Break the Walls Down

Walls01

And you got nowhere else to go
And you’re lost within your own home
And you’re trying so hard to win
You keep trying its embarrassing
And how you don’t even know
But you know you’re off the tracks
And how did you get in here
Thinking how did I get in here

I’ll help you break the walls down
I’ll help you break the walls down
And bust you out and take you home
Believe in me you are not alone
I’ll help you break the walls down

-The Rocket Summer, Walls

Brick by brick. Stone by stone.

With each broken promise, with every dream never realised, with each empty word falling flat, the walls were built.

With each slanderous word, with each whisper of gossip, with each backstabbing thought, the walls were built.

With each painful glance at the mirror, with each damaging thought, with each murmur of self-doubt, the walls were built.

With each break up, with each broken friendship, with each moment of abuse, the walls were built.

Brick by brick. Stone by stone.

The walls went up. and up. and up.

-mp. 2013

Your walls look different than mine. Mine may be brick, with graffiti and big windows. Yours may be concrete, scratched by years of pain or maybe wood, damaged by the rain of tears.

Walls are dangerous. While healthy boundaries force you to look up and keep you protected, walls keep you hidden, closed off and unable to grow.

A lot of the time our walls are invisible to us. The walls we have built are for protection against more pain (in whatever form). They keep the abuser at bay, they keep the potential of heartbreak from existing, they hold the world away.

These walls are usually not visible to others, in fact, often over compensation leads those around you to believe you are just fine. We act out in order to preserve our dignity; over compensate to hide the pain.

Admittedly I have built walls more than once in my life. Self-preservation yielded the need to hide, to run away, to close off so that as not to allow someone else to tell me that I wasn’t good enough…

I stopped writing, stopped singing, stopped being me because “me” wasn’t good enough.

Most recently I built up walls around my heart. My mom told me I am stand offish. I’m not even sure that’s a real word but apparently whenever she sees someone show interest I turn into stone.

What I thought was healed was merely mended. Although no longer in pain the next step, the one that would allow me to move on was to break down the walls.

For the former, breaking down the walls meant getting up in front of a whole lot of my friends who had never heard me sing and just belt it out at a friend’s wedding in France. It was there that I found the courage to break the walls down and believe that I was enough.

Now, for me, it’s vulnerability of the heart. In this case, when it comes to my heart, it means letting someone in again. It means even simply allowing myself to be myself with another person, to let him see me, to know me, to consider the possibility of more. It’s often a prayer, a cry out to God, going…protect me Lord, because I’m trying here…

The thing with walls is, that even if they were built because of something done to us, we choose to be victims and build the walls. Walls are built because we do not feel that we are enough. We may not feel that we can overcome the pain, the abuse, the heartache…whatever the case may be (and to varying degrees these things are not easy and may require, in some cases, professional assistance*), but they do take a first step of believing that we are good enough for a complete and fulfilled and whole life.

Understanding your value and knowing you are completely worthy of being whole is not easy. It requires acceptance of flaws, understanding that no one is perfect, and most importantly, I believe, the knowledge that you were created with a plan in mind. Intricately, fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Knowing that the King of Kings loves you and planned your very existence can help break those walls down.

He wants you to be whole, to live a full life, in relationship with Him and in healthy relationship with others.

go on, let Him break your walls down.


side note: if you or someone you know needs professional help please contact your local church or medical professional, or talk to a friend. We’re not in this life alone. x

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

You do not know what God asked her to do…

I know that not everyone understands the life I choose to live. I understand that the choices I have made are not for everyone.

  • I live thousands of miles from my immediate family.
  • I quit my full-time job and went back to school.
  • I moved to a new country that is FARTHER away from my family (even those in Europe).
  • I am 29 and not married (okay, so not completely under my control).

My circumstances are not dissimilar to many of my friends who have chosen to live life in a way that may not seem like the right way to some. Having lived in London for the last few years you do accumulate like-minded friends…

However, I still get a lot of questions, questions that can be perceived as judgmental…

  • Why don’t you live closer to your family?
  • Don’t you want to get married?
  • You’re moving again?
  • Going back to school? Isn’t that a bit risky?
  • When are you coming/going back to Canada?

To which most of the time my internal voice is yelling, kicking, screaming and wanting to come out with some sarcastic remark but I control myself and just smile.

Please do not get me wrong, I know the questions are (mostly) well-meaning and most of the time people are simply curious…but it can still be taxing…

So to everyone who doesn’t understand…please know this…

Not all who wander…are lost.

God said that he knows the plans he has for me. He has plans to prosper me. He will give me a hope and a future.  (Jer 29) He created me. (Genesis) He knows the number of hairs on my head. He is always here for me, whether I go to the depths of the ocean or the far side of the sea. (Psalm) He wants to give me a life abundant and far beyond everything I could ever imagine or dream of or hope for. I am chosen, appointed to bear His fruit (Corithians)

I have been made in His image, to do the work that he planned beforehand…

And my path…is unique to me. I am here for one reason, to show the love of Christ to those who do not yet know Him and the creator of the universe has handcrafted the way that plays out.

And to you…whatever path you are on…it is your path…He has put you exactly where you need to be, as a mother, a father, a brother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an advocate…whether you never leave the 30 mile radius you grew up in, or leave and never look back.

(sidenote: I have had many conversations with people, in all different circumstances, not just like me, who feel judged or accused because of the way they live their lives).

So, I guess my message is two-fold. Whatever path you have taken, continue to seek God and get to know Him. Love Him and love others…and don’t worry about what others think of your decisions because ultimately we are only accountable to Him. He will direct your path.

And to those who question the choices others make…unless they’re harming themselves or others, please be wise in your questioning of their choices…take a minute and think about what you are asking…

 

You may not understand what God has asked them to do…

Trust is easy when you know you’re not going to fall

 

It’s so easy to trust when things are comfortable. 

When you have more than enough money in the bank…it’s easy to trust.

When you have a boyfriend who wants to hold your hand and whispers about your future…it’s easy to trust.

When you have a steady and fabulous job you love…it’s easy to trust.

When your kids are behaving well…it’s easy to trust.

When every day is bright and the sun warms your skin…it’s easy to trust.

When you are getting good grades in school…it’s easy to trust.

When you can see the path you need to take it’s easy to trust.

BUT…what about when…

Your wife just came home and said she is leaving you…

Your job is not safe because of economic circumstances…

What if your child has been diagnosed with a serious disease…

or what if you simply made some bad choices with serious consequences??

I started thinking about these things as the pastor was talking about tithing on Sunday. I’m an absolute believer in tithing and offering back to God what is His. However, I have to admit that since leaving full time job, moving out of London, starting my own company and basically going “okay, God, you put me here…take care of me” it’s not been as easy to offer that which is already His back to Him. Of course I have but I have had to go back and look at my heart reasons for doing it in the first place.

But this post isn’t about tithing (though important) it’s about the trust I put in God when the outcome isn’t clear or even what I hoped for or the future isn’t certain.

Moving to London was an easy transition in comparison to Stockholm. Though life here is absolutely wonderful, the perfectionist in me thinks I should have been fluent in Swedish two weeks ago, the girl who loves people wants best friends right away, the shopper/traveler wants to know how she will get more income and the planner in me wants to know far too many answers about the future to even start writing here.

But through this process what I am learning (maybe I should have called this post “Two months in,what I have learned) is that in this season in particular, my job is to not only trust the creator of the world, the one who goes before me, the one who loves me, the one who has and will never leave me or forsake me, the one who has planned my life since the world began, the one who knows how many hairs I have on my head (even if I spontaneously cut it on a Monday afternoon)…if that wasn’t enough of a task…and enough reason to trust, my job is to live today so that when I meet a new person I’m prepared. When the next client comes along, I am prepared. When I’m finished my MSc, I’m prepared. When the next opportunity to travel (probably a wedding, it seems to be the trend) comes along, I’m prepared.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

proverbs 3:5

so, like me…do you have trouble trusting? I’m not sure we ever get to a place where we always trust but I do want to get to a place that instead of trying to solve whatever problem I’m facing, the first thing I do is remind myself who is in control…

Live the life you imagined





Note: a couple weeks ago I wrote a blog about taking the next four months and not planning. Turns out I really suck at not planning. And this isn’t even an exaggeration. I think I lasted all of two hours…what I have come to realise since then is that it’s not really about the planning but about setting your heart to something, it’s a heart attitude. I am still determined to make no life-changing decisions until July; however I am beginning to understand what God has been working on with this whole “no planning” thing…
I have made a decision, or rather re-determined to be me…
God has made YOU uniquely and wonderfully made. He hasseen every moment of your life, since the beginning of time. He has put desiresin your heart and given you talents that are particular to you, in your verybeing.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  
Psalm 139:13-16

A few months ago I sat on my bed with a dear friend, where we talked about howcircumstances in our lives, situations, and hurtful moments somewhat changed the way we lived our lives. In particularly we discussed how our very creative sides had been repressed and that we were not using all of who we were to live our daily lives. Then we spoke about how certain people and situations had re-introduced that aspect of our lives and that God was healing us so that we were no longer afraid to be the women that He had created us to be.
How often have you not taken a step because of fear or because someone else put pressure on you? How often did something feel so right, but then maybe circumstances of life got you down and you allowed all the pressure around you to stop that which was so good? When was the last time you sat quietly, stilled your heart and went “Yes, there is a lot of pressure andI’m not sure how this is going to play out but I know I have to do this?”
Look at David. He was a small man who many around him thought that he could never defeat Goliath. His skills, that which made him uniquely David,were in the end what helped defeat the Giant.
I’m not making an argument for God’s will for your life. I believe that His will is to live for Him and to show others His love. I believe that the way you live your life, the partner you chose, the career, the activities and passions you pursue are a vehicle for how you show God’s love to others.
Sometimes we get so caught up in how the world thinks we should be or how others perceive our actions. Or simply in not wanting to hurt othersthat we sacrifice that which might be the best for our future. Recently I was listening to Priscilla Shirer speak about decisions. She said that when faced with a choice it’s often the one that seems the most difficult that is the one that the devil is stopping you from making because it will likely put you on the path that God wants you on.
God has a great plan for your life and remember that you’re living His plan now. Each day, each moment is preparation for what He already has in your future. No one can take that from you. You were formed uniquely and put on earth for this time and place so that you would seek Him and fulfil your purpose (more on that later).
So go, live for today with eternity in mind, start living that life you imagine. Start today because a year from now, you will wish you had.