Standing tall…

As a child, I was the smallest in the class. I felt swamped by people in other ways too, as I was also bottom of the class. It took me a while to reach my full height in more ways than one, and truth is, I’ve got more ‘growing’ to do!
Haven’t we all…?

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Growing more fully into our true selves is a life-long process. It’s about standing tall, not being a shrinking violet; it’s about taking our place in the sun, not lurking in the shadows. But this doesn’t mean standing on others, or trampling them underfoot.

I’m inspired by Nikesh Mehta, a deputy director of GCHQ (the UK Intelligence Agency) who in a short BBC video speaks about daring to be different. He packs wise words into just a few minutes, and one of the things he suggests is finding a ‘champion’. He says:

It’s really important when you’re breaking new ground to find somebody who will encourage you to be yourself.

I guess we all benefit from having a champion in our life.
I believe that God, as our creator, is our ultimate champion. Having created each one of us with a unique combination of traits and gifts, God is clear about our potential and where our true fulfilment lies.
But God is not a remote controller. Rather, I believe that God can champion us through the words and actions of others. Champions come in many different shapes and sizes, so it can take an open mind and open mind to spot them.

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Champions sometimes confirm and affirm, other times they question and challenge, but always with our best interests at heart. It may be that they have the perspective to point out something that’s right under our nose, or maybe we are helped by them ‘being in our boat’ as we ride out a storm, or perhaps we gain courage from their belief in us.

As well as benefitting from champions, we can be champions ourselves. The world is a better place when we stand up for others and stand alongside them.
Life’s too short not to stand tall!

Truth is…  Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong.
(I Corinthians 16:13)

Nudges…

I haven’t been writing recently as I’ve been busy bonding with a new partner.
Just over a month ago I had the news that a possible ‘match’ had been found for me, and the invitation to meet him…

Hearing Dogs Shoot

Yes, ‘him’ is a dog.
I’m deaf, and I’ve been waiting for an Assistance Dog for over two years, so imagine my delight at the prospect of a first meeting to see if there was a spark between us!
There was, and with the basics in place, ‘Marshall’ moved in and a trusting relationship is resulting.
Truth is, I’m learning a lot from him…

A successful partnership has trust at its core. A Hearing Dog trusts a deaf person to notice and respond to what it is communicating through its nudges, and the person trusts the dog to be with them 24/7. Like any meaningful relationship, it’s rooted in trust.
Isn’t this what God longs for us? That we trust God to be with us, and respond knowing that our best interests are at heart.

For Marshall and me, the nudges are all important. Marshall has been trained to nudge my leg with his nose and lead me to what needs my attention.

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His nudges are gentle yet firm, and always for a reason. He urges me to follow him, and in doing so, I find out what I need to know.
Isn’t this the way of God? That if we respond to the nudges we sense, we will discover more of what life is about.
For in doing what we have been gifted to do, and in being who we are blessed to be, we will find connection and fulfilment.

It is true that:

in giving we receive

Giving is about filling the space that has our name on it.
Marshall does this – and without looking for the approval of others. My affirmation of him is sufficient. But he only receives this because he keeps close to me, and senses my affection.
Isn’t this the same for us? If we are to sense deep affirmation and love, we need to keep close to God.

Truth is…. There is more happiness in giving than in receiving. (Acts 20:35)

 

The Best Is Yet To Come…

Twice this week I’ve found myself in conversation with people who feel that the best is yet to come (actually it’s three times, if I include conversations I’ve had with myself!)
Following a bit of a frustrating day, one friend was telling me that he’d had one of those ‘why on earth am I doing this job’ moments. He has many gifts and abilities (as we all have) but has a sense that there’s something more fulfilling for him to do in life.
We talked a bit about how differences can be made to other peoples’ lives by the little things we do, and that ‘waiting times’ needn’t be wasted times.

I too am in a time of waiting. I’m waiting for acute depression to lift. I’m waiting for a Hearing Dog to enable me to return to employment. I’m waiting for relationships to mend. None of this is passive, I am actively finding ways forward, and I am holding on to the words a chaplain said to me many years ago: “The best is yet to come”.
Wonderfully, those exact words are on the front of a card just given to me by another friend.

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They remind me that I don’t have to persuade God to make life fulfilling,
nor does God need to persuade me that there is more to life than meets the eye.
It’s not about being persuaded, it’s about connecting with our deepest desires.

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I believe that God doesn’t want anything other than that we fulfil our potential.
But truth is, when life doesn’t seem to go according to plan, I sometimes doubt God has got the ‘what, when and where’ details to hand!

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Gradually though, I’m coming to recognise that life lived in the company of God can have a ‘lastminute.com’ feel to it.
The ‘departure gate’ for the next step of our journey through life, only opens when we are actually ready to step through.
So this week I’ve remembered that in fog, pilots keep to a flight path by trusting their navigation instruments, and I’ve realigned myself with the Truth which is at the heart of what matters.

Truth is… I know what I’m doing. I have plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” Jeremiah 29:11