Keeping in time…

Keeping in time isn’t something I find easy. That’s why I don’t play an instrument!
While the musical ability to keep in time isn’t essential in everyday life, in other ways, keeping in time is important.

Keeping in time with the beat of our Creator makes for a more harmonious life. When we come in at the right time, with the right power behind the note, we will be able to play the part that has been written especially for us. We will be part of a whole, part of the composition orchestrated by God.

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There’s something comforting about a beat. It takes us to the heart of the matter, which I believe, is that we each matter to God.

A vivid memory from my childhood, is of a bereft puppy who found comfort in the ticking of a travel clock placed under its mat. I was told this was because it resonated with memories of its mother’s heartbeat.
Are we not the same? Truth is, I feel bereft at times, but if I keep close to God, there’s a heart-felt union.

God’s beat is steady, unwavering even when we make a mess of things.
It’s been said that there’s nothing we can do that makes God love us less, and nothing we can do that makes God love us more. God’s love is unchanging. Like a metronome, it sets the rhythm and helps us keep in time.

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If we can listen for the beat of God’s heart, we will find ourselves deeply connected with God. As St Augustine said:

“Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you”

This connection is what enables us to become our true selves. It is the source of courage, of wisdom, and of selfless compassion. Attuned, we will be able to move in time with God’s Spirit. The song that comes to mind is Graham Kendrick’s ‘Teach me to dance’, so in my head I’m singing

…Teach me to move in the power of your Spirit
Teach me to walk in the light of your presence
Teach me to dance to the beat of your heart…

Truth is… Come near to God, and he will come near to you. (James 4:8)

A little bit of encouragement…

I recently heard a heart-warming story about someone who’d found her voice, or more accurately, had re-discovered her voice. I don’t know all the details, but the point is that at a large family gathering her delight in singing was rekindled.

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My guess is that she hasn’t had many opportunities to sing in recent years, so her reflective comment “all you need is a little bit of encouragement” really caught my attention.
How right she is! We all need authentic encouragement to be our true selves.

I wonder how much goodness and giftedness lies within us, stunted or undiscovered –
maybe a dismissive classroom comment extinguished an emerging talent in us,
or maybe we haven’t always ‘fitted in’ and consequently stay on the margins,
or perhaps our reluctance to be open to constructive criticism has prevented us from moving forward.

Situations like these may have arisen through no fault of our own, while others may be of our own making. Whatever, we have a choice. To remain stuck in a rut, or to step out.

That’s where encouragement can pull us to our feet –
self-encouragement,
the encouragement of others,
and as a believer, I’m adding the encouragement of God to the list!
In stepping out, the encouraged can in turn become the encourager, and so goodness and giftedness is perpetuated.

The word ‘courage’ lies within ‘encouragement’. It can nudge us to have a go at something, and to keep going when the going gets tough.

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‘Truth is…’ is testament to this. It arose from what I sensed was a God-prod, and when I’ve wavered, the encouragement that’s come from ‘likes’ ‘shares’ and comments has been uplifting because truth is, I struggle with self-doubt.

I guess I’m not alone in this. But the way to stop being a shrinking violet is to stand tall –
to come out of the shadows into the light,
to take our place in the Sun,
and to find our hearts and hands and voices in whatever ways are fitting.
As Gok says:

“It’s all about the confidence”  

Truth is“Encourage one another and help one another” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

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Leaps of Faith

The August Bank Holiday weekend always brings back memories – something along the lines of ‘all’s well that ends well’!
On the holiday Monday a few years ago, our daughter’s 21st birthday request was to get the family together at Go Ape (a high wire tree top ‘adventure’). At this point I should mention that although I am brave in many ways, my courage doesn’t lend itself to heights so I was definitely going the extra mile!

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It was one It was one of those crisp early mornings, cold but bright. We gathered for the obligatory safety briefing and were warned of all the dangers (as well as how to avoid them). At that point my knees started to shake, I think more from fear than cold!
But you know what, it turned out to be one of the most exhilarating times of my life. I was on an adrenaline high for days afterwards, and it was because I’d faced my fears (as well as having a fab time with the offspring!)

Fear has two possible responses: Forget Everything And Run… or Face Everything And Rise.

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At Go Ape I learnt so much from rising above the fear and venturing into the tree tops. I discovered that inwardly naming my fears put them into perspective; I discovered the power of ‘just do it’; I discovered the enabling that comes from group encouragement. I climbed heights and crossed breadths in many different ways!

Truth is though, my fear at Go Ape was unfounded. Yes, I could have fallen, but if I had, the safety line that is clipped on at the beginning of each challenge, would have prevented serious injury.

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‘Always stay attached’ was the mantra given in the high wire adventure briefing, and as a believer, I find this useful when facing everyday fears.

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I remind myself:
Always stay attached to God.
Deliberately ‘clip on’ at the start of the day, and reconnect as necessary.
Notice the footholds, and use them.
Feel for the grasping points, and hang on.
– And every so often there’ll be a zip wire that will be so exhilarating, you’ll shout yessssssss!

Truth is… Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ 1 Peter 5:7