Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Things I Learnt at Spring Harvest

Last year at Spring Harvest the theme was all about becoming a man or woman of God, so grounded in faith that you’ll instinctively know God’s will and do it automatically in everyday life but especially in crisis situations were an instant action is required and there’s no time to go searching for a Bible or a Pastor/Preacher to advise you.
I think this was and is a great theme although I haven’t really got round to sharing it properly until now; maybe I didn’t feel the need as I heard it so many times during my two weeks that I almost took it for granted but anyways, it’s a great philosophy to live your life by so I thought I’d dedicate a little bit of this post to it now – better late than never, eh?

This Year at Springy they started a new series of talks and get-togethers for the often over-looked 18 to 30 age group. They had seminars during the day but I only made it to a couple of the evening events as I was busy with various other activities.

Two of the main things I learnt this year, about both God and myself, struck me during these evening sessions. The first was on my first day which was actually the second day of week 2 because I arrived late.

I’d been so caught up with all the practical difficulties of actually getting to Skegness and paying for the trip etc. that I’d managed to lose sight of why I was there in the first place. [Note to Self: IT’S ALL ABOUT GOD. Duh!]

Realistically we humans forget him all the time but it still baffles me as to how that’s even possible. I mean, he’s God. GOD! He’s everywhere; in every good thing in this world and more. This planet has its creator’s signature written all over it and yet we’re oblivious most of the time. Never has the phrase “can’t see the wood for the trees” been so apt… We ignore and sometimes even doubt the creator because we’re so busy enjoying or destroying the creation. Ironic really!

Anyway, back to the main point… the meeting had just started, one of the leaders went to pray and in that instant some tiny piece inside me just clicked – fell into place. I can only describe it as a blanket of calm falling around me.

As soon as I forgot about all the trivialities and turned my mind towards God I could just feel his presence so clearly. Needless to say, it was amazing!

I thought to myself “why aren’t God encounters always this easy?” but I already knew the answer. I knew it’s because I get so caught up that I rarely do take a moment out of the chaos and devote it to Him. It’s always the moments of boredom and/or loneliness that I think of him and trying to pray with that mind-set often leads no-where because I want to experience God for my own selfish reasons instead of spending time with Him just because I want to spend time with Him.
My point is, “wow” God encounters are simple to achieve but our motives should be right.

Just STOP – Be still and KNOW he is God. Phenomenal how such a simple truth can be so difficult to put into practice!

A couple of days later, at another evening session, we were asked to write on a piece of paper what we were scared of most. The idea was to rip up the piece of paper as a symbolic act of handing it over to God instead of letting it rule us anymore.

BUT…

I just sat there. Staring at the paper and couldn’t think of a thing to write.

I’ve often considered my life and I came to the conclusion some time ago that many, if not all, of my actions are ruled by fear. Mostly these fears are illogical phobias (as if there’s any other type) but for the task I wanted to put my finger, metaphorically speaking, on something tangible. I tried to think of a common link between all the fears to see if there was something deep in me that could help me make sense of why I always scared of something. I wanted to see if there was a root cause.

I know we weren’t supposed to think about it that much but I found it all very interesting and, ultimately, helpful. After about 20 minutes I came to the conclusion that I’m scared of things I never realised I was scared of and I’m not really scared of the things I thought I was.

My brain went through a process a little like this: “I’m scared of X because it causes Y and I’m actually more scared of Y. But I’m scared of Y because of Z and so Z is the root fear and therefore it’s the thing I need to deal with and not X. If I deal with Z then X and Y will deal with themselves”.

That probably didn’t make much sense to anyone except for me but, alas, it’s what I learnt. What did you learn?

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Anyway

I was struggling a couple of months back. I had people thinking the worst of me when, in my mind at least, I wasn’t doing any wrong. It was getting to me so much that the devil used it as an opportunity to tempt me. I was tempted to do what these people were saying I’d done. I was thinking ‘well if I’m being judged for it I might as well do it’ but in the middle of this, the poem below came to mind. I couldn’t remember exactly where I’d read it and I couldn’t find it at the time but the meaning behind it stayed with me and kept me from giving in to temptation. I got through the situation and came across the poem the other day so I thought I’d share – for I believe it’s a message worth sharing; worth adhering to too.

Anyway, by Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.