Tag Archives: christianity

Why People Hate Christians

no-christians-allowed

We live in a progressive, post-modern society. Technology continues to thrive and our scientists are constantly discovering things previous generations had no idea about. Information is at our fingertips and we have more knowledge about the world we live in than ever before. In spite of our progression, society remains fractured by our perceived differences.  Communities have broken down over the years and our neighbours have become strangers.  It no longer takes a village to raise a child but one man and one women (or two men and two women as the case may be) who will make decisions concerning the child that best fits their ideals. None of us want to seem as though we are overstepping the invisible boundary between our own personal moral code and the actions of others, so even if we disagree with the actions of others, we keep our mouths firmly shut, telling ourselves that they are free to live out their ‘truth’.

Truth, in our society, is no longer a fixed concept; your truth and my truth can be different yet exist simultaneously. It doesn’t really matter what you or I do as long as we can sleep at night and live with ourselves during the day. The opinions of others has ceased to have the same impact it once had, as those who speak out against our actions are often deemed as ‘haters’ or lacking in understanding.

The idea that truth is relative cannot exist within the Christian paradigm simply because the concept of truth is the cornerstone of our faith.

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 8:32

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Our truth doesn’t change, it doesn’t adapt in an ever-evolving world; it is a fixed concept. We believe there is truth and everything else is a lie. Not only do we believe this, we want others to believe also so we share our faith with those around us in the hopes that they will see the truth and experience liberation as a result.

Now, this attitude, in an era where every lifestyle is tolerated, accepted and celebrated, causes many problems. We are painted as bigots, as intolerant and rigid. We are accused of being narrow-minded and ignorant. And don’t get me wrong, there are hundreds of thousands of Christians who are all of these things, but not necessarily because of their faith. Most of the Christians that I know (I said ‘most’) are loving, caring individuals who continue to wrestle with their faith, accepting that there are things that they will never understand but holding onto Jesus all the same. They are merely imperfect people who believe in a perfect God, who get things wrong and are going through their process.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine last week. I am her first Christian friend and she is my first Atheist friend so our conversations are always very interesting. One of the questions I asked her was why when I say that I am a Christian, people become hostile and defensive.  My faith raises alarm bells for others because they expect me to be prejudiced and judgmental. If I express my personal opinions concerning various social issues, I am judged or even mocked. But why is that? Why am I no longer allowed to hold fast to what I consider to be true? I am allowed to be spiritual, to believe in some vague higher power or even attribute the world’s happenings to the workings of the ‘universe’, but if I say that believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, I am immediately met with hostility.

Perhaps it’s because Christianity certifies a standard that is in conflict with the lifestyles of many. Perhaps it’s because religion has been used as a weapon, as a tool that has sought to oppress people instead of liberating them. I’m not sure but I am interested.  What is your truth? Where does Christianity fit in? Does it fit in at all? If you are a Christian, do you believe that there is only one truth? How does this affect the way that you engage with the world? And when people ask you your opinion about social issues such as abortion, gay marriage and the likes, in environments outside of your church, what is your response?

Lots of love, happy Monday and God bless you,

Joy xxxxxxxxxxxxx

3 Things I’ve Learnt Since Landing In Lagos

NIGERIA road sign

I landed in Lagos just over 48 hours ago and I’ve witnessed many wild and weird things. Before I kick off with yet another list, I just have to say: I love it here. I loved it as soon as I walked through customs and saw a fight ensue between a man and an employee (more on that later). My Old Man has been pushing for a family trip to Nigeria for the past two years and I owe him an apology for being so resistant and buying into the Western perception (yeah, I said it) of Nigeria/Africa. Yes, there is poverty, but name one place where poverty does not exist? I know our televisions/the adverts on the trains tell us that Africa is a country continent rife with suffering, children with big bellies and mud huts, that is but a fraction of what exists on this continent: Nigeria is beautiful, Nigeria is amazing; Nigeria feels like is home.

3 things I’ve learnt in Lagos:

1)Temptation is everywhere

They warn you about sex, drugs and alcohol but they don’t tell you about the Sprite in Nigeria that sits in my fridge and contains more sugar than the Tangfastic Haribos. We have so many cans and they call out to me each hour, beckoning me, knowing that if they call for long enough, I will eventually give in. It sounds so small and insignificant but my inability to resist those precious cans has revealed something deeper, something that I have been turning a blind eye to for a long time: my lack of self-control. I say ‘tomorrow will be different’ but will it? A part of me knows at some point in the day I am going to run back to that fridge and drink 1 2 5 cans and feel guilty for the rest of the day. What do you keep going back to? Is it as harmless as a can of Sprite or is it so deep-rooted that you wonder if you will ever be able to resist? I need to learn how to say no to myself, remembering that:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say, but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” but not everything is constructive.

1 Corinthians 10:23

2) There will be periods of darkness

My cousins and I decided to venture out into the estate so we could get to know the area. We walked and walked, taking new turns in the hope that it would lead us right back to our home. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and darkness began to fall. We had a choice – to keep going, taking new roads or to turn back and retrace our steps. One route offered certainty and the other didn’t. Guess which one we took?

How many of us are so afraid of the unknown that we turn back to that which is familiar as soon as we enter a period of darkness? 

Darkness will come…but so will the light.

If we never walk new roads, we will never experience all that God has for us. Some of us are so busy praying in our bedrooms for God to open new doors that we forget to venture outside.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19

God has already started working in our lives, we cannot be afraid to take steps of faith – even when it is dark.

3) You can’t choose when to love your neighbour

I love hard, I love deep, I love irrationally. If you asked me yesterday whether I needed to learn how to love people properly, I would have shaken my head and inwardly done the polish nails emoji because I would have been 100% sure that knowing how to love people was not my problem. This was until someone didn’t ask for my love; they demanded it, leaving me with no choice but to comply. My space was invaded and my love was taken hostage. My initial reaction to the event was so hostile that I had to question the depth of my relationship with Christ. In that moment of conviction, I learnt that I can’t just love when it’s convenient and easy, I have to love when it is unsettling, difficult and possibly even painful.


In other news, I saw a cockroach this morning and nearly died, I am petrified of mosquitoes and their capacity to ruin my legs, and I have accepted that by the time this holiday is over, I will be so fat that I will need two seats on the plane. As I write this, I am surrounded by chin chin, thinking about what I will be eating tomorrow – these are my confessions.

Lots of love!

Joyxxxxxxx

10 Signs It’s Time To Walk Away

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We all think we are unique until we find people who are just like us. These people may not be identical to us, but they’re similar enough for us to connect with them. They make our lives make a bit more sense; they make us feel as though we are not alone. We love and fear the same things as them, our heartbeats quicken during the same moments and the burdens we have carried on our backs suddenly become lighter because now we can share them. These people become our lovers; these people become our friends.

Most relationships do not remain as beautiful as they are when they begin. I believe that in all relationships there are ups and downs and true connections can only be built in the furnace; it is there that we discover our strength. However, when you spend too much time in the furnace, fighting, grieving and hurting, you have every right to question whether it’s time to walk away. A few weeks ago I wrote about my decision to fight for my friendships and in the last paragraph I wrote that there was indeed a time to walk away. A close friend of mine read the piece and asked, ‘so how do you know when it’s time to let go?’ I sent her multiple Facebook messages and then thought, ‘heck, why don’t I turn this into a blogpost?’ So here I am, blogging a new list.

Now, now, now, before you get excited (we all love lists) I want you to know that this list has been informed by my limited life experiences. I’ve been accused of some of the below (some honesty for ya!) and I’ve experienced some of them also. BTW: please don’t finish reading this list and immediately start burning bridges because you agree with every single point. If you do have someone in mind before AND after you’ve read the post, seek God, spend time praying for him or her, for yourself and about the situation, then make a decision.

Also: This is just my opinion.

OKAY. LET’S GO.

1) When you prefer the memories you share to the person standing in front of you.

If you prefer how they used to treat to how they currently treat you, there may be a problem. You are holding onto the past.

2) When you find yourself constantly altering yourself to suit their needs.

Now, I’m all for compromise. Relationships flourish when both parties alter themselves just a little bit. However, if you’re walking on eggshells around them, and constantly watching what you say just in case it rubs them the wrong way, you may have a problem. You shouldn’t be staying silent because you want to avoid an argument.

3) When their words hurt you more than they heal you.

Words are powerful:

The tongue can bring death or life those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

Proverbs 18:21

If their words make you wince and die a little, if they insult you more than they heal you, if they push you down to the point that you don’t feel as though you can’t stand, it might be time to put on your running shoes.

4)You feel inferior around them

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

5) When spending time with them becomes a painful chore.

Friendships should be enjoyed. If you walk away from said person feeling drained, they have probably withdrawn more from you than they have deposited. Under special circumstances (heartbreak, bereavement, loss of employment, general life horrible stuff) this is fine. It is not, however, the norm. Friendships should be fun, not arduous work.

6) If they don’t ask you how you are but insist on speaking about themselves for hours on end.

This one in itself isn’t really a deal breaker but I want you to know that you matter. How you feel matters. Your day: matters. Your life: matters. Even though someone forgetting to ask how you are may seem unimportant, it often shows a lack of care and consideration. WARNING SIGN.

7) Everyone keeps telling you to walk away

If everyone around you is saying the same thing, it just might be true. Stop ignoring the voice in your head AND the voices of your loved ones. Take a step back and evaluate the situation.

8) If you’ve spoken to them about their flaws and they refuse to take the constructive criticism on board.

If someone is hurting you and you haven’t spoken up about it, you are partly to blame (sorry, not sorry). Is the person a mind-reader? It is a completely different story if you have sat them down, voiced your concerns and they have carried on treating you in the same manner. If you haven’t given them the opportunity to change, don’t walk away so hastily. A conversation could be the difference.

9) If you’re hoping they’ll one day wake up a changed being, ready to love you in the way that you deserve.

This one is sad because your relationship hinges on a moment that may never happen. The ‘one day’ you are hoping for may never come. This just might be it (this post is becoming such a downer). There are many people in the world that will love you right now, just as you are.

10) *insert YOUR reason here*

As you were reading this, someone sprang to mind, right? If I’ve missed it in the above, still evaluate that individual’s presence in your life. I think a part of us always knows when someone may not be good for us, even if we aren’t ready to fully accept it.


Every so often, the people we love the most have to become the memories we shared together.  It’s taken a long time but I have finally accepted that forgiving someone does not necessarily mean that the relationship remains the same. While forgiving people is mandatory (Matthew 6:15), staying in toxic relationships is not. Sometimes we have to walk away and love people from afar. It doesn’t mean that we love them any less and it doesn’t make what we shared with them less special; it just means that we no longer walk with them. And that’s okay. It really, really is. It’s okay to journey without them. It’s okay to thank them for the lessons. It’s okay to pray for them. It’s okay to look ahead armed experience and wisdom. It’s okay to let them go.

Thanks for reading maaaan.

Joy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

5 Things To Consider Before Getting Bum Implants

Nicki-Minaj-pic-I became aware of my flaws quite early on in my life. I was just six years old when I decided that my feet were ugly. I would often say to my Mum that if I could only just cut my feet in half, they would be a normal size. I felt that they were dreadful; too fat and too large for my (then) slender frame. As I grew in age, I also grew exponentially in size and I spent most of my teenage years believing that if I could just lose weight, all my problems would disappear. The root of every issue I had was somehow linked back to my appearance through the faulty thought circuits I had created. By my late teenage years, I ditched the desire to be slim because apparently, as a Black woman, I needed to be ‘thick’. I was thick. I was definitely thick, but not thick in the right places. My breasts were thick, my thighs were thick and my stomach (unfortunately) was thick. Everything was thick, but not in the way that I was told was desirable. My bum wasn’t big enough and my waist wasn’t small enough so my ‘thick’ was just fat.

I always thought that with age, we did away with all the insecurities we accumulated throughout our teenage years. But do we? Or do we just find ways to conceal those insecurities? We stop complaining about our spots because we discover foundation, our weight is no longer a problem because of the hours we spend at the gym fighting our genetic disposition and our natural hair which refuses to grow remains hidden under weaves and wigs.

But what about the flaws that cannot be concealed or mediated naturally? What do we do when the things we hate most about ourselves cannot be impacted by external variables?

We opt for surgery.

I have nothing against surgery but in light of another young woman dying because of the desire to change her body, I felt compelled to ask some questions.

1) Who told you that you were not good enough?

Yes, society continuously pushes images of perfection upon us, images that no ordinary person can attain, but who told you that you weren’t beautiful? Who makes you feel like what you see is not enough? Who told you that those changes were the ‘right’ changes to make? Who dictates what is beautiful?

2) Will it solve your problems?

For a long time I thought that all my personal issues were caused by my weight until I lost the weight and I still had my issues. I naively thought that as soon as my BMI changed I would view all aspects of myself more positively. Unfortunately, that negative self-talk and those insecurities stayed close by until I addressed them. I am not going to argue that perhaps having a larger/smaller *insert here* wouldn’t make you feel better, but I want to know – will it solve your problems?

3) What will you tell your daughter?

NB: this does not apply if you do not want to procreate, please move onto number 4

One of the main reasons I stopped being crazy/obsessive about my weight was because I didn’t want my child to have the issues that I was battling with. In hindsight, this was quite strange because I was 19 at the time I began to fight for my mental freedom, there were no kids in my immediate future and yet, my fight began because of them. I didn’t want my daughter to meet an insecure, broken woman because I knew it would increase the likelihood that she would become one also. I didn’t want her to stand in the mirror and criticise herself because even without meeting her, I knew that she was beautiful and I never wanted her to think otherwise. Imagine a day where your daughter says that she wants to spend x amount in order to change an aspect of herself, an aspect that you consider to be beautiful – what will you say?

4) Will it be worth it?

The thing that pains me most is when surgeries go wrong and we lose beautiful people on a table that they didn’t need to be on in the first place. Unfortunately, it is only after death that we remember how minuscule our flaws are and how precious life is.

5) Where does your confidence come from?

The greatest turning point in my life was when I realised that although I didn’t think I was that special or beautiful, God had created me in His image. I realised that I looked like God. I thought God was amazing; I still do. When God made me, He took into account all the things I would ever need, combined them together and VOILA. It may not look like much when compared to what I see around me but I know that there is nothing that needs changing desperately; I am enough. My confidence isn’t unshakeable but because it depends on a God that does not change, I can always look to Him to affirm me.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:13-14

You may never look like the people you see in the magazines, you may never look like the people on Instagram but you are wonderfully complex, you are marvellous and you are enough simply because God says so.

Joy

P.s: Dani and I are so overwhelmed and humbled by all the visitors we’ve received over the past week! Thank you so much for reading xx

12 Struggles Only People In Their Early Twenties Will Understand

o-OLIVIA-facebook

I went to visit my friend yesterday. I thought I was in Kent but I was really in Uxbridge (new lows of ignorance for me). It was so refreshing to get away from my world for the day; this week has been a challenging one in many ways. I haven’t been on a campus in almost two years so it felt strange being around students again. You know how students are just ‘up’ until the early hours of the morning without any real concern for the next day? Yeah, there’s a lecture but attendance is still a choice and there are no real consequences if the lecture is missed. I dare not sleep after 12pm these days (even that is living life on the edge) because my alarm is going off at 6.45am and my train is leaving at 7.40am and I need to be on it.

When did life become more than eating last night’s take-away before 10am and talking about the latest episode of Scandal?

This post isn’t for recent graduates…you guys live a different struggle. This post is for the those of you who have lived the graduate life for about a year now; you’ve settled back into your hometown and you still can’t quite believe how old you feel despite knowing how young you really are.

12 Struggles Only People In Their Early Twenties Will Understand

1) Everyone around you is getting married/in a relationship

What is going on? Seriously? I can’t scroll through my newsfeed without seeing a man on his knees proposing to the love of his life or declarations of love in the form relationship status changes. Can everyone just chill?

2) You start to worry about your parents

It crept up on you – suddenly you became intimately aware of their mortality and the fact that if you are getting older that means that they are getting older too. Now spending time with them is more appealing than it was before because you realise that moments with them are precious; it’s time that we can never get back.

3) You feel like you’re acting at work

You wear the right clothes, paint on a facial expression that you’re convinced says ‘I know what I’m doing’ but you spend meetings thinking “what the heck am I doing here?” You still can’t believe that your employers trust you to care about things and listen during their meetings.

4) You have fewer friends so God inevitably takes on a really important role

Your friends no longer live 5 minutes away and you don’t ‘bump’ into them on the street. Unless there is an intense planning session and a laborious process of trying to squeeze each other into diaries, meet ups are few and far between. On top of this, because work is a real thing now, there just isn’t enough time to be in constant contact with anyone but Jesus.

5) Doing things alone becomes easier than calling on the many two friends you usually hang out with

Before a ‘+1’ was essential. Now you’re so used to doing things solo that you forget to contact your friends to see if they’re interested in going somewhere; you just go alone.

6) You prefer sleeping to socialising

Friend: Let’s go for drinks after work!

You: But when will I sleep?

7) There isn’t any time to watch all the shows you started watching during University

Once upon time, life was:

Uni.

Library.

Watching 6 different shows in bed (in the dark)

These days, I can just about keep up with Scandal. Where is the time going?

8) You are thinking about ‘real’ things

For most of our lives, our focus has been getting through the academic year without failing. Now that’s all over, concepts like ‘career progression’, ‘marriage’, ‘children’ and ‘savings’ are being thrown at us left, right and centre. The worst thing is, we’ve started thinking about them without being prompted.

9) Despite these adult concepts slowly consuming your mind, you still secretly fantasise about quitting your job, travelling the world and eventually settling down in Spain and becoming a bartender

There are always moments during my working week where I wanna throw my notebook and pen in the air, run home, pack a bag and leave on the next flight out of town.

10) You feel bad when you haven’t attended Church or read your bible in a while

During my Uni days I could easily go three months without attending a church service. Fast forward four years and missing two weeks of Church and Bible reading can leave me feeling vulnerable and lost. My faith has stopped being a choice – it is really the thing that holds me together.

11) Being hungover just isn’t fun anymore

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve finally started paying more attention to the scriptures about drunkenness or maybe you’ve just realised that your body can’t handle alcohol in the way it could four years ago. Either way, going to work hanging is N E V E R worth it.

12) Life just feels like it’s moving too quickly and there is nothing you can do to slow it down

We frequently experience moments of crippling fear where we suddenly freak out and wonder whether life is ever going to work out.

Don’t worry, it will. God has a plan and everything is going to be OK (Jeremiah 29:11).

Happy Friday y’allll!!!

Joyxxxxxx

P.S: The picture of today’s blog is of Ms Olivia Pope simply because I mentioned Scandal twice and I can’t wait for this week’s episode.

How I Lost All My Loved Ones

Loneliness (2)

When  I was “in-between jobs” I was able to spend more time observing the lives people created on social networking sites (that’s fancy speak for stalking people). I loved seeing the way people self-edited, showing the version of themselves that appeased most audiences and that they believed was most acceptable. It must be the psychologist in me; I found it fascinating. Over the months I started to see an increase in the number of young people quoting Drake’s “No New Friends”. People wrote candidly of how replaceable people were and how those who do not adhere to the arbitrary friendship rules they had created would be cast away, cut off and never spoken to again.

Cutting people off when they hurt us has become the norm. The problem I have with this treatment of people is that I feel that when we cut people off, we dehumanise them; humans become like commodities that can be dismissed instantly and we fail to see them for beautiful yet imperfect beings that they are. I do not believe good friendships come around every day or by mistake and for this reason I feel they should be protected and fought for. I didn’t always feel this way. I am prone to outbursts of impulsivity – which means that I often react emotionally to situations instead of rationally. In the past I have stopped speaking to friends without a second thought, only allowing myself to look back on the friendship to relive the moment they broke my precious (and weird) friendship rules. As I got older, I noticed that a pattern was emerging. A few months after we’d parted ways, there would always be a moment of clarity; the anger I had felt for so long would ebb away and I would be left with the pain. In the prior months the anger had often eclipsed the pain, so when the pain finally revealed itself, it was always intent on making its presence known. It was always a blinding pain that cut to my core and erupted throughout my body causing the tears I had kept inside to flow freely. In that moment I would realise that what these people had meant to me completely overweighed their indiscretion and how much time I had wasted being angry. I would look around and the people I had loved dearly were no longer around. I would do best at this point, I would call, text, whatever in order to try and save what I had lost. Some of these friendships could be salvaged. Others were not as fortunate; sometimes the bridges we burn are left in ruins and there is nothing that can be done to rebuild them, no matter the efforts being put it on both sides of the water.

So now I am careful. I don’t dismiss people and I do not dismiss friendships. If you mean something to me, I won’t walk away from the friendship that we built together. No, I will try and sort through our issues so at least I know that if we do not make it, it is because the foundation we built together wasn’t strong enough to survive the storm. I have come to understand that my life exists on the basis of second chances. I live because God chooses to forgive me irrespective of the many mistakes I make.

Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:32

I feel as though it is my responsibility to give other people second chances too. There is a time to walk away, don’t get me wrong but before you do so be sure that it is a timely goodbye and not an impulsive decision that will be reviewed with regret in the years that lie ahead.

Joy xxx

What Real Love Feels Like

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Every time I am reminded of what Jesus put himself through just for me, I am moved. I am moved I know there are few people, if any, who would ever fight for me in the way that he did. Yeah, there are people that claim to love me and a few show it through their actions, but I have never experienced a love that does not hinge on what I can do for the giver; there have always been conditions and consequences when I fall short of the expectations set for me. Some have taken back the love they initially bestowed upon me while others have simply loved me less as a result. God’s love is completely different; it is unconditional. When Jesus went to the cross for me, he was fighting for my life, for my love and so that I could be more. Every day he fights for me and reminds me that I am destined to be greater than the situations I put myself in, he beckons me to his side and reminds me that I no longer need to prove my worth to others.

Titus 3:4-7 But God, the One Who saves, showed how kind He was and how He loved us by saving us from the punishment of sin. It was not because we worked to be right with God. It was because of His loving-kindness that He washed our sins away. At the same time He gave us new life when the Holy Spirit came into our lives. God gave the Holy Spirit to fill our lives through Jesus Christ, the One Who saves. Because of this, we are made right with God by His loving-favour. Now we can have life that lasts forever as He has promised.

Our works – what we have achieved, what we can do and what we have done – are not why God chose to save us. When we sin, we feel unworthy, unable to approach and speak to God; we allow our sins to create a gulf between ourselves and the Father. I think during those times it is crucial that we remember that it was not because our works that caused him to save us from the ultimate punishment; it is because of who he is. It is the love that he is that covers every wretched thing we have ever done and every questionable thing we will ever do. God offers us all a new life: one without chains, free from bitterness, lust, jealousy, insecurity, hatred and anger; he literally transforms our lives. He has made it possible to love others freely, to love ourselves, to forgive, to let go, freeing us from the bitterness that might have otherwise consumed us.

I hope you grab hold of that love today.

Joy xxxx

The Day I Realised God Was Not Enough

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I’m not quite sure when I decided to take my relationship with God seriously. I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment but my awful memory would never allow for such an accurate collection of a meaningful and life-changing event. Heck, I got baptised two (?) months ago and I’ve completely forgotten the date (I want to write it down because my sister said it’s my new birthday – HOW CAN I NOT KNOW MY OWN BIRTHDAY?). Fortunately, I remember why I began to take God seriously. Yes, I had grown up in a Christian home (blah, blah, blah) but it was the church that I attended whilst at university (shoutout to AUDACIOUS!) that propelled me into my faith. Every Sunday the preacher would reveal aspects of God that I had previously been unaware of and it made me want to dig deeper so I sought Christian literature, sermons and the likes in order to increase my knowledge of my beautiful and awesome God.

The nature of my previous job was such that I was able to decide what time I would rise and start my day. Even though I could have slept in for hours, I chose to arise at 6am every day and spend time with God for at least two hours. I would wake up, worship for 30 minutes, read the Bible for 30 minutes, read a Christian book and then go into a deep time of conversation (prayer). I never felt tired and I never felt bored – I didn’t even fall asleep during the prayer section of my Christian workout. The growth I experienced was exponential because the more I learnt about God, the more I realised how much I didn’t know about Him which caused me to want to know even more about Him. It was a beautifully, visicous cycle which contributed massively to the young woman you see read today.

Then Life Happened.

When I say life happened, I don’t mean some life-changing event occurred (well, a few did but whatever). All that really changed were the demands on my time. I was working late and waking up early and I couldn’t spend hours face down on the floor pouring my heart out to God because I had an 7.40am train to catch that would leave regardless of whether I was seated on it or not. Waking up to pray became a chore because sleep had to be sacrificed. Yeah, God sacrificed His son for me but to spare 30mins of extra sleep every morning was apparently out of the question. No longer did I spend two hours praying, instead I began to read my Bible on the train. Unfortunately my train journey wasn’t long enough to really get into anything so our time together was over before it begun.

I set a couple of goals last week that would have at least ensured that I prayed before I leapt out of my bed but the implementation of these goals was feeble at best. My awesome God who I once could not get enough of had been moved down my list of priorities. I got out of bed and started my day without thanking the One that had woken me up. On some days, I even read short devotional via the Christian apps on my phone instead of reaching for the Word itself because there just ‘wasn’t enough time’.

I was really challenged yesterday afternoon. God didn’t send a special angel to let me know that I was getting it wrong and it happened so subtly I could have missed it. I was walking down the road on my way to the *I can’t remember where so insert a destination here* and I took my phone out of my pocket and thought “let me call Dani and tell her about…” As I began to dial, I thought:

Have you told God the things you are about to tell Dani?

….No

Even though I was on my Christian apps, scanning the scripture and tweeting away in the mornings, my non-stop communication with Him that had ceased. God had stopped being enough for me. I hadn’t told God how I was feeling that day and all the rapid changes that my life was undergoing. At the beginning of this year, God was enough for me, He was all I had, all I wanted and all I felt I would ever need. Fast forward nine months and I was reaching for my phone before I had even considered reaching for Him. As this truth washed over me, I put my phone away and spoke to God. I told Him my news. I told Him about every moment, every fear, and every joy – I told Him everything.

Some people say it isn’t how long you spend with God but the quality of the time you spend with Him that is most important. There is some truth in that belief– if your prayers last hours but your words are empty and your heart is cold, of course the quality over quantity rule applies. However, if God has become an afterthought, if your time with Him rarely exceeds 5 minutes a day and yet you claim to love Him with all of your heart, mind and soul (Matthew 22:37) then it may be time to go back to the drawing board.

Don’t worry; I’m there too.

All my love,

Joy xxx

The Day I Got Over My Break Up

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Although I wrote the piece below entitled ‘just.light’ late last year, every time I read it I remember the profound moment of clarity I felt as the Light finally overshadowed everything that I had been through.

God doesn’t always take away our pain, He often allows us to live through in it in order to reveal part of ourselves – hidden strengths, unspoken weaknesses, unresolved issues. He also uses painful experiences to reveal aspects of His person that we may not have experienced before – His peace, His faithfulness, His heart.

You may be going through a dark season at the moment, praying every day for God to take your pain away. Remember that every day you are being made stronger and a greater plan is at work which will one day make this process make sense; better days are ahead.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5

just.light.

Today I drove around a foreign land, I took in the landscapes and the beauty I had the opportunity to behold blew me away. I was in awe and mentally brought to my knees as I once again realised the beauty life had to offer. There is beauty all around us. In every moment of every day, I feel there is something beautiful to be found. Sometimes we have to look a little harder and push ourselves deeper in order to find the beauty, but it is there. In the silence, in the tapping of rain, in the roar of the wind, in the moving clouds, there lies beauty. Despite beauty being ever-present, what lies within us can act sometimes act as a mist and cloud our vision. For me, heartache did just that.

Although the words heartbreak and heartache are used interchangeably, they have come to mean different things to me. While I experienced heartbreak the moment that my relationship finally ended, heartache is what I experienced in the months that followed. The what ifs, the whys, the why nots made my heart burn and yearn for a time where my emotions didn’t suffocate me. The moments I would often replay in my mind had the capacity to make my heart swell until it felt too big for my body; the hurt would go as rapidly as it came but the overwhelming sense of sadness would stay. You see, there is no future in the heartache season, there is only here, now and then. The future ceases to have any real meaning, hope no longer exists and every day tasks such as getting out of bed become insurmountable.

heart. ache.

Then one day, that hollow feeling I had become accustomed to faded. The darkness that overshadowed every moment of light the previous months had offered me finally lifted. I woke up and the heartache had passed. And I finally began to breathe. I wasn’t numb anymore; I could feel. People don’t tell you enough how hard breakups are. They are horrible. You feel like you’re going to die. But then you don’t. You feel as though you are suffocating for most of the day and drowning at night and yet you still wake up the next morning. You wonder if you’re ever going feel to peace and have joy in your heart again.

And then it comes. He stops crossing your mind. You stop replaying the moments you shared. And you breathe.

In. Out. In. Out.

You try to capture every moment by inhaling them because you never thought you would be able to feel again. You want to capture everything because you’ve felt so much pain that even the way you appreciate beautiful moments has been transformed. You breathe them in because there were times you couldn’t breathe at all without crying.

Today I drove around a foreign land. I saw Cyprus. I saw the beauty. No mist, no clouds, no darkness. Just light.

just. light.

How To Find Out God’s Plan For Your Life

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Can you believe it’s September already?

This year has been full of unexpected events and challenges but God has been faithful. The fact that we are all still standing has nothing to do with who we are and everything to do with who He is and His desire to lavish mercy and compassion upon us despite the amount of times we have fallen.

As we enter into the last quarter of the year, I believe it is imperative that we remain focused on God. Let us not fall at the last hurdle, especially since this month marks a new chapter in all of our lives. Some of us are starting new jobs, beginning university, college or entering into a new academic year which holds more weight than the last. In all of this, it is crucial not to consider our earthly goals  more important than our spiritual ones.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our personal life plans and focus on things that will eventually cease to exist. Yes, we want to make a good impression, we want to be excellent, we want to achieve but we are called seek God first above all else; our personal desires are secondary. There was a moment in my life where I put all my personal desires to the side and yelled “GOD, I ONLY WANT TO DO WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO”. I wanted to know what I was created for and what I was ‘called’ to do so I prayed intensely, asking God to reveal the great plan at work.

Nothing happened.

Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where I caught a glimpse of what God could maaaaybe want from me and I was able to draw my own conclusions (for the most part, my assumptions were wrong and God always managed to bring about His plan in the most unexpected manner). My desire to seek God and put Him first also caused me to became obsessive and fearful, afraid to make decisions in case I got it wrong and messed up His plan.

So what does God want from you and I? What does He want us to do?

God wants you to:

Love Him and love others (Luke 10:27)

To pursue righteousness and love (Proverbs 21:21)

To aim to please Him (1 Corinthians 5:9)

To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8)

I’m sure there are a few other things in the Bible (sorry, it’s getting late, I’ll add more in another post) that God requires from us but can we, hand on heart, say that we are doing the above? We want this great big reveal but continuously fail to adhere to that which has been revealed.

I am no longer obsessed with God’s plan for my life, I just do my best to read my Bible daily, pray fervently and serve others. I pray for God’s sovereign will to come to pass and leave it at that; I trust Him and understand it is not my job to see where I’m going, but to follow Him. I’ve stopped worrying about the unknown (future) and begun to focus on the known (scriptures). I hope you will too because although we may never know what the future holds, what is required of us as we walk into the future is pretty clear.

Lots of loveeee,

JOY xxxxxx