Turning the Page
Who are the Five people you spend the most time with?

Who are the Five people you spend the most time with?

January 23, 2022

Who are the Five people you spend the most time with? They will be the ones who have the most influence over you.

Her response to a betrayal of friendship has probably helped thousands of others to get a better group of friends.

The other day I was listening to a podcast from Simon Sinek where he interviewed Marissa Meizz.

A young man, Drew Harding, happened to be on his lunch break, and while walking through Central Park New York, he overheard two young ladies discussing how they were planning a party but that it had to be on a day when their 'friend' Marissa was not going to be in town.

He couldn't believe what he was hearing, so he posted a video on 'Tic Toc' telling the story and hoping to connect with Marissa to tell her she needed to find a better group of friends.

Who are the Five people you spend the most time with

The video went viral in the quest to find her. Eventually, she saw the video, and Marissa and Drew connected. They are now friends.

The next chapter of the story is incredible. Marrisa didn't turn bitter; instead, she chose to use the fame of this viral internet story to help people who are lonely to connect.

No more lonely friends was created, and they have meetups where people who don't know each other can come and make new friends. Many who come have had moments of being rejected.

Her Instagram page has fifty-one thousand followers.

Have you experienced rejection? Perhaps a betrayal by people who you thought were on your side. Gossip slips around and stabs you in the back. You're alone, deeply alone. You feel abandoned and lost.

No one 'gets you,' and there is no desire for community with your soul.

Its loneliness and rejection and betrayal and loss all rolled up into one big ball of pus.

Do you know what that's like?

Or maybe the relationships you are in aren't a source of encouragement to what matters most to you.

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Does God Hate Me Part two

Does God Hate Me Part two

January 20, 2022

Does God hate Me or Does God love me? What you think about God will form the patterns of your thinking and life.

Oh, that my heart might know a new reassurance.

Recently in my conversations with people, I have been giving them three little phrases to meditate on and speak into themselves.

I am loved
I am held
I am known.

When the anxiety starts to build, and the depression starts to drown, these are phrases that can quietly bring peace.

It’s the love of compassion for our hurting self, the being held while emotional storms rage, and it’s the being known fully despite all the flaws.

It’s what I hope a good friend can offer, but it’s also what God in full glory speaks to us. You are loved, you are held, you are known.

In our last post, we looked at the question Does God hate me? and I suggested 12 questions that I would have running in the back of my mind if someone had that question.

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Does God Hate Me Part one

Does God Hate Me Part one

January 6, 2022

Does God Hate me? Is God punishing me? Questions like these need gentle and grace-filled responses, so here are twelve questions that I would like to ask and explore.

Sometimes, when I listen to people, I hear little comments that bring a sense of sadness to my heart. Some firmly held beliefs that over time and repeated often enough create in them mental unwellness.

Phrases such as

‘God is punishing me.’
‘God is angry with me.’
‘God hates me.’

I don’t think I have ever felt that God hates me, but I have wondered, particularly as a child, that my illnesses or problems might be the consequence of something I’ve done. That God is punishing me.

‘You did this, and so here is the punishment or consequence.’
‘Start doing the right things, and then God might be inclined to help you.’

Seems logical.

Isn’t that what typically happens? You do something wrong, and there is a consequence.

We can so easily create a conclusion by how we add up the facts or what we perceive as the facts.

Those conclusions become belief systems through which everything passes. They can become so deeply entrenched that everything flows into them. The brain then wires itself to look for further evidence that our conclusions are correct. We have a negativity bias.

It’s like A+B+C+D+E = God hates me.

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Willpower is never enough

Willpower is never enough

January 6, 2022

We want to change, but willpower alone is never enough. It runs out. We need to have a stronger power - a heart power that strengthens our thinking.

I was going to change. I was determined. No more of those old habits and going down those old stupid ways. Now it was going to be different.

So with grit and determination, I tried harder to steer the ship of my life away from this behavior. And it worked for a while. I could see the changes happening. But suddenly, the steering wheel snaps back to the old ways.

It was like a magnetic force pulling me back to the old. All the willpower in the world didn't seem to help.

But then I hear a pep talk. Someone tells me about how they have changed. I get inspired by their change, so I throw myself into the wind again and grit my teeth. This time will be different. I'll do it right. I will try harder.

Then life happens. Stress comes. We get tired, and willpower seems to wilt away. So back we go into the old ways. The familiar is comforting. We give up and resign ourselves to being like this forever.

 

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Are You Open to Receive?

Are You Open to Receive?

December 31, 2021

It’s probably easier to give than to receive, but we can’t give what we haven’t already received. How can someone love, when they don’t know what love is? Are you open to receiving love? 

It was awkward. Plain embarrassing. It was so uncomfortable that they wanted to run from this gift-giving.

They had made some foolish mistakes that hurt people very close to them. How could they ever repay? This was the only family they had ever known, and they wanted to have a relationship with them.

For much of their life, they had clothed themselves with shame and guilt. They had truly messed up, and all they could focus on now was their failings.

How could anyone love them? They couldn’t even love themselves. They despised themselves.

But hands were reaching out to them with gifts. Clothes, jewelry, a party. All in their honor.

They quickly clasped their hands and arms over their chest.

‘Protect, keep safe, don’t let them in. I won’t receive a gift I don’t deserve, a gift I haven’t worked for.’

The gift giver walked away saddened.

 

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Your Rehearsal can Change your Mind

Your Rehearsal can Change your Mind

December 20, 2021

Our self-talk can keep us depressed and anxious, but we can learn new thinking tracks. Your rehearsal can change your mind.

I always marvel at how the experts seem to effortlessly do something that I would difficult.

My earliest experience of this was watching shearers shear our sheep on the sheep farm I was raised on. I would be mesmerized by the smoothness and speed by which a fleece would be removed.

He had done this over and over again. Rehearsed and practiced the skill repeatedly. There was speed, but there was also a gentleness and fluidity to his movements that seemed to come so naturally. Like he was born with a shearing handpiece in his hands.

He had created muscle memory. He had created thinking tracks in the brain that were automatic. He could have done it blindfolded.

 

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Don’t be afraid, for you are very precious to God.

Don’t be afraid, for you are very precious to God.

December 16, 2021

We see things, hear things, experience change, and become afraid. But when we know we are precious to God, a deep peace can come and flood us with strength.  

It was only a couple of words, and I felt stronger.

Words can cut, hurt, and harm, but they can also bring a deep sense of security.

Words can speak healing into pain like nothing else.

Your dark tunnel

There can be times in life where it feels like you are going through a dark tunnel.

There is a sense of abandonment and deep loneliness. Tiredness hangs off you like a wet towel. It's enough to give up any sense of hope altogether.

And if you've been there a few times before, it seems like the brain has a fast-track off-ramp to this place.

Any little struggle catastrophizes you into this dark place with incredible speed. You somehow 'pull yourself together' and regain some footing, but you know it's there, ready to swallow you up at a moment's notice.

You're vulnerable. Walking on the edge of a cliff, knowing even a tiny breeze of struggle could tip you over.

 

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The intervention

Caged By the Opinions of Others

Caged By the Opinions of Others

December 2, 2021

Others’ opinions about us can lead us to feel we are caged. Trapped, we grow in fear and worry, but recognizing them and boldly stepping out of the cage can bring us into new freedom.

I could feel myself slipping into the dark place of despair again.

As is my habit these days, I quickly ran to grab my Bible and said a quick prayer to counteract the negative thoughts.

Growing up, I was a bubbly and outgoing toddler. However, from the age of 6, I had turned into a bookworm.

My mother could not explain my sudden social anxiety and just brushed it off as a phase I would outgrow. However, as I grew older, my love for reading also grew. When I got hold of a book, I never wanted to set it back down until after reading. So great was my love for reading I would sometimes forget to eat or shower once I started reading a new book. 

In my culture of Zimbabwe, children are supposed to enjoy being on the streets and playing games with their peers. My mother would try and help me make friends, calling out to children who were my age to invite me if they had any fun activities planned. 

Now that I look back to those days, I loved books, and like my mother and father, I enjoyed reading anything in print, especially novels. However, reading was my way of escape, and I could see the world through a different lens by immersing myself in the characters of the novels I was reading.

My parents were a comfortable middle-class couple, with my dad working at a mine and my mother a stay-at-home mom. 

After having three children, she decided to go back to school and eventually college. As is custom, we would bounce around relatives’ houses while my mother was at school. 

 

Others’ opinions about us can lead us to feel we are caged. Trapped, we grow in fear and worry, but recognizing them and boldly stepping out of the cage can bring us into new freedom.

I could feel myself slipping into the dark place of despair again.

As is my habit these days, I quickly ran to grab my Bible and said a quick prayer to counteract the negative thoughts.

Growing up, I was a bubbly and outgoing toddler. However, from the age of 6, I had turned into a bookworm.

My mother could not explain my sudden social anxiety and just brushed it off as a phase I would outgrow. However, as I grew older, my love for reading also grew. When I got hold of a book, I never wanted to set it back down until after reading. So great was my love for reading I would sometimes forget to eat or shower once I started reading a new book. 

In my culture of Zimbabwe, children are supposed to enjoy being on the streets and playing games with their peers. My mother would try and help me make friends, calling out to children who were my age to invite me if they had any fun activities planned. 

Now that I look back to those days, I loved books, and like my mother and father, I enjoyed reading anything in print, especially novels. However, reading was my way of escape, and I could see the world through a different lens by immersing myself in the characters of the novels I was reading.

My parents were a comfortable middle-class couple, with my dad working at a mine and my mother a stay-at-home mom. 

After having three children, she decided to go back to school and eventually college. As is custom, we would bounce around relatives’ houses while my mother was at school. 

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Thanksgiving Requires Taking Notice. A Bible Story

Thanksgiving Requires Taking Notice. A Bible Story

December 2, 2021

We often miss the obvious, but when we stop and take notice of the changes, we have but one response – thanksgiving.

I noticed something about them. They had changed, and it was for good.

Something deep had happened in them. Instead of being so caught up in the emotional washing machine swirl of life, there was a kind of steadiness to themselves.

Nothing really had changed much in their circumstances. It was still a struggle. They still had moments of crying out to God for relief, but there was definitely something different about them.

Something had changed down deep, and it was growing a rock solidness in them. I noticed it.

There was an invite for thanksgiving.

When I mentioned it to them, they looked kind of puzzled, but they also knew what I was talking about.

They couldn’t describe it that well other than it was like having a deeper confidence in themselves and who they were. It’s the kind of knowing that you only get by going through a storm and coming out the other side.

It’s an internal change that is now unshakeable—a solidness to their soul.

It was the solidness that they could build out from.

In this noticing, I suggested we give thanks.

 

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To Reap in Joy you Need to Sow in Tears

To Reap in Joy you Need to Sow in Tears

November 18, 2021

The only way there is through. To reap a joy, we sow a tear, but it’s work, hard work, so we don’t travel alone. We journey with safe others.

I knew there had to be an ocean of loss behind the lifestyle mask they were wearing. For all the stories of trauma, they had managed life quite well. Everything in its place, compartments for this and that, and rooms of memories best kept locked and securely walled up. Everything was under control, supposedly.

But just like a camel carrying too many straws, this last one, small as it was, was the one that broke the camel’s back.

They were exhausted from the weight of keeping everything together. Their body was beginning to break down. It couldn’t cope with the load. It was never meant to.

They needed to cry.

It was only a couple of words, and the tap began to turn.

‘How are you?’

Apologies made quickly. Composure snatched, but the facade had cracks, and the face was awash.

 

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