Try harder. Do better. Don’t be so stupid.
These are the words I tell myself.
Over and over again every single day.
I don’t know about you, but often it feels like I’m about three steps behind every one else, just trying to play catch up.
But on top of that I can also be lazy, I know I could try better. (I think most of us do.) So we try to criticize and nag ourselves into submission, and only end up feeling about a hundred times worse.
Stop worrying, Care less. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
This is the advise should take.
These words sound like good advise, don’t they? At least, they’re definitely words that I need to hear! But, in my experience, they’re definitely a lot harder to put into practice.
I mean, how are we supposed to stop worrying when there is just so much stuff to worry about? Sometimes I start to relax, and then I remember that there is just so much that I need to be stressed about, that I make myself start worrying again!
I know I shouldn’t compare, but when other people’s lives are so much better how can I not. And anyway, if I didn’t compare, how else would I know just how badly I was failing.
We can try and try and take this advise, but unfortunately, on our own, it’s simply impossible advice.
You’re chosen. You’re loved. You don’t need to worry.
This is what I really need to know.
If we don’t understand that we are chosen, and truly loved. We are never going to be able to take that advice. We will never be able to relax and just be.
The only way to break free from worry is to know the peace that we have in the knowledge that it’s all in God’s hands.
The only way we can let go of comparison and feel like we are enough is in knowing just how much God loves us.
We could never work hard enough or be good enough to make God love us. Instead he freely chooses to, just as we are.
Most of the time we spend most of the time worried about what we need to do, or worrying about what we didn’t do.
One foot in the past and one in the future and our head full of worry and confusion.
The sick thoughts of mistakes and what ifs, the questions for tomorrow and the fears for the future take over and we forget to actually live today.
Right now. This moment. You can take your mind of the worry and you can find peace. Continue reading
It’s almost impossible to put into words the greatness of what Jesus did for us on that first Good Friday. I know that I definitely am unable to do it justice. However I start to explain it, it somehow feels weak in comparison to the power of what Jesus has done for us.
As I was reading about Jesus crucifixion, one of the things that struck me were the actions of some of the disciples leading up to it. A lot of people had a lot to feel guilty that day, not only Judas, but the other disciples as well.
Peter had a lot to regret, not only had he denied knowing Jesus. He had also fallen asleep, along with James and John, when he was supposed to be watching over him.
Imagine how the three of them must have felt, when just a short while later, Judas approached to have Jesus arrested. This was the last chance they had to spend time with Jesus, before his death, and they had just blown it!
Imagine how they must have felt when he was sent to be crucified, knowing the suffering that he was going through, and realising they didn’t take their last opportunity to support him.
Imagine how they must have felt as he was dying, realising just how badly they had let him down.
Looking at the cross, it’s sometimes hard to remember that we share in that same guilt. That it’s our sin that put Jesus on the cross. Like the disciples, we have taken our eyes off Jesus, we have been selfish and we haven’t trusted him when we should have.
When we look at the cross this Good Friday it should convict us, we should feel guilty about the things that we have done. If we don’t feel this way, our faith must be very shallow indeed. After all Jesus took the punishment that we deserved to endure, and that is not fair.
But Jesus did it because he loves us.
We should take time to reflect on our guilt and shame, because without it, the cross is meaningless. Without it we would never be able to understand just how much Jesus loves us.
We shouldn’t stay in that place of guilt though. We have been forgiven from all the things we have done to put Jesus on the cross. We can open our hands and let go of them. The disciples were given another chance when Jesus came back to life again. And so are we.
We all think that we are better than someone. We just might not realise it.
Maybe it’s that person who you work with, who seems to do everything so slowly, and then takes extended lunch breaks!
Maybe it’s that lady you know who has a baby, yet abandons it to go out partying every other weekend. Continue reading
I can remember one evening when I was about thirteen years old: playing about with some make-up when no one else was watching. I was surprised when I looked in the mirror and realised that the face that was looking back at me was actually quite beautiful! I was so used to seeing something ordinary: too thick hair; a genetic disposition to blackheads and spots (thanks dad!) and glasses long before they were considered trendy; that I was shocked and embarrassed to actually think of myself as pretty. I so felt guilty that I quickly washed off all the make up before anyone could see me.
I guess that I didn’t believe I could hold onto that identity of being pretty, that even when it seemed it might apply to me I was quick to rip it off again.
I was so used to my slightly geeky identity, that I simply couldn’t take hold of a new one.
Christ has given us all new identities. The problem is sometimes we hold on so tightly to our old ones, that we can’t take hold of the new ones.
One of the new identities Christ has given us is BEAUTIFUL: We are the apple of his eye, we are his perfect bride (and who would dare call a bride ugly!) and we are more precious than the most beautiful jewels. This is true whether it feels it or not. And I know that especially for women it will more often feel like not. But the great thing about what God says about us is that it IS true, no matter how it feels. No matter how hard it feels we can let go of our striving for beauty and worth and we can hold on to our true identity as a beautiful child of God.
Another of the identities that we can struggle to hold onto is that we are CHOSEN: God has chosen us. I know this can be hard to take hold of, if you were always the last one picked in PE, or someone who struggles to attract anyones attention. Christ chose you, not because he had to, but because he wanted to.
Christ has also given us the identity of LOVED: have you ever noticed how a shy woman can become confident when she knows she is loved? Or how an awkward child can transform when they know you care about them? Christ has loved you so much that he died for you. You can hold onto the label of loved, you can take this one and staple it onto your forehead or tattoo it onto your arm; because Christ has told you that you are loved.
The final label that I want to focus on is that you are FREE. The opposite of freedom is fear. And so many of us are still living in fear. Even though we have been set free. We have been set free. There is no captive, in their right mind, who would choose to return to their chains, once they have been set free. Christ has set you free, don’t tie yourself back up in those chains again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! (1 Corinthians 5:17)