Monday, 29 November 2010

What makes you come alive?

I think this is a fabulous question but I don't think I've ever asked anybody this question before. It's something I've always found out from my friends in the process of getting to know them. I think that if you ask someone you don't really know this question, it will really give you an invaluble insight to them; the way they think, the way they act, the way they relate to people and their general outlook on life. It can be asked as a general question, but can also be asked in so many different scopes like 'what music makes you come alive?', or 'what novels...', 'what programmes...', 'what activities...' etc. For me, to know this is to know the very essence of a person and understand how they're wired away from the things that society and culture sculps them into being. In other words, the things we are dictated to do to get by in life and to live peacably with those around us such as working hard for a promotion, looking for work, common curtosies, etc.

The funny thing is, although we all have very different passions and loves they are all ultimately sourced from the desire for both acceptance and freedom. Acceptence; the need to belong somewhere. If meeting new people makes you come alive, you will do whats natural and be around people. If dancing makes you come alive, you'll natuarlly want to make time to go to clubs or dance nights where you can share the love of dancing with others (few people want to dance on an empty dance floor!).  In life there is almost always someone or some group of people who share our passions and we very often flock over to these people; our acceptence.
But of course not all things that make us come alive can necessarily be shared by others which would ultimately mean we find our acceptance in them rather than with the people that share them. So singing may be what makes some of us come alive regardless of whether or not we can actually sing, so we find comfort and acceptance away from others in singing in the shower or while cleaning etc.
At the same time, these things often beg the yearning of our hearts for freedom. How great does it feel to be lost in a good book after a hard days work? Or dance with reckless abandon on the dance floor after a stressful week?

Another funny thing about this question is it implies that when we are not doing the things that make us come alive, we are not alive. Society demands so much from us that this is quite probable. So how can we set it up so that we are 'alive' all the time? Is this even possible? Would being alive all the time create an imbalance in life? In my opinion I would say no to the second question and both yes and no to the third. Firstly, circumstance often dictates our emotion and drive in life so in this case it isn't possible to be alive all the time. We often seperate our passions from the painful realities and practicalities of life. So for example, if you know you have a deadline to meet for work in 24 hours and you've barely reached halfway, it would be foolish to go out with friends or take a trip somewhere. Even if you did you would suffer the concequences and then learn from them, knowing that next time you'll seperate the two. Or if you've lost someone very close to you or split from a longterm partner, you'll be very reluctant to have fun or live your passion all the time.

Secondly and most importantly I believe we have to learn to translate our passions into every aspect of our lives be it work or leisure, rough circumstance or good. In this way we don't treat life as merely a game, but we see the things that we are passionate about being played out in our work life and our home life. But how can we translate it? Is it a direct translation? I don't believe so. In order to do this I believe it must come from the source of our passion; acceptence and freedom. In my next blog all will talk a little about the things that make me come alive and the generic need for acceptence and freedom in us all.

But for now I'll sign off and say toodles to you all


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Work work, study study, rush rush, collapse!

If I was a little bird who went on a human watching week with all my bird friends observing the life of your average human adult, I think I would have gone home after the second day out of boredem.

Random comment, I know. But I am a random individual = D
My point is, if you didn't get it, that human life is so.... so.... repetitive! Repetition leads to exhaustion, exhaustion leads to breakdown!  We work ourselves stupid everyday whether it be school, college uni or the business world. When Friday comes we fill our weekends with all the fun we can find; clubbing, t.v., Internet, day trips, friends; and hey, even sitting down and doing nothing constitutes as fun these days in the busyness of human life. I mean compared to all that working, its like a weekend trip to Italy. And guess what? Monday comes and you do it all again.

I'm just coming to the end of my degree now (one more week of dissertationing to go!) but I can tell you, this course has been a challenge, in a very different way to the way I imagined. Whereas before I was mostly always a sub par achiever, on this course I seemed to have become the best (I'm joking I'm not that full of myself, but yeah I do better than average now). So the challenge has been to keep the status I guess. Every day I would slave away for coming up lectures and assignments, and with every good grade there was more effort that followed. And then came the dissertation. I've had this summer to do it and pretty much my whole summer has just blurred into one day where all that happened was I'd go to work in the morning, go to uni for the rest of the day, come home and eat in the evening and be too tired to do anything else but watch an episode of The Tribe (yes I was a fan) and just collapse on the bed. To be honest, I don't think relaxing times were weekends for me. Sometimes I would go out every evening of the week. Weekends were work times.

Now as I am inclined to using metaphors, I'm gonna throw one in. Humans are a bit like your average car. You can drive them into the ground, go 60mph over speed bumps and crash into curbs without a second thought but it doesn't take a genius to tell you that's not good for them. When they run out of juice, you can just park it and fuel it to the max and do the whole thing again until it's out of gas; but the fact remains that it's going to have suffered internal damage and when it breaks down, no matter how much petrol you put in, that car ain't gonna move. You'll have to invest quite a bit in repairs, or just buy a new car and write the old one off.

We do that way too often with our fragile human selves. When we are so rushed off our feet, we cant be bothered to invest our money (in other words, time) in repairs. "Just a bit longer, I'm sure we can go another week" we say to ourselves... every week. We just want to keep filling up the tank, in other words, just have fun or whatever until we have to go back to the same exhausting week again.

But Jesus said, "Come to me, all who are tired and weary, and I will give you rest" Matt 11:28

After a week of this exhaustive repetition (in fact maybe even less!) I often find myself feeling empty, frustrated and a little depressed as if a part of myself died inside. No amount of fun things to do could fill that emptiness. I would crave for God so much. Church was the one thing I would look forward to the whole week. Sometimes worship was great, preach was great, after chruch socialising was great.... other times it was.... meh. Then I'd have to wait another week until church and..... argh! I just couldn't face it, but I did because I had to.

Then it occurred to me as I went through the week that I couldn't just wait until church. Jesus never said "Come to me on Sunday all who are tired and weary..." and thank the Lord for that! It's an open invitation to come any day of the week at any time and I will receive his rest. Simple! And so what I did was every time I was travelling on the bus I would whip out my phone, open the bible app, and read a Psalm. Or on the train I would just rest my tired head an thank God for the day and just pray for his sustenance. Or when I was trying to do an assignment in the week and my mind kept distracting itself I'd say a prayer that got would help me. Or even, if I was supposed to be getting on with some work but just couldn't, I would just read my bible anyway, collapse on the bed and call on his spirit of rest or even just dance around the room and worship him = D.

This set my focuses back on my current work but ultimately on Him. Sure it didn't always happen straight away, but I got there. Looking back on frustrating days I could really see his grace and how it all worked out to his glory. So basically, we need God every day because his presence to us is like the most skilled mechanic in the world to a beat up old car; and he doesn't charge, it's completely free.

All the fuel that we class as 'fun' is a short term solution to a long term problem, but God's presence is a lifetime solution. I'm not saying don't have fun. I love fun! We all do; God made us for rest and enjoyment as well as work. But remember where our ultimate fun comes from. I'd love to talk about fun and adventure in another blog but for now I'm signing off and I'll leave you with this verse:

"The Lord is near to all who call upon him; to all who call upon him in truth" Psalm 145:18


Saturday, 7 August 2010

Me in the making...

Where do I start! In the life of one person no matter how long they've lived on the earth so far, many things will have happened for them; good and bad. Births, deaths, new experiences, new jobs, lost jobs, new friends, love gained, love lost, drink, drugs, reform, celebration; the list is endless.

I could reel off a whole account of what I remember in the 23 years that I've been on this earth but I don't want to bore you. But what I will say for my first ever blogging entry is that the journey of my life has been one full of suprises, joys and hard lessons. Something that most people will find in their lives. But on this journey I was never lonely or without purpose. Whether people failed me or stuck by me, annoyed me or consoled me, whether I found an encouraging friend in my time of need, or no one to turn to in my times of sorrow; God was there guiding me in the purposes for my life.
He was there because Jesus made that available to us; before Jesus, our distance from God would have prevented this.
In my blogs I hope to just impart to you some of the life lessons that our loving Father God has taught me. May be you will be able to relate.

For now I'm signing off...
Many Blessings!