24 April 2017

Extra Grace Required

The email in my inbox was a direct challenge to me. I knew it as soon as I read it. It virtually leapt off the screen at me!

You see, it was talking about all those people who persistently wind you up. They seem to be there solely to try your patience. Some people talk about people who continually exhibit Challenging Behaviour. Others use more colourful metaphors...

In the email I mentioned above, Rick Warren called them EGRs, which stands for 'Extra Grace Required'. And I don't have any trouble in thinking of an example or two under that category.

These are the sort of people that threaten to drive you crazy.

But they need you. And they need God.

So, He sends me to them. 

And my challenge? Not to get out of their way as quickly as possible. Oh no...

No, it is to try and understand. To look past their behaviour and try to help.  Because they may not even know that their behaviour is challenging!

And I need to learn to continually respond with patience. With love.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 
(Colossians 3:13, NLT).

4 April 2017

Where's Your Head At?

Where's your head at?
(Y'all know how it be)
Where's your head at?
Where's your head at?
(You don't make it easy on yourself)
Where's your head at?
(What you give is what you get...
Is what you get... what you get...) 

(Song by Basement Jaxx. Lyrics: Simon Ratcliffe, Gary Anthony James Webb, Felix Major Buxton )

My head is all over the place at the moment. And not in a good way.

But I'm hanging in there. 

Please be patient.

Normal service will be resumed, shortly.

“We are now cruising at a level of two to the power of twenty-five thousand to one against and falling, and we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


28 March 2017

Peace, Love, and Understanding

"As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin' for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I wanna know:
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What's so funny 'bout peace love & understanding..."

(Lyrics: Nick Lowe)

It's interesting to see how often this world seems to shy away from loving other people - and yet our society's popular songs mention it regularly.

I read today about a man called Chad Swiatowicz who did the study about love songs for his master's thesis in sociology at the University of Florida. He analyzed the lyrics of the year's 10 most popular songs listed in Billboard's online archives for two eras, 2002-2005 and 1968-1971.

He found that 24 of the 40 songs in the modern era (60%) and half the songs of the classic era were devoted to the subject of love and relationships.

I find that - interesting. 

14 March 2017

Getting Up, Fighting Back

I woke up feeling really low.

I wasn't operating at full strength, as I was recovering from the after effects of a cold. I still felt the stress of the previous day....

Yesterday was an absurdly busy time at work, made even more difficult due to tech problems on the computer network. I had persevered, worked through it, ploughed through a pile of work in the afternoon. This was followed by a busy evening of voluntary work, which I found challenging - I was aware of so much that was happening that I found it tough to cope with it all. I carried on, anyway... And I paid the price, later! I had tremendous difficulty in unwinding when I eventually got in, well into the evening. Sleep was elusive. I did manage to get a few hours, but I slept fitfully, with my night full of dreams that threatened to pull me back down. I was tired, and my joints ached as I got up this morning to face the day...

I am told that such negativity is made so much worse if you let it overwhelm you. So, today, I made a choice. I fought back.
  • I prayed.
  • I bent my Father's ear about how I felt about the last 24 hours, and then I put the previous day aside. Enough!
  • I chose to start the next portion of the current day in a positive way. Out with the negativity!
  • I took pains to find all the positives in my work, ditching my usual routine and in one case going the extra mile to contact a colleague to help them. And I received a real blessing in return!
  • I posted a great bible quote that really helped me today on my Facebook wall. And started to spread some positivity...the 'likes' made me feel so much better as each rolled in...
Have you ever struggled in this way with negativity? Fight back!

23 February 2017

Dealing with Negativity

I didn't much care for the constant stream of negativity that was coming down the phone at me. Was that all my fault? I very much doubt it. Was it therefore a chance for the person to offload the frustration of the day at an anonymous voice on the phone? Yeah, more than likely.

But it still made me feel bad...

I did my best to help them, then went off to lick my wounds, recentre myself on my Lord. It took me a while.

Why are people so nasty to other people nowadays? Whatever happened to common decency? To giving people the benefit of the doubt?

(sigh)

I guess this is something I need to get used to. I'm particularly sensitive to this.

Ecclesiastes 7:21-22
Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.

Lord, you know how thin skinned I can be. I can get terribly hurt by the careless remarks of others. Yet, I know that I can - and have - hurt others with my own careless remarks. Forgive me.  Help me to learn from this, to somehow use this to help others. Help me to serve you, and in doing so, to bless others. Amen.

14 January 2017

Oh So Quiet

It's oh so quiet
Shh shh
It's oh so still
Shh shh
You're all alone
Shh shh
And so peaceful until....
(Lyrics from "It's Oh So Quiet" by Hans Lang and Bert Reisfeld. Shared during a wonderful hour during the night, whilst helping at the Winter Night Shelter. Bliss!)

...enjoy it while it lasts!

10 January 2017

Coping With Chaos

Yesterday evening was, quite honestly, chaotic. It was physically and emotionally draining. I had trouble recovering from it long after it was over. This was after a weekend when my plans were changed hourly (which I coped with). It was the sheer total craziness of yesterday that topped it all. And threatened to pull me over...

And yet, the people who we were trying to help yesterday were the ones who brought the chaos. They were looking for help from us. I was regularly reminded that these people live chaotic lives, so we must try and adapt.

So, I have to learn to cope with the chaos. Even if things go wrong. Even if the day has been a complete nightmare. Even if you can't turn off the feeling that you have to run away. Because you can't - if you want to help...

God is our constant here. He is not affected by circumstances or by moods.

"Father God, help me to find you in the midst of the chaos. Help me to see You, hear You, talk to You, and give thanks to You. Grant me true peace amidst the noise and the hubbub. In Jesus' name. Amen."

7 January 2017

4 January 2017

Being Sensitive

I used to think that being sensitive meant that I was somehow weak, or broken.  Because, that's what I was told a while ago.

But I'm not.

It just means that I process things a little differently. Give me a snippet of information, and my mind and emotions go to town on that information,  sometimes producing unexpectedly inspired results. It’s how I work. And it works for me.

But it can be overwhelming. I need to take a "time out" every so often, if things get to be a little too much. Take five minutes, recentre myself, calm down, and come back fighting...

Yes, I have tried to numb it.  To tune it out.  It made me ill. And there's little point in yelling at me to "toughen up!”. (You know who you are). I've tried. It doesn't work.

Because I am sensitive. That's the way God made me. I can't change... Why would I want to?

Perhaps you should learn to deal with it?