dear overwhelmed heart

It takes a great deal of grit to keep going in the face of things that feel like a fast closing tsunami on a flat plain with no higher ground in sight.

It takes courage to look past the comparison of your real life when you’re constantly thinking other people’s ‘show reels’ are their real life.

It take determination to face another day of the same challenges, the same demands, the same brokenness.

I’m thinking of you today and praying a safe space for you to lower your guard, to lay down this load of perfection, to come out from behind the screen and allow yourself to be really seen.

100 percent

The internet has its wonderful graces but it has helped us all to live under the sin of covetousness and comparison.

It’s made us look at our ‘neighbour’s’ (aren’t we all neighbours now?) parenting skills, slim thighs, attractive partner, exotic holiday locations, pin worthy bedroom makeover and let our hearts be dismayed.

Covetousness is a robber. God knew when we went down that path – the path that makes us focus on our flaws, our lack, our disappointments – we were never going to return healthier, more motivated, more gracious to ourselves, quicker to forgive the less than perfect people we share our lives with.

To a people just delivered from slavery we see God establishing a set of safeguards to keep them again from self-inflicted slavery.

Because, dear heart, when you start to focus on how everyone else is getting it right, how their load is easier, how their grass is greener you have entangled yourself again in slavery. You have become a slave to an ideal that not only is impossible to meet, but an ideal that isn’t true.

Your imagination is making more of the greener grass than reality would suggest.

Jesus says, come to me you who are burdened and I will give you rest.

He invites us to unburden ourselves and be clothed in something that doesn’t require us to get it right. It requires us to admit we can’t.

When we start living free we release others to do the same. When we lower our guard and admit friend to friend, heart to heart, face to face that we are struggling we will either find that we have freed someone else to admit the same, or, we will find a safe place to be loved despite it all. Surely either of those are a better offer than the struggle of trying so hard to be all we cannot be.

Today instead of looking at someone’s perfect life online how about taking time to connect with someone offline?

How about we all ask to be delivered from the trap of covetousness and instead see ourselves for what we are – the radically loved, forgiven, cherished children of the Most High. Because that is what we are.

belonging

See how safe you are to be imperfect? We are all imperfect and any who present as less than are probably drowning in a terrible tide of overwhelming pressure to continue the facade.

Let’s use our determination, our grit, our courage to hold onto our freedom in Christ and certainly not let ourselves be burdened with a yoke of slavery that demands perfection.

Instead, we rest in the Grace of the One who knows us as imperfect and loves us all the same.

Be loved beautiful ones.

Father let us rest today in your care, unburdened and free from comparison, covetousness, and perfectionism. Let us be found secure in you, becoming whole and fully rescued. Give us strength to face the battles in our lives knowing we are not alone, nor will we ever be. You have promised to be with us always, and you always deliver on your promises.

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On Needing Help

Many moons ago I set out to learn all the words from Romans 12. Now when I look back through the fog of remembering and forgetting there is this line that jumps out again and again

and each belongs to all the others

It rings loud this theme of belonging

of the lonely being placed in families

of being known by our love for one another

Christianity is not a solo journey. There are admonitions not to give up meeting together, challenges to show generosity and hospitality, especially to those in the family of believers.

Still I cling stubbornly to my right (or ‘value system’ to Christianise it) to be independent. We bandy around tired clichés ‘God helps those who help themselves’ and believe that not wanting to be another ‘needy’ person somehow elevates our moral status.

If the death of Jesus has not proved to us yet that we are helpless to do it alone then we are truly further from our centre than we realise.

So I take hold of my self-esteem, which is something I have more of than I need, and I remind myself that community, unity, fellowship means more than providing endless social engagements and potluck dinners – frozen pizzas and sausage rolls to the trestle tables! Relationship is a two-way street and I cannot be the only person who is never in need of help.

Moses had the strength in his hands to win the battle for the Israelites only he didn’t have the strength to hold his hands up. So one on either side – Aaron and Hur – did for him what he could not do for himself.

exodus 17

There are times when I have choked on the belief that tells me unless I do it all by myself I cannot have credit for the outcome.

So I’ve settled for holding onto pride and a lesser outcome.

In this instance it was Moses’ hands that held the victory. God had given Moses the anointing for the job – so shouldn’t he have been able to do it for himself? Surely, surely if God has called me to do something I should have all the resources I need to achieve it all by myself. ‘Those he calls he equips’ and all that….

We forget, I forget, we serve a trinity – One God forever in loving relationship and endless unity – isn’t that a pattern of what we are called into as well?

Today I feel invited to lay down my self-imposed, pride-inducing, self-sufficiency and lean into the support of others.

I love this picture of Moses exhausted and worn down – his heart beating for the people he loved, wanting to support them, anointed to support them, unable to go on. Then two friends push over a large rock and sit him down, then they take a stand next to him and lift his hands. They enable his abilities to be fully recognised in this instance. They stand with him and give him what he can no longer do alone.

They give him the support to move fully into the anointing and victory and blessing he has been given in that moment.

I’ve been sending out some emails lately. Leaning in to the support I have, to realise something I feel called to do. I am finding that I am not diminished in the asking, my work is not diminished in the support, rather I am enriched and my contribution is infinitely enlarged in the beautiful people I have around me.

Could it be that:

Humility + Unity = Victory

Unity is more than not disagreeing and hanging out all the time – in fact I think unity might be neither of those things. Genuine unity, genuine community must include being better because we work together.

Being better because we draw out more of the best in each other.

Being better because we realise together what we could never realise alone.

Would someone pull up a rock for me and sit alongside me while I try to offer my contribution to the battle?

1 Corinthians 12v26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Romans 12v4-5

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

I Want Bikkies

She said it loud enough for me to hear, this little treasure of 2 and a bit, tousled hair and perfect little face.

I sat near her and as the meeting went on she had a moment,
one of those moments where all of a sudden you know exactly what you want.
and she said it out,

I want bikkies

weaving

And it echoed through me like a shimmer of joy – this uncensored, un-demanding, un-manipulative, statement.

This simple connection between what she wanted right in this moment – and saying it aloud without the need to demand or pretend it was something else.

And it whispered in my heart how I don’t say what I want.

Sometimes I imply, or suggest, or even demand.
Or I close my mouth tight and squash it down because I feel embarrassed by my desire, I feel like no-one else is saying or wanting it so why should I.

and let’s be honest – sometimes it is bikkies I want.

but other times it’s more

it’s
I want you to wait for me to finish speaking and hear my heart as well as my words
I want to be honest without being fearful or harsh
I want to be given an opportunity
I want you to take a chance on me

it’s
I want to please Jesus, even if embarrasses you
I want to live careless, instead of trying not to be too much
I want to be funny and serious, irreverent and awestruck all at the same time

I want to be Miriam 
and not the Miriam you’d like me to be.

It’s strange how I’ve become less skilful at saying what I want. Being able to state what I want or need with authenticity, and honesty, without fear and without manipulation, has gotten lost.

If I even own and understand what I want, I dither on the edges – trying to work out how to say it, if I should say it, what angle to come from. Like it’s more important how you hear it. I’ve complicated myself, I’ve censored myself, I’ve feared your reaction, and in reality I’ve tried to control you.

So today I heard truth from the sweet little mouth that sat next to me. Who realised what she wanted and stated it. I wonder if we could all do with a little more of this honesty, this simplicity, this authentic ability to state what we want come what may.

Because saying what I want, or need, doesn’t guarantee I’ll get it. But it does keep me free and honest.
beach1
I think sometimes we hide behind words to protect ourselves from the disappointment of not getting what we really do want. Sometimes we get so good at feeding ourselves a story we start to believe it

like all the excuses we make aloud to stop ourselves from connecting with what our heart really wants, because it’s easier to act like we don’t really care than embrace the difficultly of longings unfulfilled

like the woman who says I want to be relevant to everyone, and not offend anyone so I need to temper my faith, when all she’s ever wanted is to recklessly pursue the One whose captivated her heart…

and I realise this thing…. that I’ve been so busy wanting it all, and wanting none of it that I have missed the glimpses of this thing I really want.

I want Him.

I undoes me when Jesus says to the disciples, ‘do you guys want to leave too?’
and Peter replies, ‘where else can we go? You alone have the words of life.’

and that is my thing… where else can my heart go?
because I want to be in His house
with his beautiful, messed-up, infuriating, slightly weird people

and I’m tired of pretending, and trying to convince myself that’s not for me
and I don’t know how it will look for a girl like me who loves The Church so hard;

because it beats in me for all of it
the high, the low, the community church with one musician in a musty hall, the slick huge congregation…. like it’s all a family to me. A family that confuses me and messes me up and makes me cry with anger when it starts shooting arrows at itself, and makes me cry with joy when it responds in love.

This is what I want – here in this sacred moment
I want to serve The Church, and a local church too to be certain, but The Church universal, with all my heart

to whisper to her when she is worn down and weary – nothing can snatch you out of his hand
to proclaim loud to her – your God reigns
to challenge her – this is how the world will know you are His, by your love for each other
to call with her – rend the heavens and come down
to see the creative unleashed – to give a platform for us to all share our gifting
to pray for her – may the people praise you, Oh God may all the people praise you
to stand unified – loving each other, other denominations, despite our differences
to teach her well – with integrity and sound theology
to prophesy faithfully – because God is speaking
to see her experience – Holy Spirit at work
to stand with her – and see the miracles we have heard of renewed in our day

to be clothed with strength and dignity together, 
to laugh with joy together, 
to work it out messy, humble, imperfectly 
together

and how does that happen?
and how do I get there?

I don’t know. That’s God’s job.

What I do know is I want bikkies.

0d1ea-gmen2
I want to serve, strengthen, encourage, bring joy, spend my life on The Church. Because I love it.

and today that is enough. To be able to say what I want and leave the rest.