Stopped in our tracks…

Covid-19 is a devastating tornado sweeping the globe, but amidst the black news there are golden moments in the eye of the storm. We have seen and heard stories of selfless humanity, where hands are held, and hearts are touched.

Destructive as the pandemic is, there is the potential for us all to discover constructive outcomes.
Being stopped in our tracks can nudge us to evaluate our priorities, and change direction.
It can prompt us to switch off our inner autopilot, and notice our ingrained patterns of thought and behaviour.

As a believer, I sense God at work in my depths. Rooted to the spot, I can no longer avoid the invitation to a profound connection with our Creator, who longs to redeem, restore and renew.
Truth is, I’m finally getting to grips with anorexia nervosa which I’ve been struggling with for most of my life.
Like a parasitic worm, it took hold of me in a dysfunctional childhood and although for over forty years I’ve been breaking segments off, its fangs have remained embedded in my inmost being.

Baitworm

Until now.
It was the stark truth that my low weight would impair survival if I caught coronavirus, that brought things to a head, and I chose to wrench myself from the fangs’ grip.

The new path is unfamiliar. Old habits die hard and I need cheering on!
Whereby lies another challenge. As someone who has had to be independent, I’ve been self-reliant to a fault. But I’m turning over a new leaf and being brave.
To quote Charlie Mackesy in his book ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’:

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Needing to receive, need not stop us giving. Although I’m a ‘backroom’ writer rather than a front-line worker, I hope that I am continuing to encourage and support others through my words, both written and prayed.

Let us all help each other in the midst of these challenging times, to be brave and change for the better.

Truth is… Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Behind the times…

My impression is that with the millennium, style and makeover programmes were all the rage. Maybe it was something to do with leaving the past behind and putting on the new. I’m not a follower of fashion, but such was their impact, that even I was aware of Trinny & Susannah and Gok Wan being fashionistas!
Stylists advise regularly taking a fresh look at one’s wardrobe to keep it up to date, and it strikes me that an analogy is to be had with our inner lives – what do we cling onto when it really doesn’t fit? What is outdated and needs replacing? What doesn’t really reflect our personality?

Out with the old, in with the new

Past experiences, including childhood circumstances, teenage tribulations and adult adversities, all have the potential to keep us behind the times. Truth is, I can sometimes slip into old thought patterns. Recently a friend commented that I don’t recognise my own value. Bang on, and it reminds me I have a choice. To continue to clothe myself in self doubt and dismiss the affirmation of others, or to step into the present and see myself as my friend sees me, as someone who quietly uses their God-given gifts, often in the back room.

Isn’t this true for all of us, that sometimes the past pulls us back? Echoes from the playground, the classroom, the office, or the clique in the corner, can catapult us back into previous life.  But we needn’t slip back into old thoughts and positions, like donning old, outgrown clothes.
As a child I loved the story of the Elves and the Shoemaker and the picture of the Shoemaker making perfectly fitting new outfits for the Elves.

23af1c15f6ad5e3a0173c4787479381a--eric-winter-ladybird-books                                                    (picture: Ladybird Books)

In a sense this is what God does for us today. Renewed and resourced, we can put on our true colours and be even more our true selves. Maybe for some it’s having the courage to try the ‘next size up’ in an area of life to see how it feels, while for others it may be to try something different.
As Gok says:

It’s all about the confidence

No more being behind the times then, in our inner lives!

Truth is… Baptised… you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ himself. (Galations 3:27)

Smitten by mittens…

My ten-month-old granddaughter has very busy hands and enjoys exploring her ever expanding world by touching everything within grasp!
The various toddler groups she goes to, are all a long walk away, so she needs a hat, coat and mittens to keep warm in her pushchair. She is however, out of alignment with her Mum on this matter – time and time again she pulls off her mittens and despite Mum’s best efforts, eventually ends up cold and miserable.

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Sometimes I’m a bit like my granddaughter – I do things that aren’t conducive to my wellbeing – despite God nudging me to make a better choice.  As the saying goes ‘old habits die hard…’
Many years ago, I needed to lose weight, but by the time I reached a healthy point, my mind had been hijacked by an unhealthy urge to keep losing. It had nothing to do with body image and everything to do with hidden depression.
Although I now appear to be reasonably recovered, truth is, deep within old thought patterns die hard.

This week though, the story of the mittens is helping me move on from habits that are way past their ‘best before’ date. I want to live life to the full, and to do this, I need to be fully nourished. So rather than appeasing any urge to eat in an unbalanced way, I’m being mindful of the truth contained in the words (attributed to various people including Einstein and Ford)

If you always do what you always did
you’ll always get what you always got

I guess that we are all addicted to something in our lives. We can probably all find a word that completes the sentence ‘My name is … and I’m an …’
But we are more than our addiction to alcohol, pornography, gambling, drugs, food, social media, perfection or whatever our vice is. As a believer, I’m smitten by the truths brought together by Desmond Tutu:

Goodness is stronger than evil.
Love is stronger than hate.
Light is stronger than darkness.
Life is stronger than death.
Victory is ours through Him who loved us.

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May I keep on these ‘mittens’ of truth, and grow into my true self…

Truth is… “Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come2 Corinthians 5:17