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.

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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.

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"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.”

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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