So God started talking to me massively this morning, so practically.

I love that He wants to talk to us through the simple, everyday things.

If you don’t get that, I encourage you to look for Him in them - He is ever present so seek and you shall find all the fun snippets of doing life with and being in relationship with the creator of the whole universe. How freaking amazing and beautiful is that?!

Anyway, as some of you may not know I have recently moved into a beautiful apartment with a wonderful girl from my Church. She’s so good to my soul. She loves late night chats, random late night rearranging the house times, good coffee, pancakes, pretty flowers, candles and all my other favourite things, so the decision to live together so far is going pretty damn sweet.

So the move and decorating has been fun - but then comes the mundane boring bits, for example - sorting out the utility bills. Seriously who has time to sit on hold for ages waiting for someone to tell you how much money they want to take off you every month? My procrastination level increased massively every time I thought of setting them up.


This morning I had to ring up a utility company - this was due to receiving numerous letters from them saying we have an over due bill, even though they are not our supplier!

I gave them a call and explained my situation, saying I had moved to another supplier at the beginning of September and was no longer using their services, but that it may have been from previous tenants.

I apologised for the confusion and explained I had my card ready and was happy to pay the outstanding bill, if we had unknowingly been using their services also.

After much going back and forth the gentleman on the phone informed me that both the bills I had received through the post - the first one and the reminder letter with interest added on for underpayments, were not in fact mine to pay - that they actually belonged to my landlord, as the charges sent out were for the months I was not living in the property. What a treat!

I thanked the gentleman and the phone call ended. I then held the bill in my hand and out came my sassy inner-black-woman voice (we all have one, if you are reading this thinking you don’t, you are definitely lying, or maybe you haven’t discovered her yet - go find her, she’s great!)

I looked at the bill and said “I’m not paying you then, you are not mine to pay” and tossed it over my shoulder.

As I proceeded to get on with my day I suddenly heard God whisper to me, “Naomi, this is the word of God for you and many others today. That is not your bill to pay.

Stopped dead in my tracks I sat back down to dwell on what I had just heard.

I began thinking about bills. Paying bills is great, obviously you couldn’t live without all the things they provide, however, I think we can all agree - paying bills limits us.

Say you earn £1000 this month and had no bills to pay - hello, that month is your oyster, treat yourself!

Now imagine £500 of that is direct debits, food, petrol etc… You could still have fun and go wild but maybe not as extreme as if you were £500 richer. Make sense? I’m not about to tell you stop paying your bills, please please don’t do that!!

See, today was a reminder that every one of us makes mistakes, we slip up, do stupid things on a daily basis and the enemy is out there, crouching and ready to bill our hearts. To send a bill to the postal address called ‘our life’ for us to pay.


Remember, bills limit us.


The enemy wants so much to limit us, what we can do, where we go, who we impact. So therefore he will send bills such as shame, regret, guilt, fear, loneliness, unworthiness and so on.

Because he knows when we walk carrying those things it effects everything we do. When we do life through the lens of feeling dirty or unwanted it holds us back from living out our true potential and he loves that.


One of my all time favourite quotes says this:


“We can live life in the departure lounge, or we can get on the plane.

Living looking at our potential is nothing compared to living in it.”


The devil wants to keep you in the departure lounge, looking at what you could be, but making you feel like you could never reach it, because of all the wrong things you have done.


But God’s word for you yesterday, today and forevermore is this:


His mercies are NEW EVERY MORNING

His GRACE is sufficient for you

His power is made PERFECT in your WEAKNESS

You are a NEW CREATION

GRACE and PEACE are YOURS

By GRACE you have been SAVED

NOTHING can separate you from the love of God

Sin shall no longer be your master, for you live under GRACE

While you were still sinning Christ died for YOU

Whoever Jesus sets free, is FREE INDEED

ALL have sinned and fallen short, but you are JUSTIFIED by GRACE

JESUS does not remember your sins


“But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—

our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

We thought he brought it on himself,

that God was punishing him for his own failures.

But it was our sins that did that to him,

that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!

He took the punishment, and that made us whole.

Through his bruises we get healed.

We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.

We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.

And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,

on him, on him.”


[Isaiah 53:5-6 MSG]



That shame isn’t yours.

That regret isn’t yours.

That feeling of unworthiness isn’t yours.

It might be your mistake, but it isn’t your bill to pay - It belongs to the landlord of your heart - God.

Too many of us are holding back because we think we deserve to pay the bill for our mistakes, truth is, we do.

But the incredible thing is - it’s already been paid.

In full.

Forever.


“And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong - on HIM”.


For some of you, reading this today is not enough - you need to physically write down down your bill - then next to it you need to write down what it has cost you.

Maybe it’s held you back in something.

Maybe its stopped you entering that relationship because you think you aren’t worthy of that love.

Maybe it’s made you turn down an opportunity because you don’t think you are good enough for it.


Next you need to take a big bold marker pen and write all over it, THIS IS NOT MY BILL TO PAY.


See when I ignored the first bill this company sent me, do you know what they did? I’d love to say they backed off and left me alone, but I would be lying. They sent me a payment reminder and this time added more money on to it.

The devil see’s you today taking a stand against the bills he is sending you, but it won’t stop him giving it another go. He will wait till you’re at at your peak to send another reminder letting you know you still haven’t paid - and worse still, he will add that little bit more this time, making you feel ashamed that you didn’t deal with it in the first place.


The Bible tells us that daily we are in a fight.

Ephesians 6:12 NIV:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”


[MSG]

“So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”


It’s a daily decision, a daily mindset, a daily fight, a daily walk, a daily confession.

This morning I got to walk downstairs and hand over the bill to my landlord and walk away free, knowing that it is his to deal with.


So find your sassy inner black woman and set her free today.

That is not your bill to pay.

Hand it over to the lover of your soul and the creator of your destiny, He’s wild for you.

Design your blog - select from dozens of ready-made templates or make your own; simply “point & click” - Click here

Likes

Comments

I began 2015 with a verse found in Isaiah 43 - “Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.”
I knew that this year God wanted to begin a NEW THING in me.
I knew this was the year I would send my application to bible college and move 5 hours away from home to pursue God and discover who am I, who he has created me to be and to develop areas of my life in which I believe God has gifted me in.

But as I begin my time here at bible college I now I look to Isaiah 54 that says-

“Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big! Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep. You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family. You’re going to take over whole nations; you’re going to resettle abandoned cities. Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed. Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.” Isaiah 54:2-3 (MSG)

As I start my new season of life up here in Bradford I find myself challenged and excited about what this verse says and means to me personally.

1) ‘Clear lots of ground’ - clear physical space, mental space, spiritual space for God to move and place new dreams. Clear the clutter from our lives and make more room for God to work in us.

2) ‘Make your tents large, spread out!’ - this is new ground, this is a new area of our lives for God to develop us in, set up camp, spread out and spend as much time growing and taking in all that this new ground has to teach us.

3) 'Think big’ - because WHY NOT? God exceeds our asking and expectations. His word says He goes far beyond what we could ever ask or imagine. Let’s live with the attitude of “what if?”.

- “'What’ and 'if’ are two words as non threatening as words can be; but put them together, side by side and they have the power to change you for the rest of your life”.

4) 'Drive the tent pegs deep’ - have you ever been camping and the tent pegs has come out of the ground and in the middle of the night you feel the tent moving around in the wind? You feel unstable and that the tent could blow away at any minute?

“Drive” - the dictionary says to drive is to propel or carry along by force in a specified direction.

With force ensure the pegs are buried deep into the ground, that they hold firm, unshaken, that your tent is secure in your new ground, your foundations are deep in God - that you are unwavering in your faith.

I love the fact that this verse then reiterates that He won’t leave us and that he has amazing plans for our new season.
We need not be afraid, we need not hold back.

This college year that has just begun I choose to think big, dream big. Dare to live in the “what if” moments. Dare to ask and expect big things of my God as I clear space and assemble my tent on my new ground.

Jesus, take the wheel.

Likes

Comments

Before I moved to Bible College I felt God give me a verse for this next year about being fully in the place He wants me to be.

I quit my job, put my home behind me, my church behind me and everything I knew and I packed a suitcase and moved 5 hours from home - Bradford bound.
I asked God when I arrived in my new house to “break me” this year, to fix what needed to be fixed and to lead me in the direction I need to go, to be the woman I desire to be. I understood at the time this was going to be difficult, painful, sometimes far above what I think I can handle, but I never took time to acknowledge the incredible characteristics of my saviour, that I would discover in such a powerful way through being obedient to His word.

About a month ago I felt a prompting from God to leave some things behind me.
I had made the decision at the start of September to be fully focused on the course, on my new surroundings and to be fully engaged in what God was going to bring out of me this year and I was, and I was loving it. Falling in love all over again with my saviour, being broken down and investigated by Jesus and being developed in my giftings and the desires of my heart.

One of my leaders told us we will get the most out of this course if we choose to “plant ourselves in this church like we are here forever”.
I had decided that anyway, I already felt planted, part of the church and so at home in the plan of God for my life. I knew for many years that I had to come and do this course and at times I’ve had to pinch myself, as it’s such an amazing but surreal feeling to be stood right smack bang in the middle of Gods plan, that has been on my heart for so long.

I was spiritually and mentally “here” but physically I still had some attachments that I knew I needed to lay down in order to be “here” 100%. As God spoke to me about one of the things I had to leave behind, fears and doubts started creeping in as I began realising that this wasn’t going to be easy, that the thing I had to put behind me was going to hurt. A lot. And not just me, but others also.

I knew in my head and heart, that this decision I had to make was the best thing for me and was what I needed to do and after much waiting and holding back, I went for it. And yes it hurt, but this was completely and utterly overpowered by the incredible sense of PEACE I felt as I detached myself from everything and I lay down in Gods presence.

I remember in that moment saying to God “Ok, I’ve done it now, I’m all in, your move”.
As I lay there I felt God remind me of that very verse that I left home with.

Psalm 45:10-11 says:
“Now listen, daughter, don’t miss a word: forget your country, put your home behind you. BE HERE. The King is wild for you.”

I’m all in God, your move.

Likes

Comments

“Crying is better than laughing. It blotches the face but it scours the heart”. - Ecclesiastes 7:3 (MSG)

Scour - to remove dirt or unwanted matter by intense scrubbing.

Crying is a form of release, its a way of shifting things out of you.
It doesn’t always make you feel better but often after crying you evaluate a situation more. To release built up emotion and stress allows your body to rest and think more clearly. I know some of the best night sleeps I’ve had have been after having a good old cry.

…. Yet crying is something we as humans hold back and bottle up; we think that if we ignore it and suppress it that we can move on and face our issues ourselves.
Why is it that we think crying is weakness? Crying something out that’s eating you up inside can only be strength. Releasing anxiety and stressful thoughts to allow your head to think clearer and your body to relax, can only be a good thing right?

We live in a world that says "suck it up and move on”, “hold your head high and get on with it” and although there is times I believe this to be right, there is also a time to cry.
When something is hurting you, the wrong thing to do would be to hold your emotions in and ignore them. We don’t ignore it when we’re happy, in fact we allow everyone to see we are, so why is it that we choose to ignore when we’re not happy.

What will people think if they see me cry? Ever heard yourself asking that question?

“Tears are not a sign of weakness, since birth they have been a sign that we are in fact alive”.

I know Ive had moments where in front of others, i’ve literally strained my face and held back tears as to not make them think there is something wrong. I’ve then gone home and continued to lie to myself that I’m okay and I bottle it up and over time it builds and builds and then something happens… Something little and annoying like I burn my toast one morning and I completely break down. A complete mess on the floor and yet I still try and convince myself that I’m just crying because I’ve burnt my breakfast.

We all know that we feel better after sharing how we feel, whether publicly with a friend or talking it out to ourselves, even writing it down yet we still go on hiding these feelings away. Why? Because they hurt. It’s a painful process to admit your not okay. It makes you vulnerable. You lose all your ‘cool and collected’ image even for a second. But yet it feels so good once its over.

So let’s agree to let our guard down occasionally, to cry out feelings that are holding us back. To remind ourselves of the times we released those negative feelings and emotions and how good we felt after and keep reminding ourselves of that moment.

Don’t let bottled up emotions and hurt hold you back from the destiny that lies before you.

Likes

Comments

The other evening I sat and watched one of my all time favourite movies, Finding Nemo!
I often find it funny how God speaks to me. Sometimes it is often in the most random and simplest of things; that night it was Finding Nemo.
It came on to this scene where Marlin and Dory are inside the whale and it seems they about to be eaten.

Dory is telling Marlin as they are clinging on for their lives, that the whale has said that it’s time to let go. Marlin replies “how do you know something bad won’t happen.”
And I love Dory’s simple reply of “I don’t”

1) Dory listened to the voice and heard what it had to say. She didn’t know the outcome, but she trusted the voice. It didn’t look safe, but she trusted the voice.

How many of us can say we trust the voice of God, even when we don’t know the outcome?

2) It’s time to let go.
What do you need to let go of? Is it the comfort of your current lifestyle? Is it an insecurity? A fear that if you step out you will fail?

How will we ever know if we don’t let go? Sometimes we will only discover what will happen when we choose to let go of whatever we are clinging on to.

3) Strong faith empowers others.
I love that after Dory says she doesn’t know the outcome, but she is still willing to follow what the voice said, that Marlin looks at her and then let’s go of the whales tongue.
Our faith fills others with faith. Our trust that God has us and will keep us safe and has good things for us empowers others to make huge steps, or release themselves from something holding them back.

This scene ends with Dory and Marlin having arrived at their destination with no harm. If they hadn’t of let go, they would have stayed inside the whale and not made it to Sydney. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose.”

Sometimes God may ask you to do something that feels unnatural or scary, but just as Dory’s faith and trust in the voice delivered them safely, I believe God will do the same for us.

Trust Him. Let Go. See what He will do.

Likes

Comments

"You're not meant to be here, you're meant to be seen and you're meant to be heard"

Those words she spoke over me cut me like a knife.

An increasing feeling of sickness straight in the pit of my stomach as I stood behind scenes organising, planning, running errands, but yet completely invisible.
My outer exterior completely composed but obviously that day her eyes caught sight of my soul.
My inside wants and desires, the calling I had, the adventure sitting within me.
Yet I kept myself within the shadows - unnoticed and unheard. After all, it’s more comfortable standing here isn’t it?

Well those were my thoughts until these words were whispered in to my ear and oil used for anointing people was poured on to my hand.
Now suddenly my eyes are filling with tears - tears I’m trying my hardest to fight back as I try to remain composed and on duty; but it broke me.
Tears of realisation that I don’t know my own potential, that I keep myself in the backstage area, bottling up what lies within me because I don’t understand it.
It scares me.
It offends others.
Others don’t know me, they just know what I am good at, so they place me in areas of invisible tasks and I accept. Yes, they know what I’m good at, but they don’t know what I’m capable of.
I don’t know what I’m capable of.
But I guess I’ll never know unless I choose to release myself from the dimly lit, behind-the-curtain lifestyle.
Now all I feel standing here is uncertainty and an urge to move out, but I remain because this is where I have been assigned to, I have a task to do here.
As hard as I try to ignore, this place no longer feels comfortable because this isn’t where I should be.

Because maybe, just maybe, I was not made for the shadows. Maybe I was made to be seen.

Likes

Comments

"The Best Thing You Can Do Is Continue To Travel Through What Is Hurting You."

Ok, that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard right?

I thought so too, until I saw how much it could grow me.

See there was a time in the last couple of years where I had 1 of 2 choices to make; give up and run, or accept this is a season, realise there is an end date and carry on. In life we have to make these choices regularly.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some things are not right to carry on and there is a time where they need to be left behind. For example, there have relationships in my past I have had to let go of, because they have hurt me; it would be plain stupid for me to continue having them in my life, because of the affects that they were having on me.

The continuation I’m talking about is a stretching and sometimes painful, but definitely seasonal thing. Maybe it’s a season with God that’s tricky and hard work, but you know eventually there is an end.

I’m so thankful that God is the same yesterday, today and forever - that means when we read verses such as “…when we are faithless, He remains faithful…" (2Timothy2:13) we can believe it for every day.

There was a time about 2 years ago where I was really struggling and asking God to help me get out of the current place I was in; and when God wasn’t helping me, I was using all my own strength to find a way. By this point I had blocked out God’s voice and was trying so hard to fight this battle on my own. Eventually one day I cracked. I specifically remember emotionally breaking down, ugly crying and screaming at the top of my lungs whilst driving "Why won’t you help me get out of this? I hate it, it’s hurting me, why don’t you care?”

It was at this point where I pulled my car over into a car park over looking the sea (a regular spot for my head clearing moments), and I sat in silence for 5 minutes. It was the first time in a very long while that I sat without thinking, planning my next steps and panicking about what was coming next.

I was completely still.

It was then I heard God specifically say to me “I haven’t asked you to do this in your own strength, I’ve asked you to do it in mine.”

I would love to say that a serene, fluffy-cloud, lovey-dovey peace fell over me in that moment, but I would be totally lying. I became even more angry at God and shouted something back along the lines of - "Yeah, well, I didn’t ask for your strength, I asked for your help to escape".

I don’t remember doing much else for a while, apart from sobbing and letting out all the anger, emotion and pain I had been bottling up for months.

After a while of crying, God lead me to a verse in the Bible:

The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands.

2 Corinthians 8:12 The Message (MSG)

It was at this moment I asked God “But why? Why should I carry on working here? I am so unhappy and every day is a struggle. Why would you want me to be in this position?”

His reply was simply “I am going to use this to bring light.”

I looked again at the verse, coming round to the idea of continuing where I was, only because God had asked me to, but still confused as to why I had to ‘finish what I had started’, but then I read it again and my eyes were drawn to the line -

Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t.”

It suddenly clicked. I now understood. God never asked me to do anything by myself, this is a two way relationship and He walks with me every step of the way.

I can keep my head down and work hard.

I can’t make people understand or like me.

I can still honour and love, even when it doesn’t feel right.

I can’t perform miracles in peoples lives to make them a better person, that is a decision they have to make and a journey they have to go on themselves.

God is there to do the things I cannot do, He only ever asked me to trust Him.

Trust Him that I will see the fruits of my labour, I will look back and see the growth from my struggle, the person I became because of the battles I had to face. Trust Him that this is just a season and a stepping stone on my journey. I may not ever see the finished product, but I will see the mark I have made.

A mark of commitment, a mark of light, a mark of trust in a greater being.

The day I left that place was the day I saw the light that God promised me He would use me for.

It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. I am a stronger and wiser person today because of it. I hope someday I can get to the stage in my life, where I can hand on heart say, “I’d do it all over again”… I’m not quite there yet, but one day I will be.

In the words of Ronan Keating ’…Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it…’

Life has ups.

Life has downs

But I have a big God.

Likes

Comments

Last night I was at our weekly Young Adults event when God began speaking to me in the worship..

We began singing the song ‘O Come To The Altar’ - a song we have sang a thousand times in Church, a song that speaks of God being able to mend your brokenness and tells us that His arms are “open wide” for us. Amazing. I remember loving the song when it was first released, but like every song, after a while it fades out and the new and latest albums arrive in our hands.

But last night was a different moment. I love when God gives us fresh revelation. Even in a song we feel we have sang out and squeezed every bit of God out of - He still wants to speak to us.

It was the second half of the first verse that particularly caught my attention last night:

“Have you come to the end of yourself?
Do you thirst for a drink from the well?”

I reached for my phone in my pocket and wrote these lines down in my notes and then I put my phone away again. I didn’t know at the time why I felt I needed to write them down, I just knew that they stood out to me and I would come across them again another time.

Today was obviously that day. I was in my room this morning as I was reminded of those words again. I began to see and hear them in a new way. Lines that I had sung many times before, ones I had probably not taken so much notice of when they are next to lines such as “leave behind your regrets and mistakes”and “bring your sorrows and trade them for joy…”

Both beautiful and stand out lyrics that give us a wonderful opportunity to experience Jesus. But yet the lines that stood out for me last night were the questions, the challenges, the make-you-think lines.

As I sat on my bed and thought about this I looked to my side and next to me I had a bottle of water. I grabbed it and finished it and as I did I began to think about what I do when the bottle is emptyI refill it. I go back to the sink, turn on the tap and refill my bottle.

I always hate those moments when I’m out and about and I finish my water and then I’m really thirsty later on in the day … we’ve all done it; we grab the empty bottle from our bags, open the lid, hold it upside down above our mouth and let the last few drips of water fall onto our tongues and this will satisfy us for all of 3 minutes before we will try again, secretly hoping that in those 3 minutes more water has appeared in the bottle.

What a picture of some of our lives.

We go to an amazing conference, Christian event or even a Sunday service and we soak in all God has for us and fill our bottle to the brim. We dwell on the amazing time we had and continue drinking what we received for weeks on end - now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this but eventually that bottle is going to get empty.

These are the times when we get tired, worn out and fed up. The times when we struggle and life gets tough and rocky, our heads get messy and we can’t concentrate on one thing.

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

(NIV) - “Come to me all those who are weary… I will give you rest.”

God knows. God knows we have to continually come back to the source. You can’t live off of one bottle of water for the rest of your life, off of one sermon, one Church experience, one conference. You have to constantly come back to the well.

I saw a quote today that said this,

“When you come to the end of yourself, you get to the beginning of God”

A totally beautiful thought but how about if God was there the whole time? How about if it was just a decision for us to daily seek him? How about if we didn’t have to run to empty, collapse from exhaustion and then ask for God?

You see as humans we can often live like that - we give and give and give and keep running and going until we collapse. We forgot to keep filling up the bottle. We gave output upon output upon output upon output … what we neglected was input.

You can’t fill someone else if you yourself are empty.

Joshua 1:8 - “Keep this book of law always on your lips, meditate on it day and night…”

Ephesians 3:19 - “And to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”

His cup overflows. May we constantly come back to the well.

Likes

Comments

I haven’t written in a long long time and I’ve hated it. Writing is how I reflect and refresh my head. I’ve discovered if I keep what God has spoken to me about bottled in, I become overwhelmed and and feel suffocated.

These last few months of my life have been completely crazy. Since January my whole world has changed. To a lot of people, the outside of my life looks pretty much the same … but this girl has had an extreme internal flip and a complete head spin.

I found myself coming down to my favourite writing spot today and doing what I love. Sitting, drinking good coffee and people watching. Watching business meetings, job interviews, people in posh suits taking lunch breaks, whilst still answering emails and phone calls, students frantically typing on a laptop, consuming copious amounts of coffee, the bar maid becoming stressed as she can’t keep up with the orders coming in, another waitress running round wiping down tables to make room for the influx of people that are escaping the rain shower, builders running in for a bacon sandwich and a coffee to go, an older couple admiring their new grandchild on their phone and a single mum hushing her children in the book corner so she can attempt to have a hot cup of tea for once.

And then there is me, sat in the corner, surrounded by cushions, headphones in with the latest Bethel album on, with my iPad in front of me and watching all this go on.
I look the most relaxed in here today.
Little do they know it’s the first sit down and reflect I’ve taken in a while. God woke me up early this morning and He told me to stop. Nothing else, just stop.
Probably because I had a huge breakdown at work yesterday, rang my mum and cried (Mum I love you and I will always need you!)… and then I proceeded to tell God I couldn’t cope with everything going on. I felt overwhelmed and like I was struggling to breathe. I’ve had all these things happen to me lately and they have been incredible, but at the same time I feel I’ve been trying to juggle every one of them and make them work.

I felt God say to me today “Naomi if you were running in a race that went on and on for days, do you think you could make it to the end without taking a break and rehydrating yourself every now and then?”

Knowing I can’t even run up the stairs to my room without having a heart attack at the top, I knew He was right. Sometimes we have to stop, breathe, rehydrate and reflect. Now I’m not an idiot, I know I have to stop every now and then and I have to lie in my room with the door shut, phone off, ignore everyone and stick some worship music on and simply let it wash over me. I know I need this because I know I’m not a nice person if I neglect it.

One of my favourite verses in the Bible is Psalm 61:2 -

“From the ends of the Earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I”

This has become such a key verse for me in the last few months, I’ve taken a lot on, lots has happened and if I’m honest at times I’ve felt completely out of my depth…

Newsflash: I still feel completely out of my depth.
I still have no idea what I’m doing, every day for me at the moment starts with me saying to God “I have no idea how to do today so please help”…. But even though I dream of that 10 day escape cruise around the Bahamas, I wouldn’t want to be any where else. I know I am slap bang in the middle of the plan of God for my life.
At the beginning of 2017 I attempted to name my year. I was coming up with these big flamboyant and look-good-on-Instagram words but none of them felt right… Until I heard God whisper to me.. “More”

More? Not a very interesting word. I think my response to Him sounded something like “man, that sounds like hard work.”

It was only when I started to look into that word, I realised the impact it could have on me if I chose to fully embrace it.

More.
- more adventure
- more laughing
- more opportunities
- more love
- more memories
- more capacity
- more travelling
- more risks
- more faith
- more leadership

The list is endless and it goes on and on and on…

I knew “More” meant having hard conversations, vulnerability, being completely honest and a little blunt with people. It meant pushing myself forwards and saying yes to things that stretched me beyond my borders of trust.
But it’s crazy, as soon as I decided to say yes to God this year, I watched this whirlwind begin. I have to keep reminding myself that He will never give me something I cannot handle and I also have to keep reminding myself to be thankful. To see every opportunity put in front of me as another moment to grow.

It’s been tough, but so good. You see embracing “more” means having to embrace those harder words that follow it also: More pain, more tears, more tiredness, more being pushed to the limit, more pushing through, more feeling out of control etc etc etc… But it has caused me to learn the secret to life. That He is my source, I cannot do this alone.

And actually, I don’t want to do this alone.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders is a risky prayer, but one I will never regret praying. Learning to walk to the rhythm of Heaven, with the greatest companion alongside me is my greatest joy.
Daily declaring that He is good and He is with me and constantly praying Jesus be the centre of it all. The centre of every decision that I make, every step I take, every opportunity I take hold of. If it’s not with you or for you, I don’t want anything to do with it.

It’s made me learn what I need to let go of and what new things I need to adopt. I need to grow a bigger faith, to grow closer to God, to listen to Him, to ask questions, to study His word deeper, for the simple fact - that I’m gunna need Him.

Today was me coming back to the rock that is higher than I. To refresh my soul, to rehydrate and to remember He is in control, He is good, He is faithful, He is secure and every plan of His is to prosper me. He is all those things even when I don’t feel it.

“I will build my life upon your love
It is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken”


Take me to the rock that is higher than I.

Likes

Comments

But God.

It’s a choice we make every day. We can live confession based lives or we can live circumstance based lives.

What’s your confession? My whole thing since the beginning of the year has been to change my confession – I cannot even begin to explain to you how much has changed in my life just from acting on that simple statement.

You see “But God” can be spoken in two very different ways.

But God, this is too hard for me

But God, I’m scared

But God, I’m not ready to deal with that yet

But God, I’m not qualified enough for this

But God, doing that might hurt me

But God, doing that might hurt others

But God, I feel too weak

But God, I’ve failed

But God, But God, But God.

Or

This is too hard for me, BUT GOD you say I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

I’m scared BUT GOD you never leave or forsake me

I’m not ready to deal with that yet, BUT GOD you have already gone before me

I’m not qualified enough, BUT GOD you will never give me something I cannot handle

Doing that might hurt me, BUT GOD you are the Prince of Peace and the Divine Comforter

Doing that might hurt others, BUT GOD you work all things together for the good of those who love you

I feel too weak, BUT GOD your strength is made perfect in my weakness

I’ve failed, BUT GOD you call me forgiven and keep no record of my wrongs

Sometimes, it’s changing where you place “But God” in the sentence. Not telling Him what you cannot do, but placing His name smack bang in the middle of it all.

Circumstance based lives cause you to shrink back, stand down and fear the future. Confession based lives cause you to push forward, stand up and know the future is held in the palms of a never failing God.

What is your confession?

Likes

Comments

I tried.

I tried to be brave
I tried to be strong
I tried to be faithful
I tried to be a friend

I tried to be a safe place

I tried to hold it all together

I tried to read my bible every day

I tried to spend time with you

I tried to spend time with people

I tried to hold down a job

I tried to be a worker

I tried to plan my future

I tried to be servant-hearted

I tried to be on time

I tried to be current

I tried to fit in

I tried to be content

I tried to be laid back

I tried to be active

I tried to be ready

I tried to be confident

I tried to be humble

I tried to be a good person

I tried to be a helper to everyone


And then, one day..

I stumble.

I find myself face down on the ground..

Exhausted.

Broken.

I lifted my head and looked into your eyes and uttered those words…

“I tried. I tried to be all these things for you.. but I’m tired, I can’t give anymore, I can’t be anymore..”

You looked back at me and answered … “I only ever asked you to be still”

Silence. I’m wordless.

When did I get it so wrong? When did I complicate it? When did I make my relationship with Jesus all about how much I could do for Him?

When did I forget to pause? Why did I exhaust myself to the point of breaking?

Question: Is the ambient noise level of my heart quiet enough for me to hear the whispers of the Lord?

Am I too busy to hear the voice of God?

Have I filled my head, my heart and my life with all the busyness of the world that I forgot what it was all about?

Relationship.

Not religion, not a set of rules, not a to do list that gains His approval.

“He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 - (NIV)


“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
(MSG)

Just. Be. Still. That’s all He ever asked me to do.

And know He is God, in all, through all and over all.

I am not in charge today, I take the pressure off and rest in the knowledge that He. Is. God.

For religion, was built by man, relationship was created by God.

I need only be still.

Design your blog - select from dozens of ready-made templates or make your own; simply “point & click” - Click here

Likes

Comments

Recently I have been reading through Matthew 4, the story of Jesus and the devil in the desert.

So often we read this story as one of temptation; we reassure ourselves that it’s OK because even Jesus was tempted. Which is awesome, however something else grabbed me as I was going through this story.

How Jesus was tempted was the devil questioned Him in his identity. You’ll see as you read that the devils sentences always started with “If you are the son of God…”

You see if Jesus wasn’t 100% sure of who He was, don’t you think this could have caused Him to perform all those things the devil asked of Him? This could have been a totally different story.

You see EVERYTHING we do flows from knowing who we are.
If we don’t know who we are then
the devil’s questions thrive on our vulnerability.
Knowing who we are in Christ is a gift we give to the world as well as ourselves - we are an example of steadfast and level headed people that know themselves and the royalty that they belong to.

What I love about Jesus is He didn’t even try to prove Himself to the enemy, He simply just responded with who the word said that He was.

Why do we spend our lives trying to prove ourselves to everyone?
Week by week we chant the words “I Am a child of God…“

Then why don’t we live like one?
We don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone we just have to believe that we have been approved.

Right now can we agree to stop worrying about other people questioning our identities?

We ARE fearfully and wonderfully made, we ARE loved, chosen, called.
We ARE more than a conquerors.
We ARE free, and we ARE forgiven.

Isn’t it time we grasped firmly to our identities?
Don’t you think we owe it to ourselves and this messed up, confused world to know who we are?

You aren’t what’s been done to you but what Jesus has done for you.

The devil left Jesus alone because He was solid in knowing who He belonged to.
He knew who He was and what was written about Him and although the devil questioned His identity over and over again, Jesus knew and we know that the Bible is unquestionable.

The devil knew that Jesus’ direction for his life was not up for discussion because He lived a life strongly knowing who He was, where He was going and He was not willing to compromise even when the going got tough.

I pray we know God and we know ourselves so well, that when the going gets tough and compromising is an easy option we decide to hold firm.

For we are identified by Christ.

Likes

Comments

"The destination I had set our for was linked to who I thought I should be, but His destination for my life was about who He knew I was created to be."

I love this quote. I can’t remember where I read it, but I remember the day I saw it and copy and pasted it into my notes on my phone. So many times I find myself coming back to read it. As an encouragement that He has mapped out and planned every detail of my life, making me into who He has called me to be, but also as a reminder. A reminder that His ways are higher, His plans are greater, He knows all things and every perfect timing.
I’m reminded of a verse in Isaiah 55 that so often we read when things are going good for us and we celebrate the verse, tweet/Facebook/Instagram it but when times are rocky we often forget it.

- Isaiah 55:8- “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

Recently a guy in my Church wrote a song and one of the lines says “I now confess that your ways are higher than mine” - every time I sing this line I am hit with that exact truth. His thoughts and ways are so much bigger than anything I could even comprehend.
I then read Psalm 139 that says:
- “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!”

The dictionary definition of precious is -

• an object, substance, or resource of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.

• something greatly loved or treasured by someone.

I want God’s thoughts to be so precious to me. Can you imagine how different our lives would be if we could honestly hand on heart say that we trust God always and believe everything his word says about us, our future, our families - despite what circumstances we are facing?

The reality is that when times get tough it is harder for us to believe those things. I love that God already knew that and so filled His word with scriptures that simply say “When we are faithless - He remains faithful…”

My challenge to myself and to anyone who finds themselves reading this, is let’s be people who constantly strive to make Gods thoughts PRECIOUS to us. To hold on to them, to lock them away in our hearts.

“I will walk in your word over me” - Wide Open Space. Life Worship.

It’s so easy to read the word, speak the word and listen to the word, but often the greatest impact we have from the word, is when we walk.it.out.

I choose today to walk in His word over me. I choose to be a person, that even when I don’t feel like it, clings to what He has written about me. To confess daily that He is Lord, sovereign and ruler over all; but also to be a person who’s real and honest, that is not ashamed or afraid to admit when believing Gods word is a struggle. I never want to be a fake smiley Christian and I love that God doesn’t care for that either. He wants to be my friend and someone who I can be honest with- in all situations, whatever i am going through.

Today my prayer is that for you also - the person reading this. I pray that this small encouragement will help you in some way or another as it has helped me. Whether that be a realisation that you need to relax and let God handle whatever you’re facing, or simply just a reminder that He is a faithful God and above all things. I pray you are blessed today and that this brings you a peace and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Likes

Comments

As I sat down this afternoon, I opened my Bible and asked God to speak to me.
I find it hard sometimes to straight away know and explain how I’m feeling. It often takes me a few days to chill out, breathe and figure out what’s going on in my head.
Today God gave me a fresh revelation.
I wasn’t feeling down or low as such, I wasn’t feeling confused necessarily, I just needed head clarity and a reminding of His word and promise over my life.

I’m very much currently in a period of questioning, mostly my questions sound like “what next God” … In my head I know what I want, but I also know I want it to align with what God wants for me also. Most of the time I’m totally calm in the ‘don’t know’, but very occasionally my human emotions get the better of me and for a few moments I feel flooded with uncertainty and most definitely, impatience.

This afternoon as I was praying I felt God lead me to Psalm 29:10-11.

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood”
I could have stopped reading right there. As I read those words out loud I felt a peace fall over me.
The verse continues on to say-
“The Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace”.

I felt suddenly challenged - when things are going good for me, I praise God, but when things aren’t so great, I don’t give Him as much praise.
Countless times I’ve heard preachers say “praise before the miracle” and I’ve always thought it to be a great idea, but never done it myself. Today that statement became so real to me. Am I thanking God in advance for what He is going to do?

Psalm 30:6-7 says - “When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” Lord when you favoured me, your made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face I was dismayed.“
How true that is. Why is it that when life is good we can’t give God enough recognition and praise; but when the floods of life come, we seem to go quiet and forget all the other times He has stepped in and brought us through. I want a praise and a worship and a life that says if God does nothing else for me, for the rest of my life, then still I will choose to worship Him. I still choose to worship and be thankful for everything He has ever done for me, including the greatest thing of all, choosing death on a cross.

God then gave me a picture of being back in school. I was sat in my PE teachers office, serving a detention and repeatedly writing out 100 times the phrase "I will attend all PE lessons and I will bring my PE kit to school.”
Although this was a punishment for disobeying the rules, it was also meant to help me drum into my very core this statement, believe it and hopefully change my ways.

I’d like to say that from that day on I attended every PE lesson and always brought my kit in, but I would be lying. I had no interest whatsoever in physical education and I had lost my PE kit back in year 7 and now being in year 11 and writing these lines, I thought it pointless to attain another kit, as I was leaving school soon anyway.
… But this being beside the point, this afternoon I felt a conviction and a challenge that this is what I should be doing with scripture. Verses such as Psalm 29:10 - ‘The Lord sits enthroned forever’, Romans 8:28 - 'He works ALL things together for those who love Him’, Joshua 23:14 - 'not one good thing that the Lord has promised you has failed so why would He fail you now’ and so many other promises … I’m not necessarily saying I have to write them out over and over again; but I need to be repeatedly reading and reminding myself of them, so that they sink into my very core, so I believe in them wholeheartedly and so that I live in a confidence of who my God is, who I am in Him and what He can do for me.

Today I was reminded that He is a good good father, His promise is sure, He is for me and not against me, I already have the victory and I am loved with the greatest love of all.

I remain confident of this: I WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.“ (Psalm 27:13-14)

Likes

Comments

Kindness. It’s not a gesture, it’s a lifestyle.

Proverbs 31:26 says “She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue”.

Kindness should be built into our very core. When we open our mouth, is the teaching of kindness on our tongue?
It’s a Godly principle but also a Biblical commandment.

Ephesians 4:32 - “Be kind to one another and tenderhearted”.
Galatians 6:10 - “So then as we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone”.

A verse that has challenged me recently is found in Luke 6:45-
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored in his heart, an evil man brings out evil things from the evil stored in his heart.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of”.

Question: What is your heart full of?

What we store up in our hearts, determines our every day responses to the challenges we face and the people we meet along the way.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the analogy of the lemon at some point in our lives:
When you squeeze a lemon you get lemon juice. When you squeeze an orange you get orange juice…
This is the same with us as humans; when we are ‘squeezed’ under pressure, what’s stored inside, will come out.

So I ask again, what is your heart full of? … Kindness?

A year or so ago I was faced with a situation and a choice. To choose kindness and respond with it, or to allow the negative environment I found myself in to get inside me and determine the way I looked at my circumstance.
To respond to someone I didn’t get on with, who wasn’t the nicest of people and if I’m honest, I tried most of the time to avoid them or any room that they were in…
I was sat in my room one evening, listening to music and I heard God ask me to give this person a gift.

Sorry, but what?!

After attempting to try and explain to God how this person didn’t deserve a gift; they spent most of their days ignoring, talking about and spreading rumours around about me.. I eventually gave in. I swallowed my pride and the very next day found myself handing over free tickets to an event.

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless” - Mother Teresa.

I cannot begin to try and explain how the atmosphere in the room changed that day. It was such a weird, yet powerful moment as I felt a wall break down between us and a weight of awkwardness lift…

As I turned to walk back down the corridor, leaving behind me a girl who was now clutching 2 tickets and looking quite bewildered by the whole thing, I heard a voice whisper to me “Naomi, isn’t this situation such a perfect picture of Jesus”.

I paused right where I was. What a picture of Jesus.
I am so undeserving of His grace, His love, His gifts and His blessings, yet He still bestows them all upon me.
No trying to argue or prove I am not worthy enough to receive them.
He decided that just by me being me, I was worth it, so He gave the ultimate gift.
His life; for mine, so that I may live.

I stand even now in absolute awe that My saviour would do that for me, despite my unworthiness to receive.
May we never lose the wonder of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

That day challenged my spirit, do I allow the negativity around me determine my actions or do I choose to be set apart and respond with a heart full of kindness?

Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.
We are called to be different. In a world that couldn’t care less, let’s be people who couldn’t care more.

Let’s be kind.

Likes

Comments

What is faith?

The bible tells us in Hebrews 11:1 that ‘faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see….

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” - Martin Luther King.

A couple of years ago my youth team met to discuss and plan the next term of our youth group.
At the end of the meeting we split off into groups of boy and girls to pray over one another.
In the girls group we got ourselves into a circle and one by one stood in the middle to be prayed over.
As we were praying I felt God speaking to me and showing me a picture…
In the picture I was stood at the bottom of an escalator in a shop, I was watching the stairs come out of the ground and rise to the top floor.
It was then I heard Gods voice say to me “Naomi I want you to step up, I want you to get on to the escalator and watch me take you to higher levels…”

I felt God also say that the longer I stand at the bottom and stare at the steps coming out of the ground and go past me it’s a missed opportunity.

I shared my word with the group and each girl looked back at me and nodded in agreement to what I had said because the amazing thing is God wants everyone of us to step up and out- to trust Him on the incredible adventure he has laid out for us.

In Matthew we read the story of Peter walking on water:
28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

29-30 Jesus said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”

31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

32-33 The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”


Peter had faith in Jesus’ voice and instruction and stepped out of the boat. He had faith that he wouldn’t sink.
However we also read here that doubt and fear crept into Peter’s heart and head as he suddenly realised what he had done, but ‘Jesus reached down and grabbed his hand’.
Stepping out on Gods calling is a scary place, and doubt and fear and insecurities can sometimes take over your calling but the bible says you are called for SUCH A TIME AS THIS…

Ephesians 1:4-6:
“Long ago before he made the world, God chose me to be his very own through what Christ would do for me; He destined me then to make me holy in His eyes, without a single fault- I stand before Him, covered in his love”.

Have confidence in your calling.


I love the lyrics in the song ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong United..

“You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail”
God has called me to “impossible” places where he makes ALL things possible.
The lesson for us to to never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
He is there to pick you up when you fall down, to lift your head when you feel like giving up and to cheer you on at every hurdle.

It’s a challenge you have the decision to accept, I have chosen to take a step up and have seen some incredible things so far but I know that God isn’t finished with me yet and he doesn’t want me to step up once and let the stairs carry me he wants me to continue stepping up, to continually reach out for his hand and look to his plan.

My prayer is simply;
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you may call me” (Oceans - Hillsong United)

For when I step up, God steps in.

Likes

Comments

Peace.

“Let the peace of God which transcends all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:7.

It certainly is transcending my understanding, I can’t shake it off so I’m gunna let it sit there.
Reflecting on the last 4 months of my life; I have spent it getting to know the Prince of Peace.
Such a trust, hope and foundation in Him and yet completely confused as to why.
It’s such a strange feeling, really hard to describe. So many agendas, so many deadlines to hit, so much head thinking to be done, yet such a calm, such an overwhelming peace in my heart.

So I’m currently sat in the middle of my bedroom floor with a Bethel album on, praying, chatting to God about certain things, things I need in particular. I turn my head to one side and hanging by my mirror is my baptism verse:

“TRUST God from the bottom of your heart. Don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for Gods voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track”. Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)

That’s where I am. I fully hand on heart can sit here and say I really do trust God from the BOTTOM of my heart.

I often use music for ministering to myself and I usually find myself putting an album on when I don’t really know what to say, pray or even how I feel. Music lifts my spirits, it gives me fresh thinking and helps me to understand where I am at in my head.
There is so many lyrics currently flying around my head today about how I feel right now. This song in particular has caught me this morning, I can’t count the amount of times I may have repeated it today, apologies to my beautiful housemates probably sat downstairs tolerating this, I love you both dearly.

Bethel - Nearness.

I stand with so many questions
But You know all of the answers
And whether this side of Heaven
I know that You are the Healer

And my heart will stay steadfast
I know that You are good
And my heart will stay steadfast
I know that You are good

[Chorus:]
Comforter You are to me
Shelter from the cold
Constant how You carry me
Never letting go
You are with me

Your voice holds me together
When I feel like I’m falling apart
I place my world in Your hands
You come and steady my heart

I feel you in the stillness
I know that You are good
I feel you in the stillness
I know that You are good

-

I fully know I am sat in the will and purpose of where God wants me to be. I know I waited 5 years for this, frustrating myself, wanting to get there quicker and experience how good it was going to be, but also knowing God had a right time and place for me. This is it, this is now.

I have only 6 months until I graduate here at College and I have no agenda, no idea where I am going in my life, I know I have desires and dreams and I fully believe God has dropped these into my heart for a purpose, what that is I don’t know, but yet I am so incredibly content in the unknown.

In September God gave me the verse Psalm 45:10 -
“Now listen, daughter, don’t miss a word: forget your country, put your home behind you. BE HERE —the king is wild for you".

I don’t need to know all these things, I am completely comfortable sitting in the unknown, sitting with my hands and heart open and completely being HERE.
Right where He wants to grow me, develop me, show me dreams and visions and take me to greater heights.
I have completely planted myself in a place which to many looks like uncertainty, but I see at it as a place of opportunity. Being totally secure and okay with taking hold of whatever God places in my hands, going wherever in the world He wants to take me, knowing fully that He wants me to soar.

Today I realised how much over the last 4 months I have encountered the Prince of Peace. I have realised how content I am about everything, knowing that whatever happens, He works all things together for my good.
God I trust you from the bottom of my heart. I know your plans for me are good and that you are eternally with me.
When I have days where I feel weak I know that right there your strength is made perfect. When I hit times of battle I know that your name is higher and greater than anything I face.

Kingdoms come and kingdoms fade,
But always you remain.
Ages pass and seasons change,
But always You remain the same. -(Bethel - Who can compare to you)


Isaiah 26:3 - “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you”.

Isaiah 54:10 - “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.”

Thank you Jesus.

Likes

Comments

I've felt extremely passionate and compelled to write about this subject recently. One, because it’s something I have had to and continue to battle with and two, because I see others battling it on a daily basis also.
The battle of being misunderstood.

Being misunderstood has led me to misunderstanding myself, therefore screwing with the already present battle of identity we face as humans. Who am I? Why am I the way I am? Why do I feel strongly about this and that? Why am I different from everyone else? Why do people get offended every time I open my mouth?

Ever heard yourself asking these questions?

In all honesty I have asked myself at least one of these questions pretty much every day since I can remember.
To misunderstand means “to fail to interpret or understand the words or actions of someone correctly” … When we fail to interpret or understand what someone is saying, we paint a picture in our heads of who that person is and receive everything they say from that moment on, through the filter of what we first misunderstood.
What a screwed up world we live in, that because of our lack of understanding and willingness to give people a chance, we suppress them to not wanting to try.
For this reason people close off from being the real them.

Here’s some personal experiences of where I have had to battle with being misunderstood and continue to do so:

1. I’m opinionated. I will have a opinion about most things, as does everyone, but I am a person that if I feel the moment is right, I will probably voice that opinion. Sure, it sometimes gets me in trouble, but I would much rather have someone come and tell me I should have kept quiet, than spend a week dwelling on the fact I never shared it.

2. I love people. A lot. If you are within my friendship circle I would hope that I invest into you with my time, friendship, jokes, incredibly random gifts, kind words and love. My friendships are not gender specific, I don’t get on with girls more than guys and I don’t get on with guys more than girls. I have a balanced love and tolerance of the both. (Side note: my tolerance level does decrease, there will be times where I don’t love people and need a day to introvert and recharge. I’m cool with that and my close friends know it - the beauty of friendship is you don’t get offended when your friend says “go away”, you just KNOW they need refuelling).

3. I’m loud. Yes I know I’m loud, I have a loud voice, I do not need a microphone when I’m singing, I get it. I can lower the tone of my voice, I can pull away from the microphone when singing, it doesn’t always help. People still seem to have issues with it, I do too, so please don’t worry about it - I have asked God multiple times why the tone of my voice, despite my efforts, seems to carry further than others.

So here is those 3 things spoken to me, that created those misunderstood experiences and here is the effect they had:

“You’re too opinionated” - So I shut down. I didn’t share.

“You’re too involved with him/her, people might get the wrong idea” - So I shut off. I didn’t love or let people close.

“You’re too loud, it won’t allow others to feel they can speak” - So I shut up. I didn’t use my voice.

(I shared those 3 because I know someone reading this will have definitely have heard them too - they’re not uncommon!!)

Here’s what I discovered:
I am now living my life walking on egg shells, trying not to offend, upset or hurt anyone’s feelings, for the fear of being misunderstood. I am holding back all my talent, love and opinions, as to not upset the status quo. I am hiding any other potential qualities of mine because I don’t want people to think I am trying to be better than them. And I am walking around life, dodging opportunities and just existing; doing my jobs that need to be done and having no impact on the world whatsoever. All this while I tentatively watch and admire others living these amazing, confidence-filled and beautiful lifestyles and wishing I could be like that some day.

Here’s what I learnt and am still learning:
What kind of life is that that I am living? Certainly not the one Jesus died for me to have.

I have a voice to be heard.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have an opinion to be shared.
“Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your inner voice.” - Steve Jobs.

I should love people so radically that others don’t understand. What would Jesus have done? Would Jesus of held back in loving and spending time with people because others misunderstood his actions?
“Loving people the way Jesus did means a life of being constantly misunderstood.” - Bob Goff.

Galatians 5:1 - It’s was for FREEDOM that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

This includes the slavery of fear, the fear of mans opinion, the fear that if I say or do that thing I will have to explain myself - that’s not what Jesus died for me to live under.
I can’t stress enough how fired up I get about this kind of thing. I’m getting passionate and about ready to preach in the coffee shop I’m currently sat in typing this. I hate seeing people hold back and be quiet because they don’t want to offend or upset the status quo. The sad reality is that I do exactly the same - often times, I want the best for other people, so I push them forward into opportunities and hope they soar… Yet I hold back, because I feel what I could bring will offend. What a twisted way to live. It’s something I’m working on, I promise.

In my year at Bible College an amazing leader took me aside one day and said “Naomi, you have an insecurity of intimidation. You hold back because you are scared that if you bring something to the table, people will think you are being cocky and they will be offended by your actions. Well the reality is, they probably will, but that is their issue and not yours. Stop holding back.”
I spent the afternoon bawling my eyes out and ringing my mum for emotional support. He was so right and what he said slapped me straight across the face.
How did he know? … Was it written on my forehead? … Had he read my diary?

I’ve been dwelling on that thought ever since, I get emotional every time I think about it, because a lot of the time I still feel trapped up in that insecurity and like he saw in me that day, I can so clearly see others fighting that same fight.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
- NELSON MANDELA.

This quote accurately sums up my feelings and what I am passionate about. A voice and a chance for people to feel listened to and understood, an opportunity for people to live out their God given destiny.

“We are ALL meant to shine. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.”

Liberation brings liberation.
See, the trouble is we preach to people to be bold and bright and shine and yet when they try or even ask for an opportunity we freak out, get offended and shut them back down. We are a creation that is afraid of change.

Many years ago a mentor of mine said to me - “Without change, nothing changes” and that statement changed my life forever. It changed my thinking, shaped my actions and forever left me with this quote tattooed in my head and on my heart. Unless we allow change, how can we expect anything different? If we don’t give people permission or access to an opportunity, however great or small, how can we expect them to shine their brightest?
Yes, change is SCARY, but change is GOOD.
It causes a moment of risk and vulnerability but vulnerability is often the birthplace of something new and something beautiful.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world … If I make you light bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand - Shine!”
Matthew 5:14

I’m passionate about people seeing someone’s heart behind their motive, before they jump to conclusions based on what they themselves have failed to understand.
I’m passionate about seeing people not suppressing other people’s light, people that don’t hinder other people’s giftings, because it’s different to what they currently know.
I’m passionate about everyone being given an opportunity to share and express what God has put in their heart.
I’m passionate about loving people radically.
I’m passionate about people having their opinions listened to and their voice heard.
I’m passionate about that freedom that Christ died to give us.

And lastly, I am passionate about people understanding that sometimes their stepping out will be completely misunderstood, but yet they choose to do it anyway.

One thing I know from experience is that trying to explain yourself all the time is exhausting - people only understand from their level of perception.
People who know your heart will never question your actions.

Likes

Comments