Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Making the most of life?

This week a friend of mine had some sad news that someone she knew who was a similar young age to us had been killed in an accident.  What a shock.  In those circumstances it's hard to know what to say.  For me though it was a reminder again to make the most of life and to live intentionally. We really don't know what tomorrow holds.  We have to make today count.

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." - Psalm 90:12

It starts with the heart.  Today we were listening to a podcast interview with John Maxwell.  He asked two questions:

Who are you?
What breaks your heart?

Answering those questions I believe, leads us to find purpose and meaning in life, pursuing what God has for us to do as we join Him in His bigger picture.

He said some things to challenge what we fill our hearts and minds with because it's out of what we take in that we're able to give out to others.  It starts with filling up with the good stuff, so that we can be fuelled for deep and meaningful friendships, relationships and conversations that can bless, challenge and encourage others.


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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sometimes I just need space!

Maybe you've read about my word for the year being routine, in my recent blog post. Specifically health and routine and the link between the two is a focus for my year. One area I've been thinking about recently, and actually struggling with a bit is the routine of finding quiet time with God to read and pray. It's directly linked to spiritual health and actually probably physical and emotional health too, I'm sure. Jesus did it. He instructed His disciples to do it (Mark 6:31), and I recognise the importance of it in my life too....

...All that said, what does it look like practically? Between sleep deprivation and busy days with family, work... And did I mention sleep deprivation!? I'd love my routine to be to wake up early and have quiet and a good start to the day, but at this stage with a little early bird to take care of, that is just not working! And I've come to the conclusion that.... That's ok! Routine though is healthy, and as with anything that we want to prioritise, sometimes it takes a planned and deliberate routine to make those priorities a reality.

For me, I've settled on evenings once R is asleep and I can actually focus. I'm relatively fresh early in the evening and I can fairly predictably carve out a bit of space for some quiet. So what next? It's always a work in progress and different days and seasons look different, sometimes it's only a few minutes, sometimes longer and sometimes something comes up and it doesn't happen at all. And that's ok too. Tomorrow is always a new day. 

A few things I do find helpful though are a reading plan, like perhaps choosing to read one proverb per day of a psalm per day, or reading through the gospels, those are good places to start. The past few years I've chosen a plan to aim to read the Bible in a Year. This year I have the Bible in One Year App on my phone and am just reading the Old Tesatmant passages each day as I find the chunks of reading too long in this season of life and I like to think and journal and take it slow. So I read, I think, I pray, I make notes. My aim is to also regularly read some good blogs on faith and applying faith as part of this. Some of my favourites are:

So what's the point?  Today's commentary on the Bible in One Year puts it well and definitely hit home for me tonight:
"Prayer and action go hand in hand. The activity comes out of relationship." 
That means if our faith is going to lead us to action rather than just a lot of theories and rules then there needs to be relationship, and relationship needs time and space. Richard Dahlstrom calls it his "coffee with God":

As we put our faith into action and actually live what we believe, it can be challenging and less than easy. Growth sometimes causes growing pains, refining and shaping often is through the fire! 

"Even when we are doing what Jesus tells us to do, it is sometimes very difficult and hard work... It is an uphill struggle unless we are conscious of Jesus' presence with us." -BiOY App

Time for quiet and reflection, reading and prayer is a reminder of the presence of God in whatever we're dealing with. There's encouragement and inspiration. Instruction for next steps. Conviction and the need for forgiveness. Mercy and grace. Reminders and reality checks! 

What it looks like for you might be different than what it looks like for me, but it's the spiritual version of breathing and we can't really live what we believe without it.