Tag Archives: spirituality

The Bouncing Ball

In case you don’t know (having had the sense to avoid all sing-along movies for the last eighty-nine years) the bouncing ball is a little animated dot that bounces brightly along the words of a song to keep the sing-along-ers in time (and on the right word!) ¬†It says – THIS IS WHERE WE ARE – PAY ATTENTION.

In my extensive research ūüôā I read just now that when the bouncing ball began life in September 1925 it wasn’t even animated, but a studio employee bounced a tennis ball on a long stick merrily along the words of My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean. Wikipedia even tells me that on the latest sing-along version of Disney’s Frozen the little ball has become a bouncing snowflake… *shudder* As if there can be anyone left in the world who doesn’t already know all the words…

Enough history… I don’t think God gave me this picture this morning so I could celebrate 89 years of sing-a-long movie technology…

The ball is all about focussing your attention on what needs to be done right now, on what is happening right now.  As I said РTHIS IS WHERE WE ARE NOW, PAY ATTENTION.

It helps avoid confusion between that and what’s coming next, or what’s just gone. And it makes you keep a steady time. ¬† Someone put it there, on purpose, to help you stay in the right moment. ¬†And let’s face it, the whole thing sounds better if the vocalists are in time with the music!

To follow the metaphor, I am the kind of person who rushes ahead to the chorus instead of letting the verse play out. And although the chorus often has a better tune, the words of the verse are nearly always more interesting.

But the message I’m hearing through this week’s postcard is: Focus on the now. Don’t get distracted by the just gone and the not yet. Learn. Keep time. Find me in the present.

So that’s what I’m going to try to do.

I’m cheating a little because I wrote this poem for my very first post… but I’m all for recycling… and since I seem to need to hear things more than once, I’m going to assume that it might help you too…

I search for you:
I strain ahead to look for you
to see where we will go together
Longing to know, longing to be there, longing to see
and I just glimpse your face through the mist.

I turn around to look back
at the place I saw you last
felt your touch, saw you move, joined the dance
but it's gone.

and yet
when I open my eyes
I see you are with me now

bouncing ball feat

What about you? What is God saying to you through this picture? Do you need to rewind or fast forward to get your focus on to what God is doing now?

There’s no place like home

It’s our nomadic season!

Once a year we run from the summer heat and leave the small island of Cyprus for the slightly bigger one of the UK, where we live out of (several) suitcases for five fun, but long, weeks.

Sleeping in a tent or on the guest beds of our fantastic welcoming friends and family is wonderful, but I can’t help missing the feeling of being ‘home. ¬†Of course,¬†the point of being here in the UK is not to feel ‘at home’, but to have fun, invest in friendships¬†and do things that can’t be done when we’re in Cyprus. ¬†But,¬†although I’m having a great time, it’s actually quite difficult for a homebird like me to be on the move for that long.

I’ve been reflecting on that strange¬†tension between the longing to be home¬†and not feeling ready to leave yet. ¬†Just a couple of weeks ago I was really wishing that I could pop home for a few days, run the washing machine ten times, sleep in my own bed and then pop back to spend more time¬†with the friends I love (and the massive to-do list!)

It’s made me¬†think again about Paul describing our bodies as ‘tents’ ¬†(in 2 Cor¬†5). ¬†He seemed to think of his earthly body as ‘temporary¬†accommodation’, to be replaced by a permanent building¬†in heaven. ¬†I’m fairly sure that most of the people Paul sold his tents to weren’t weekend leisure-campers either. ¬†Tents were for people who for a long time or a short time were living on-the-move.

 Heaven is where our home is Рlife on earth is just camping

It’s¬†made me wonder whether my life is, in reality,¬†quite a lot¬†like my¬†family’s summer trip back to the UK. ¬†It’s an interesting thought. …Maybe¬†the point of my life is not really to be comfortable, or settled or easy; but to do (and enjoy) those things that won’t be possible in heaven… Chasing after the lost, loving the outcasts, defending the oppressed, caring for those in need.

Perhaps we are all ‘temporary¬†nomads’ in the world for a while before we head back to our Home in heaven. ¬†The long-term-travelling-camping thing is fun, but not easy. ¬†It can be uncomfortable and difficult and inconvenient and we may¬†never feel quite settled.

This time next week, we’ll be on our flight back to Cyprus. ¬†There will be tearful goodbyes, and regrets about the stuff we didn’t get done… but it will be OK… we’ll be going home.

blue tent

Emerging : about change

Every now and again something happens in your heart or your life which is so significant, so major, that you know that nothing will ever be quite the same again.

Sometimes, in just a few days or¬†moments, your life can become so different that for a while you find yourself¬†out of step with the rest of the world. “How?” you ask yourself, “Can everyone else’s life still be so much the same when mine has changed so radically?”

Sitting here I can think of six moments in my life when I have felt this really powerfully: ¬†Asking Jesus to be a part of my life; getting married; the births of my three children and then the death of my Dad. ¬†All of these things have so profoundly affected me on the inside that I have struggled to understand why people around me can’t see or sense or be a part of the revolution that has taken place. ¬†I’ve felt a bit detached from the rest of the world for a while, and I haven’t always understood or awarded myself the grace that I needed.

I’m kind of¬†in that place again this week.

Last week, at a crazy-beautiful¬†conference in England, Father God revealed to me a little bit more of who he is, and then a little bit more of who I am, and before I knew it, another revolution had taken¬†place in my heart. ¬†I’ll get to writing and painting about that soon (when the dust has settled) but for this week, I need to take a¬†‘wing-drying’ moment.

You see, I read this morning about this butterfly, a monarch, which after hatching out of its cocoon, sits for an hour or more in the sun, allowing its wings to dry and become strong.  This moment of rest, of warming, and of taking stock speaks to me really powerfully right now.

So often I experience a revolution in my life or in my heart, and I expect myself to be able to be up and out and flying straightaway.  Today I think Jesus is telling me to wait a while, to let my wings dry out, to get used to my new shape.  This picture is permission to rest in him for a moment or two before I launch out again.

 

And that’s good… There’s going to be a lot of time for flying.

 

Imagine my surprise
when I emerge from the struggle
the beautiful revolution
the inner rewriting
with wings..

Still reeling
but knowing
that one day soon I will stretch out
into what I've become
and fly.

But till then
I'll sit here
in the light and the warmth of your gaze
and let you tell me again
who I am.


butterfly2

reflect greens

 

 

It’s¬†always good to rest for a while in the warmth of the Father’s gaze. ¬†Make sure you take a moment today to ‘sun yourself’.

 

For your Journal:

If you’re not in this place right now, ¬†store up the thought for the future… Decide now that if and when it happens you will give yourself permission to rest and to ask God to shine his light on your wings.

If you are in this place, go easy on yourself. ¬†Write a letter to God in your journal about the change that you’ve just been through. ¬†Take the moment to say goodbye to what you were before and to stretch out into the new thing you’ve become. ¬†Absorb the light of God’s presence in whatever way works best for you right now. ¬†Be blessed x

 

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‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒthat 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?