Tag Archives: daily inspiration

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

12 Struggles Only People In Their Early Twenties Will Understand

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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.

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.

Why You Keep Lying On Facebook

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In my Sunday School class, the question was once asked:

 If a man held a gun to your head and asked you if you were a Christian, what would you say?

 Now, of course the “right” answer was to scream “I LOVE YOU JESUS” and suffer the unspeakable consequences but over a decade has passed and I’m still yet to decide what I’d do simply because I never really show up in moments of panic, I freeze and scream internally until the moment of panic passes. Also, I believe that hypothetical responses are rarely indicative of what one will do when faced with the situation. This question came to mind this morning and although I still do not have an answer, it always causes me to think more deeply about life, what I am willing to die for and more importantly, what I am living for.

“They say ‘you only live once’ but what are you living for?”

I let my Mum use my Facebook yesterday and it was fascinating watching her read through my newsfeed; she could not understand why the people I knew felt comfortable sharing such intimate moments of their lives online. When she asked me why, the cynic within me arose:

“Mum, people want to show other people how happy and content they are, even if that means giving 500+ people access to the most sacred moments life offers.”

As I was saying this, I realised that most of us are living for the applause. We are living for the ‘likes’, the moments where others validate our actions. We carefully choose what we will reveal online in order to create what we feel will be the perfect image. Underneath the façade lies the real; the real moments of pain, confusion, frustration, anger, happiness and joy.

Although we cannot pick and choose the moments that God sees, we act as though He isn’t watching 24/7. We spend more time choosing filters on Instagram than filtering out the negative parts of lives and we spend more time controlling the way others view us than we do allowing God to take control and fix the broken parts of our lives – the parts that aren’t picturesque enough for the online world.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Hebrews 4:13

One of things I enjoy most about being a Christian is the fact that I am forced to have honest conversations with God. I can’t lie and I can’t pretend that everything is okay when it isn’t. He sees right through the façade because He sees all. When I have no words to say, He still hears the pain I feel or the joy I don’t know how to express.

God sees.

My challenge to you today is to live each moment in light of the fact that God sees. I don’t want you to think of Him as a judgemental, domineering presence which seeks to dictate your every action and can’t wait to punish you, but as a loving Father (Isaiah 64:8), who is interested, concerned (Luke 12:7) and full of love for you (1 John 3:1).

Lots of my love & Happy Wednesday!!

Joy xxxxxx

What To Do When You’re Falling Apart

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At the moment, I’m getting into the Old Testament (OT) – the part of the Bible most young Christians tend to avoid – not because we don’t want to read it, of course, but because it just feels a bit intense and at times, confusing. The New Testament (NT) feels a lot easier to get through, right? It can at times feel like an action movie with the star of the film being our main man Jesus Christ who just keeps doing and saying amazing things.

 Boom! Born in a manger

Boom! Doing Miracles

Boom! Dying on a cross

BOOM! RISING FROM THE DEAD

Such a page turner, right? And of course, once you become a Christian, you’re given the little red NT Bible so most of us just sit with the last 27 books and neglect all the other books. After years of being content with the NT alone, I decided to begin right at the beginning of the Bible. I have just finished reading Joshua and let’s just say it’s been quite the journey.

God delivered  the Israelites out of the Egypt but instead of allowing them to enter the Promise Land instantaneously, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their disobedience and distrust. The Israelites had no real idea where they were going; there had been ups and downs, disappointments and frustrations. The very thing they hoped would come to pass had been severely delayed.

Eventually, the Israelites reached the land God promised them and in Joshua 22, Joshua their new leader, gave some of the tribes some sound advice:

But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold fast to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.

Joshua 22:5

On the day I read this, I was having trouble holding onto God because I had so many other things in my hands. It had been a whirlwind week, full of moments where things had failed to come together in the way I hoped they would. I wanted to throw myself into my emotions and hibernate under my quilt. Thankfully, this scripture caught me as I was falling apart and caused me to question my response to what most would consider one of the usual setbacks of life.

When we are falling apart that is when we should hold tighter onto God – we shouldn’t let him go because of our emotions.

When everything is going wrong – fall apart hold fast

When things aren’t going your way – fall apart hold fast

When you’re not sure what to do next – fall apart hold fast

When you put all your hope into something and it doesn’t come together –fall apart hold fast

Hold fast to God, He is all we have.

Joy xx

My Dad Was A Pastor…I Was An Atheist

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My Dad was ordained as a Pastor the year I was born so my earliest memories are of him preaching to hundreds of people about the grace of God and the love of Jesus Christ. I have grown up watching him teach, preach and do his best to share the love of Jesus with everyone he comes into contact with. I could honestly write this whole post about how great my Dad is because he is my hero; he was the first person who showed me what Jesus could potentially look like and through his love and instantaneous forgiveness no matter what I did (and I’ve done some pretty bad things) I grew up having a firm understanding of the love of Jesus Christ.  Love you Dad! (He doesn’t read my blog so won’t even see this mushy introduction – awkward.)

Despite his consistency, relentless pursuit of God and being a model Christian, my questions regarding our faith in God began around the age of 13. “Daddy, how do you know Jesus is real?” “Daddy, are you sure?” were questions I would ask him regularly. I was in church every week and I was half listening to the preaching and although at times it made sense, there was one underlying obstacle that I kept encountering: How do we know that this is real? How do we know that God even exists? This could all be a lie! I would look around my church while everyone else was worshipping and often feel isolated and lost because everyone was ‘in the spirit’ but me. If I kept missing this spirit, how could it really exist?

My questions continued to grow and the fear that I was believing a really amazing fairytale became greater than my faith. I asked those around me what their thoughts were on Jesus and I got unhelpful and opaque answers:

Me: how do you know Jesus is real?

Friend: He just is!

Me: I’m sorry, what? How does that help me?

Friend: You just have to believe

Me: SORRY, CAN’T YOU HEAR ME? THAT IS THE PART I’M HAVING TROUBLE WITH

My heart grew cold, I switched off during the service and my life stopped reflecting the Christ that I once believed to be true. It was as though this belief in Christ was a club that I just couldn’t join. I wanted so desperately to believe but I couldn’t believe in something I couldn’t see so I simply stopped believing all together.

I don’t know when exactly my belief in God returned. I didn’t wake up one morning and suddenly have all the answers I had searched for during my teenage years. All I remember having were pockets of faith here and there, prayers now and again and life shaking events that brought me to my knees and caused me to run back my default setting – belief in a higher power. There was a need to believe that my pain would one day make sense and that it could not last forever; that need kept me searching. Although I actively sought all the answers to the questions I once had, one day I had to accept that I would never obtain the answers that I longed for.

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them,“Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

Mark 10:15

Children aren’t cynical, they ask questions to gain knowledge and to increase their understanding, not to disprove your argument. This scripture says that we have to become like them. Children ask questions but more easily accept the response; there is no pride, just innocence and a willingness to trust that what is being said is true. When they are told that the answer may be beyond them or the answer is yet to be discovered, they accept that too. I had placed my own limitations on God – he couldn’t do the things the Bible said he had done simply because I couldn’t imagine them happening and because I could not conceive them in my own mind, they simply couldn’t be true. But to be honest there are many things I cannot imagine that happen all around the world every single day and my disbelief or ignorance doesn’t make these occurrences any less real.

The honest answer to the question “how do you know that God exists?” is that I will never truly know. I will never be 100% sure that God exists because I have never met him face-to-face in the way that I’ve met other humans. I have, however, had very real, life-changing encounters with him and I can only point you to the broken person I used to be and show you who I have become in the hope that you will see and believe in him also. People from my past don’t recognise who I am now and at times, I don’t either. I am different because of him.

To the Christian having trouble explaining to people why you believe in a God that you cannot see but can only feel, I implore you to connect people with your experiences with God, not just your faith in him. Sometimes as Christians we want to show people the finished product but we don’t want them to see  the wounds that lie underneath our clothes which speak of the battles we had to face in order to become the person the world now sees. Our scars are important and our stories make our faith make sense to someone who simply cannot fathom the depths of our belief. My story speaks of car crashes, heartbreak and hours in A&E wondering if I was going to live or die -and that’s only the last four years! You may not believe that your story is dramatic or glamorous enough, and it may not be the rags-to-riches story-stand-up-on-the pulpit-and-everyone-cries-because-you’re-such-an-overcomer type of story but it is yours. Your story is the reason you have faith so be brave enough to share it and be strong enough to keep believing despite the questions you may still have. We will always have questions but the beauty of God is that he can handle them.

Have a beautiful weekend,

Joy xxxxx

That Time I Wore An Invisibility Cloak To A House Party

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I loved Harry Potter growing up. Despite Mum telling me that witchcraft was real and I was frolicking with darkness, I devoured those books in secret, loving the places that the author allowed me to go. In my heart, I became Harriet Potty, Harry’s black adopted sister who was facing a similar fate to Harry. I waited for my letter of invitation to Hogwarts for many years; I waited, hoped and hoped some more but nothing ever came. I was devastated. For some reason I wasn’t eligible for this amazing school of witchcraft and wizardry (in hindsight, I thank God that I wasn’t) and I was forced to live life as a muggle with no special powers. If someone had told me back then that one day I would have the opportunity to wear an invisibility cloak (like the one Harry had), I would have cried tears of joy. Yeah, I’m not the coolest person. 

The first time I wore Harry’s invisibility cloak I was 18 years old, walking around Fresher’s Fair, hungover from the night before. The room was loud and obnoxious to my fragile ears and eyes and it was then, as I walked around the room crossing the paths of hundreds of people, that I felt like no one could see me. The noise and the loneliness finally overwhelmed me and I ran back to the safety of my room, where the loneliness could feel more like a choice than a bullish reality. From that day, the invisibility cloak was no longer Harry’s, it was mine and it became part of my being; not a part I loved but a part that I accepted. I never willingly put it on but after a few attempts of trying and failing to be seen, I stopped trying to take it off and let it merge with my being. I became smaller, fragile and timid.

University, for me, was the biggest hype of LIFE, the biggest hype known to man, known to beast, known to every single living thing. Adults and recent graduates told me all sort of folk tales about their university experience:

You will LOVE it, they said.

You will meet your lifelong friends, they said.

You will meet the love your life, they said.

You will never want to leave, they said.

I experienced none of the above.

University was a trying experience, a time of painful growth and acknowledgment of my flaws. Although it was necessary, I did not enjoy it. You see, in that very first year of university, I wanted to be seen because at that time in my life, being seen would have meant feeling alive, and this was a feeling that often eluded me during this time.

One night I was at a house party (it was really just a boring gathering in a house which was located in the middle of nowhere – I really wish people would label their events correctly: rave is different from house party which is different from gathering; I am too tired of this false promotion), insecure, sad, lonely, and once again wearing my invisibility cloak. I couldn’t seem to take it off, people just kept walking past me. I spent the night in the corner of the room on a chair, with my friend (who had friends there) every so often remembering that I was her +1 and asking me if I was okay. Every time I lied and said I was; I was lonely and on the brink of tears, but I still had my pride! Needless to say, that night goes down as one of the worst house parties I have ever attended.

Later that night, my friend and I got lost (yes, the night got worse) and we wandered around Manchester at 3.am (don’t tell my mum!), looking for a cab, a bus stop or a friendly stranger who could point us in the right direction, which was of course unlikely given the time. With nothing left to do but walk and talk, we began to share our problems and fears with each other in a way that we had not done before. We both fought back tears that night as we told each other how miserable, invisible and alone we felt every single day. Despite knowing deep down that we had so much to give and so much to offer the world, we only felt small and insignificant.

All I wanted that night was to be seen, to be spoken to and to be acknowledged. To this day I can still remember that painful feeling of loneliness and literally counting down the hours until I could be at home in my bed, crying to my then boyfriend about how horrible my life was (notice I wasn’t crying to God about this invisibility problem – this was definitely part of the problem). I’m sure some of you reading this are thinking “look at these first world problems, girl you should have just spoken to someone!” To be honest, I wish I had been brave enough to. But then, if I had, I wouldn’t be sharing this story.

Some of you are wondering whether this post will tell you if I finally took off my invisibility cloak; it does, keep reading!

The next year I gave my life to Christ and began my pursuit of him. God began to break me apart in order to build me back up again. He had to break me apart first because there were deep-rooted lies I believed about my worth and my significance and those lies couldn’t co-exist with his love and belief in me. One day I was reading my Bible and I came across this verse:

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

John 1:48

Before Philip called Nathanael, before Nathanael knew who Jesus was, Jesus saw him. Jesus had his eye on him, Jesus was interested in him and Jesus had already chosen him. Jesus saw him. As I read this scripture, the penny dropped: Jesus sees me too.

When everyone in the room is talking and I’m being ignored, Jesus sees me.

On the days where I don’t feel good enough, Jesus sees me.

On the days when I do not feel as though I can compete, Jesus sees me.

On the days where I only feel anxious and unsure of myself, Jesus sees me.

I am seen.

The good, the bad, and the things I hide from other people because I fear I will be judged are all seen by Jesus and yet he still wants to know me. This truth helped me to take off my invisibility cloak. It wasn’t some great big reveal, it was a slow and painful process where Jesus took it the cloak apart piece by piece until suddenly, I could see myself the way he did.

So to you, reader, the one that feels invisible, as though you don’t matter. You do.

To you, feeling overlooked, you are seen.

To you, in pain, you are seen.

To you, overwhelmed, you are seen.

To you, invisible, you are seen.

To you, insecure, you are seen.

Jesus thinks you’re enough. He loves you. He sees you.

All my love,

Joy x

P.s: I have included a song which I used to sing  and wish could be my reality. Now it is and I thank God. Hope it helps you too xx

What I Learnt: Hallowed Be Thy Names

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Why I chose this book

I was quite excited to read this book because I hoped that it would positively impact my prayer life. There are times where I just want to praise God for who he is and remind him of all his amazing attributes and…well, I can’t, simply because I don’t know enough of them. Does anyone else ever run out of things to say?

I also think it is important to remind God of who he is (not because he forgets) but because it increases our faith and belief, especially in times of great difficulty.

5 things I learnt 

1. Know God

We can know someone’s name and have very little knowledge about who they are. Some of us claim to be Christians but know God on a very basic level and are yet to explore what the Bible says about his nature, his characteristics and his personality. I think a lack of understanding concerning the character of God can have harmful consequences such as stunted growth and limited expectations of him.

If we do not know that God is Jehovah Jireh, our provider, what will we do when we are in times of financial difficulty? Will we call upon God and remind of who he is or will we crumble under the financial weight? If we do not know that God is El Shaddai (all-sufficient), how we will ever shift our focus from our own weakness, powerlessness and failures, to his ability to keep us, teach us and make a way for us in the wilderness?

I think this book once again highlighted the necessity of reading the Bible every single day and being in relentless pursuit of God. At the beginning of my relationship with God, a prayer a day was absolutely fine but that is no longer sufficient given the time that has passed. If you are still where you were when you first started your journey with God, I think it is perhaps time to reflect on what you actually desire from your relationship with him and what he desires from you. Every day is an opportunity for growth and we shouldn’t let these opportunities pass us by.

2. Problems can be good for you

It is only in the past year that I have come to appreciate the problems and trials that I face. Being a Christian doesn’t excuse me from life’s pains but it does give me access to an amazing pain-reliever. When we look back on our lives in years to come, our most remembered moments will be the ones of pain, the moments where we felt like we had nothing more to give but managed to somehow survive. Hallowed Be Thy Names continuously reminds the reader that it is in the most difficult and trying times of our lives that God gives us a revelation about who he is and a fresh view of his character and power towards us. In order to overcome the challenges we face in our lives, we have to have a deep-rooted belief that our steps are ordered, leaving no room for accidents, good/bad luck and coincidences; everything happens for a reason and ultimately for our good.

3. Are you angry with God?

Some of you are angry with God in this very moment and this anger is linked to moment in your past where you feel God failed you.

God, you said you were going to help me but all I felt was loneliness

God, you said you keep my loved ones safe, but the person I loved the most died

God, you said no weapon formed against me would prosper and yet every single day I wake up sick

You wanted God to come through for you but he didn’t. He let those bad things happen to you and knowledge of this constantly overrides your love for him and your desire to seek him. Whenever you begin to get comfortable with God you remind yourself of that intense pain he failed to shield you from, retract and question his existence all over again. All you can think is “well you let THIS happen” and “where were YOU when I felt like this”.

It wasn’t until I read this that I realised that I also had some issues with God. I had to admit those issues God and ask him where he had been during some of the hardest times in my life. I can’t tell you where He was during your storm but as I looked back on those hard and dark years, I realised that God was there. Even though I felt isolated and alone during those years, the fact that I am still standing today, free from the issues that once held me captive, is evidence of God’s love and presence. He didn’t leave then and come back a few years later; he was always there.

4. It is not enough to just acknowledge your sins

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Romans 3:23

I sin. You sin. We sin.

But are we still moved by our sins? Have we become desensitised to the magnitude of our actions? Yes, we cry out to God and repent but the very next day, we are back to the very thing we asked God to save us from. How genuine is our cry of repentance if we return to the sin? The more we engage with the sin, the less convicted we will feel and eventually it will feel as though the sin isn’t even ‘that bad’. If we hold onto our sin we will eventually forsake God and be given over to our lusts. God will send warnings but eventually we will move so far away that we will no longer be able to hear his voice. We need to daily cut sin away from our lives and fight the desire to do that which we know is wrong.

5. Grace over wrath

The wrath of God isn’t as fun to talk about as the love of God, is it? As Christians, when we fail to speak about the wrath of God, it’s like giving the listener the best ice cream in the world but not warning them about brain freeze. We want to sell them his love but not warn them of his wrath; in doing so we fail to fully encapsulate the nature of God.

God is merciful, kind, patient, compassionate, full of love and grace

BUT

God is also holy, just, pure, severe, unchangeable, a despiser of sin and no respecter of persons.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them

Romans 1:18-19

 

Would I read the book again?

To be honest, I wouldn’t. I do love how much I am learning as Dani and I go through books and write about them and I am finding that each book has something to offer. This book I felt had too much opinion and I found the author quite conservative.  Despite this, it increased my desire to learn more about the nature of God and I will be reading more about this subject in the weeks ahead.

Lots of loving,

J xxxx

 

Why Instagram Is Ruining Your Life

obama

 

Before I start can we all take a look at Michelle Obama’s face?! Her face be like “I’LL DEAL WITH YOU WHEN WE GET HOME, BARACK”

Okay, let’s get started.


 

Does anyone else wake up in the morning, roll over and check their phone before their eyes have opened properly? The brightness of my phone can almost be painful but I persevere and force them to adjust.  Why? Because I need to check my phone, I NEED to see who has messaged me.

Oh you’re not in phone-first-camp? You reach for your Bible first?

Sidebar: please excuse my sarcasm, a part of me is applauding sincerely

To be honest, reaching for my bible before I reach for my phone is a daily battle – one I often lose. I so want to reach for God before I reach for people, I tell myself that I’m only going to check the time but before I know it, I’m scrolling through Instagram, updating myself on the previous 8 hours because I am so interested in how you’ve been living, eating, drinking and the sunsets you’ve seen in the time I’ve been asleep.  Our generation (you included, sorry) are obsessed with what we have missed because we fear that we are missing out.  We want to constantly be part of the party and attached to what’s ‘cool’ and ‘happening’, so much so, that even in the presence of company, we will check Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vine.. to ensure that we remain in the loop.

We see other people having fun and living out lives that seem flawless and then we take look around the room that we are sitting in and conclude that our lives do not measure up. They’re out drinking champagne; we are at home drinking hot chocolate. Their boyfriend gives them flowers and a life size teddy bear for Valentine’s day and  yet the only Valentine’s message we receive is from Dominos informing us that they have a special offer for our non-existent partners to enjoy (who else loves being single?!) We look at our phones, we look around and we become dissatisfied.

Unfortunately this obsession and comparison with what other people are doing is not limited to Instagram; we walk along the streets looking at other people’s clothes, hairstyles, cars etc and wish that we had the same things. We stare at them and then stare in the mirror and decide that we just aren’t enough. Sometimes it runs even deeper than staring at strangers and wishing for their possessions– sometimes we look at those closest to us and although we love them, we also begin to hate them because we feel that they too possess attributes that should have been bestowed upon us. If you are nodding your head or looking around guiltily as you read this…

 

Welcome.

 

You have been living in the Comparison Zone

 

Here are the rules (which I made up this morning):

Rule #1: Look around instead of looking ahead

Rule #2: Look behind only to make sure you that you are ahead of everyone else

Rule #3: What everyone else is doing is more important than what you are currently doing

Rule #4: What you have done only matters if no one else has managed to do it

Rule #5: Your worth hinges upon what you see around you, not what you know to be true about yourself


 

Once the silent competition between you and a close one begins, there’s no going back. Everything he/she does, you have to do better. You are secretly angry when they achieve greatness yet you force yourself to smile and congratulate them. Every time they win, a small part of you dies and you can’t help but think ‘why not me? Why always them?’ 

This negative comparison, jealousy and envy isn’t limited to Instagram or our generation; we see it in the Bible with Saul and David:

1 Samuel 18:6-8

When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song:

“Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands!”

This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!”  So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

 

Now, why would Saul keep an eye on David? Why do we keep eyes on other people?

  •  The deep-rooted fear that we are not good enough
  • The feelings of inadequacy we accumulate as we pass through life
  • *insert reason here*

Saul could have congratulated David but instead he chose to watch him and let jealousy and hatred fester within. Saul isn’t alone. I’m sure some of you have experienced the same thoughts and feelings as Saul when someone has outdone you – I know that I have.

I think once we enter the Comparison Zone, we take our eyes off Jesus and we put ourselves in a vulnerable position. We should be looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) but instead we are looking to see if our friend actually gets that job  or wondering whether her new boyfriend will be better than our current boyfriend.

 

My main gripes with the Comparison Zone are as follows:

1. We started differently

Your race could have started just minutes before mine – you could have even been born during the same year, on the same day, but that still wouldn’t make our starting positions equal. I’m talking about the differences in genetics, in the opportunities given to us, the different environments we are reared in and the choices our parents made long before we were thought of. All these things impact how we run our race.

How can we race each other when we’ve all begun at different times, received different aides and have run through completely different storms?

2. No two destinies are the same

God has made us uniquely different. We have differing goals, missions and tasks that we have been chosen to complete. Now how can we compare ourselves to people who have completely different tasks? The gifts God equipped your friends with in order to complete their tasks will be different to the gifts he has given you – not better, just different. It isn’t about looking at someone else’s light and feeling inferior, it is about recognising that the source of your light is one and the same.

 

 

We will never be satisfied with our lives if we continue to be consumed with the actions of others. I may never be on TV, I may never drive an expensive car and my hair will ALWAYS shrink when water touches it but I have to trust that every single facet of my being was designed perfectly by God so that I could complete my mission here on earth (even my unruly hair).

Philippians 3:14

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

God deserves our attention and our focus because he will run beside us, give us water when we are thirsty, give us strength when our legs are weak and cheer for us as we cross the finish line.

Make a decision to leave the Comparison Zone today; you can’t run anyone else’s race as well as you can run your own and life is better when you realise you’re running this race for God.

Hey now, have an amazing weekend! All my loving,

Joyyyy xxxxxx

My First Encounter With A Prostitute

pros

I’ve always been fascinated by women who use their bodies as a source of income. I think it’s more my need to understand everything than an actual interest in the industry, but even as a teenager, I always asked ‘why?’ Was it a love for sex? Was it love of quick and “easy” money? (I don’t think prostitution is easy money at all – that misconception couldn’t be further from the truth) Was it a means of survival? Vocations such as prostitution also caused me to question my ideals concerning sex and marriage; maybe the women who worked in these industries were the ones living liberated lives while the rest of the female population obsessed over the idea of the “the One” and continued to feel shamed as the number of men they have slept with increased.

I’ve had these questions in my head for years and up until last month, they remained unanswered and I was yet to have a real encounter with a prostitute. You can imagine my surprise when I met her, in my room, within the pages of my Bible. Her name was Rahab.

I’m going to give you key facts – if you want the full story, feel free to read Joshua 2:

  • Rahab was a prostitute. She lived on the edge of society and ran an inn built on the Jericho city wall.
  • Through the men she met (and slept with) Rahab came to learn about the God of Israel and the miracle of the Red Sea.
  • When the two spies sent by Joshua, seeking refuge in her inn, she knew that king of Jericho would hear of them and seek to kill them.
  • Rahab  planned the protection and escape of the two spies and when Jericho was eventually invaded by the Israelites, Joshua remembered how Rahab helped the spies and saved Rahab and her family.
  • She later gave birth to Boaz, making her the great-great-grandmother of King David, whose lineage continues on to Jesus.
  • In the New Testament, her name is placed amongst those in the Old Testament who had exemplified extraordinary faith (Hebrews 11:31).

As Christians, we love Rahab, don’t we?! She perfectly illustrates how the perfect will of God can come to pass and how he can use anyone.

But what about the people we have known who have given their bodies to men without a second thought? The people whose lifestyles we do not understand and do not agree with; do we love them too? How many prostitutes would feel accepted and loved if they visited your church?

“You sell your body?! You must be a bad person”

The above statement simply cannot be true. There is this notion that your sins have the power to decide whether you are worthy of acceptance and love, which is something my mind cannot fathom given that no man is without sin. If I am not defined by my sins, why should you be?

We have forgotten that God loves everyone and has a plan for each and every life despite the stage at which we meet each other – prostitutes included. We’ve stopped caring about the evidence at the crime scene and have become consumed with the crime itself, continuously making assumptions about a person’s faith, beliefs, worth and where they will spend eternity. In doing so, we fail to see the bigger picture and fail to view people in the love and light of Christ.

This judgment and this lack of compassion have resulted in people staying away from church because they are afraid to be judged and condemned. It has resulted in Christians coming to church, warming their seats and staying silent about the internal conflicts they face on a daily basis, afraid that the people they have come to regard as family will shun them once they find out what they’re struggling with. Some of us Christians have moved away from the Jesus that spent most of his time on the streets; he wasn’t in the synagogue playing happy families and arguing over who would lead praise and worship on a Sunday morning. In fact, Jesus continuously spoke to those who had been marginalised; the lepers, the blind, the tax collectors, and the adulterers – those were the people he spent his time with.

So what did I learn from my first encounter with a prostitute?

1)  Look at the heart

Do not judge others based on their actions alone. We are called to look a little deeper. This doesn’t mean that we should applaud and encourage sin but it does mean that we should look at the heart of another instead of looking solely at the outcome.

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart

1 Samuel 16:7

God doesn’t disqualify people because of their current circumstances so why should we?

 

2) God isn’t waiting for perfection

I’ve met so many people who feel as though they have to change dramatically before they come to God but the beauty of God is that when we come to him, everything changes. Rahab wasn’t  living a righteous life but her willingness to serve and her understanding of God brought her closer to him. She wasn’t perfect but she was willing.

 

3) You are more than your past

If you look in the mirror daily and only call yourself by the negative names you used to be known by, you will never truly move in the love and grace available to you. The only reason we should ever look back is to appreciate how far we’ve come. A lot of us are letting our past hold us captive but Rahab proves that your beginning does not necessarily determine your future. Where do we find her at the end of Bible? In the linage of Jesus.

 

4) Your family are important

When you’re finding God for yourself, I think it is your responsibility to let your family know about the changes that are occurring within you. It’s hard being interested in God when no one around you believes or generally thinks that he is a fictional character, but if you are finding faith, share it. Rahab didn’t just save herself and never look back; she grabbed her Aunty, Uncle, dog and cat and saved them too.

 

5) Love first

I think I realised at some point that life isn’t just black or white; most of us live in the murky grey full of good intentions and questionable outcomes. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible is clear that there is a standard, make no mistake about that (1 Peter 1:16 – for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy) and sin is intolerable to God, however, judging people before loving them doesn’t work in real life contexts and often does more harm than good.

Let’s make a decision to love first because love heals, love restores, it covers all wrongs, it is kind and it is true. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

So Rahab, thank you for the lessons….now to meet a living prostitute….

 

Lots of LOVELOVELOVE,

 

J xxxxxxx