*new blog series*

Week thirty six – ‘an update’

I thought it was about time that I just jotted down some updates from the study side of things, seeing as that was essentially what this experiment was for!

We’re in week …uh, 7? I think? Haha! It’s all been bit of a whirlwind this semester so far, what with new subjects and a new job! A good whirlwind though I guess you could say.

The subjects are interesting with great content, but one of the lecturers is a tad average. Not a great command of editing their own work for grammatical errors, which makes it really hard to get into. However, taking only 2 subjects was a GREAT idea! I feel much less stressed with the studies and can actually see myself keeping on top of for the rest of the semester…hopefully!

So far so good – somewhat demotivated at the best of times, but I think that’s just because I’m loving my new job and wanting to do that all the time! Haha

Anyway, that’s my brief update about this years current study sitch!!
Happy Monday all!

Ps: today is my 2nd wedding anniversary!! Maybe that has something to do with me not wanting to do homework too…! Hehe

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brain farts

Attitude adjustment

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Recently, God has placed a few things on my heart and in my mind to help me each day and the Holy Spirit has been journeying with me as I try to implement them. I wanted to share these growth moments and also keep a record for myself. There are days when I feel darker than others and these things can help to draw me up and pull me closer to his heart.

The first one is the notion of

Choosing joy

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Each day, in every moment where I find myself making conscious decisions, I want to choose joy. I want to actively be seeking ways to be thankful, bring praise to His name and be upbeat because I am naturally a glass-half-empty person. So actually thinking those words helps me to stop, suck in some fresh air, calm down and seek to find the positive in whatever I am doing.

The second is a phrase:

Don’t even worry about it!

(Said with a really upbeat, nonchalant tone of voice!) This is me constantly telling myself to relax. Let God guide. He is in control. Nothing matters nearly as much as you think it does. If I start to feel my anxiety rise, my stress peak or my anger flair – I think these words to myself and I try to remember verses like Philippians 4:6-7…

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And the second part of Jude1:2…

?..Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!

Nothing I face in my day to day living is out if the realm of God’s majestic help. Nothing, so why am I such a stress head?! Because I have let it take a hold, and I am choosing – in joy – to loosen its grip on my mind and heart and not even worry about it!

And finally, I have discovered a brilliant list of verses to help soothe and anxious heart which help to choose joy each day and in every situation and to not worry about those situations as much as I do. You can find that list here and a big thank you to the Unveiled Wife community for that one! I have it bookmarked on my Safari app as well as pinned to my home screen on my phone for easy access! I love being able to tap it an scroll through the verses, letting God speak to me.

There you have it – my attempts at an attitude adjustment! One step at a time, I’m learning to loosen my steely grip on this gift of life, give it back to The Lord and bask in His beauty.

(images courtesy of Pinterest)

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*new blog series*

Week thirty five – ‘selfie time’

Narcism: inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity. (Dictionary app)
Does this definition apply to anything I put up on social media? You betcha! There are often things uploaded to Instagram or Facebook that I look at later and think ‘hmmm…’ But for the most part, I try to keep my social media feeds as places for encouragement, support, humour and things that God places on my heart. Social media is such an amazing tool when used effectively and I think that it holds so much more untapped potential…but it is also filled with a whole lot of narcissistic garbage too.

Have you seen the ‘no make up selfies’ floating around lately, the ones that are meant to raise awareness for breast cancer? A handful of these are an excellent example of the brilliant effectiveness of social media platforms for bringing about change in our cultures…but the other handful of these are unfortunately excuses for people get their narcissism on. Especially when there is no donation to or mention of a breast cancer foundation. Posting a selfie on social media does nothing to aid in the fight against breast cancer. It’s one thing to know it exists, it’s another to take action.

My great grandma lost her fight against breast cancer. My grandma won hers’. I didn’t know a great deal about breast cancer until my grandma was diagnosed with it…and I still don’t know enough to be a credible source on it. This blog is purely my own opinion…and I’m using a form of social media to express it because it’s on my heart. I want to ‘raise awareness’ of the ‘raise awareness traps’ that float around in the Cloud. Clocking ‘like’ on things doesn’t mean you are a part of the solution, it only means you know it’s happening. Clicking ‘like’ and getting stuck into it, to whatever level you are able, makes you a part of that solution.

You can’t do everything. You can’t be involved in everything. You can’t donate money to everything. And you can’t pay proper attention to everything…but you can do something. Just one something. Two something’s. Be a part of the change in this world – even if you think your contribution is too small, someone somewhere will feel it.

So instead of just clicking ‘like’ next time or uploading a selfie because you’ve been tagged to do so…think about how you’re getting involved.

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*new blog series*

Week thirty four – ‘colourful’

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Over the weekend, I was blessed to be able to spend a few days at the Colour Conference in Sydney with some fellow chicks from my church family.

I was a bit dubious heading into the conference – partly because I felt like the conference was bad timing in terms if everything I have on my plate at the moment and partly because it’s run by Hillsong Sydney. There’s nothing overtly wrong with Hillsong, there are just some aspects of it that I personally wouldn’t agree with, and that’s just me.

But we arrived at the conference and I was pleasantly surprised at the program, the set-up, the speakers and the worship. Despite my dubious attitude, God still showed up for me and enabled me to learn something new, fellowship with thousands of other Christian women and worship His holy name. He softened my hard heart, opened my mind and warmed my soul to His teachings through strong and courageous women who delivered His Word.

I was honoured to get to know the two girls I’d travelled with a bit better as well as catch up with some of my hubby’s family who I hadn’t seen since we got married. It was a weekend filled with smiles, worship, teaching and all-round good things. I was even blown away – in a good way – by the projects that the Colour Sisterhood are involved in. The A21 campaign – which you can look at here – Dr Catherine Hamlin’s research in fistula surgery in Ethiopia – which you can look at here – and the Colour Sisterhood 500 Project which you can look at here too.

The Sisterhood opened the doors for us conference participants to be involved in these projects and campaigns by equipping us with the tools to get out there and get involved. It wasn’t

Give us your money and watch us do the work!

But more

What are you waiting for? Get involved!

Which I really appreciated! So, I went into this weekend with narrow eyes and had them opened instead. Only a big, loving and powerful God can do a number like that on such a stubborn heart!

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*new blog series*

Week thirty three – ‘Having a break’

Let me start by saying – I LIKE Facebook and I LIKE Instagram.

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However, this week I took a day off from these social media groups. In the last little while I have come to notice that I spend a great deal of time scrolling through these social interaction sites and apps rather than participating in the real world.

Now I’m not saying that I’m a recluse who lives in an online world. I’m not saying these sites and apps are bad for you and cause you to have a false sense of reality…but I AM saying that sometimes, I get so wrapped up in what’s happening in my news feed that I lose track of what’s happening in my life.

Do you ever find yourself scrolling…scrolling…refreshing and then scrolling some more…you hit ‘like’ a few times, you ‘comment’ a few times and maybe you even share something you think is cool. I do all the time and after a while, I realise that 40 minutes has gone by! Then 10 minutes later I think, well that was a while ago – lets see if there’s something new in the newsfeed and the cycle starts again and I lose another 40 minutes. These are the moments I’m talking about that make me feel uneasy about how much I use social media sites.

How useful is it to me to know that so-and-so had cereal for breakfast? Or that this person has gone to the gym or this other person feels bored at work? Not very…I can’t remember the last time that I rang up my friend just to tell her that the pizza I made for dinner was pretty awesome. I’ve never rung my Mum just to tell her that I found a big black spider in the bathroom and I’ve never emailed my friend overseas just to tell her that I bought a new teapot.

Sometimes I appreciate reading things like this because it’s funny or it’s cute, but for the most part these social media sites really hold a lot of mundane, unimportant and hardly significant information. Other times, there are really uplifting, encouraging or vibrant posts – Bible verses, awesome social movements happening, someone welcoming a new family into their home – but it can sometimes be outweighed by how much my eyes just scroll through the feed. Am I even paying attention to these more positive aspects of social media? Is trolling through what the world is doing at that moment worth it if I’m not actually picking up the good stuff too? I don’t know…

Which is why I took the day off. To see how I would feel and to literally just have a break from the digital world. And guess what? The digital world didn’t miss me and I didn’t really miss it either. I only had 1 Facebook message to read and 2 more significant notifications to look at. I didn’t feel the need to scroll right through the newsfeed and catch up on everything I missed seeing and I didn’t feel the need to update my status or upload a new picture.

When I took that day off from social media, I didn’t know what everyone else was up to unless they decided to send me a text message. I also didn’t use up my device battery life in half a day like I usually do which was a bonus! It was quite a liberating day, one that I had intended to fill with much more productive things (I was actually ill, so that didn’t happen quite as I had planned! Never mind).

Anyway, my time away from social media was an interesting experience. Even when I was overseas I managed to find wifi everywhere and still logon to everything. Ridiculous really seeing as I was overseas and should have been enjoying everything that I was experiencing! So it was a good to have a day here where I didn’t sit in the digital world, twiddling my thumbs, judging what others are up to and ignoring what is actually good and useful about it all.

If you’re feeling low and unsatisfied in your digital life – these people have more than me, that’s a nicer picture than mine or I wish I was healthy like her – maybe it’s time for a break. Step out of it, stay away and participate in this real world, the real gift that the Creator delivers to us each and every day. This world He has given us is here to be enjoyed, worked in and lived as a way of glorifying His name. Social media can be a great way of expressing your joy at what He has given you, but not before you express your joy to Him 🙂

brain farts

I’m a recovering people pleaser…is that ok?

I have a constant need to check in with people.
Is that ok?
I’m i doing that right?
Do you mind if I…?
I’m sorry that I…
Do you think…?
How would you…

I make almost everything I do, say or think revolve around other people. I’m a people pleaser. A big fat people pleaser. I am always worrying about what others think of me – what I’m wearing, what I’m doing, what I’m saying…and it’s very tiresome. To constantly be on high alert, looking for that second glance from someone, that approving smile or that down turned mouth of disapproval really takes it out of you. Rarely am I comfortable enough in a situation that I’m not stiff with apprehension to some degree over what someone might be thinking about me…and often in those situations I find myself with my foot sticking right out of my mouth in an attempt to make the situation more comfortable for me.

Silly me.

The only reason those situations are uncomfortable is because of me! I’m so wrapped up in thinking about what others think of me that I forget that the only opinion of me that really matters is God’s…and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t really mind whether I wear blue jeans or red jeans! I am constantly assessing other people thinking that they’re constantly assessing me…and to some extent, they might be. We’re all humans – we’re egotistical and judgemental. I can vouch for that myself…but if I’m worrying about what the people around me are thinking about me then I’m totally missing some real God moments with my Creator.

I miss being able to hear something He might be asking me to say to that person to my right or I might miss that thing He wants me to pray for, for that person on my left. Or I might even miss the ‘I love you’ that’s directed right at me because I’m so consumed with what so-and-so might think of my hair or my funny comment.

Sometimes I’m so concerned with making sure people are pleased with me that I say ‘yes’ to far too many different things and get myself in all kinds of binds because I’m afraid if I say ‘no’ or don’t offer to help or don’t stick my neck out for someone else then that someone else won’t like me anymore…but you know what? As I get older, I constantly learn and relearn this lesson: I can not be friends with everybody and I can not make everybody like me. Therefore, I can not please everyone either. That’s not my job here. My job is to fulfil the purposes God has for my life and to the best of my abilities, serve others.

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So as I carry on about my weeks, reeling myself in when I find myself getting carried away with the ‘what do they think of me?’ moments, I want to remind you as I remind myself right now who it is you are put on this earth to please.

God.

If we keep that in mind, hopefully one day we’ll get to hear Him say…..

Well done good and faithful servant…

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*new blog series*

Week thirty two – ‘Lent’

I was never a huge advocate for Lent. My experiences in high school made it out to be very dull, unrelational and something you just did because ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’.

However in the last little while I have come to learn a lot more about the tradition of Lent. I went to a Catholic high school and Lent was shoved down our throats – along with badly cooked pancakes on Pancake Tuesday – every year. We were made to attend Mass where we’d all receive an ash cross on our forehead by the bored looking Priest and be encouraged to give up our mobile phones, a favourite food or a television show for 40 days because, well – we assumed that was what Jesus did, right?

Wrong.

Lent is so much more than what my school tried to demonstrate. The youth pastor at my church posted the following courtesy of a J.Dickson via Facebook…is this more what Lent should be? I think so.

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Since my early exposure to this Christian tradition, I have begun to reexamine what I originally thought to be ‘ritual’ and out-dated or emotionless ‘tradition’. Lent is not ritual. Lent is not out-dated or emotionless tradition…well, unless you make it that way. And in high school – I did. Everyone did. We were too concerned with having to give up our favourite chocolate bar or go without watching ‘Friends’ for 40 days that Lent lost all meaning.

This year, I’m rekindling what Lent could mean for me. I’m taking a small step. I’m saying goodbye to chocolate and hello to more constant reminders to be in communion with the One who gave up His life for me.

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Lent can be what you make it, essentially…and isn’t that almost the opposite of a tradition or ritual? Have you considered reshaping your concept of this period of time and participating not out of habit but out of reverence for God, His Son and His love for you…?

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Lent starts today, March 5th. Join me 🙂