This is Living Now

What are you passionate about? What can you invest more of your life in today? Let’s try and do away with the irrelevant, the worry, the time wasting, and the mundane and invest our love and time in the things that matter most.

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There’s this lovely little elderly lady who I see almost every day getting on and off my bus.  She looks so sweet; in a pale pink coat down to her knees.  Soft grey-blonde hair perfectly pinned up.  A typical sweet old lady you may think.  Yet her shoulders are so completely hunched so that she literally faces down to the floor.

I watch her and think.  I wonder about the kind of life she used to lead.  Perhaps long ago she was a dancer or athlete.  Maybe an artist, a mother, a teacher, who knows? Perhaps on the inside she is still bubbling with life and vitality, but restricted now by her earthly body.  And I wonder some more.  How does she pin her hair so perfectly each day?  Does she have family or people who care for her?

And then I wonder further.  Am I really living now?  Me, sat on this bus, listening to music or trying to put on my mascara without jabbing myself in the eye.  Am I making the most of every breath, of every moment, of every day that I have in my currently rather strong and healthy body?  Am I grateful enough that I can walk upright and see life in all its beauty?

Now, I do struggle with my health, and with my body.  Sometimes I could scream with frustration as my desire to do all that God has called me to do and my heart and passion for life has a full on, out right battle with my body, just wanting to lie down and rest.

And I wonder is this how people feel as they get older and their body starts to fail them?  Do they still feel like a child or teen trapped in the body of an older lady or man? Now please don’t get me wrong; I know that elderly people can be living life to the full.  I know an 83 year old lady who when it snowed over Christmas jumped right on to a sledge.

But there is just so much isn’t there that can stop us ‘living now’!?  Debt, worry, age, infirmity, business, work, travel, kids, cleaning, admin, life, life, life.  Sometimes life itself and the daily grind can limit the way we truly live.

And what is ‘living now’.  Is it travelling around the world, bungee jumping, perfecting our studies, marital bliss, earning millions, finding the perfect job, being the perfect person, fame, power, or more? How do we know when we are truly ‘living now’?

My friend showed me a video yesterday that is really powerful.

It got me thinking once again about the rapidity and fragility of life.

“How much time have you spent worrying instead of doing what you love? What if you only had one more day? What are you going to do today?”

From when I was young and my half-brother committed suicide, I felt like I understood the delicacy of life as well as most people.  I had times, when life was certainly fragile, certainly on a thread.  When I was in a serious car accident a few years ago I thought of nothing but death for days (morbid but honest).

Until I became a Christian and felt safe in eternity (and even sometimes afterwards) the thought of death used to terrify me.  Only the other night I lay awake thinking of the forever nothing, the darkness, the ‘no more’ and had to remind myself of the eternity, the light, the Lord, the forever worship.

Yet even with an eternal future secured, surely we must be living now.  Today.

John 10:10 Amplified Bible says:

10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

The Message Bible describes it as “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

What does this real, full, overflowing, life of yours that you dream of look like?

I know as well as anyone that life isn’t all you always hope or dream it will be.  But our lives are intended for His glory.

Yesterday I attended a vision day for an amazing online community of people striving for Jesus (dltcommunity.com/).  My friend Luke spoke about Ephesians 1 and highlighted v11-12 (emphasis mine):

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.  
Luke spoke of how society calls us to be popular, rich, have as many followers as possible, the ‘perfect life’.  But Ephesians tells us that it is in Christ alone that we find out who we are, and what we are living for so we can be living now.  So we can have glorious living.

What are you living for?  What defines you currently?  This very day what do you get out of bed for? What are you putting your time, energy, money, heart and life into? What are you living now for?

There is an amazing ‘Mumford and Sons song lyric’ – “Where you invest your love, you invest your life”.

Where do you invest your love?

The busier I get, when I’ve been feeling really unwell and lay in bed all day watching Netflix, and as I get older I find I am challenged by this more and more.  Where am I investing my precious time and love and life?

I would say I have a few main passions.

-I am passionate about justice.  I long to see the slaves of today set free, the hungry fed, the captives in every sense of the word released, the vulnerable protected and cared for, lives saved, equality for all, and a better world (quite a big ask).

-I am passionate about family.  I am passionate about my family but also the church and beyond embracing loving fellowship.  And above all, those without family; orphans, widows, those in the care system, the lonely or the lost, set in families.

Psalm 68:6 NLT- God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.

– I am passionate about seeing broken shattered hearts and lives fully and completely restored by Jesus.

-I am passionate about Jesus and seeing more people saved by his unending grace and love.  I believe in a God who can see my passions fulfilled because my heart breaks for what breaks His.

What are you passionate about?  What can you invest more of your life in today?  Let’s try and do away with the irrelevant, the worry, the time wasting, and the mundane and invest our love and time in the things that matter most.

You lead the way, God You’re right beside me
In Your love I’m complete
There’s nothing like living with You
This life You created I choose
See the sun now bursting through the clouds
Black and white turn to colour all around
All is new, in the Saviour I am found
This is living now

‘This is Living Now’ Hillsong Young and Free

Every Day is a Blessing

“Happy moments – those moments when you feel fully alive – certainly exist.  They swim by us every day like shining silver fish waiting to be caught”.  – Alice Steinback

So, it’s 2015 already which I find a little terrifying.  I haven’t posted a blog for well over a year for many reasons, but the New Year seems a good day to check in and reflect on all that’s been happening.

As always, a little naively perhaps I enter into the New Year with a new sense of optimism and gratitude for all that has happened.

I love sharing the highlights of the year gone by, sharing my ‘Resolutions’ and goals for 2015, and as always hope that this year I will blog a little more.

So here are some of the highlights from 2014.  Whilst in some ways it has been a difficult year health, finance wise or sometimes personally, I yet again still find I have so so much to be thankful for!!!

  • Continuing to manage my health and work situation. I’m so blessed to have a job I really love.
  • This year I have read lots more than I have for a few years. I’ve also been practicing my Ukulele.
  • I kept a journal all 2014, which was really rewarding and a discipline.
  • My family life continues to grow and amaze me and I am so thankful to have such an incredible and loving family.
  • Things with ‘Restored for such a time as this’ continue to develop and I am excited for what the future holds with it. http://www.restoredfor.org.uk/
  • I am so thankful for every day small blessings. Those lovely ‘silver fish’.
  • My small involvement in the ‘Home for Good’ campaign especially at the beginning of the year in admin/ social media was a real blessing to me and it’s amazing to see it become a charity and watch God working through them.
  • Feb 9th– Seeing Taylor Swift at the O2 with my bestie was awesome.
  • My 27th Birthday celebrations were really fun with friends and games at home.
  • 18th March- My trip home to see my amazing family was brilliant including seeing my family grow and celebrating a birthday.
  • Doing the ‘100 Happy Days’ challenge on Instagram even when I wasn’t having the best day really helped me to focus on the good.
  • 12th April- A trip to Chester to see some incredible friends and their amazing babies was so awesome!
  • 14th April was another amazing time at home with tons of fun including baby Ducks!
  • 1st-3rd May Getting to go to Colour Conference after being blessed with a ticket and train fair was incredible! I had the best time and really learnt lots and grew close to God.
  • 23-25th may ‘Glamping’ at Big Church Weekend was amazing. We experienced worship, sunshine, rain, and fellowship.
  • Starting my Pilates class was fab and a great way to help with a former ‘resolution’ of trying to get more fit.
  • My holiday home in June was brilliant especially seeing my family’s business grow.
  • Giving away my ‘Giving Key’ and all that it involved including seeing it passed on to someone at IJM was really amazing!  http://www.thegivingkeys.com/blogs/news/15666580-fuel-others-faith
  • Quality time with amazing friends.
  • Watching Hillsong Conference online and the preach at G-Live ❤
  • Watching lots of brilliant TV.
  • My lovely friends Hen Party and their incredible wedding which was such a joy.
  • A trip home in August which involved games, an ice cream parlour, a new baby donkey, shopping and lots of fun.
  • Sept 6th a lovely 3 course meal and entertainment at a hotel with my bestie.
  • Reading loads of amazing books including ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ The Hunger Games series again and more.
  • In October winning tickets to a pre-release fan screening of the new Nicholas Sparks film. We got goodies and James Marsden showed up which was cool.
  • Sharing about Restored at the A21 A-Teams gathering was a real blessing in October.
  • Celebrating Compassion UK’s 15 year anniversary, seeing us reach 95,000 children sponsored, our ‘Vision Day’ and the work Christmas party were all highlights.
  • Taking part on the A21 Campaign ‘Walk for Freedom’ across London was amazing!!
  • Another trip home in November was great!
  • 4th December collecting 6 bags full of toiletries for A21 girls and UK shelters, praying and writing Christmas cards was a special day for me.
  • Christmas at home 2014, with parties, food, games, church, family, friends, animals, snow, mince pies and an amazing NYE Tudor Mystery party was an incredible time!!

 

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder” -G.K Chesterton.

 

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I have always many ‘Resolutions’ for the New Year.  So many of them I don’t come close to achieving, but I like to set the goals anyway and see how far I’ve come.  These are some of my hopes for 2015:

  • To love my body and help it heal and be healthy.  (I am starting a new Pilates class closer to home which may help).
  • To read even more including all of the Jane Austin novels and the Bible in a year.
  • To be grateful and try and cherish every moment, even the hard ones and they make me thankful for the good.
  • To try and be more creative, practice my Ukulele more and develop my creativity.
  • To work hard and dedicate myself to my calling at my workplace.
  • To manage my finances better.
  • To invest more in my relationships including giving more time, more of myself, and visiting friends more.
  • To be more ethical in my purchases and lifestyle where possible. Continue to expand Fair Trade purchases.
  • To be more aware in current affairs and world issues and more active in praying/ helping.
  • To focus on a develop my passions and callings.
  • Learn more.
  • Love more!

I think it’s so easy to feel like we are never doing enough or being the best that we can be.  I certainly feel that daily.  But I am so grateful for all that I have, the opportunities and spheres of influence, the passions and talents I have, and above all the amazing God I love and serve who has given me a heart for justice.

I aim to make 2015 count.  To be thankful.  To be loving.  To fight for justice.  Or if nothing else to fail trying to make the world a better place for 2016.