Category Archives: Steps To Seeking God

When You Feel Like A Side Chick

mellie

 

4 minutes in and I’m still struggling to think of the best opening for this post. I’ve got a severe case of writer’s block at the moment and a million and one things on my mind. I’ve toyed with the idea(s) of being dramatic, opening with a joke, taking a trip down memory lane and starting with a question, but… I’ve decided to go with the latter. 

Why doesn’t God speak to you?

For a long time, I’ve found myself dipping in and out of praying and speaking to God because of my frequent disappointment at the fact that I never seemed to get the response I was looking for, the direction I was asking for, or the sign I was waiting for. It felt as though I was sending my prayers up to Him and He was just blue-ticking me. He always seemed to be dealing with His ‘more important’ children first, those He had plans for, those He wanted to use, those who had an actual purpose here on this earth, before getting back to little old B who could wait until He came back online to respond with “lol”.

I was (and still am) surrounded by people who were (are) hearing from God left and right, receiving clear direction and confirmation on things they already believed to be true whilst I was there, twiddling my thumbs, still in the dark after having asked the same question for 3 years, feeling no closer to knowing the answer. I started to feel jealous. I felt jealous of other people and the fact that God seemingly held them closer to His heart and wanted to make sure they knew He was with them every step of the way.

A few weeks ago, on a day where I was particularly ‘over it’, I went to church with a friend and she, in that service, received direct confirmation from God about something she had heard repeatedly by family members, family friends etc. and as she was telling me, I could see the sheer joy spread across every inch of her face as her eyes lit up and her body trembled with excitement. It was as though a layer was removed from her eyes and she was closer to seeing what she was meant to be doing and was encouraged to keep pushing forward.  It was so beautiful to see.

When I got home and prayed, it started off as the usual, you know, “thank you God for xxx…” and then all of a sudden, I broke down. My prayer changed from simply giving thanks and praying for the week ahead to “why do you never speak to me?” and “if you don’t have anything to say to me, that’s fine, but you should at least tell me so I’m not aimlessly waiting.” It was in that moment that I realised what I had been carrying around. 

It was probably part of the reason why I wasn’t regular at church and didn’t care, why I would constantly daydream during service, why I wouldn’t fully participate in praise and worship; and why I was always looking at my watch, waiting for the time to pass so I could go home to another week of not reading my bible and not really praying, but demanding that God somehow speak to me. 

I became so angry and frustrated with God when, honestly, it was very cheeky of me to demand that He speak to me when I wasn’t even dedicated to my relationship with Him. I was content with our ‘Hi Bye’, thing. But, if I truly knew Him, I would not even dare to question whether or not I was important to Him and whether or not He cared enough about me to want to use me and thought only good things towards me. 

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

It was also very cheeky of me to say that He never spoke to me when He has spoken to me on multiple occasions where I simply dismissed it because it was not concerning whatever I was interested in at the time. I was basically saying “Lord show me a sign! Oh… no, not that one. You know the sign I mean” in a nutshell.

My doubts came from the fact that I was drifting rapidly away from Him and forgetting what made me give my life over to Him in the first place. I forgot what was truly important – Him. I became so selfish and self-absorbed in my pursuit (or lack thereof) of Him that in order to repair this, I needed to take it all the way back to basics. 

So, last Sunday, I walked into church and thought to myself, you haven’t been very grateful lately so maybe it’s time to give real thanks – let’s start there. I completely threw myself in and gave Him all I had (which was not even a hundredth of what He deserves by the way). It felt as though a weight was lifted and I was free to just enjoy being in His presence and hearing His Word. I even stopped doing the stiff side-to-side movement I became accustomed to. I felt as though I was home again. I was in that safe place where it was just me and Him and I had missed it so much. It’s so easy to forget what that feels like. Whilst we were praying, one of our leaders pulled me to the side and started to tell me what God was telling her I needed to know about hearing from Him – God was speaking to me through her. 

If you find that you are not hearing from God and don’t understand why, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you know Him well enough to recognise His voice? 
  • Have you prescribed the way in which you want Him to communicate with you?
  • Do you doubt that what you hear is Him?
  • Do you ignore what He says because it’s not what you want to hear?

When you find yourself frustrated at God and feel like you’re no closer to understanding anything, just remember who He is. Remember how much He loves you. Remember His character. Remember all He’s already done for you and He will reveal what He sees fit to reveal to you in His time. If you don’t remember who He is, it’s probably best you start there. And remember, if you haven’t heard anything in a while, open the Bible; He has spoken.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Love, Stella

xoxo

Why January Has Raised My Blood Pressure

  

You know you have developed a problem when you realise having a tight chest and a racing pulse have become a staple in your daily routine. Breakfast is eaten with an assortment of fear and worry about the day to come and along with your sandwich at lunch you pick up a snack of stress to enjoy later. This has been the story of my January, as I have begun the year with everything to play for but no certainty on how to win the game. There are so many things that are supposed to just happen this year, I can’t take the stress of wondering if everything will just fall into place.

Has January caused you to nervously nibble on your finger nails? These are my main blood-pressure raisers.

1. The weight that is supposed to be falling off

I have found that the task of loosing weight has just become another weight on my shoulders. Every time there is an option to eat unhealthy food I think about the future slim me, and thoughts of how far away she is are met with thoughts that I’ll probably never get to meet her, and with that unhealthy snack is popped in my mouth and consumed with regret-filled enjoyment.

2. The house that is supposed to be getting snatched off the market.

I am pretty obsessed with properties on a good day. I don’t know what it is about them but scrolling through the best of what Zoopla and RightMove have to offer gives me more pleasure than scrolling through designer clothes or fantasising over fancy cars. The difference between my house searches now and the ones that consumed my free hours at university is that now the purchase is almost achievable. I can nearly taste the picketed fence and open plan kitchen-diner, but the looming mystery of gathering deposit money casts a stressful shadow on my search. I’ve never been one for looking at mansions because that might never happen, but 2 bed flats with an easy commute to London fit in perfectly to my obsession with making plans that leads me to everything I want in life. It’s when the plan doesn’t seem like it’s coming together that the headache begins.

3. Becoming a millionaire 

As materialistic as this sounds this isn’t just about having a nice house with an football pitch of a garden and a shiny car parked in the front. Whether you like it or not, more money equates to being able to do more, and usually make more of an impact. House and holidays aside the pressure I put on myself to be financially comfortable, to the point where I could set up outreach initiatives and fill the gaps in society that the government are unable to plaster, makes me nervous. What if I’m never comfortable? What if I can’t say yes to the driving lessons and dance classes and school trips abroad that my future children want to go on. The desperation to not be that woman drives me to continue designing a life plan that allows me see my fantasises materialise.

I think January adds extra pressure because everyone’s expectations are high of the year to come. We are all in ‘work smarter achieve greater’ mode and we are all aware that most people fall into the same ruts of previous years so try extra hard to keep to the new plans we have written ourselves.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

So where do we go from here? I realise that when I feel stressed its because my shortcomings overshadow the things I’d like to achieve, all the while forgetting that I don’t need to make things happen when God is in control of my life.

When you are next feeling anxious don’t just take a deep breath, say a prayer and wait for the peace that God has promised you 

Happy Friday!
Dani x

How Working Out Changed My Body And My Faith

wokrout

 

I started working out when I was about 20 years old.

I’d tried the odd DVD before that nothing had really stuck due to my inconsistency and desire to never exert myself beyond what was necessary. Around that time, I decided to change my life (yes, dramatic) and (as usual) went to the extreme:  I began Insanity. True to its name, it was insane – the craziest thing I’ve ever done to my body. Although the intensity of that workout was like nothing I’d ever faced, I managed to get through 60 day plan.

During that time, I also decided to take up jogging. My older sister had just begun training for a marathon, and true to younger sister form, I became intrigued with the new thing my big sis had become obsessed with. She encouraged me, we set goals to run marathons together (big lol) and off I went, jogging for 2 miles, 3 times a week.

I must say (as this is a Christian blog) that I never, not even once, endeavoured to change my diet. Even though I wanted to change my body, to finally take off the fat suit that I had been wearing since the age of 7, I never once exchanged my hamburger for an apple.  In hindsight, if I had been serious about changing my life, I would have at least attempted to stop eating 6 pieces of fried chicken at a time, or would have made my once-a-week-pick-me-up a salad bar instead of the Chinese buffet down the road. Despite my shoddy diet, my weight loss was marginally successful: I ate what I wanted during the day and killed myself at night prancing about, being Insane, in the hopes of becoming the slimting I’d always dreamt of.

Later that year, I fell ill. My nightly Insanity workouts and jogs around the block became a distant memory. Instead, I was bed bound, barely able to move, stand or breathe.

I still remember the first the time I was able to run again after I’d accepted that my life, as I’d previously known it, was over. I remember the strain on my calves and the pain as my feet adjusted to being hit by concrete after weeks of dormancy. I remember the wind and the rain, tears sliding down my cheeks as I realised that God had healed me and that I really would be okay. It was all very dramatic for a morning run.

To be honest, gratitude had clouded my judgement. I was so happy to be able to use my legs properly that it took me a few months to realise that while my sister loved running, I did not. In fact, I hated it. I hated running. I hated the metal taste in my mouth, the way my eyes would water excessively, the wind slicing through me and my unsupportive sports bra, and the weird men that would slow down and call out to me. Yes, running had done wonders for my mental health and overall (despite having a questionable diet) was having an impact but I did not enjoy it. Did I even like working out? I wasn’t so sure anymore;  I’d near killed myself with Insanity, I’d punished myself with those painful, arduous jogs and I’d shamed my body to the point that I could barely look in the mirror. I was a mess.

Fast forward to January 2014. I joined a gym, began to attend every class under the sun and realised that working out didn’t have to another form of self-harm. Instead, it could be positively challenging, therapeutic and invigorating.

Here are a few lessons I’ve learnt while running on the treadmill or squatting with weights.

Keep going

I used to run at night so I often couldn’t see my destination (or where I was going).

We won’t always know what lies ahead of us, or what the next season in our life will hold. Knowledge of the next step can even be harmful, causing us to feel as though the task is too big for us and the goal insurmountable. During those dark nights, I learnt that while the goal is important, the next step is more important because if it isn’t taken, we remain in the same place.

It’s all in the mind

Every battle is won and lost in the mind. A lot of the time I don’t feel as though I’ll be able to put on my gym clothes, let alone complete an hour’s workout. I’ve noticed that once I have made up in my mind that I am going to work out, nothing on earth has the power to stop me, not even my own body.

You won’t always feel like reading your Bible, praying, going to Church but if you make the decision to in your mind, you’ll get there.

Be consistent

If you exercise once a week/bi-weekly, it is incredibly unlikely that you’ll see any results. In order for results to be achieved, you must be consistent (at least 3 times a week) (oh, and change your diet!).

In the same vein, reading your Bible once a week isn’t going to do anything for your growth as a Christian. You must be relentless in your pursuit of Christ (if He is what you desire, of course) and that includes reading the Bible daily, watching sermons, and picking up little devotional books that can help you along the way.

Comparison

Every time I step into the gym, I am reminded that we are all on different journeys.

There’s a man who attends my gym who is over 300 pounds, can barely see and has to be assisted upon entry until the time leaves. Another woman runs on the incline at 15mph, jumps off, squat jumps at an astounding pace, then jumps back on and runs again. Is she more successful than the man who is overweight and walks at 3mph? Of course not. Success is showing up, doing your best and completing the task. We all have such different goals and destines, comparison (as Precious so rightly said last week) is dangerous. We are all different.

The gym taught me that everybody begins in a different place; it’s not about where or how you start, it’s about where you end.

Have a beautiful weekend,

Joy xx

Why Prayer Matters

IMG_0019

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. – Colossians 4:2

Prayer is an interesting thing. A question that always comes to mind when thinking of it is: if God is all knowing and is fully aware of our hearts desires, why do we pray? If he is sovereign overall, and all that occurs is in-line with His sovereign will, then what effect do our prayers have?

I will not attempt to answer those questions but I will attempt to shed light on some things I’ve recently discovered. Over the last week or so, I felt like prayer had been more of a chore than something to delight in. Many of us that grew up in Christian homes/church may remember constantly being bombarded with this notation: pray, pray and pray some more. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it becomes nothing more than a religious act because we’re under the impression that “it’s just what Christians do”.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

As a Christian, our first approach to our desires should be is prayer. Whether it be a health issue; relationship issue; finance; university or anything. If we desire something, the Bible urges us to bring these requests to God in many places. The question I want to ask is: when we pray, is it only our will that we have in mind or is it God’s will as well? I say this because often times, we open our mouth and bring our petitions to God without considering the will of God.

Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:15

Jesus himself, when praying, said to His Father, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”(Luke 22:42) Many times we have desires but it is so important that we remember to put God’s first. We often pray with hope and faith that God might answer and provide what we have requested; but not only should we trust he timing, we should also trust  that because God is sovereign over all things, our lives are indeed in His hands. If he chooses not to grant you what you have asked for, it is because he has OTHER plans for you. Jesus prayed to God the Father for a change in fate; the fate of a painful and excruciating death; but God had another plan. It wasn’t necessarily a ‘better’ plan in the physical sense (considering what he went through); but spiritually, it was a plan that would change mankind forever. God, the Son, knew that the will of God the Father mattered a lot more than His comfort.

I encourage you to pray for any material desires you may have. It’s not a bad thing to want to live a comfortable life, but in the long run none of these material things matter. You are a child of God with a rightful inheritance to His kingdom.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Romans 8: 28-30

So today I challenge you: the next time you indulge in communication with God, consider His will in hope that your desires will be aligned with it. Put the will of the Father over your comfort and pray for your hearts desires to be conformed to His! At the end of the day, all things work together for good a greater good. This ‘good’ that we look forward to is the hope that one day we might be fully conformed to the image of His son, justified and glorified.

Rupert ^_^

Why I’ve Stopped Living In Denial

  
Have you ever woken up and realised that you’re not worn out because you didn’t get enough sleep, or because you’ve spent too many hours at the gym, but because your mind has been thinking of a thousand problems at once and each one remains unsolved?

This is how problems generally work in my life:

1. I realise problem ‘x’ exists 

2. I rack my brain to produce a plan a, scrap plan b, only to conclude plans l-m-n-o and p won’t work either

3. I think about giving ‘x’ to God to resolve but I haven’t touched base with him in so long I’m uncertain he’s able to make it better

4. I stress-well actually I secretly stress. I go on through life as normal and try and push problem x to the furthest point in my mind whilst my subconscious brain continues to think of solutions, and decide those solutions won’t work, so thinks of some more in a hopeless cycle 

5. I despair

6. I run back to Jesus. I don’t even care if he fixes things, I just want to be living under his wing, trusting that he’ll give me the strength to feel at peace in the midst of whatever storm has been raining on my parade.

Reading that, you’d wonder why I didn’t just run back to Jesus in the first place. Why try to figure things out on your own when you know you’re going to find your senses and come back to God in the end? There is a reason. Actually in fairness, there are many reasons, but they all begin with one…

I will tell you a secret. Not many people know what I’m about to share so brace yourself. I am quite proud. Not in the sense that I think I’m better than people, I’m just confident in my abilities to the extent that I rarely (every bone in my body fights against) ask for help. I might even think the person offering to help would do a better job than I could but I’m too proud to admit that, and the mere thought that I could do it myself even if it does take me twice as long, means all help is rejected and the thought of asking for it is ludicrous. I know what you’re thinking- 

“Even when the person your asking is God?!”
 Yes.

So this has been one of those weeks. I know I can’t possibly solve all the issues life has presented me with, but I hate to admit defeat so much, I have ran away, instead of toward the God that can make it all better. I’m not saying God is a wizard, he’s definitely not a genie in a bottle that grants all of your wishes, but he does give you the ability to overcome every kink and disruption to this journey of life. 

Today I admit defeat. I admit that I need God and that life is only worth living when it revolves around him. I haven’t the energy to keep running away so I’ll stop.

Cast your burdens unto Jesus for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

When you give your problems to Jesus, it’s not that they immediately disappear and life returns to perfection, but that weight from constantly trying to find a solution is lifted, along with all of the stress it brought. Nobody said being a Christian would be a breeze, but Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light

If you, like me, woke up realising you had been trying to fight a war all by yourself, take the best advice you’ll ever get. Give all  your worries to Jesus, who cares for you and wants you to be free. The stress just isn’t worth it.

Love y’all 
Dani xx

Can You Really Trust Him?

images

Can you believe it’s October already? Where has 2015 gone? I still remember January 1st as though it was yesterday; caught up in the festivities and making those all-important New Years Resolutions, trying to grab hold of the year ahead before it passed before my eyes. It’s crazy that we are already in the 10th month – it’s come so quickly.

I don’t know about you, but similar to January, I see September as a ‘first month’ – a month of change, the chance to begin again, to progress, to reassess positions and perspectives. Most of us are used to seeing September as a beginning due to the commencement of the academic year, and this sense of ‘newness’ often pervades other areas of our lives. You may have embarked upon a new journey that would have a profound impact on your future – perhaps it is the first year of college, the beginning of a graduate scheme, the first year of University or maybe the last.

Last month, I started my final year of university (woooop!!) Similar to my peers, and anyone else who has journeyed into the gruesome,infamous final year, I began to overthink my future. What now? What should I do next? I started attending every Graduate Fair, applying for jobs and researching various post-graduate qualifications in an attempt to try and plan the next steps. It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out why I went into panic mode; it was the fear, fear of the unknown. And as we all know, that which we do not know, scares us. Instead of submitting to God entirely, trusting Him and letting Him lead, we start to analyse and plan every single moment of our lives, convinced that if we plan hard enough and keep focused, everything will work out.

Now, anyone that has spent more than a decade on this planet is aware that life doesn’t work like that. 

It is hard to trust a God we cannot control or see, particularly when it comes to our precious futures. Since we have no idea what God has in store for us and how it will pan out, we busy ourselves searching for the crumbs life could-maybe-on-a-good-day-offer, forgetting that He has prepared a feast for us in the Royal Banquet Hall. We see ourselves in the dark, lost, trying to find our way, while He always sees us in His remarkable light. We have trouble trusting Him fully with our future though He has a future for us, far better than the one we dream for ourselves.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

1 Corinthians 2:9

Everyone worries about the future because we can never be completely certain what is in store but as believers of Christ, irrespective of our present circumstances and future dreams,  we should trust that God is in control. Our respective futures will be revealed as we move past our pasts, focus on the now and prioritise our relationship with Him above all else. God is not asking us to be perfect; He is simply asking us to allow Him to be perfect in us. God is not asking us to have our futures figured out, He is asking us to trust that He has bringing everything together in its time, in His time. Overthinking the details, large and small, can stop us from living the lives that are available to us right now.

So to all of you out there reading this, and embarking on a new journey over the next few months, remember that we only need to take one step at a time while walking with God. Simply follow Him daily and allow yourself to experience His love, joy, peace and a level of fulfilment you never thought possible.

Lots of love,

Esther xxx

The Day I Discovered The Mary/Martha Syndrome 

  

The nature of society celebrates the imbalance and unequal distribution of wealth in this country. It usually oozes hierarchical discrimination and misconduct, when observing how alienated and neglected some people are. Very recently, I too have seen areas of my life become unequally yoked, imbalanced and neglected. 

We have always been told that it is better to give than to receive, we are also encouraged to give our best efforts when serving others, but what if giving has become a distasteful chore? Often, we give so much of ourselves; we become the backbone and shoulder for others, that we forget to leave ourselves with anything but exhaustion, which leads to us putting our relationship with God on the back burner. 

In a world jam-packed with distractions, the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) can help us set our life in order. Are you a Mary or Martha? You cannot be both. Mary and Martha both served and worshipped, however only one of them went about it the right way. Although Martha depicted herself to be practical and efficient, she was so consumed with getting things done, worrying about tomorrow and overlooking His word. Just like many of us Martha decided (made a choice) to work hard, but she forgot to work smart too. Working smart requires us to prioritise, sit at the feet of Jesus and make use of the 80/20 rule, just like Mary did. 80 percent of our outcomes come from 20 percent of our inputs. Certain things we do account for the majority of our happiness and output. Pareto’s principle should serve as our daily reminder to focus 80 percent of our time and energy on the 20 percent on what is really important.

It is illuminating to contrast Mary’s reverence with Martha’s demeanour. Mary made a conscious decision to sit at the feet of Jesus; this is something I need to do more of to ensure I am resting, recuperating, and being restored by the One who loves me despite all my flaws. How can we say we love God if we are constantly being reminded to spend time with Him? Please do not take my words as a reminder, but a nudge. 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Jesus commended Mary for concentrating on substance instead of formalities. Mary chose the good part, the holy words, truth, wisdom and faith of Jesus Christ, which will never be taken from her. Let’s acquire the Mary syndrome; a desire for God’s truth above everything else. I am a Martha who is working towards becoming a Mary, feel free to join me. 

 Love Yolanthe x

5 Reasons Why Having A Boyfriend Won’t Complete You


When you are single there is something distastefully sickening about public displays of affection. I’m not just referring to the couples who seem to be trying to fit their partners entire face into their mouths whilst kissing, or even the couples that have kisses so sloppy you can literally see the exchange of saliva between them- we all feel ill watching those couples, and if you know you are in a relationship and are likely to be a perpetrator of the aforementioned crimes then I urge you to stop! I’m referring to when boy whispers something into girl’s ear and she blushes or playfully punches his arm or finds whatever was said so funny tears stream as she struggles to speak through fits of giggles. Or what about those couples walking, arms interlinked, as they walk in silence, the mere fact that they are touching being enough “conversation” to make them content. Or even the lovebirds who stand at chilly bus tops looking eye to chin while boy firmly rubs shivering girl’s arms in an attempt to defrost her slightly. These are the moments that remind singletons of their lack of significant other and cause singles to crave the kind of relationship that makes onlookers coo and ahh. There is nothing intrinsically wrong about wanting to share your life with someone, but before you walk through a door that is harder to walk back out of, there are a few things you should know.

1.Double dates are only as fun as the couple you’re dating 

Don’t lie, you have, more than once, thought how much fun it would be if you could go out with ‘x’ and if your friend went out with x’s friend and you could go on all these double dates and hang out together! I have also has this thought. Don’t be fooled, just because you’re sitting next to someone you love, eating opposite people you love, does not mean you are going to have a good time. I have been on a number of dates where I have laughed, chatted and had thoroughly enjoyable evenings but some dates can be just as bad as that date you went on with that guy that you don’t want to talk about and wish you hadn’t gone on. Although sometimes fun, double dates can highlight what you’re missing in your own relationship and there can be points where the date’s tension is so intense, you’ll be racking your brain for any reason to leave early.

2. Boyfs  don’t make you feel any warmer in winter.

You may laugh, but if I had a pound for every time I have heard girls half-joke about needing a boyfriend to keep them warm in the winter nights, I would not be working 8:30-6pm. So many of the things that are idealised about relationships are just not true. Yes, having a man may keep you 5 degrees warmer while you’re lazing around or watching TV on the sofa, but for the rest of the 23 hours you have in a day where you are not physically touching your boyfriend, you will be just as cold as the single gals. You do not need a man, you need to turn up the heating, buy a coat, and stop looking for someone else to solve a problem you can fix yourself! People always mock the idea of being an independent woman, as if it’s linked to having an attitude or immature sass but being independent – you’re only dependency being on Jesus Christ – is something to be proud of. Even once you have a boyfriend, your dependency structure shouldn’t change. God isn’t there to do the things your boyfriend can’t do; continue to trust in Christ for all things because he will never disappoint.

3. You will still be lonely

If you’ve ever experienced loneliness, you will know that it is not contingent on the number of people that didn’t come to your birthday. Even being surrounded by a multitude of friends doesn’t necessarily make a difference to that feeling of loneliness. To everyone desiring a boyfriend because they feel alone, you are looking for belonging in the wrong place. Yes, you will have someone to go to lunch, dinners and to the cinema with; someone who will eventually agree to go to your Aunt’s 50th with you, even though it’s set to be a drag; someone who will answer your calls, just to say hello, at odd times, even in the early hours of the morning. That is all nice but you can find all of the above in really good friends. I hear your point that it is very unlikely to find one person willing to do all the above in the same week who isn’t madly in love with you, I’m merely highlighting that having a best friend with bells on, which in my opinion is a good definition of a boyfriend, doesn’t mean your lonely days are extinct. Even your boyfriend that ‘gets’ you like no-one else does will struggle to understand you at times, will not be completely supportive and will sometimes out rightly disagree. They will never be able to fill the lonely gap that we are all occasionally faced with , the desire for someone to understand our every fear, hope, and passion because unlike God they did not create you. That person you’re looking for that is there 24/7 and understands you in your entirety is closer to home than tinder, that looming blind date, and endless social gatherings.

4.They don’t have all the answers

It is refreshing to meet someone that makes you see things differently, who places the life that you’ve always known in front of a different lens, giving you a varied perspective, and that is the one thing I craved when I felt I needed a man. Some people are praying for a carbon copy of themselves, but I was on the lookout for someone different. I’m always eager to learn and discover nuances about life around me, and truly believed meeting that special someone would give me that. If you, like I was, are awaiting Mr ‘I bring something new to the table’ there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you don’t forget there is a fresh perspective at your fingertips in your Bible. It may not contain truths you always want to hear but Gods view is, oh-so-mind- blowingly different to ours, reading your Word will always keep you coming back to hear more of what God has to say. I can’t guarantee you’ll like God’s take on things, but you will be wowed, comforted, and convicted to live a life you are yet to realise you’re missing.

5. Love means sacrifice

There is a honeymoon period in every relationship where you both cant believe  how lucky you are to have each other, every moment spent together is bliss, and you can’t believe you had lived [insert number of years] without the other. This time is great. Everything in life seems to be finally falling into place and every possible bubble buster is clouded in the high you are currently existing in. This time is short lived. After a while, you slowly float back to Earth and realise you are going to have to make an effort for your relationship to succeed. Gone are the days where you are aware of your faults yet can’t be bothered to take any action. Your significant other is going to expect you to lay away the old personality  imbalances you’ve previously  expected people to put up with, and with time, become a person that others actually enjoy being around; because they love you, they will tell you as they see it, and because you love them, you will change. What change requires is that dreaded sacrifice you still fear making as you realise staying the same is not an option. Relationships require persistence and perseverance as you make the sacrifices required of you, and pray you’ve found someone willing to make these same sacrifices for you. You can see how much a person loves you by the extent they go to to put you first. While you’re patiently waiting for the one, remember that one guy already thought you were worth all he had as he gave up his life on the cross.
Love lots,
Dani xxx

Help! I’m Addicted To Social Media

social_media_icons_large

Hi, my name is Joy and I am addicted to Social Media.

Ok. Well, I’m currently weaning myself off so perhaps ‘addicted’ may be too of a strong word. But once an addict, always an addict, right?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for the past two months and I still remember how it came to me. My memory is quite bad so exact details are pretty vague but I still remember thinking, I need to write about this because I can’t be the only one. I was in my kitchen eating…let’s say I was eating chicken (my favourite thing ever; how stereotypical of me) and a random thought dropped into my mind. I decided it was pithy and witty (how modest of me) and I immediately reached for my phone in order to tweet my thought.

Pause.

Is this normal?

Well, of course it isn’t normal.

Wanting to share benign, sacred, emotional, happy, *insert here* moment isn’t normal. In fact, it’s a very strange phenomenon that all millennials (myself included) engage in. We have this need to share our lives with people we no longer know intimately in a way (most of our) parents do not. My Dad refuses to even subscribe to Whataspp and my Mum still can’t understand why I am posting things on ‘the Facebook’. They simply cannot comprehend why every moment I experience has to be shared with hundreds of people. My parents certainly captured moments. My childhood moments are all collated in albums in my Father’s study – there are hundreds of pictures which depict my ‘firsts’, birthdays and the likes. The difference is, these moments stayed within the family and that was enough for them. There were no likes, comments or personal messages to validate the moment or even prove that it occurred, but it was captured anyway.

As I began to question my desire to tweet my pithy and witty thought, I realised that the thought of deactivating my accounts on Facebook and Twitter made me ask questions such as ‘So what will I do?’ and ‘Who will I talk to?’ I don’t know about your experience on Social Media but Twitter and Facebook have never actually spoken to me. I think Social Media creates a feeling of interconnectivity even when we are alone. On long journeys, I can scroll through Twitter and laugh for hours on end, I can admire people over on Instagram, and if I really want to punish myself, I can run over to Facebook and see all the declarations of love and marriage proposals. But just yesterday, when I was attempting to study the providence of God and trying to understand Him just that bit more, I got tired and packed up after 15 minutes, promising myself that I would return the next day.

Pause.

Is this normal?

Of course it is.

When it comes to the things of God, whether it may be reading the Word daily, studying scripture in order to understand the context in which the moment occurred or even going to Church on Sunday, we generally cannot be bothered. And if we can, it takes a whole lot of effort.

Scrolling through Twitter is easy and people watching on Facebook is self-harm interesting but reading the Word is tough because it requires more from us. It requires self-evaluation and introspection; it requires us to change as a result, to be humbled and reminded that we are finite beings. It shows us that there is a right way to live, that all truths and lifestyles are not acceptable and that there is a God above, full of love and compassion but also intolerant of sin. It’s hard. Reading the Word is hard. But it also necessary and our greatest investment in ourselves. I have never finished reading my Bible or spent time with God and felt empty afterwards. The feeling of satisfaction and hope that I experience after reading the Word makes me wonder why I don’t read it more often and why I don’t approach it with greater exuberance and rigour. But those are questions to be answered in another post.

For now, be encouraged. If you spend more time scrolling than you do praying, you are not alone. If you’re finding it difficult to delve into your Word and dedicate adequate time to it, once again, you are not alone. But there is more that is required from us. We do not throw in the towel and accept our current position. Instead, let us seek Him first; before opening Whatsapp as our eyes open each day, let’s commit to reading our Word and finding out what He has to say.

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105

All my love,

Joy xx

The Lessons Failing Has Taught Me


They say it takes 21 days to form a habit but they don’t tell you how to keep something going long enough to reach this elusive 21 day mark. Whether it’s going to the gym or opening your Bible, by day 3 you’ve lost the giddy passion you began with and by day 5 you’re out of step with the tentative rhythm you’d got into. Day 7 arrives and I’ve completely forgotten I had begun the week with the intention of making it radically different to the week before, and I find myself vowing to use the new week ahead to make a change. The cycle continues. Along with the frustration that my life isn’t moving in the right directions and the disappointment that I am unable to stick at anything long enough to change my life for the better.

* Major sigh* Last week was one of those weeks. Too busy to be immersed in the presence of God, living in fringe Christianity, where Christ is always in the vicinity but there’s be no effort made to walk over and begin a hearty conversation. Just thinking through my failed half-attempts to spend time with God infuriates me. I could put it down to bad time management on some days and point blank laziness on others, but the overarching reason comes down to a lack of desire. I’m not saying I don’t love Jesus (every Sunday, I remember just how great he is and how much I miss being close to him), but when I’m coming up with every excuse under the sun as to why now is not the right time to get on my knees and open my Bible, I’ve got to wonder how much I want to pray. When I want a new job, I stomach the chore that is sifting through adverts and job boards and I begin applying. When I want to lose weight I fight the voice in my head telling me to lay in bed and I put on my trainers and go for a run. But when it comes to getting close to God…
I’d like to dispel a big misconception: Just because you didn’t feel like opening your bible this morning and getting ready for church was the ultimate chore last week, doesn’t mean you should give up on your relationship with God. I think we treat our relationships with God in the idealistic way we view relationships with our other halves. ‘We’ve deceived ourselves into believing it should all just come naturally, there shouldn’t be any element of doubt and the moment we begin to question how much we are ready to fight for the relationship, we consider giving in the towel and questioning the very reason we’ve entered into the relationship.
This post is for everyone who is tired of the weekly routine of being distant with God, only to reconnect with him every Sunday, or every month when you feel like everything in life is going array, or every time you desperately need a miracle. I’m writing for everyone who feels guilty every time they ask God for something because they can’t remember the last time they spoke to God, just to hang out with him. For everyone reading who feels frustrated with their lack of commitment to their faith and is struggle to break the cycle, I write for you, because I too am tired of the charade that has become my walk with Christ.
It doesn’t have to be this way.

I could remind you of everything you already know- you’re supposed to read your word daily, you’re supposed to seek God first, you should be actively looking to please God, as opposed to making decisions that you feel need the least repentance, but I won’t stop there. It’s great to have knowledge but wisdom is being able to do something with what you know.

3 tips to making this week with Christ better than the last:
1. Review your faith everyday.

We wait so long before we come running back to God and we’re just delaying the process of receiving God’s forgiveness and being able to move forward in our faith. Why wait until Sunday to remind you what the presence of God feels like and how good it is to be in? Implementing a daily review into your routine will give you the opportunity to seek out Christ tomorrow if you feel like you didn’t that day. The quicker you catch a bad habit, the easier it is to stop.

2. Surround yourself with people who share your motive to put Christ at the centre. 

There is a reason that people with addictions get sent to self help groups and the likes of weight watchers can boast of so many extreme weight loss testimonials- change is easier with others. The whole point of church is to provide us with a family to grow with, but if your church isn’t giving you that, create your own. Spend more time with the people that are also trying to grow in Christ and you’ll be able to give and receive the encouragement you both need to stay on track.

3. Catchup with Christ mid-week.

Whether it’s joining a bible study group, or going to mid week prayer, fellowshipping with Christians and having another Jesus-day in addition to Sunday, gives you a double reminder that a Christ-centred life is the way. I used to attend an amazing fellowship that taught me so much and encouraged me to go and read my Bible for myself.
Your relationship with Christ is yours alone, but you don’t have to work out your faith on your own.

If you take on of these tips on board, or just want to check in with someone about your faith, please leave a comment/dm/ drop me an email. Would love to hear how you manage to stay on track with Jesus in the comments section.

Big love,
Dani xxxxx