All posts by ThePerfectPiece

Just two twenty-somethings writing about faith and life. Check out our blog 'The Perfect Piece' and join our journey!

How I Swapped Anxiety For Patience


So we have made it to 2017, a year that sounded pretty futuristic when we were still in the early 2000’s and boy has a lot changed since then. We are now living in a time where a man with no political experience has been elected and inaugurated as president of the United States. I think 2016 there was a secret memo sent out telling people to say what they really mean, be public about how they truly feel, and now we are bearing the aftermath of that.

Somehow Britain has agreed to leave the EU and Americans have elected Trump while The rest of us have watched in a place somewhere between bemusement and horror. Has the world gone mad? Trump’s policies have clearly taken a veer down the alley of ‘what on Earth are you thinking’ and what has been truly surprising is the attitude of Christians to this pubic discrimination of muslims. I see Christian celebrities sharing stats of Christians that have been persecuted in predominantly Muslim countries which begs the question: Are we now in a holy war that justifies all this? I think not.

As an onlooker anxious about the future of planet Earth which I love so much, I have come to accept that this madness won’t be fixed in a day. This year, we, the church need to be prepared for action and to exhibit patience. 

How can we be patient when today is piling on anxiety for tomorrow?

Two questions that have plagued my mind this week. Where am I going and why am I I in such a rush to get there? Maybe it’s just me that has this problem but I’m always dodging in an out of people dragging their feet so I can commute in record time. I see the bus is over 10 minutes away so I’m ordering an Uber home. My most frequent destinations are home and work and at neither of those places will arriving 3 minutes earlier make a real difference. So why the rush?

We live in an instant world. Instant messaging, instant information and instant noodles. We therefore live in a state of constant impatience. The adverts have come on during a programme we’re watching so we switch the channel in search of a distraction while we wait for those gruelling 4 minutes until the show comes back from the break. We are constantly in search of something to fill any absences of entertainment with the biggest distraction being the mobile phone on which I type this post. If we aren’t scrolling through Instagram, twitter, Facebook, snapchat, what are we doing? We are constantly bored and constantly preoccupied usually with nothing of substance and definitely nothing life changing.

So what happens when we encounter a God who’s working off his own time scales where one day is like a thousand years and Donald Trump’s presidency seems to already have dragged on too long? How do we fit in the schedule of God who believes there’s a lesson to be learned in waiting. I think back to the Israelites in search of their God promised land on a journey that stretched from 40 days to 40 years. I think to Abraham that waited for his God promised child till he was 100 years old. Can you imagine that, waiting for a child when your wife is 90 and is far past child-bearing age? Biblical characters are real people like you and I, wondering when God is going to come through, trying to exert patience over their frustration.

I guess everyone has thrown patience to the wind in search of short cuts to getting rich, losing weight, finding the love of their lives, it has to be now because if not now when? The thought of that uncertain future where we have no control of ‘when’ is so alarming everyone is on a fast tracked route to happiness.

Unfortunately for us, God hasn’t jumped on our bandwagon. He isn’t a God of quick fixes and lessons skimmed. God is fully aware that the journey is just as important as the destination and likes to take the scenic route. So what does that mean for us? A process of him moulding us to be in his image, a process of learning what the Bible has to say and using God’s standard as our benchmark. Change is a p r o c e s s. We submit to Christ daily and we slowly become the new creation we have been promised when we give our lives to God. Leaders come and go but we need to show the love of Christ regardless of who is in power. That means loving your Muslim neighbour, continuing to send aid to war torn countries regardless of the religion of citizens and taking everything to God in prayer.

God is love, we need to be active in our pursuit of spreading love.

Love Dani x

5 Things I’m Grateful For

Image result for chin chin foodImage result for chicken wings

  1. Chin Chin and Chicken

For those who do not know, Chin Chin is one of the most popular snacks in West Africa – it is a savory snack and makes me so happy. I ate some yesterday and it filled me with immense joy – God bless the creator and God bless Tesco’s for exploiting every opportunity to keep ethnic minorities in their stores by ensuring we have an aisle all to ourselves.

 

  1. My car ride to work

I enjoy driving – perhaps because I remember where I was this time last year: carless and licenceless. My car is a reminder of my ability to overcome my fears, set goals and accomplish them. Each morning, while others grumble about having to remove ice from their windshields, I am almost always more than happy to do so, grateful that I have a car to remove ice from. During the car rides, I am able to speak to God about all the things I need from Him to get through the day. This time, often spent in silence, allows me to reflect upon the things that really matter.

 

  1. The things I get to see daily

We see God when we open the Bible. Yet, there are moments where we are privileged enough to see God in our day to day. Last week, I saw such kindness emitted from one of my students that I was brought to tears. I genuinely had to stop myself from crying. In that moment, I saw God; I saw what it meant to love others, to care about them and shield them from the harsh realities the world often thrusts upon us. Despite the student only being 12 years of age, they allowed me to see what it meant to be sacrificial and loving.

  1. Monday, Monday.

Of late, I have felt mostly melancholic. The desire to fight for my joy (no pun intended) has been tepid, at best. This is the first Monday in a long time that I have felt tired but not unhappy. I know that things are steadily improving (even though I might feel awful tomorrow).

 

  1. The desire to walk with God

My walk with God is more like a rollercoaster, full of highs and lows, unexpected turns and a secret desire to get off the ride and walk slowly, aimlessly, wherever. Yet, I have been determined to strive for God, diligently. Instead of having a vague desire coupled with an equally vague prayer, I have sought to figure out what striving for God looks like in practical actions. For me, it means listening to a sermon while I get ready for work, playing no music on the way to work so that I can pray and setting aside time, when I get to my desk, to read my devotionals. I’m a long way from where I could have been but I see changes. Through this time, I am slowly beginning to distinguish between what I know to be true and what I feel to be true. Even if I don’t feel loved, I know that I am. Even if I do not feel accepted, I know that I am. Appreciating the difference between ‘knowing’ and ‘feeling’ is changing my perception of my days, my thoughts and, most importantly, myself.

– I’m also searching for a Bible study so if you do go to a good one – hit me up!

Love,

J x

New Year, New Me?

 

 

 

Image result for 2016  2017

 

 

So we’ve arrived in 2017 – the most futuristic sounding year to date. A lot of people got so fed up with 2016 that they desperately awaited the new beginning that 2017 would bring. Here we finally are. Now what?

I have spent a lot of my (relatively short) life waiting for life to just hurry up and for the next phase to come already.

Starting out

I remember being in year 6 in primary school, looking forward to secondary school but half wishing I could fast forward taking the 11+ exam and waiting to see if my results were high enough to get me in to my first choice school. It’s funny because as soon as I arrived at secondary school all that hopeful expectation was replaced with the overwhelming pressure to make friends and find my place, and with all the older years telling me just how cute I looked. All that time wishing I could just ‘be here already’ and when the time finally came, I couldn’t wait to no longer be amongst the youngest. The wish to fast forward time and move up through the school had reared its head again.

Growing up

We leave school, then, there’s that weird in-between stage of College that feels like the longest and most character-defining two years of life. Before you know it, uni applications come and go, as do A level results. Suddenly, you’ve arrived at the pinnacle of your educational journey.

I don’t think a day went by in university when I didn’t wish I could just be in the world of work. If this has also been your journey, you’ll appreciate just how silly it was to think work would be an escape for university. I think back to those dreary days spent in the library and remember that they were wedged in between long breaks of 4 weeks at Christmas and up to 12 at summer. How could I have wanted to fast forward from a place in life where I had 12 hours a week contact time?!?! It’s beyond me.

Full on adult

So what’s next? There are no more educational milestones set out for me to reach, so have I just been content with enjoying the present day? Of course not. Suddenly the focus becomes life milestones-  good jobs, marriage, babies, maternity, deciding when to go back to work and retirement.

Like it or not there will always be a next phase to look forward to; it’s our decision whether or not we enjoy what the present day has to offer us. Alternatively, you can spend all of your life wishing you could fast-forward to the next stage and, before you know it, you’ll have completely wished your life away.

I don’t know what you’re looking forward to for this year. Whilst you’re praying for your goals for the year to come to fruition, don’t forget to enjoy wherever you are right in this moment. This year I commit to caring less about the destination and enjoying the journey.

Love lots,

Dani

 

For Those Who Took An L in 2016


I am a Twitter addict (don’t worry, I’m working on it, I’ll get clean – I promise) and there are few things I enjoy more (how sad!) than scrolling through my TL, viewing the opinions of others. 

With 2016 packing up its bags, the most reoccurring opinion, shared by thousands around the world, has been the acceptance that 2016 has been an L – a loss, a low; a year that needs to be buried and forgotten as soon as possible.

As with all things that become trendy, I’m sure there are some people who had an amazing year were just keen to stay with the crowd. I had to ask the question:

Did we all really have the worst year; have we all been taking Ls? 

I honestly couldn’t relate. The year, up until that point, had been great. There were the things I had longed, and sought, to accomplish; I had been successful. As the year drew to a close, if anything, I had begun to feel restless because I needed new goals. 

And then November came, right at the end – so close to the finish line. My best friend told me he had a confession to make and I remember looking at my phone, confused. What could he possibly have to confess? I felt as though I knew him – I was wrong.

My world, as a I knew it, crumbled slowly. Suddenly 2016 wasn’t the best year, a good year or a year worth remembering; it was the year that I realised that the reality I had been existing in had been false. I had taken the ultimate L. 

Most importantly, I realised, once again, that those closest to us have the power to hurt us the most; people lie and lie again – the need to be transparent does not always exist in others, I was broken. I desperately, and quickly, climbed into myself, looking for a safe haven. 

At this point, I began to write. In hindsight, my writing saved me. My writing continues to save me. I’ve written more freely and consistently than ever before. Every day, I write something new. I am liberating myself, becoming my own hero, picking up the pieces and rebuilding.

I clung to the Most High on the darkest of days, the days where getting out of bed seemed too hard, where I would cry on my way to work, unsure as to how I would get through the day. No one else could hold me together because I couldn’t find the words to explain what had happened. 

I wrote this to myself on a dark day and I still remember how it healed me. These were the words I needed to hear but no one else could say. I thought I’d share them with you.

This year ended pretty horrifically for you; your best friend betrayed you and you feel lost as a consequence.
Even though you are in immense pain, remember what you have gained through this loss. You will regain your sense of worth, self and purpose. You
will see that you are worthy of love. That you do not have to work to make someone care for you and those who are meant to see you won’t have to be forced to look.

 You will laugh again, robustly, freely, fully, without restraint and ultimately, with joy. You will feel butterflies in your stomach and anticipate an embrace. You will entwine your fingers with one who loves you relentlessly and persistently – because that is how you love. There will be no convincing. You will not feel insecure because you will be affirmed daily, validated by the safety of presence. 

You will not cry in the way you have, as your tears have fallen harder than you have. The sun will shine again. You cannot see it now as most days you’d rather die than breathe, but this won’t be the thing that destroys you. It has tried. It has almost been successful. But you have always been stronger than you’ve felt and it is only through this that you will see that there is more to you; that although you feel broken, that is not how you will remain. This is only part of your story – there are chapters that you are yet to wander through, work through and discover. 

Don’t stop here because although you feel like giving up, there are people, some you are even yet to meet, that need you to live. So live. 

Live. 

Live.

I welcome 2017, with alert eyes. I have written down what I demand of myself- 5 words that I will insist upon and I will go out of my way to behold. Despite these plans, I know that ultimately we are in the hands of the Creator. As we look to Him, as the one that has already saved the day, I know that we will be okay.

All my love,

x

Newly Married And Expecting


So I have a confession to make. I am expecting! 

Not a baby,(although I have been asked a lot lately if I am, FYI I AM JUST FAT) but 2017 is bringing new life experiences that are likely to change life as I’ve known it. I have big plans for the year to come, one of which is taking that first step onto the property ladder. As I sit in expectation I ponder on the thoughts that many people experience whilst expecting.

 

What if I’m not ready to look after what I’m giving birth to?

When you’re about to take a step forward, whether that be a promotion at work, a new side-hustle project or a new business venture, you can’t help but evaluate how well you have managed with less responsibility. It’s a small indicator that you aren’t ready to take the next step if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed in your present situation. God, however never moves us up when we feel completely comfortable and ready for the next step. God says ‘you definitely can’t achieve what I have planned for you without relying on me for your every need.‘ And that’s ok. It’s ok to need God completely and trust him implicitly. If God is moving you forward you probably aren’t ready, but God is ready to carry you through.

What about the pain? Delivery could be difficult 

Once you are on the expectant train it’s hard to avoid the inevitable… when the thing you are expecting comes to pass. That first day of your new job, the day that has been set for completing on the house, ultimately that transition into newness that we are oh so aware is not always smooth. We have heard the horror stories, and when it’s us expecting, it’s only the horror stories we remember. I don’t know what you’re transitioning through but in as much as there are people with terrible tales of their journey, there are people with positive stories and if God has done it for them he can do it for you.

I don’t want my body to change. What if I don’t like this phase of my life?

I don’t know any pregnant woman that doesn’t at some stage think that they’re fat. As they grumble about feeling the size of a house your friend duty kicks in to tell them just how great they look, to emphasise how clearly pregnant they look and to highlight that being this size is a passing phase they don’t need to let get them down. Anyone who doesn’t give up their seat for said friend on the train is explained away as having no manners rather than mistaking her for fat and even the lasting stretch marks you encourage should be viewed with an element of pride. You remind her that at the end of this process she will have brought new life into the world and that every stretch mark is a battle scar that should bring pride when the victory that they were part of is considered. 

Are you facing a transition that you fear might leave scars ? We can look at change negatively but each scar leaves a reminder of what it takes to arrive at the promised destination God is leading us to. Your season of uncomfortable change is just a passing season.

To everyone reading expecting a baby congratulations, God is going to bring you the strength for each day of your pregnancy. To everyone else, whatever you are expecting, remember that you can’t exclude God from the process. Life isn’t a test of what we can do on our own but of what we can achieve when we surrender all to God and except that we need him for all of life’s changes.

Love lots,

Dani

Chance: The Evangelist

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From an early age, I was told that secular music was wrong: if it didn’t glorify God then it glorified the devil. Even as a child, I struggled with this dichotomy. I wanted to be holy, I wanted to be set apart, but I still loved R & B and couldn’t quite understand why it was considered to be untouchable. Why couldn’t I sing along to a Destiny’s Child song? My young mind struggled to internalise the words of my parents and my youth leaders, aware, even at a young age, that their personal conviction wasn’t my own. As I grew, I realised why: the idea that there was ‘secular’ music was, in hindsight, quite peculiar.

Fast forward to the current day and I understand completely that we, as Christians, need to have a different perspective on the world. We are called to something more, I agree, but we do this wearing ‘secular’ clothes, eating ‘secular’ food and making our way to our ‘secular’ jobs. The separation between secular and religious is often applied arbitrarily. Yes, there is music that outwardly conflicts with the Word of God and you must be careful what you sing, speak and condone. For example, my favourite songs, when I was younger, included Pretty Ricky’s ‘Grind On Me’ and Tony Matterhorn’s ‘Dutty Wine’. As a Christian, should I have been brocking out to those songs? Well, no.

Yet, everyone is different; what works for you might not work for me. What you are able to listen to and what I feel I am able to listen to may be radically different because although we are all Christians, we experience our faith differently. Some people can’t listen to Slow Jams because it makes them call that girl/boy and…well, you get my drift. You know what you can handle. I enjoy all genres. I currently listen to classical more than anything else, as it calms my mind and doesn’t distract me while I work. Does it glorify God? Not overtly. Does it contradict the word of God? Of course not. To be quite honest, these days I roll my eyes at Christians who feel as though listening to secular music somehow indicates the validity of your salvation.

On the 22nd November, I went to the Chance the Rapper concert and I was pretty much blown away. Chance, by simply being himself, taught me that it is possible to transcend genre lines. Instead of classifying himself as a Gospel artist, he uses his platform to share his faith with people who would otherwise been kept away from the Truth. Chance breaks down the musical genre walls, effortlessly, strategically and authentically. Chance blurs lines and pushes against the boxes we, as people, want to every individual to fit into. We are obsessed with categories; racial, gender, cultural and religious, so a rapper like Chance can often confuse us. Where do we put him? Can he be called a Christian, despite using the word ‘shit’ and in the next breath saying ‘Glory be to God?’

As I observed the drunken crowed around me crying out, ‘Glory to be God, yeah!’ I was challenged. How often do we create church events and then pride ourselves when they are well-attended, knowing full well that 98% of attendees were Christians? Church has become a place that is for Christians and run by Christians, instead of a hospital and a place of refuge for those who have been pushed out by society.

I believe seeds of faith were sown in people’s lives as Chance encouraged a crowd, most of which who weren’t believers, to ‘speak to Him’. In a world where declaring that there is one way and one truth is often found offensive, Chance manages to express his relentless faith and belief in Jesus Christ; not a higher power, not a vague spiritual presence, but the son of God, Jesus Christ, who Chance believes died and rose again.

As I stood in the midst of people worshipping, albeit unintentionally, I began to listen to Chance’s lyrics and found my mind wandering back to Jesus.

Never drownThe water may be deeper than it’s ever been, but you don’t have to let it overwhelm you

I speak to God in publicHow open am I with my faith?

You gotta talk to Him –I should pray more

Someone like Chance is liberating for Christians like myself. He stands imperfect, bold, showing that faith isn’t something that can only be lived out in the presence of believers, or timidly as you ‘shine your light’ amongst non-Christians, remaining silent on the issues that really matter. Chance demonstrates that you can be approachable, accessible (and so, so cool) even while expressing your love for your saviour. Chance speaks to God in public and we should too.

25, Unmarried, Desperate

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Desperate Deborah.

That was my nickname for the longest six months of my life. Or DD for short. Seriously. I never really share this with people (so you know I must be sure that I’ll never meet one of you love you readers) because even now I get so embarrassed just remembering that DD was ever a thing *shudders*. When I was about 11 the kids I knew coined that term for me as I thought myself deeply in love with the one of the other kids on the playground and, ugh, it was the cringiest thing ever. I swore to never be desperate in love again.

You’d think I would have learnt from that situation but no. Here I am some twelve years later and I’m still desperate. Desperate to have the job I actually want. Desperate to fast forward from this awkward I-don’t-quite-know-what-I’m-doing-in-life-or-where-it’s-going moment to the bit where I have 2.5 kids, a white picket fence and a man that adores me. This post is about contentment. It’s quite funny because one minute I’ll be very content with life and firm in the knowledge that God has me right where I’m supposed to be, then a series of events will occur that leave me dissatisfied with life and desperate for things I wasn’t pining for the week before. No one told me contentment was something you had to work on and renew constantly when I started this Christian thing. I’m rather disgruntled.

Disgruntled. Dissatisfied. Desperate. Sigh.

When I realised I was in this space (again) I knew what I had to do (because I’ve worked through it before). This week, I set about reminding myself of God’s promises for me, of who I am to Him; remembering how far he’s brought me and all the things that he’s done for me that used to be more than enough but that I’ve now taken for granted. I’ve reminded myself that really, I’m suffering from a hefty dose of entitlement whereas I’ve been given more than I deserve (namely a eternal life spent with Jesus instead of the wages of sin, which is death). And yet, the desperation continued.

Until this evening (a few evenings ago depending on when you’re reading this) when a tiny, tiny voice whispered to me that nothing good ever came out of being desperate. Whatchu mean?!!! Of course good things can come from being desperate. Desperation pushes all kinds of people to survive and succeed. Desperation brings about action which invariably brings about results, right? Desperate for a job, so apply anywhere. Desperate for a man, so date anything anyone. Desperate for a change, so do everything within your power to be different to what you naturally are.

So often, we mistake determination for desperation. When has accepting a (terrible) job offer out of desperation, even when you know it isn’t right for you, do any good? When has finding a significant other, out of desperation, ever lead to a fulfilling relationship? Uhm. Yeah that would be never. I haven’t really had time to gather empirical evidence but I’m pretty certain that the decisions we make out of desperation worsen the situation because we believe we’re out of options and we’re not thinking rationally. It is much better, I’ve decided, to be in a position of gratitude and choice. So the climb back onto the wagon of contentment continues because quite frankly, desperation is not cute. Not even when it comes to God. As He told me this evening, don’t be desperate for me Daughter, desire me.

Determination. Desire. Daughter.

Love,

Deborah

 

5 Worries You’ll Have In Your Early Twenties

1. Is my job making me happy? 

Life is hard. It can take us weeks, months, even years to finally get that first ‘real’ job out of university, and before you know it we are faced with the re-occurring thoughts:

“Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” 

“Am I using my brain enough?”

“Does my job mean anything in the grand scheme of what’s actually important in the world?” 

You can go to work Monday to Friday and get so engrossed in work, go to church on a Sunday and after the service  nothing seems worth doing if it isn’t spreading the love of God and telling people just how great Jesus is. Suddenly work seems futile and time at your desk is weighed down with soul searching questions.

2. Are these my swan days because I really expected my blossom to be better than this?

I say this without even a hint of a chuckle. Those of you honest enough to admit you feel like this to, Kudos. I remember being in my early teens and dreaming of the days when I would be in my prime, the peak of my beauty, turning heads as one of those exquisitely dressed business women before living life to the fullest took its toll and the wrinkles set in. Now I’m in my early twenties, hurriedly dressed without the slightest hint of effort being put into my appearance thinking if not now, then when. It seems trivial but insecurities about our appearances plague us all from time to time and it comes to a point when we have to re-evaluate what we take comfort in, whether that be make-up, the words of affirmation we receive from others or the fantasy of beauty to come. 

3. When will the one find me?

I won’t labour this point further because even having to list it gives me a heavy heart, but alas the relationship centred conversations that crop up time and time again make it quite clear that this worry is rooted in fearful overthinking. If you read between the sarcasm and joke cracking you can hear that people are really saying 

“How long will I be lonely?”

 And 

“Will I find love before my body clock stops ticking?”

4. Am I achieving success at the right pace?

We all have milestones that we’d like to reach but it’s not only important that we reach them, when we do is crucial. You hear about child geniuses taking their GCSE’s aged 8 and teenage entrepreneurs becoming millionaires and you wonder just how they’ve managed it. If someone has achieved something then it’s clearly humanly possible and you have to wonder what makes the over-achievers get so far ahead. We plod through life thinking about how we measure up to others, relieved that some people are ‘further behind’ than we are and curious about all the people that are ahead. It’s a sad truth. Money is all relative and your house is only big in comparison to your neighbours. Stand alone achievements just aren’t enough if we can’t be seen as better than someone else.

5. Am I good enough?

Now you’re in your twenties you are old enough to know better but young enough to feel like a bad choice made every now again isn’t the worst thing in the world. Every so often I evaluate my recent actions and worry about whether I was nice enough, if I could have been more thoughtful in the way I said something, if I stuck up for myself enough, the list goes on. Christian or not, we want to be “good” people and then as Christian’s there’s the added pressure of ‘what would God expect me to do?’ This is usually followed by a major sigh because it often means we have to bite our tongues, lose the argument, let the grudge go, alas, be the person we feel way too young and carefree to be.

So where is the light in all of this? Here are some things we should all remember.

1. We aren’t all called to be missionaries, some of us are placed into the corporate jungle to bring light where there isn’t any.
You can think yourself beautiful. God thinks you’re a work of art so let’s take a leaf out of David’s book and praise God for our looks (Psalm 139:14). The sooner we start thinking it, the sooner we’ll start feeling it.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down oneʼs life for oneʼs friends.”‭‭John‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬. Your love story has already begun.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬. Your time will come.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither do we one day just start living perfectly. You gave your life to Christ and began the journey but never forget it is a journey.

Love y’all

Dani

Xxxx

The Art Of Running From God

The ability to run without actually moving is an art few have mastered. I, my friend, are one of those few. It doesn’t happen overnight – it is a skill that you must work at but before you know it, you’ll be so good, you’ll be in my position – you know, in a place where you can teach others to do the same.

It’s crazy how much time we spend running – without actually moving, that is. I’ve done my fair share of jogging (gah, I almost vommed at the memory) and there was nothing I hated more than feeling my knees cracking as my feet hit the ground. Although I gave it up pretty soon after I began, in a sense, I’ve never stopped. At every point in my life, I’ve been on the run from something.

I’ve come to conclude that I’m not alone. The majority of us are on the run too: from ourselves, from our jobs, from our friends, families, spouses, God – I think the list goes on. Most of us running, especially those have mastered the art, have made it so that the things and people we are running from probably have no idea that we are running away. We have managed to run while being present, slowly detracting and disconnecting with each passing day.

I think running and fear are positively correlated. By this, I mean, that there is a relationship between fear and running; the more fear we feel, the more likely it is that we will run. If we are used to being alone, having complete autonomy over ourselves and our emotions, and somebody comes along and tries to be close to us: we run. If the purpose for our lives, the things we know were born to do feel too grand; beyond us and out of reach: we run. If the activity we are trying to complete feels too intense or difficult, we can find ourselves running to social media for a quick (or lengthy) escape from our current situation.

I spent last week on the run from God. I committed a heinous crime (I joke, I joke) (kinda) and I just didn’t know what to do with the guilt – I wasn’t sure where to place and yet I was unable to put it down. I told gave a friend a vague synopsis of what had happened and she said, ‘Do not run from God. He knew what you were going to do long before you did and He continued to love you.’ She spoke profound and timely words that were still incapable for stopping me from packing up my bags and running as far as possible from the one who loves me most.

Let me be clear, as I said at the very beginning, I did not actually move. No bags were packed. No doors were opened or closed. From the outside, nothing had changed. Yet, when I looked at my life, a few days ago, I realised that I was struggling to see God, struggling to feel comforted by His love because I’d had gone so many days without letting it wash over me.

My return to God has been as anti-climactic as my departure. There were no tears, no promises of ‘never doing it again’ because experience has taught me that I am fallible; sinning comes (frighteningly) naturally and running will always be easier than staying put and dealing with my fear, guilt and shame.

Instead of the theatrics, instead of making promises that I may break in a few days’ time, I just opened my heart to Him again. I sought to connect: I listened to a sermon, I read a devotional, I prayed; my actions an attempt to be consistent with Him which is, presently, my deepest hope and desire. I can’t commit to never sinning again, but I can commit to trying every single day to be closer to Him.

All my love,

Joy

5 Reasons I’m Happy To Be Alive

1.  I have good health 

A week and a half ago I turned 24 however unlike any birthday I’ve celebrated previously, this one came with a viral infection that left me so ill walking was too painful and so was lying down. I can put my hands up and say I completely took for granted the good health I’d enjoyed in the 23 years prior, and whilst ill I realised just how much of a blessing good health is. It’s true when they say you don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it, but we should actively fight against this general lack of appreciation. If you have woken up this morning with no significant ailments, you have one more reason to give thanks today.
2. My best friend

I’m sorry to be mushy, but during this period of sudden sickness I’ve realised just how blessed I am to have married my bestest friend. While feeling like I was on deaths door, my husband tirelessly looked after me, not complaining about the small fortune he’d spent taking me to Brussels only for me to spend all four days in bed. 

3. My 9-5

After some time away from work a lot of people dread that first Monday back, but I am honestly looking forwards to sitting at my desk. I won’t lie, that is partly because spending the last week in bed has been slightly mind-numbing, but a large part of my excitement comes from the fact that I really really like my job. No, not all aspects of it and yes I too have days where I’m bored, tired, lazy, and not in the mood for the slog but on the whole I’m rather happy to be there. I hear people say work can never be fun but I couldn’t disagree more. Going to work might not give you the joy you feel when holidaying in the Caribbean sun but if you are utilising some of the skills you somewhat enjoy, that’s the best starting place for beginning to love your job. I thank God for leading me to a place where I don’t have to live for the weekend.

4. The ground is orange

Waiting for the bus in the morning breeze has the harsh edge taken off when the ground is a beautiful puzzle of oranges and yellows as the branches selflessly shed their leaves. This morning I just had to smile as I soaked in the season changes that had taken place whilst I was cooped inside. Autumn is by far my favourite time of year, not only is the pressure to be doing something really exciting, that comes with summer, taken away, but it’s just the right temperature to want to do fun things during the day and come home at an hour when snuggling in bed doesn’t feel like a waste of a day but a perfectly viable activity. It’s also a good warm up to the chilling weather that will follow. Yes, winter is brutal but at least God doesn’t throw us right into ice and the snow.

5. Every single person that’s made me feel loved this last couple of weeks

I am so grateful for the support system that surrounds me and continues to go out of their way to make me smile. From the mothering phone calls making sure I am fed and watered and haven’t forgotten to take my medication to the cooked breakfasts and special birthday dinner, I have been so touched by the acts of kindness I have encountered. We can easily dismiss the small things we do for others as insignificant but this week for me has proved the little things can make the biggest difference.

I don’t know what you’re facing today but I hope that you too can find the reasons you are grateful to be alive.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans‬ ‭8:28

Love lots,

Dani