Wednesday, July 30, 2008


My hair straightners refused to turn on this morning! Oh my gosh! What do I do?

I was hoping it was the fuse in the plug so I took them to work with me (I hate to say it, but I had to get the men to tell me what to do to change the fuse!) It turns out it wasn't the fuse. THey are just simply broken.

I guess it shows that I am addicted to my hair straightners!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What a weekend part 1

I have had a great weekend (which I am classing as starting on Thursday evening for the sake of this exercise)! I have been driving a lot but have had a great time, and in the process learnt a lot of lessons. I will share some with you now.

  • A bunch of 20-something girls, really can put the world to rights with a bit of chocolate and diet coke! - and can talk ALL NIGHT without running out of things to say!
  • Its easier to talk to people than I think it is!
  • I am not alone in my insecurities and its ok to talk about them.
  • The older generation might have many opinions and attitudes I don't agree with, but they have a lot to teach me and often the frustration is there partly because I don't take time to understand.
  • Planning usually pays off.
  • You can go back home without having to go back.
  • The Salvation Army, for all its faults, is an amazing community to be a part of, and, in general, the heart of the movement is in the right place.
  • Christians can be really cool people.
  • The M25 is surely one of the most stress-inducing places in the world!
  • You can't control everything - and sometimes you have to just shrug your shoulders and say - "Oh well!" Even if it means missing your friend getting married because the traffic will not move!
  • People who I find quite intimidating are often the people that I can have the best conversations with when I get past worrying about what they think of me.
  • I should embrace how weird my faith seems to people who don't know God.
  • I love seeing my friends happy.
  • Maybe I don't need to prove to people that I think or feel certain things - maybe its ok to actually believe myself without other people verifying it first.
  • You can improve your life by putting lots of effort into a number of exercises, but that actually God's peace comes through rest - just knowing and loving Him.
  • God works in mysterious ways!
  • God works!
  • Frinds are one of the best thing in the world.

"I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Performance or Worship part 3

I just had some musings today. Usually when I write a blog it is because something has been weighing heavily on my mind and I need to splurge! Today, this blog is not like that. I had a few random thoughts and thought why not blog them. So I don't know how this post is going to end up! Scary!

My series on perfomance and worship (if you can call it that since there have only been two previous posts and they happen, like, once every 6 months or something) has created a fair bit of discussion in the past and so I recognise that its not necessarily that simple an issue. In the past, my thoughts have centred mostly around worship through music. Today they are about love. Loving people, I know, is a subject that is so fundamental and which a lot of people feel very strongly about, and I don't intend to squash its importance, or to suggest that I know anything about it really. I am very weak in this area generally, and I need to develop my love for others. In fact, it is because of this that I write this blog. I realise my weakness, and want to love other people more than I do, but the thought of that has sparked questions in my mind (as per usual).

How can we ensure that loving others becomes an act of worship, not a perfomance? We are always being reminded in church (rightly so) of the need to love each other. When this doesn't come naturally, what is the best thing to do? If you choose to try hard to love people, practically speaking, do you not run the risk of putting on a performance. Making it look like you love other people when you really don't?

I was on facebook today nd noticed that I had 11 notifications I hadn't checked. Most of them are rubbish I don't need to know, but today I had a notification telling me I had sent two people some 'Luv'. In all honesty, I don't recall doing that, and without meaning to be cruel, if I had intended to, there would have been others I would have sent it to fisrt (except for one of the people, who though I don't speak to that much actually is a really nice guy and I haven't spoken to for ages and it reminded me of him and I thought, 'yeah, I do want to send him some Luv; to all those out there who have tried in the past to matchmake me - I do not mean this in a romantic way - stop getting your hopes up!). So apart from being concerned that facebook was sending out 'Luv' on my behalf, it made me think - when I send out 'Love' as a Christian, mostly I should be sending it out without realising it - shouldn't I? Showing people I love them by my actions and my way of living, without first making a conscious choice to, surely shows them that the love is real.

Rob Bell once made a comment on one of his Nooma DVD's - 'Sunday' (which by the way, whoever's it is, I still have - make me give it back!) which was that if a husband bought his wife some flowers, she would be so happy and so chuffed that he had thought of her. If he then turned round and said, 'well, it was my duty', it kind of takes the romance out of it. She didn't want his duty, she probably didn't even care that much about the flowers, what she wanted was his heart.

So when loving others doesn't come naturally, what do you do. How do you love them without it becoming a duty. How do you turn it into worship and not performance. I have thought about this a little, and the best answer I have come up with so far is that the more time we spend with God, reading the Bible, praying, and falling in love with Him personally, the more we are likely to naturally love other people, thereby avoiding this whole issue. But what about in the meantime. Is there a difference between 'choice' and 'performance' as in choosing to love someone as opposed to not loving them but making it look like you do. Can you tell your heart to do something? I know you can change your mind, can you change your heart?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Spoken in our time?

I think you are all going to groan. I am seriously back on the, 'yeah, but...' wagon again. So what has triggered it this time?

We sing a really lovely song in songsters called 'Lights on a Hill'. I love the song, its gorgeous, but it has some really intesnse words. I think I have mentioned before that we are blessed to have a leader who makes us think about the words we are singing. I always think about the words I sing. I can't help it, its the analytical part of me, but sometimes I find myself wondering whether other people do. And if they do, why does nobody stuggle to sing them like I do? Why does no-one question their validity as often as I do? I have got myself all worried about it today - worried that my experience as a Christian is not strong enough to be able to justify what I sing about. Don't worry - its not me doubting my faith - in fact, that feels quite solid right now - its more about me having an answer for the things I sing. Since working in a non-Christian environment I have started noticing 'Christian language' a lot more and have become so aware of the need to be able to have reason behind the things I say I believe.

It was the following words that have inspired these thoughts today:
'You said that freedom was found in the truth.
You promised captives would find their release,
And chains are broken now, lives liberated now.
Your living word has spoken in our time,

You promised peace the world cannot know,
Commanded stillness to conquer the storm,
And hurtung hearts are healed, painful wounds are sealed.
Your living word has spoken in our time.

You said your love was a gift to the world,
A love so great you were willing to die
And guilt and fear have ceased, love and grace increased.
Your living word has spoken in our time.

So we will carry the truth, the truth in our lives,
And honour that truth in our lives
And we'll be lights on a hill for you, salt of the earth for you,
We'll stand and be strong and be bold for you.'

For me when I sing, I want to sing stuff I can really mean, and really feel. I sing the words, 'chains are broken now, lives liberated now, hurting hearts are healed, painful wounds are sealed, Your living word has spoken in our time' but I have to be honest and say that I can't sing these with a heart full of passion, and emotion. I can't give these words my all, or the emphasis they deserve, not because I don't believe them, but because I haven't had that kind of raw experience. Some people say they have had their lives turned upside down by the Christian faith, but for me, its something I grew up with. I connect more with the words, 'Lord you've been good to me all my life'. I don't know anyone who was right on the edge when Jesus came to save them - not someone I have a long-standing emotional connection with, where I can really see the difference in their lives. I hate reducing words like this to the small petty things I experience - God is bigger than that, much bigger and if I am going to sing these words, I want them to be honest and real.

I think the point that I am trying to make is that I feel like I am wasting some incredibly powerful words. I don't like saying things I don't mean, and when I do mean something, I am desperate for people to understand the depth of feeling that goes along with my statements, but with this - they feel like just words. They aren't empty because I know God does heal hearts and seal wounds and break chains, but they are not full of authenticity either because I don't feel it strongly enough for that. For the most part I am OK with singing these things when I feel like this because I believe that they are true...I just worry sometimes, how do I know we are not all doing that. How do I know for sure that God really really really is doing these things. How can I be sure His living word has spoken in our time. How can I know that it is not just generations of Christian language which gets us all hyped up and filled with emotion, but has no real basis?

I guess I am just sighing over the fact that once again, I have never been in an environment where people really need God because they have literally nothing else left. Where God is absolutely everything to them. Here, in this Country, people live their whole lives without ackowledging God and don't in general look or act that different from me.

For me the key word in the song that gives me trouble is that word, 'so'. 'So we will carry the truth'. Why? Because he has healed our hurts, our pain and broken our chains? I think it has to be more than that. If thats the only reason I carry the truth in my life, then I wont be carrying it that enthusiastically, because I haven't had so much pain that I am literally bouncing off the walls for joy at the healing I have received. I carry the truth because of the things I believe about who God is. Not just because of what He has done in this world, or this life. I believe in an eternal God - not one shaped by my experiences, but one who just is.

I don't want evangelism or sharing God's truth to be reduced to the point where we are just offering another option. Something that will make your life easier to bear, or more enjoyable. Thats a materialistic 'advert style' evangelism. God is more than that. Its not like we are selling something. God's truth goes way beyond this world. That's the main reason I have joy in it, because it is about that which is beyond this world. Otherwise how can we make sense out of suffering or harm or evil in the world?

I guess it stems from guilt (as probably most of my questionning does). I feel guilty that I don't sing those words with tears running down my cheeks at the sheer incredibleness of what God has done for me - the wounds he has healed or the chains he has broken. He has done soooooooo much for me - I don't deny that - He gave me hope - eternal hope, because He has saved me from my sin. He has opened up the way of eternity with God for me when I just simply don't deserve it. That I can sing about with tears running down my cheeks because it means something. Its real, its honest, and I mean it with all my heart. But healing my hurts? Not so much. I guess that feeling guilty that I haven't had enough hurts to be healed from in order to be able to sing that song with meaning is a bit backwards. Am I weird?