How to Stay Positive, Even When You Don’t Feel Like it

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What do you find it easier to do: Count your blessings; or count your failures? Count the things that you have done, or count the things you haven’t?

I know which one is easier for me.

I guess I’m good at complaining. My husband tells me, in his American accent, that it’s a British thing.

Maybe it is, I’m not sure though.

All I know, is that I find it easy to complain. Whether it’s about the weather, work, or where I’m living: I find it much easier to notice what has gone wrong than what has gone right. Continue reading

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Living with Uncertainty

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Although I have barely any understanding of politics, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the last month or so has been a pretty uncertain time. Britain left the EU and the whole countries leadership has completely changed.

Now my generation are more worried than ever about holding onto a job and ever being able to afford to buy a house. This is probably a period of history our grandkids will be learning about for their GCSE’s!

The last month or so has been pretty uncertain for Joe and I as well. We have had to leave our flat, and live with various members of our families. Because of this I have had to leave my job, and I haven’t been able to find a new one yet! I have no idea where we will be living or what I will be doing a couple of months from now, let alone a whole year from now.

We are pretty unsure what the future will hold for us. But despite, at times over the last month or so, not knowing where we will be sleeping that night, I have seen God’s provision.

It’s so easy for me to forget all that he has provided for me in the past. How he has always provided me with a job when I have needed it, friends, and a place to live.

Deep down, despite my little worries, despite the tears I have cried and the anger I have felt I know that he will keep on providing for us. I know that he has a plan for our lives.

It’s so easy for us to worry about our futures, especially when we hear words like recession and university fees and house prices being repeated all the time. It’s easy to forget that God is in control. It’s easy to forget how much he has blessed us and how much he is still blessing us and how well off we truly are.

Despite all the changes that are going on around us there is one thing we know for certain. That God is with us and he loves us and that he will never change.

The Best is Yet to Come

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When I was  a teenager, I remember teachers telling us all to make the most of our school days. “These are the best years of your life,” they would say. It used to scare me, that life wouldn’t get better than trying to use a cocktail of at least five different spot creams (and sometimes tooth paste) to get rid of acne, and not being old enough to wear contacts. Was the school where even girls were forced to wear a blazer and tie really as good as it got?

These days it worries me, that for some people, life truly peaked at fifteen. Probably before they met the love of their life and started a family. Before they had very much to opportunity to achieve very much. When most of there life, from what they wore to where the spent there time to what they ate was dictated to them. These were the best years of their life? I honestly feel sorry for people like this.

Sure, now as an adult, I have to pay bills, I have go to work, I have other responsibilities. But I don’t see these as set backs, I see these as part of the adventure.

The whole world is open to me, I could completely change career, or move to the other side of the world.

Life is an adventure. God wants it to be that way. Believe it or not he actually wants us to have fun. He actually wants us to achieve things. He wants us to make a difference in this world, he wants us to truly live life.

No matter how old we are, if we let God take control of our life the best is yet to come

He has so much more for us  adventure, more blessing, more of him to know, and more LIFE.

There is so much more. More than we can ever know or imagine, more in this life, and more in the next.

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Shiny Girls

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I have a name for those girls who always look perfect. You know the kind, perfect hair, perfect make-up, perfect nails, perfect clothes. Perfect houses and perfect families; perfect jobs and perfect friends. The kind of woman who gets approximately seven million likes every time they put a new picture on facebook!

I call them shiny girls, because everything about them somehow seems to glisten. And a little bit of me hates them, because I know I’m not one of them.

I’ll never be able to control my hair and whenever I try and put on eyeliner it ends up looking wonky! My home will never be a show home, I swear that mess just makes itself!

Somehow I feel as if I’ve failed because I can’t seem to reach their levels of perfection. The perfection that other women seem to attain so easily.

Deep down I know that all of this doesn’t  matter. I know that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But sometimes I let it matter. I find that I’m comparing myself with other women, without really realising it. And it makes me miserable.

I forget that I am loved. No matter what. No matter how shiny my hair is. I am loved by my maker. Someone who can make me shine brighter than any amount of  expensive clothes or make-up ever could.

I forget that these shiny girls aren’t perfect either. No matter how shiny they are, they still need a saviour. No matter how jealous I am, I still need to love them. Their outward perfection may be hiding a need to be loved for just who they are. They may be comparing themselves and still falling short.

They need this love just as much as me.

They need his love just as much as me.

He makes us beautiful. And the beauty that he gives shines out from the inside, and it lasts and it lasts.

 

 

The Storms will Still Come

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At first glance the parable of the wise and foolish builder seems so simple, so easy. I mean it’s just a nice story isn’t it, one we heard so many times in Sunday school,*  and one I think we like to keep just there, with the play-dough and felt tips:

If you know Jesus, your life we be good. If you don’t, it won’t; and when the storm comes your life will crumble around you.

The thing we forget though is that no matter where we build our house the storms will still come.

Jesus didn’t say build your house on the rock and I will create a special bubble which will surround your house. You will only ever see sunshine and rainbows- without the rain.

No, he said build your house on the rock and even though the storms come you will be protected.

It will still be a scary, even though you are in a secure house, you still hear the wind whistling through the gaps in the wall and the rain will still pounding above you. The windows might shake and a few tiles may fall of the roof. Even if you have to do some repairs after the storm you will still be safe.

We are not immune to storms, just because we are Christians. They will all ways come. Sometime they might batter us, sometimes it may feel like we can barely stand. But we will always be protected, and we will always come out of it the other side.

I think that sometimes we kid ourselves that we will still come out of the  storm okay without Jesus. Maybe we have been Christians for so long that we have forgotten what it is to not know Jesus: to live a life without him.

Maybe we have become so complacent in our faith that we have forgotten the Hell that Jesus has saved us from.

Maybe we think that it’s okay to just know about him. Maybe we think that we don’t really have to build our life on his law, especially the hard parts, that require just so much sacrifice. The thing is, knowing about Jesus isn’t the same as knowing him, as building our life on him.

Without him our life would be a mess. We would have no hope. When the hard times hit we would be in real trouble and ultimately our lives would be nothing but a pile of rubble.

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matt 7:24-27)

*And sang the song many, many, MANY times! – The rains came DOWN and the floods came UP!

How to be a positively good friend

 

Until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how much I moaned about things. After all, we all  do love a good moan, don’t we? It often seems to be something that connects us. A little moan about your boss with a colleague, and suddenly you’ve found a friend, or have you really?

A couple of weeks ago I decided to consciously think about what I was talking about, whether it was negative or positive. What I found out was a complete shock.  The amount of time I spent moaning was ridiculous. I moan literally all the time, the weather, the long quee in the supermarket, the traffic, how expensive absolutely everything is. (The first draft of this blog even had a huge moan about people who moan!) I must  be a right bore to be around.

But really, moaning and negativity can’t bring anything good in the long run. Since when has moaning ever made your boss nicer, or the weather brighter.

The thing is moaning doesn’t really do anyone any good, we jut think it does. It actually makes us feel more miserable. And everyone around us.

Instead, as Christians, we should be seeking to bring light into people’s lives. Instead of thinking about the negative things, think about all the ways he has blessed us, then bring those into conversations.

Because the truth is, if we are talking negative things, we must be thinking negative things.

Think about the amazing thinkgs that God has done for you. Praise him for having a job a family and friends, instead of just moaning about them.

After all, with all that he has done for me, it shouldn’t be too hard. Should it?

The Importance of Friendships

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It’s almost ten years since I left school. Since leaving I spent a year volunteering in London, a year working in Liverpool, three years studying in Bournemouth, a further three years working in St Helens, and have now been living a a different part of London for a little over a year with my new husband.

As you can imagine the last ten years have been filled with a lot of change, I have met an awful lot of people. But sometimes amidst all this moving it has been hard to make real, good friends.

When I was fourteen my family moved from Sheffield to Essex, I was not happy about this. I had loved the three years I had spent in Sheffield, I had great friends at church and school and didn’t want to give them up. After moving friendships were much harder to come by. Things did eventually change, but I had a difficult couple of years.

When I arrivied at bible college it was easy to make friends, everyone was in the same situation, and we all shared the same set of values; we had the most important thing in our lives in common. I shared three years of my life with the most amazing group of girls.

Unfortunately after that friendships seem a lot harder work. It takes a long time to get to really know people at church when you are only seeing them once or twice a week. And it feels hard to make the effort when you know you wont be staying in the area for long.

However friendships are important. God created us to have relationships with others. And it is worth it, no matter how hard it feels.

I know I have often felt let down in firendships, like I’m putting in all the effort, the one that is awlays calling, or making arrangements to meet up. But it’s worth it Even if the friendships don’t last a lifetime.

I remember my Nana telling me that we have friends for a reason; friends for a season; and friends for life. Even if these friendships don’t last forever they are worth the effort.

I think of all the people I have counted friends throughout my life and the te way they have helped me grow my faith and encouraged me.

Even if I no longer speak to them I am thankful for them.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up. (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10)