Archive for April, 2013

train

Some ideas from a day I spent on a train the other day:

  1. Sneeze explosively across the person sitting next to you and their work.
  2. Picking your nose and then eating it. In full view.
  3. Invading the space of the person sitting next to you. Who wasn’t big to start with.
  4. Shouting “Minnie Mouse” very loudly and repeatedly. (This particular perpetrator was very young).
  5. Asking said perpetrator to be quiet, but clearly not expecting them to obey.
  6. Coughing up your guts and sounding like you might not last out the journey. (Ok, I did feel some sympathy there)
  7. Asking your child “Have you done a poo?” when they are practically sitting on you, while you are eating your lunch. Said poo was way too close to my baguette.
  8. Letting your child poke their fingers forward to your seat and touch your arm, in a way that would be creepy if they were more than 3 years old.
  9. (One for the officials) Not providing plastic boxes for personal belongings going into the X-Ray machine. Said baguette nearly ended up squashed by a suitcase.
  10. (Again, one for the officials) Making someone remove their belt while lunch is getting squashed in the above fashion.
  11. (Final official one) Looking like you might shoot the person who goes to rescue lunch while still removing belt.
  12. Buying MacDonalds for lunch for your family, and the paper bag exploding everywhere. Rejecting help from anyone offering to carry either family, bags or lunch.

And all of these happened on my journey home. The last made me think the most. How much do I reject help when it is offered? “No, I really don’t need you to carry my bag. I’ll just keep on struggling by myself. It’s balanced really….” CRASH
“Of course I can manage!” Hmm.

But the rest were rather amusing. Afterwards…

 

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There are times when I feel a little lost. I look back and wonder how on earth I have come to be in that particular place, at that particular time. How on earth did I end up holding this particular responsibility? Did I really say that I love doing x?

It does has its benefits. It means I can be a bit more vague when it comes to making decisions. If I’m not sure who I am it means that I don’t have a set standard of ethics to frame my choices. It means that I can sit back and let others do the hard work and be responsible. It means that I can love my green trousers one day and hate them the next.

Sometimes this can be classed as growth. The idea that you can look back with the benefit of hindsight and ask yourself “really?” Changing is not a bad thing. Especially when it is being transformed into the image of Christ.

But Christians talk a lot about identity. As forgiven people, we find our identity in Christ. We are no longer characterised by sin or the things we have done, but rather by what Jesus has done for us. We are new people. Such good news.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Brilliant. This means that I don’t have to worry about the old labels I had for myself. Self-harmer. Crazy person. Loner.

So why do I? Why did I tell someone yesterday that I considered myself to be mentally unstable at times? Or, even worse, why did I worry that they thought that I was? Do I still see myself as a self-harmer, or someone redeemed by grace?

I wonder whether these labels are easier to handle than facing up to the reality. The reality that I have become a new person, and that I do have choices to make about how to live my life, because that is what grown up people do. I think decisions are difficult sometimes.

There is also the fact that, by considering myself to be a self-harmer, it means that I am allowing myself the possibility of relapse. If I really felt I needed to. Maybe. When desperate. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Again, there are positive aspects to this. It means that I am more likely to seek the help I need from friends and others. It means that I am constantly relying on God for my strength not to cut myself. And it means that I don’t take my recovery for granted.

But to what extent will I be able to recover fully if I stay like this? Does it mean that I am defined by the bad things and the relapses rather than the redemption of the Cross and God’s love for me? How do I think God sees me?

Important questions from a slightly panicked heart.

I choose Christ. I choose to be defined by Him and not by a pair of scissors.

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.’  (Zephaniah 3:17)

And this is so true.

 

Shame

Posted: April 2, 2013 in A little about me, Hope
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Sometimes, I want to hide everything. I worry so much about what people will think of me when they find out what I’ve done to myself. People either don’t understand at all or, even worse, want to help. “why don’t you just think happy thoughts?” Or they think it is something they have said or done – and often it is.

I think though, that that is only part of the story. I think there is part of me that has been ashamed of what I’ve done. How much I’ve worried people. How something that just seems so wrong can make me feel better.

So I worry about telling people who I really am. I think about the label “self-harmer” that I’m happy to employ myself but I don’t want others to use. I don’t want people to know about the battles that rage inside of me.

But actually, this is so wrong. Because there is nothing that I haven’t already brought to the cross of Christ. God made me to be the person I am warts, thunder thighs, self-harm and all. That doesn’t mean he is happy for me to hurt myself, or not to be the person he has made me to be and all that. But it does mean I can be free of shame.

And also, there is nothing that I have ever done or will ever do that is so bad that it can’t be dealt with by Christ on the cross. And the same goes for everyone. Yes, I have to turn to Christ. But I do because he is the only one who can help.

The Gospel shines its light into even the darkest places. And that means I have nothing to be ashamed of.

A Meditation

Posted: April 1, 2013 in Hope
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vague trigger alert…broken glass

From Pearl Beyond Price: The Attractive Jesus by David Day, Zondervan, p. 105

For this you need to close your eyes and take a journey of imagination.
You’re in a kind of workshop. It’s for making stained-glass windows. All around you are designs for windows and areas where glass is being measured and cut.
On the table in front of you lie pieces of broken glass. All kinds of colours. Sharp edged.
Christ is standing at your side. It is his workshop.
He says, ‘These are your hurts, your griefs; these are the pains you feel, each one a splinter of broken glass.’
Even here in the presence of Christ you can hardly bear to touch them. They have cut you too deeply in the past.
But you recognise each piece. Gently, Christ asks you to name them.
Tell him where it hurts. And why. And who.
He is listening. Now he takes each piece and begins to arrange them on the table. Fitting them together. Making a pattern for a new window – taking your hurt and shaping it into something beautiful.

I know it isn’t always that simple. But sometimes this is still true. Actually, it is heresy to say it isn’t always true. It’s just that we don’t always want to know. Or we don’t like the beauty that has been created. Or we throw it back on the floor to shatter into a million pieces again. Or sometimes that process just takes a very long time.

Pearl Beyond Price is a great book and well worth a read.

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