Tag Archives: deeper faith

Wallpaper

Sometimes you just become so used to things that you can’t see them anymore.

After we took down the old cooker hood in our first home we were left with an ugly taped-up wire sticking out of the kitchen wall. In the beginning it really annoyed me, but after a few months I stopped noticing it and after two years we were discussing jobs that needed doing and I genuinely thought we had already had it fixed!

Even gruesomely patterned wallpaper like this one can eventually become so familiar that you no longer notice it (or no longer find it offensive!).

Whether or not we notice it, most of us have wallpaper inside our heads:  The background messages of the things that were spoken over us, or that we said to ourselves, when we were kids and trying to make sense of the world.  Messages like ‘I’m not important’ or ‘it’s not safe’, ‘I’m lazy’ or ‘I’m not good enough’.

Many of us have come to faith in Jesus and have valiantly tried to paste the truth he has to say about us over the top of the words of the past, covering up the old messages with the new ones that know in our heads are true.

I don’t know about you, but my trouble is that the wallpaper of my past is definitely of a 1970’s variety – Bright bold patterns and made of shiny vinyl.  It’s a big job to get any new wallpaper to stick over the top of a decorama vinyl like this one… and even if you do get it to stick, chances are that a pattern this bright and bold will show through whatever you paste on top!

When this happens to you, it’s not a sign that you’re not a good enough Christian; that you’re not ‘saved’ enough; or that you’re not believing hard enough… It just means you need to do some redecorating..

If this was a wikihow, there would be pictures… but:

Stage One: Notice what’s there

Ask God to show you what it is your believing about yourself, or Him that is not true.  Even if you’re so used to it that you don’t really see it anymore, ask him to show you the wallpaper.

Stage Two: Look at it

Admit that what’s there is not the truth about you.  Even if you’ve got so used to it that it feels kind of comfortable and familiar, if it’s not what God says it has to go…

Stage Three: Get rid of it

Now you’ve seen the ugly truth… Don’t just try to cover it up again! Start stripping it off. Confess to God that you believe a lie about yourself, or Him.  Repent of it.  Choose not to behave as if it’s true.. Ask him to reveal the truth under the layers…  Just as it takes steam to melt the glue that sticks the paper in place, so it takes some prayer (yours and maybe someone elses) to loosen the grip of old lies in your life… but it can be done.

Well doesn’t that make it sound easy.

Honestly?… Anyone who has stripped off Vinyl wallpaper will tell you it’s really hard work, but not impossible.  Be kind to yourself… do a bit at a time!

And finally- Whenever we take down old wallpaper in our house in England, I’m always afraid that the plaster on the walls is going to come away with it, like actually it’s only this sheet of wallpaper that’s holding the wall together, and taking it down is probably a really bad idea.

If you’re afraid of taking down your wallpaper, because of what you might find underneath – know this: The moment you trusted in Christ, and handed over the reins of your life to him, the plaster, the part at the core of who you are, underneath all the messages you’ve papered on, was made completely new.

Perfect.

Spotless.

Without bump or blemish.

New.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

wallpaperfeat

For your Journal:

Ask God if there’s a wall that needs a bit of attention in your heart.  Ask him to show you if there’s a lie you are believing about yourself or about him.

It might not just ‘fall into your head’, but at some point this week it might be that the Holy Spirit draws your attention to something you think or feel, or an incident that hurts you or angers you more than you think it should.  If you have one of these ‘aha’ moments, choose to look at the wallpaper and see it for what it is.  Then start to take it down.

When climbing a mountain…

Intrigued?  Well, I’m not surprised.  I didn’t know what one of these was called either (had to google it 🙂 ).  It’s a piton.  Mountain climbers hammer them tightly into crevices in the rock face so that they can attach their safety ropes through the hole.  A vital piece of rock-climbing kit.

When God showed me this picture, I imagined what it would be like if, exhausted from a difficult climb, beaten back by the weather, you were to come across one of these, already firmly in the rock face and ready to clip your harness on to.  What a relief I would feel if it were me, and how grateful to the climber that scaled this wall before me and left me something to take a hold of.

So today’s postcard is an encouragement to start nailing in some of these beauties, both for those who scale the walls you’re climbing after you, and for your own benefit (just in case like me, you have a tendency to revisit the same challenges).

The first time I really noticed how this could work was when I was in a tiny church choir.  One day the choir leader played us a piece he planned for us to sing. It was extraordinarily complex and difficult with solos and harmonies and even a rap(!), so we reacted in some disbelief!  But he believed we could do it, and as a group we somehow just chose to take his faith and believe it.  It was as if we reached out with our Karabiner clips in our hands and clipped our harnesses onto the faith he was holding out.

Our faith in God is like that, we have the ability to hold it out to others and say “here-  hold on to mine, I’ve scaled this wall before you”.

I can’t tell you exactly what the pitons you put in will look like, they might be a word,  an action, scripture glued to a mirror, a testimony, a song, a journal entry, a book, a blog post, a status update, a tweet. But I do know that when we start to hold out the faith we’ve gathered to others it will multiply.  Whatever they say about problems, faith shared is faith (at least) doubled!

While a piton has to be strong, the real strength is in the rock.  The job of the piton is simply to enable someone to anchor their heart to the Rock of Ages, into the ultimate strength and safety of the Living God himself.

piton feat

If you’re climbing in a storm,  look out for what others have left for you.  When you see it – choose to reach out for it and clip yourself on!

If you’ve taken on a difficult face and made it to the top.  Look for the faith that you grew on the journey and then choose to find a way to hold it out for others.

And please, please comment below about the ways God is speaking to you that you could hold out the faith you’ve collected to to others and then comment again about the ways you’ve done it and seen faith multiplied in other people.  In the words of the Lego Movie – that would be awesome!

If you’re interested in more of what I think faith is and isn’t you could read this:  Faith and the Flying Fox or this: Ready to Walk on Water

Immeasurably More

Please, may I have some more?

There’s something quite awkward about asking for more…   And that awkwardness often stops me from asking.  Somehow the vision of a grubby little boy with an empty bowl swims into my mind.  But before I find myself humming songs from Oliver…

To be clear, I’m not talking about material wealth here,  although it may for many be quite reasonable to ask for more of that..  Today though, I’m thinking about other things I’d like more of:  faith, wisdom, passion, courage, forgiveness, healing, ability to receive God’s love, love for others, a sense of the presence of God…

But for some reason I find coming to God and saying “please, I want more” really difficult.   I feel I should stand back and let others go ahead of me.  Asking for more when I have already received so much from God feels greedy.  Worse than that it makes me feel as though I’m somehow not grateful enough for what I’ve already been given.

(Also, written on the wallpaper inside my head is a little sign that says “It’s not OK to ask for stuff” which applies in a million other situations, not just this one. – God and I are in the process of rubbing this -and some others-out, but that’s probably another postcard)

But for each of us, it is without question true that God has more for us in our relationship with Him.  More understanding, more faith, more peace, more presence, more.  And his pockets don’t hold a limited amount:  If he gives to me it doesn’t mean that someone else will miss out, if he’s already given me some faith I don’t have to say “OK thank you that will do”.   This isn’t a tea party at a little friend’s house my friends,  you don’t have to smile a polite smile and say “thank you, that was lovely, I’m full up now”.

I wonder what you hear from God when you look at this postcard of the ocean.  Every time I stand by the sea I think about this…  I scoop up as much water as I can hold in my hands and I think “this is how much of God’s presence, power and peace I have experienced so far’… and then I look up at the sea.

The difference between the water I can hold in my hands and the contents of the mediterranean… and then the atlantic is beyond my ability to comprehend.  It’s extraordinary to even to try to think about it.

That’s how much more there is to explore of God my friends, that’s how much more he has for you.

Immeasurably more.

You just need to ask.

MorePC

 

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV

reflect blue

For your journal:  What do you want to ask God for ‘more’ of?   What stops you from asking?