30 January 2016

All Is Calm

It's just after 4 in the morning as I write this. I'm up all night tonight, doing some voluntary work at the local winter night shelter. The night shift.
It's very quiet.
And I've found this evening has been particularly useful.
I've done a full set of minutes for a recent business meeting; prepared detailed notes for a church meeting that I'm leading next month; reorganised a set of photos on my laptop; and listened to a sermon, a podcast and two whole episodes of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.
I feel good. :)

26 January 2016

How Not To React

It's been a particularly grotty day. Yeah, totally unpredictable, and a whole lot of nasty stuff happening.
 
And for a change I'm seeking to rise above it. Trying awfully hard not to let it get to me. I have my feelings on a very tight rein. If anything, I'm striving to see the funny side of it. Can't quite see it at the moment, but I'm still looking...
 
This follows a bit of study I've done recently into my own responsibility for my own feelings. Let's face it, I don't have any control over some of the things that happen to me. I can't control the weather, for example. What I do have under my control is the way I choose to respond - with my own thoughts and feelings. It's raining... do I have to be unhappy about it? Listen to this, taken from one of my favourite blogs:

“You don’t HAVE to feel anything in response to ANYTHING anyone does. If someone steals your coffee cup you can be amused by it if you want. You can be happy about it if you choose. There are no rules other than the rules we set for ourselves and the conscious choices we make.” - Neil Hughes, ‘Walking on Custard and the Meaning of Life: a Guide for Anxious Humans’.

Finally, I keep coming back to the following chorus. Haven't the faintest idea why... I guess this is part of the way I'm trying to find a bit of humour in the situation... even in the most horrible of situations...
 
"When me mother says he can't go down the pub
Sister's boyfriend put his sister up the club
At the tomcats when they're kicking up a din
Tottenham Hotspur couldn't get one in
When me mother locks him out of the flat
When it's raining and he can't find his hat
In the mornings when his motorcar won't go
Next-door neighbour, when he won't give him a tow"
lyrics to 'Gertcha' by Chas & Dave (Chas Hodges / Dave Peacock). This is 'rockney' (mixture of "rock and roll" and "cockney"), a song about how a Londoner's dad might react to some low spots in his day...

20 January 2016

Rocking The Boat

"And the people all said sit down
Sit down you're rocking the boat
The people all said sit down
Sit down you're rocking the boat
and the devil will drag you under
By the sharp lapels of your checkered coat
Sit down Sit down
Sit down you're rocking the boat"

(lyrics by Frank Loesser - "Sit Down You're Rockin' The Boat" from Guys and Dolls)

I'm not usually a 'boat-rocker'. However, sometimes I have to be...

Because there are those times when I need to choose between my natural instinct to be a "people-pleaser" and the need to simply stand up and be counted - for something that matters to me.

It's a big deal.

I can't be all things to all men. I simply can’t keep everyone happy.

And lately I've been concerned that I'm giving excessive amounts of time and energy to the wrong people - folks who I'm increasingly convinced don't care about the same things that I do. They are never happy. And that's draining. It's like they're pulling a different way to me in our boat... and as such, the boat is starting to head a different way....

Do I need to rock the boat?

Or jump ship and find another boat entirely?


16 January 2016

Caught In A Landslide

"Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality... "

(lyrics by Freddie Mercury - 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen)

People sometimes do stupid things. Unexpectedly, perhaps catastrophically. Things that you simply don't expect them to.

I suppose it's understandable. We've all been given the freedom to do as we please.

You can try to advise them, try and steer them in the right direction.

But what if they do something completely bizarre?

Things that defy logic.

Like throwing away one perfectly good relationship to pursue another with someone else more 'exciting'. (This is not someone in my family, or even in my close circle of friends. But it hurts me deeply - somehow...)

I'm caught up in their landslide. Is there any escape?

I can't undo it. Reality simply doesn't have a reset or rewind button; when you make a mistake you’ve got to live with it.

I can't live their life for them, either.

So why do I feel sad today? Why do I care?

14 January 2016

12 January 2016

Think On These Things

Philippians 4:8 (Contemporary English Version)
"Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise."

7 January 2016

The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener...

It is of course perfectly natural to assume that everyone else is having a far more exciting time than you. Human beings, for instance, have a phrase that describes this phenomenon, ‘The other man’s grass is always greener.’

The Shaltanac race of Broopkidren 13 had a similar phrase, but since their planet is somewhat eccentric, botanically speaking, the best they could manage was, ‘The other Shaltanac's joopleberry shrub is always a more mauvy shade of pinky-russet.’ And so the expression soon fell into disuse, and the Shaltanacs had little option but to become terribly happy and contented with their lot, much to the surprise of everyone else in the Galaxy who had not realised that the best way not to be unhappy is not to have a word for it.

(Douglas Adams, 'The Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy')

5 January 2016

Patience

"Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. 

  Never make a negative decision in the low time. 

  Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. 

  Wait. 

  Be patient. 

  The storm will pass. 

  The spring will come."

Robert H Schuller

4 January 2016

What Is On Your Heart?

The song resounded around the Hall - and in my heart - during the Sunday morning meeting...

"What is on Your heart? Tell me what to do.
Let me know Your will and I will follow You..."

(lyrics by Mark Altrogge)


And there was a subtle nudge...

"Didn't you just say that you wanted to do something about other people making your decisions for you. Is that right?"

Yes, that's what I said.

"Does that apply to me? If I ask you to do something, will you do it?"

(Wow, what a question!)

I'd like to think that I would, Lord.

"Just asking."



3 January 2016

Challenges for 2016

There are always a few challenges that I need to set myself for the New Year. You might consider them New Year Resolutions. Some people call it renewing their commitments.  I just like to think it's a good opportunity to start with a clean sheet of paper once again.... of course, we each have that chance every day, however there's something a bit special about the turning of the year, isn't there...

Anyway, here's a link to a blog that gave me a list of twelve things to consider for 2016. Click on the link if you like to read the original list, before reading my spin on this:

Click here for the link!

So, here's my personal thoughts on this dozen tasks -

1. Stop giving up.
Yes, I know that success only comes when you simply refuse to give up - however it doesn't make it any easier to deal with failure after failure, when you know success is clearly possible, and it remains tantalisingly just out of reach.... However, I like the sentiment, and often echo it with the cry, "Never Give Up, Never Surrender!" (Galaxy Quest)

2. Stop letting everyone else make decisions for you.
I particularly like this one. It resonated quite strongly with me. In fact, I got up on Saturday morning and did something bold and quite the opposite from what I usually do - because I could. I did it for me, and not for anyone else. And it felt so good. Not sure how I am going to deal with the consequences, but right now I am OK with this. Think I'm gonna do this again.  

3. Stop thinking you're on your own.
Hmmm, that's a toughie. Particularly when you have asked for help from certain individuals - and I do vet these people, I simply don't trust everyone -  and then they let me down. Am I a bad judge of character?

4. Stop chasing after those who don't want to be caught.
Good advice. How often have I wasted time on people, waiting for them to get ready to help me with some grand scheme, some incredible master plan, and the darn thing simply doesn't materialise. The people scatter. And you need to start again. Given the right people, and the right project, it will work. I wonder if that's why I often think I'm on my own (see point 3)...

5. Stop discrediting yourself for everything you aren't.
It took me a long time to learn to love myself - to understand that I am who God made me - an introvert, and a particularly sensitive one at that. So, this year I have vowed to take care of myself if I want to survive in an extrovert's world. I need to develop more self-respect - and to give myself sufficient space for myself. If I want to be of use to others, I need to look after me.

6. Stop focusing on the negative.
A number of people have said that I need to keep a jar beside my bed, and to write something on a piece of paper every day that's been a positive thing for that day, sticking in into the jar. If I feel negative (and I can do), just look into the jar... OK, like this idea, so the jar's there now. So far, I've two pieces of paper in there (For January 1st and 2nd)... watch this space!!!

7. Stop being hard on yourself.
Sure, everyone makes mistakes, so why do I feel so bad when it's me? Cut myself some slack! You know, I read something the other day that said I ought to consider caring less about my work, not more! And, do you know, when I see other people who don't seem to care that they're not giving 100%, why should I care that I'm not giving 110%?

8. Stop mulling over the past.
Every day is a new day, a clean page in your journal. I get it. (see point 12 below)

9. Stop running from problems.
Understood, the problems won't go away unless you deal with them.

10. Stop expecting life to be easy.
No, it's not. But it's better than the alternative...

11. Stop holding on to things you need to let go.
How can God bless you with something else, if you already have your hands full dealing with everything else in your life. Put something down. When I let go, there may be something better to grab on to...

12. Stop giving up on who you are meant to be.
And there's my absolute challenge for 2016. Now I know who I am now -  I need to discover who God wants me to become in 2016 and beyond. Building on the past, not living in it. And that's exciting....

1 January 2016

A New Year's Prayer

Lord, You make all things new
You bring hope alive in our hearts
And cause our Spirits to be born again.

Thank you for this new year
For all the potential it holds.
Come and kindle in us
A mighty flame
So that in our time, many will see the wonders of God
And live forever to praise Your glorious name.

Amen

(A modern prayer for the New Year from www.lords-prayer-words.com)