Sitting With the Silence

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English: A bored person

A bored person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This month’s Boots magazine is all about ‘me-time’, a phrase that I find cloying. The chronically ill person tends to have more me-time than the average person – or at least, that’s how it would seem to be.  Perhaps I should reframe how I see that and celebrate the fact that I have opportunities to listen to beautiful music or take the longer way home when driving, or to contemplate life, spirituality etc. Frankly, I would rather have full, normal health, be juggling roles and have too much to do. 

However, what I am trying to do these days is ‘sit’ with the times when I feel bored or lonely or sad and wait for them to pass rather than blanking them out with hyperactivity, which is what I did as a young person and one of the reasons I became ill in the first place, I reckon.

Choosing to do something positive like email a friend or light the wood-burner is better for me in the long run than forcing myself to go out to an event, like I nearly did tonight, when I am already tired, had a poor night’s sleep and have stuff to do tomorrow.

Just sitting it out!

 

Keeping a Spiritual Diary

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I read that keeping a spiritual diary for a month can help with one’s spiritual development. I am giving it a go. Apart from praying, going to Life Group, (which this week was on the Trinity), going to church and the other regulars I am also reading the book Journey into God’s Heart by Jennifer Rees Larcombe. An autobiography, it reads like a novel: very engaging style, full of anecdotes from a full and often highly trying life, and with many insights. I thoroughly recommend it.  The wife of one of the pastors lent it to me. 

Cross & Clouds

Cross & Clouds (Photo credit: John H Wright Photo)

All Night Long

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A collection of lit candles on ornate candlesticks

A collection of lit candles on ornate candlesticks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new experience came last night when I attended part of an All Night Prayer Meeting: 10pm start through to 8.30am with communion at 7.30am.

You could go for the whole night or just for a while, praying for community, healing, breakthrough etc. I made it for a couple of hours (due to my health issues). It was nice. The little church was lit by candles and there was music and singing and prayers, then chatting and snacking. A little tent had been erected too, in the church, with pillows and books, for peaceful retreat!

Most of the prayer warriors there are experienced Christians so I felt like a novice but that’s okay. I did not do much ‘out loud’ praying but I did write out a prayer and pin it to the cross and added names to various prayer sheets.

I’ve also started helping out with a pastoral team project. I can’t afford to tithe so thought that offering to ‘serve’ was a good measure.

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Uncertainty Is Strength

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English: Lucas Cranach the Elder: Law and Grac...

Lucas Cranach the Elder: Law and Grace, Gotha version, 1529. (Pic credit: Wikipedia)

My friend is certain about many things. She is positive, upbeat and always has an answer.

When I was younger, and particularly in my marriage, I was a doer, a task-orientated type. I thought I had answers – or if I did not I would find them in a book. Research was the key. (I’m still a keen researcher and, I confess, I do delve into things way too much, especially now I have the world wide web to trawl.)

Providing answers to other people’s problems can deprive them of their need to explore how they actually feel about things, to process events or situations, and maybe to meditate on them or, for those inclined, to pray things through. Being a chronic rescuer or a purveyor of certainties disempowers people.

But, you may argue, Christians are a group of people who are full of certainty.

First of all, Christians come in all shades. And, yes, for most Christians there is certainty. Certain of God’s existence, certain of God’s grace, certain about the resurrection.

Yet all this is a leap of faith. Christians believe in something they can not physically see. They feel/sense/believe in God’s grace. And as Pastor 3 says, not all Christians believe in the resurrection (though he preached on being unable to build your faith without believing in the Resurrected Christ.)

While some people say they just ‘know’ for others leaping into faith may mean choosing to believe.  Or at least being more open-minded than they previously were. To me, this is a good thing. ‘Cos one thing my life has revealed is that there are few certainties. Things can change, cataclysmic-style or joyously, in the blink of an eye – or while the lights turn from green to red.

And I am no longer impressed by people who think they have all the answers.

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We All Have Messy Moments

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This week’s Life Group was on the subject of radical redemption and messy moments. I’ve definitely created my own fair share of messy moments. Makes me shudder to think of them all!

A fascinating evening of discussion. We looked redemption and its relation to repentance and atonement.  I felt much more confident about joining in and piping up (I have a habit of piping up, but it’s just my enthusiasm) and I received some good feedback.

Life Group is quite a long evening if you want it to be. We start off by talking about issues that have affected us in the week or upcoming events then there is prayer: anyone can pray and it is very informal, unpretentious. This creates a real feeling of warmth and love in the room and everyone gets a chance to air their problems or fears for the week ahead.  I don’t mean the praying is happy, clappy. You have to be there to get what I mean. Then there is discussion based on the Sunday sermon/talk that Pastor C has given, then closing prayer, then lots of chat. Cake seems to make an appearance too! An acquaintance tells me that cake and God seem to go hand in hand. There are about five women in my age range in the group, give or take fifteen  years or so, and that’s really nice. Very bonding.

Atonement (novel)

Atonement (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam – And So Does the Pastor

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On my way back from visiting family I popped into see new friend, JLS. She is a great person to talk to about my ‘journey’. She has been a Christian for a long time but moved away from the church as a young woman for a while but came back. She’s encouraging without pressurising, which is what I need. Any pressure has, in the past, put me off. Now, I am able to tackle it or just deflect it. As JLS agreed, it has to come from me, from within, my willingness to engage with God. It can not be rushed.

One of the pastors at church, Pastor E, the senior pastor, always gives me a huge bear hug when he sees me at a church service. This always gives me a giggle ‘cos I know he is bursting to say, “Jesus wants you for a sunbeam,” or words to that effect. I like him, though, and it’s nice that my presence delights him.

Bear Hug

Bear Hug (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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