Tag Archives: christian living

A lolly stick, three felt tip pens and a bouncy santa…

This is the pot of pens in my kitchen.  I expect you have one too.  About twice a year I go through it, make sure all the pencils are sharpened, throw away dried up felt tips and remove all the random objects that have collected at the bottom.  After about a week, it looks like this again.

The idea of the pen pot is that whenever someone sits down to do their homework, everything they need is already at their fingertips, and we don’t need to waste precious time searching for a pencil sharpener or a purple pencil or a protractor.

Of course, this is an impossible ideal, and often the pen pot contains everything except the item that someone absolutely can’t do without to finish their homework.  But I persevere, because I believe that while I never do achieve the organisational perfection I strain for, it’s better to have a few felt tips, some biros and a pencil with a bouncy santa on the end than nothing at all…

A while ago I asked my group of girl guides to bring in a quotation that they believed in.  It could be from anywhere and we had some wonderful contributions from a variety of authors from Maya Angelou to Winnie the Pooh.  Possibly my favourite though, was this:

“Not everything has to be perfect”

Pause with that for a while…


Not everything has to be perfect

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an effort to do things well.  It just means sometimes it’s better to do something badly than not to do it at all.

Sometimes it’s great to give yourself the freedom to have a go at something and not be brilliant at it.  After all, most artists started with stick men, most concert pianists once struggled to make their left hand do as it was told and I imagine even the best poets have occasionally written something dreadful.  Creativity always carries the risk that whatever you’re making might turn out badly, that’s part of its joy.

Is God calling you to do something you’re worried aren’t all that brilliant at?

Is he asking you to take a risk and do something that it might take a lot of practice to do well?

Are you discounting yourself and your gifts and wondering why God doesn’t find someone ‘better’ to do the job?

Not everything has to be perfect.

pensIt turns out that it’s good to have an imperfect and slightly random collection of pens.  It’s not perfect, but it’s still good.

Just like you.




Happy New Year – Hill walking

I’m quite partial to a long slow walk in the countryside, especially if it’s between tearooms. And I particularly love walking (very slowly) up hills.   I often come to a point in the walk or climb where I’m ready to have a little sit down.  I’m very British, so it’s a joy to me to sit down somewhere sheltered-ish on a fold out mat, get out a flask of tea and a sandwich and just sit for a while and look.  And I think the first couple of weeks of a new year might be the perfect time to do a good bit of looking.

Looking should be savoured. In my opinion it’s better than the actual walking… I like to look back and congratulate myself, remember the pain and the exhilaration;  look at where I am now, enjoy the view;  and look ahead to where I’d like to get to, when I feel like I’ve got the energy to get up and move again.

It’s good to look back at where you’ve been.  To remember that stretch where the walking was a joy and the scent of the flowers around you almost carried you along; the slope that seemed a particularly hard climb; the part where you slipped and fell into the thorns and came out limping and bleeding and yet somehow got up and carried on.  If you look back at the journey of 2014 there will have been different kinds of terrain, injuries, happy times, and people who came and walked beside you in it all, it’s worth taking some time to reflect.

It’s even better to sit next to Jesus and ask him to show you where he was, how he helped you, how he felt as he walked beside you on that climb. Joys and struggles, triumph and disaster.  Don’t judge for yourself, ask him to show you what you did well, what you learned, how you’ve grown.

And while you’re resting with Jesus at the very beginning of 2015, you might choose to have a quick look through your back pack for any rocks you might have accidentally picked up and carried with you this year. Lumps of unforgiveness especially have the ability to slow you down.  It might really help to get rid of them now and not carry them through into the next year!

Looking ahead is harder.  The view back is always clearer than the one in front.  It’s probably better not to second guess it,  and if you’re like me you’ll be in the thick of January before you have time to ask too many questions.  You might just ask for one word or picture that says something about what God wants you to learn or be in the next year and then, if you’re brave enough, look up into Jesus’ eyes and say “I’m not sure where I’m going, but I trust you to lead the way”.