to not be in use.

I have had conversations like this with many people in my life. People who have real talent and when they try and use it, every door is closed. These are people who are humble, talented and just wondering when it will be their turn.

Let’s take one aspect of my life as an example, oh goody…

I have to admit that the last 3 or years has not been easy when it comes to this subject. In fact, I’d say probably since I moved to London this has been something that has bothered me.

You see, I sing. I have been singing since I barely could walk. Ask my parents, aunts, uncles, anyone who has ever taken care of me. Performing has been in me since the days I would memorise entire soundtracks and perform them with dance routines and all. Throughout school and into post-secondary education I performed all the time…even if it was only in our residence lounge, sat around a piano with two of my dearest friends belting out whatever we could remember how to play on the piano or get music to.

Then I moved and for the last 8 years I have barely sang, at least not in comparison to what I used to. Yes, I have done a few weddings and I sang BVs on worship team back in London, but mostly I have just been told “you have a great voice”, “you have a beautiful voice”, or my favourite which basically implied I didn’t have the right look to be singing…that didn’t hurt at all.

I have prayed and prayed and cried and felt rejected. I have tried to understand why I have been put aside. I have tried to understand what I am supposed to do with what I have been given, how I was supposed to honour God in every way when my attempts were shut down.

and…I stopped singing outside of church.

And then recently I realised something…I stopped because I was hurt.

But I was hurt because I was not getting what I thought I should.

Of course my first priority and heart is to serve the church, but just because I am not singing in church does not mean that I cannot sing outside of church. I do not write as part of my serving in church…I’m a youth leader. That does not stop me from being a writer as a profession.

I had taken the fact that I wasn’t using one particular talent in church, projected my feelings of rejection onto that situation and stopped myself from doing everything I loved. No one could stop me from singing outside of church but I did. Singing outside of church was not going to hurt or cause someone to stumble…and yet…I did not do it…

When Paul is speaking to the Corinthians, he talks about causing others to stumble with your actions.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corithians 10:31-33

Colossians goes onto say…in verse 23, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

Just because I am not singing in church does not mean I cannot pursue that in other avenues. I used to sing to elderly people in a social centre. What fun it was to sing Christmas carols and songs from their teenage years to entertain them? I loved seeing their faces light up! I could sing to glorify Him…anywhere (well, not anywhere…but let’s just say anywhere to make my point).

I used to believe that if I was not singing in church I should not sing anywhere and then I realised how prideful that statement was. I was saying that I only wanted to use my gifts to honour God in my way and that if it was not in church, then I was not honoring Him. Who am I to make a judgement like that? That is not humility, it is pride. It is saying that nowhere else is good enough.

I felt sick to my stomach thinking about how wrong I had been…

sidenote: I 100% believe about honouring God and serving in His church, serving His people and doing that with all your heart. I will serve in my local church until the day I die…this is not about a heart for serving but about keeping your heart right when it comes to using your talents in all areas of life. I will serve in whatever capacity there is need and I will seek God and those whose authority I have been put under for direction in serving.

My point is this…

Are you not pursuing a talent simply because someone said no?

Is there pride that you need to deal with?

Have you stopped doing something you loved because where you thought you should be doing it, is not working out?

Perhaps it’s not in church, perhaps it’s at work? Maybe you did not get that promotion you wanted and now you’re not working quite as hard? Perhaps someone said no to a project you wanted to work on, so you have laid it by the way side?

Why is it that just because another human being says no that we just give up?

Why do we let pride get in our way?

So with that in mind…

What is in your heart that hurts so much to keep it in?

What talents should you be developing right now?

Psalm 119 says that thy word is a light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet. I once heard that God only lights enough of the path so you can take the next step…but what are you doing in the light you see now? How are you preparing for the next step?

If I am not practising, song-writing, taking every opportunity to sing, then how can I be ready for the next step? Furthermore, if I stop singing simply because one person says no…what does that say about my passion or how I honor what God has given to me?

And who knows? We often only see the future according to our present. We see what could be based on what we know NOW but maybe God has not lit up the path further because you would freak out if you saw what was ahead…

Instead of playing it small, feeling sorry for yourself (hey, I’m so preaching to myself here) or hiding your talents, work on them…

I’m a writer. I do not choose to write. It chose me. I do not want to write. I have to write. I never let anyone stop me from writing…

So why would I let someone stop me from singing?

I may never be a famous singer, I’m not even sure that is what I want. I just want to sing and to do whatever I can to serve people with my voice, just like my writing…I cannot predict the future but I can humbly seek Him and honour every gift I have been given by stewarding it correctly.

I hope that through this post you heard my heart. I hope that, like me, if there is something you need to work on, a bit of a heart adjustment, that you take a quiet moment, reflect and ask God to help you with that.

It’s not easy, trust me…it hurts. A lot…

x

10 steps forward and eight back, letting God…

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].  Romans 12:2

I sat down with my director yesterday and she asked me if I was okay. I had to look at her and admit, no, I have not been okay but what you see is a girl finally dealing with what is going on in her head and heart rather than pushing it aside. Truth be told, within 7 months I not only have had to grieve the death of a family member but also of my relationship. When dealing with loss of any kind you are going through stages of grief. And grief, I have learned again and again, is a process. Through this process I have learned a lot about myself, both healthy things and unhealthy and there is change needed.

Someone wise told me that when dealing with grief you will often take 10 steps forward, then eight steps back and you cannot get yourself down. Instead you have to remember that you are on a journey and as long as you are moving forward you’re going the right way.

I don’t know about you but I like resolution as much I like confrontation. This is to say, a lot. I want to deal with the situation and move on, in my time. I don’t want to stay hurt, sad, angry, confused, frustrated or in a state of not alright.

What I have learned most recently is that in fact, I cannot do this myself. I firmly believe that God uses every situation to teach us something about Him, show His love to us and ultimately enable us to use that to show His love, grace and mercy to others. However, if I do not take the time to fully heal, grieve and learn the lessons, allowing my character to grow and change, I will not be transformed. Equally, if I try to move on myself I will likely figuratively “push the dust under the carpet” and the same character flaws, issues and problems will arise again in the future.

We need to allow God to renew our minds and transform us into His image. With His grace we can be transformed without striving but in the comfort of His love and grace. This post is probably written more to me than anyone but let’s stop trying to fix ourselves and let the greatest healer do the work.

Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another. Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality. Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good. Romans 12:10-21