Trusting God

Everyone has stories of times when they trusted someone and were let down.

A few spring to mind for me, from someone literally just letting me fall during a trust exercise, or twice in my life when boys have pulled the chairs out from underneath me as I was about to sit down. 

However, one really takes centre stage. I was doing the high wires at a fitness camp- where you’ve got a harness, and your objective is to shimmy along these wires two or more metres off the ground- for the really brave, there are places where you have to just take leaps of faith to get to the next place of safety. However, you’re wearing these harnesses so that if you fall or want to stop, the person spotting you can let you down. I watched my partner with the vigilance of an eagle. When I looked down at her, she was chatting with someone else, and typically, the shock of betrayal caused me to fall. So, in the most awkward way possible, I dangled there like a flailing fish until I managed to catch her attention. 

No wonder people have trust issues. 

Two weeks ago today, I quit my job. I wish I could say I’d thought about it, and had the dignity of a speech and strutting out with my head held high. However, unfortunately that was not the case. There was yelling, and crying, and my brain sort of melted so that I went outside to finish the shredding before grabbing my cactus and waddling home in my high heels. [I had to sneak in the next day to get my tea and leave the key on the desk.] To be fair, I had always dreamed of quitting. I just always thought I’d have something to move on to, and I’d have my speech ready before I went in, not at 3 am the next morning. 

Then, the next day, my Dad was attending a meeting for the church’s kids holiday club and, running with my adrenaline, I decided that day that I would do kids club with absolutely no physical or mental preparation or planning. 

So that’s how I ended up doing kids club two days after quitting my job [and after telling everyone for six months there was absolutely no possible way I could help out because I’d be working.] [I got an award at the end for “Best Life Choices”.]

And, the day after kids club ended, I packed my bags and headed off to a week of leading on a high school camp. 

I can’t explain to you what I was thinking, because the easiest summary is that I wasn’t. I was trying to think of how to write a post-camp blog post yesterday, and my head was just spinning from two weeks of not sticking to my usual strict regimen. My hair is frizzy because I didn’t have time to wash it properly, and my face is breaking out because of what, stress? Lack of sleep? An unusual amount of physical exercise for someone who used to sit at a desk for nine hours a day? 

And I realised the only thing that is still true after two weeks, and maybe six months of falling down a rabbit hole of insanity, is that God is good. 

In the past six months, I have had my first major break up, transitioned into a new church, started uni, finished up with my old Sunday School, started a new one, and quit my job. But while my head has been spinning, “on Christ my solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

With no planning, I expected last week to be hard and disorganised. But I was surrounded by a team of people who trusted and loved God and worked to include but not overwhelm me. This week, I expected to be awful because the last high school camp I went on I was completely out of my depth. But once again, I was surrounded by a team of people who worked endlessly to pull their weight and make sure I was okay, plus I was blessed with an amazing group of girls and co leader. 

And for those two weeks, every time I thought about getting a job, a sense of panic began to well up inside of me, but I have been reminded time and time again- even when we are skeptical, God will never let us down. It’s just not in his nature. 

So, when none of my girls seemed to respond to the talks, I decided God has a plan for them, and I’m just not watching it play out yet. When I got half a dozen rejections for jobs I’d applied for, I figured I would just keep praying. And when I woke up each day at six thirty in the morning and it was dark, and freezing, and my eyes kept gluing shut during prayer in the leaders meetings, I reminded myself that this was a chance to prepare to make camp the quality God had in mind for it to be. 

On the last night of camp, we had a time for people to tell their testimonies. The amount of kids who are struggling with situations at home, at school and even struggling with demons in their own heads was heart breaking. And yet, in amongst it all, there was this incredible sense of hope. Because, as Christians, we know that even when we have no idea what is going on, and everything seems like it is just falling apart, God has got us and he knows what he has in store. It is for our good, and not to hurt us. 

I was reminded during one of the talks of a verse where Jesus says God is going to prune us- to non gardeners, it seems odd to cut off what seemed to be fruitful and beautiful branches, to leave the tree smaller and bleeding sap. But to those who know what they are doing, they know those trees are only going to produce more fruit, even if it takes a while. 

I have decided, in the end, that I’m not going to look for a job for the next two weeks of my uni holidays. When I go back to uni, I only have a little while before I’m on practical placement, so it makes sense logically, but also I started to think that maybe the reason I haven’t found a job is because instead of rushing to find one, and panicking about the future, maybe I just need to stop and rest for a while. I have worked full time during every holiday I’ve had since the beginning of last year. My longest actual “do-nothing, have-fun” holiday has been three days. 

I want to enjoy life instead of worry about the future. 

I want to spend time with the people I love instead of listening to the fear and the panic that has been fuelling me for a while now. 

I want to trust God. 
  

Trusting God

Everyone has stories of times when they trusted someone and were let down.

A few spring to mind for me, from someone literally just letting me fall during a trust exercise, or twice in my life when boys have pulled the chairs out from underneath me as I was about to sit down. 

However, one really takes centre stage. I was doing the high wires at a fitness camp- where you’ve got a harness, and your objective is to shimmy along these wires two or more metres off the ground- for the really brave, there are places where you have to just take leaps of faith to get to the next place of safety. However, you’re wearing these harnesses so that if you fall or want to stop, the person spotting you can let you down. I watched my partner with the vigilance of an eagle. When I looked down at her, she was chatting with someone else, and typically, the shock of betrayal caused me to fall. So, in the most awkward way possible, I dangled there like a flailing fish until I managed to catch her attention. 

No wonder people have trust issues. 

Two weeks ago today, I quit my job. I wish I could say I’d thought about it, and had the dignity of a speech and strutting out with my head held high. However, unfortunately that was not the case. There was yelling, and crying, and my brain sort of melted so that I went outside to finish the shredding before grabbing my cactus and waddling home in my high heels. [I had to sneak in the next day to get my tea and leave the key on the desk.] To be fair, I had always dreamed of quitting. I just always thought I’d have something to move on to, and I’d have my speech ready before I went in, not at 3 am the next morning. 

Then, the next day, my Dad was attending a meeting for the church’s kids holiday club and, running with my adrenaline, I decided that day that I would do kids club with absolutely no physical or mental preparation or planning. 

So that’s how I ended up doing kids club two days after quitting my job [and after telling everyone for six months there was absolutely no possible way I could help out because I’d be working.] [I got an award at the end for “Best Life Choices”.]

And, the day after kids club ended, I packed my bags and headed off to a week of leading on a high school camp. 

I can’t explain to you what I was thinking, because the easiest summary is that I wasn’t. I was trying to think of how to write a post-camp blog post yesterday, and my head was just spinning from two weeks of not sticking to my usual strict regimen. My hair is frizzy because I didn’t have time to wash it properly, and my face is breaking out because of what, stress? Lack of sleep? An unusual amount of physical exercise for someone who used to sit at a desk for nine hours a day? 

And I realised the only thing that is still true after two weeks, and maybe six months of falling down a rabbit hole of insanity, is that God is good. 

In the past six months, I have had my first major break up, transitioned into a new church, started uni, finished up with my old Sunday School, started a new one, and quit my job. But while my head has been spinning, “on Christ my solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

With no planning, I expected last week to be hard and disorganised. But I was surrounded by a team of people who trusted and loved God and worked to include but not overwhelm me. This week, I expected to be awful because the last high school camp I went on I was completely out of my depth. But once again, I was surrounded by a team of people who worked endlessly to pull their weight and make sure I was okay, plus I was blessed with an amazing group of girls and co leader. 

And for those two weeks, every time I thought about getting a job, a sense of panic began to well up inside of me, but I have been reminded time and time again- even when we are skeptical, God will never let us down. It’s just not in his nature. 

So, when none of my girls seemed to respond to the talks, I decided God has a plan for them, and I’m just not watching it play out yet. When I got half a dozen rejections for jobs I’d applied for, I figured I would just keep praying. And when I woke up each day at six thirty in the morning and it was dark, and freezing, and my eyes kept gluing shut during prayer in the leaders meetings, I reminded myself that this was a chance to prepare to make camp the quality God had in mind for it to be. 

On the last night of camp, we had a time for people to tell their testimonies. The amount of kids who are struggling with situations at home, at school and even struggling with demons in their own heads was heart breaking. And yet, in amongst it all, there was this incredible sense of hope. Because, as Christians, we know that even when we have no idea what is going on, and everything seems like it is just falling apart, God has got us and he knows what he has in store. It is for our good, and not to hurt us. 

I was reminded during one of the talks of a verse where Jesus says God is going to prune us- to non gardeners, it seems odd to cut off what seemed to be fruitful and beautiful branches, to leave the tree smaller and bleeding sap. But to those who know what they are doing, they know those trees are only going to produce more fruit, even if it takes a while. 

I have decided, in the end, that I’m not going to look for a job for the next two weeks of my uni holidays. When I go back to uni, I only have a little while before I’m on practical placement, so it makes sense logically, but also I started to think that maybe the reason I haven’t found a job is because instead of rushing to find one, and panicking about the future, maybe I just need to stop and rest for a while. I have worked full time during every holiday I’ve had since the beginning of last year. My longest actual “do-nothing, have-fun” holiday has been three days. 

I want to enjoy life instead of worry about the future. 

I want to spend time with the people I love instead of listening to the fear and the panic that has been fuelling me for a while now. 

I want to trust God. 

Trusting God

Everyone has stories of times when they trusted someone and were let down.

A few spring to mind for me, from someone literally just letting me fall during a trust exercise, or twice in my life when boys have pulled the chairs out from underneath me as I was about to sit down. However, one really takes centre stage. I was doing the high wires at a fitness camp- where you’ve got a harness, and your objective is to shimmy along these wires two or more metres off the ground- for the really brave, there are places where you have to just take leaps of faith to get to the next place of safety. However, you’re wearing these harnesses so that if you fall or want to stop, the person spotting you can let you down. I watched my partner with the vigilance of an eagle. When I looked down at her, she was chatting with someone else, and typically, the shock of betrayal caused me to fall. So, in the most awkward way possible, I dangled there like a flailing fish until I managed to catch her attention. 
No wonder people have trust issues. 
Two weeks ago today, I quit my job. I wish I could say I’d thought about it, and had the dignity of a speech and strutting out with my head held high. However, unfortunately that was not the case. There was yelling, and crying, and my brain sort of melted so that I went outside to finish the shredding before grabbing my cactus and waddling home in my high heels. [I had to sneak in the next day to get my tea and leave the key on the desk.] To be fair, I had always dreamed of quitting. I just always thought I’d have something to move on to, and I’d have my speech ready before I went in, not at 3 am the next morning. Then, the next day, my Dad was attending a meeting for the church’s kids holiday club and, running with my adrenaline, I decided that day that I would do kids club with absolutely no physical or mental preparation or planning. 
So that’s how I ended up doing kids club two days after quitting my job [and after telling everyone for six months there was absolutely no possible way I could help out because I’d be working.] [I got an award at the end for “Best Life Choices”.]
And, the day after kids club ended, I packed my bags and headed off to a week of leading on a high school camp. 
I can’t explain to you what I was thinking, because the easiest summary is that I wasn’t. I was trying to think of how to write a post-camp blog post yesterday, and my head was just spinning from two weeks of not sticking to my usual strict regimen. My hair is frizzy because I didn’t have time to wash it properly, and my face is breaking out because of what, stress? Lack of sleep? An unusual amount of physical exercise for someone who used to sit at a desk for nine hours a day? 

And I realised the only thing that is still true after two weeks, and maybe six months of falling down a rabbit hole of insanity, is that God is good. 
In the past six months, I have had my first major break up, transitioned into a new church, started uni, finished up with my old Sunday School, started a new one, and quit my job. But while my head has been spinning, “on Christ my solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
With no planning, I expected last week to be hard and disorganised. But I was surrounded by a team of people who trusted and loved God and worked to include but not overwhelm me. This week, I expected to be awful because the last high school camp I went on I was completely out of my depth. But once again, I was surrounded by a team of people who worked endlessly to pull their weight and make sure I was okay, plus I was blessed with an amazing group of girls and co leader. 

And for those two weeks, every time I thought about getting a job, a sense of panic began to well up inside of me, but I have been reminded time and time again- even when we are skeptical, God will never let us down. It’s just not in his nature. 
So, when none of my girls seemed to respond to the talks, I decided God has a plan for them, and I’m just not watching it play out yet. When I got half a dozen rejections for jobs I’d applied for, I figured I would just keep praying. And when I woke up each day at six thirty in the morning and it was dark, and freezing, and my eyes kept gluing shut during prayer in the leaders meetings, I reminded myself that this was a chance to prepare to make camp the quality God had in mind for it to be. 
On the last night of camp, we had a time for people to tell their testimonies. The amount of kids who are struggling with situations at home, at school and even struggling with demons in their own heads was heart breaking. And yet, in amongst it all, there was this incredible sense of hope. Because, as Christians, we know that even when we have no idea what is going on, and everything seems like it is just falling apart, God has got us and he knows what he has in store. It is for our good, and not to hurt us. 

I was reminded during one of the talks of a verse where Jesus says God is going to prune us- to non gardeners, it seems odd to cut off what seemed to be fruitful and beautiful branches, to leave the tree smaller and bleeding sap. But to those who know what they are doing, they know those trees are only going to produce more fruit, even if it takes a while. 
I have decided, in the end, that I’m not going to look for a job for the next two weeks of my uni holidays. When I go back to uni, I only have a little while before I’m on practical placement, so it makes sense logically, but also I started to think that maybe the reason I haven’t found a job is because instead of rushing to find one, and panicking about the future, maybe I just need to stop and rest for a while. I have worked full time during every holiday I’ve had since the beginning of last year. My longest actual “do-nothing, have-fun” holiday has been three days. 

I want to enjoy life instead of worry about the future. 

I want to spend time with the people I love instead of listening to the fear and the panic that has been fuelling me for a while now. 

I want to trust God. 

The Christian Feminist

Do you believe that women should be equal to men?

If you said yes, you’re a feminist. 

[Sorry if you were getting ready to fight me, it’s actually quite a simple principle.]

Feminism isn’t like a meringue- with precise measurements, and needing a lot of whipping into the perfect white shape. It’s more like being given the order of a “cake”. You can add or take away based on your own wants and passions, but there are a few foundational things without which it would not be counted as cake. 

As soon as you begin to believe that women are not considered or treated as equals globally, you begin to understand feminism. That women’s clothes and gendered products are more expensive despite the fact they get paid less, that displays of emotion are seen as feminine [and not masculine], that there are clear gender stereotypes, women can’t work in some societies, pornography and the sex slave trade are booming, and issues of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and harassment are deeply woven into every society. Once you start to think about all of this, it’s actually rather easy to consider the feminist perspective.

However, last night I was faced with a lady who had decided not to be known as feminist because she was a Christian, and so here I have decided to outline what I believe feminism means for Christians, both male and female. 

To keep it short and simple, I will list 3 cans and can’ts. 

A Christian feminist can be a Christian and a feminist. 

This seems remarkably obvious to me, but was not to the lady last night. She argued that feminism challenges the very foundations of what it means to be a woman, and destroys the ideas and purposes God has laid out for us. That feminism argues against the idea of [particularly a male] headship. However, a Christian feminist should listen to God as much as a normal feminist would listen to whoever is teaching her how to drive when she’s on her L plates. He is still sovereign, the Creator and loving. Like with science, political views need to correspond with biblical teaching, but often cover other or additional areas. Science explains the how, feminism explores a response to fighting for justice in a sinful world. 

I believe that feminism gives Christian women an opportunity to express freely what and who God has created them to be. In societies around the world, women are told what to wear, who to marry and how to behave. Feminism fights for a world where a woman is valued just because of who she is, while Christianity fights for a world where a woman is valued just because of who God sees her as. If they work together, they can achieve aa world where God is sovereign and a woman can recognise how much she is to be loved despite her appearance, grades or social status. A world where a woman is not defined by whether she is dating, but simply by her relationship with Christ. 

A Christian feminist can decide what they will and will not support and still call themselves a feminist. 

Many Christians disagree with abortion and same sex marriage. Honestly, some Christian women are uncomfortable not shaving their legs, wearing make up or having short hair. But this doesn’t mean they are excluded from the movement of feminism. This just means they are choosing their battles with another perspective. You should not purposely ignore every invitation to go to a rally which supports or opposes something because it is based on feminism [for instance, political rallies, mental health days, fundraisers for organisations which benefit females]. Indeed, it is probably more helpful to present a positive Christian influence than to withdraw from a name for fear of incorrect association. 

A Christian feminist can disagree with other Christians and still call themselves a feminist. 

I disagree with the woman from last night about a couple of the things she said, and that’s okay. Just like with church and Bible study, and everywhere else I get challenged on things in the Bible, it means I have to have a humble heart and allow myself to be challenged before I write people off. Sometimes quarrels are unnecessary, and weirdly, she might just end up fighting for things that I do under a different name. But that doesn’t mean neither of us can be feminist. Complementarians and egalitarians alike can be feminist, Protestant and Catholic- as I say, anyone who thinks women should have equal rights to men.

A Christian feminist cannot choose feminism over Christianity. 

There are admittedly times where it seems preferable to ignore what the Bible is clearly saying to follow everyone else. However, we simply should not compromise our faith to follow an easier or more popular path. There are many issues many feminists support which I do not believe actually benefit women or their rights, due to my understanding of God’s plan for the world. That means I cop some flack. Christ will always come before anything of this world.

A Christian feminist cannot purposely do things just to bug others. 

This is a weird one, but it is one that was brought up last night and has stuck with me. Another of my friends doesn’t believe in feminism because she recognises all of the things the word is attached with rather than the simple definition I began this blog post with [whiny middle class “slacktivists” who are happy to retweet other people’s opinions but refuse to change their lifetyles, and wish to oppress men. For example, my high school drama teachers, who didn’t recognise a need for the male gender at all.] [I do not subscribe to this view.]

 Popping the word “Christian” on the front means that, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we still have a mandate to be kind and loving. To not shove our opinions in other people’s faces unhelpfully, and to test every opinion that comes our way before mindlessly adopting it. The woman last night said she purposely shaved her head and ignored authority because it annoyed men, and that’s what [she thought] feminism is. However, there is a way to fight for better rights and still be helpful, meek and humble. I have shaved my head, but it wasn’t to shove it in anyone’s face [it was for charity]. I still have short hair, not because I despise femininity but because it’s practical, and, I believe, better for the environment. As with everything in life, consider how it affects others, how others perceive it and what you would say if you were asked a question about it.

A Christian feminist should not be scared. 

There are many scary things in the world today, and often the feminist movement has an urgency about it. However, the best thing about being a Christian feminist is that I know I am fighting to make this world better, but a day is coming where there will be no inequality, no fear of the future. A Christian feminist doesn’t have to worry about what other people think, or when other people disagree with her, as long as she is fighting for a world which is like God’s kingdom. 

In conclusion, I believe every Christian should be a feminist, no matter whether they’re male or female, and no matter how many of the “extras”/hashtags/movements they partake in. I think feminism campaigns for a world like God wanted, where men and women worked together not for themselves, their individual genders or the competition of it all, but for God’s kingdom come, his will done and earth like it is in heaven. 

The Book Store

  

Today I walked into one of the most beautiful book stores I have ever been in. 

Sometimes book stores just have this aura- this sense that the walls are lined with stories and not just printed pages. I wanted to thumb each spine and read every word. What really caught my eye were these reimagined covers of some old classics. They had gold edged pages and were intricately designed- you could tell someone had really put thought into how to capture the essence of the story and not just rebrand an old tale to sell again. 

It may have been the light pitter patter of rain outside in the dark, or the warm glow of fairy lights- I can be manipulated by atmosphere like any fool. But I think it was more the smell, of new books and the fresh leather goods they had for sale. I think it was the smile of the shop keeper, who left their store open for wanderers like myself. I think it was the sense that this store wasn’t just selling a product but something special, like each book was a present with a surprise inside. 

This is true- when I got in the car, virtually dragged away (by the words “I am parked illegally and will leave without you”), my mum said when I was little I had entered a writing competition in that very book store (and won). I have absolutely no recollection of this. But it is fact that, since I was young, I have loved to read and write. To tell my stories and to make people laugh with them. 

However, receiving stories is just as fun as creating them. Reading books has always been a way to expand my mind, take me places and remind me of a world that is not half bad. A world full of magic and justice and love- although rare in their purest forms, they exist. Good will triumph over evil, the girl will get the guy and the world will keep on spinning, a little better for its heroes. 

And to step inside a book store is to step into a world of possibilities. 

To step inside a good book store is like flying into that world.

Journaling

It’s something a lot of people want to try but have no idea how to get around to. We’ve all got a spare notebook lying around somewhere- sometimes it’s a beautiful one we don’t want to somehow screw up. Well, as someone who has been journaling for about 7 years now, I figured it’s something I know a little bit about.

Here are some things I wish I had known before I started journaling.

1. No one is going to read what you write. If you have to show some things to people, then you can make them as rigid and boring as you want. However, for the majority of what you write, no one is ever going to have the privilege of seeing it. So if you only ever pick up a journal when you’re angry and it’s pages of scrawled expletives, let it be. If you write crap poetry, that doesn’t matter. When you write, be real and honest, feel free to express every little part of yourself and record every fear, because you’re doing this for you. A journal is a mirror, not a window.
2. Be honest and real. Following on from the first point, there is nothing worse than reading something you wrote a few years ago and knowing that you were lying. When I was younger, I would find myself writing a boring point by point account of my day, afraid to actually look into myself and express what I felt. As I’ve gotten older, that has definitely changed. I used to buy day to a page diaries so I’d feel accountable, but I’ve come to realise that some days are just boring. Now I’ve got a blank one which I can pick up on any given day and really let rip to. A journal is like a best friend who won’t judge you for gossiping. Write your true emotions so that if and when you look back on it, you can get the most out of it.
3. You never have to read it again. Journals are super helpful if you’re a reflective type. How have I changed, what was I feeling, how did I grow through that experience? But sometimes you can admit you will never read what you have written again. I have two journals that are just pages and pages of over thinking. Angry scrawls written in the heat of the moment and anxious scribbles analysing every detail of an issue, just so I could squeeze my thoughts out of my head. I’ll never go back and read those things- it would be pointless to- but at that time, I needed an outlet, and writing was really helpful.
4. You can’t screw up. I think the scariest thing about a beautiful journal is that we’ll write something and it will be “stupid”. A cliché teacher thing to say is that there are “no silly questions” because you dared to ask. A similar cliché is that you can’t write anything stupid because at least you actually wrote something. The first diary I was ever given [I’ve still got all of these, a good excuse for why my room is so messy] was a glittery, spiral bound notebook with daisies on it. In it, I wrote [in blue pen, an absolute travesty and my first mistake as a writer] the details of my day. My first ever diary entry was about a day trip to my Uncle’s place. The thing is, I don’t regret this. I was eleven! It’s what I was thinking in my eleven year old mind, and it’s what was important to me. I can see how I’ve evolved in my writing since then, because I just kept going, and growing. Your writing may seem silly now, but it’ll be precious to you when you read it again in twenty years.
5. Lastly, just keep going. If you don’t journal for two months, that doesn’t disqualify you from starting again. If you make a spelling mistake, DO NOT USE WHITE OUT [a weird little ism I picked up from an English teacher of mine- let everything in your journal be raw and imperfect, like it is in your mind. Also, he just didn’t like white out because it takes time and interrupts the flow]. If your hand writing is atrocious, you’re not being marked. As long as you can read it, or even if you can’t, the worth is in the writing itself.

Wanting

A few people have recently commented on my analytical mind. I do a thing a lot of the time where my mind will identify something as a problem, take it, and work it out [unfortunately, sometimes it does this with things that really aren’t problems, but oh well]. I can sit for hours on end, pondering how to fix something- once, I wrote sixteen pages over four hours just trying to figure out how to deal with something that might or might not happen. Planning and thinking makes me feel better so I don’t get shocked by anything, due to the fear that I won’t be able to deal with it. Therefore, everything in my world is gone over with a fine tooth comb.

While you may be able to tell how much I think about things just from reading my blog, I don’t understand why so many people accept this but don’t recognise how far it reaches. A comment I get too often that I’m smart, but Christianity makes no sense. It’s a crutch, it’s illogical, God can’t exist, and if he does, he’s not worth following. And they look at me, and believe that my entire life is a paradox, because I overthink where I’m going to stand, how I’ve phrased sentences, and if one eyeliner wing is bigger than the other, and yet am a Christian.

Well, friends, I am many things, but I try to avoid being a hypocrite.

Like everything in my life, I have gone over the religion and God I have chosen to follow with a fine tooth comb.

Christianity isn’t a crutch. I grew up with Christian parents, yes, and they had the amazing influence of teaching me about a God that loved me. But they never forced it upon me, and I have found God in so many other ways in my life. I know many people who grew up with Christian parents and rejected God, and many Christians who didn’t have God until much later in their life.
I knew from the beginning of life that life would continue to be hard, no matter if I had a God or not- indeed, it might be worse because I chose to follow Christ. I’ve been bullied, mocked, and unable to date certain people simply because I have the word Christian written across my forehead and embedded in my heart. I knew that was coming, and yet, even before I knew who Jesus was, that surely it must be worth following him. My parents are disabled, particularly my mother, and yet told me stories of hope from when I was a little girl. A strange story is that even before I became a Christian, the Gideons came to give Bibles to us at school. One girl looked at it and said “why would they give us this piece of shit?” and I began to cry. It was maths, I was at the front of the room, and I bawled in front of everyone. I didn’t know why it meant so much to me, as I didn’t even understand or think about God that often, and yet what she had said about this man, and his word, struck me. I knew there was going to be more of that, I knew life would still be tough, but examining the lives of those around me who had decided to follow Christ, I went over it and over it and decided to look into this God. Having been a Christian for six years now, and following in the footsteps of those who have been Christians for many more, I can honestly say, I have not found the lifestyle wanting.

Christianity is illogical [because] God can’t exist. This was a big step, and I had a listen to those for and against. I didn’t assume anything, because I never assume anything. I looked into people who had set out to write books against God and turned into Christians. I looked into the science behind a God of imaginative creation. I listened to all the arguments that my friends had to throw against him, and I realised that funnily enough, all of the answers for those were pre-downloaded into my brain. I could think of an argument for every bit of offence, and weirdly it made my faith that much stronger. I knew the Bible backwards- I was an annoying know-it-all kid, also spurred on by my need to know about things before I accept them- and it made sense to me. For those who read the Bible, I encourage you to look at it with an open heart and blank mind. Look at devotionals or talks by others who have analysed what it’s trying to say. There is so much meaning behind every word, it would take a lifetime to understand and know all of it, but I certainly tried and have continued to learn more from it about God. I continue to let myself be challenged by what it says, and that the world is just God’s work on show. Romans 1:8 “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” God does exist. I have come out of every search, every trial, fully believing this. I have the rest of my life to continue to find that in all of its honesty, but Jesus said he is the truth. This is real. I have investigated, and this is what I have found, with one hundred percent certainty. God is real. As Sherlock Holmes often said, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

And finally that, even if God does exist, he shouldn’t be followed. Christianity is dedicating your entire life, all you are, to this God and the way of life he dictates. To assume that anyone would undertake that lightly is folly. I looked into what Jesus asked me to do- love my enemy? Forgive those who sin against me? Allow myself to be changed by him? This was going to be tough. I need to make it as explicit as possible that this wasn’t something that took a day to decide, or weeks. It has taken me years to accept everything, and will take me my entire life to become the person the Bible says I need to be. I continue to think about this, and to simply dismiss Christianity as something people do just because their parents did or because it seems cool is not discovering true Christianity. I took Studies of Religion so I could fully understand what other people do and who and how they worship. I will probably do a theology course. I go to church not because it’s expected but because I actually want to find out what the Bible is trying to say and why [I encourage the curious to do the same]. But the truth is that I looked over God and the Bible again and again, and unlike so many things in my life that have disappointed me and let me down- people are only human, after all- I have never found God wanting. I have never been disappointed by him, never been left alone, looking back at all the times I felt so lonely. This God sent his son to die for me. Jesus exists, there is proof. He was an amazing guy, many people would agree. He taught a lot of people a lot of things. But he didn’t come for that reason, but to die for me, and you. This is a God of love. And I have been over every book of the Bible, and looked at all the acts God has committed in the past. I watch the news, keep updated with the suffering going on around the world, and have experienced suffering myself. And yet, I have never found this God wanting, but only myself wanting this God. That’s why I follow this God. This God that created me, and loves me, and died for me. Because I have looked high and low, and near and far, and found God.

I have thought about this, a lot. I encourage people to do the same- there is no reason not to. God is big enough to handle our questions, and our anger, and our fear. He can do anything, and we can do all things through him. So ask, seek. All I can say is that although I think, analyse, criticise, I have never wanted more, but have been overwhelmed by the God of more than enough. I have been left not wanting, but with the realisation that I am wanted.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Matthew 7:7

The Love Song of Us

Don’t dismiss the messages of old as ones meant for those in times gone by. Don’t ignore the warnings of the writers and poets who were trying to communicate something to the wide audience of humanity. Humanity has not changed all that much. And so, when I look at men such as T.S. Eliot and the men he created, such as J. Alfred Prufrock, all I can hear is the blaring scream of this is you, and you must fix this. One of my favourite poems, and, indeed, one I believe is potent to society, is the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

In the room women come and go, talking of Michelangelo.

In a world where we have access to almost every piece of canvas that has had paint touched to its skin, to every scrap of paper that has met the nib of a pen, how can we simply glance over someone’s life work and label it “nice”? The mentality of Instagram- to scroll past images that flash before our eyes only long enough for our brain to determine whether they are worth a like. Is it so that we cannot comprehend such beauty, as it is so overpowering, that we find ways in which we can condense it to a single image? We cannot absorb the landscapes that call sublimity, we cannot gather the focus to examine the detail of true beauty, and so we snap it, post it, like it, scroll. A never ending world of pictures is at our fingertips, and so we rely on that to tell us what is happening outside our very window. Anesthetise the senses, because it’s all too much to deal with.

There will be time, there will be time, to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.

Social media- a medium where you can present only the face that you’ve, like a piece of fabric, applied the correct filter to. Cropped out what is not meant to be there, in order for your life to be perfect. Rubbed out any imperfections, spent hours on making up a mask to present to a community that will spend three seconds judging it before they continue on. How much time do we spent preparing our face? How much do we think people will judge us by it? Apparently it takes a tenth of a second to judge whether you trust someone, your entire relationship with them. So we must present our very best face. Not a hair out of place. And where do we take this time from? What else could we do with the hours we spend painstakingly crafting an eyebrow?

Do I dare Disturb the universe?

Do I dare disturb my friends and tell them I am not okay?
Do I dare disturb my teachers and tell them I am struggling?
Do I dare disturb the ebb and flow of my life to make a decision that may or may not go well?
After all, it mayn’t. Indeed, I shouldn’t. I should just continue living life the way it is. That is easier, after all. I shall continue wishing that someone asks me how I am, knowing full well if they did I’d say fine. I shall continue to play my role as a cog in life, hoping that I can continue knowing full well I am breaking into fragments slowly, and when I do crack, the life I know will come tumbling around me. Because I do not dare.

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed, though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter.

For, if we do turn to a greater power to offer us some solace, we are faced with a great Silence, whom we soon turn from. The effort of giving all to life is much belittled by the fear of giving all to a god. As humanity, are we not scared that, although it is clear we cannot do what we wish with our life, giving it over to someone else will be oh so much worse? Our life is ours to live, to choose and to screw up. Do not consider the alternatives, friend, for surely this is the best way? Surely, to fast, to pray, will lead to nothing. We cannot face our own spirituality because we are stemmed by the inherent rebellious belief that it will lead to nowhere and is therefore not worth the time or energy it would take, indeed if it saves us time or energy in the end. We are fine. Well, we are not fine. But we are finer than we would be if we left it to God.

And would it have been worth it after all…

Would it? Will I ever know? For I did not do. And now I wonder, would it have been worth it after all?

If one, settling a pillow by her head, should say “that is not what I meant at all; that is not it, at all.”

To be dismissed by those we trusted with the most potent gift we could offer- our thoughts. For, our thoughts determine the matter of our hearts, and our hearts are what we aim most to protect. Therefore, to give our thoughts- phwoar. To be dismissed by our peers should we offer a thought- to be tossed aside by our friends if we were to utter an opinion- oh, to be shunned by our parents lest we disappoint them with the thoughts clouding our minds? Why is it that public speaking scares so many so? Because you are being asked to look people in the eye and present your beliefs. And a roll of the eye, the crossing of arms, are blows to not only our ego, but everything we are, for if you dismiss my head, you dismiss my heart, and my being. And so, perhaps it’s better to stay quiet. Speak without saying in case one is to hear without listening.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

We deny ourselves the simplest pleasures for fear of looking foolish. Wear uncomfortable clothes because the others do not fit the criteria. Avoid desserts because they will make us fat. Refuse to laugh because we are acutely aware, perhaps due to a flippant comment, perhaps due to our preconceptions of the audience to which we constantly perform, of how we are perceived. We must exercise control. A certain smile is acceptable, certain jokes in certain companies. How do I look? How do you think I look? It does not matter if I wish to eat a peach, but rather, do I dare accept the consequences of what may occur if I indulge?

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think they will sing to me.

For, at the end of the day, is this not what we consider? That we are not worth it. We do not wish to express our feelings or thoughts because we do not think we are worth the time it takes to listen. We stay with people who put us down because that is all we deserve, and we reject compliments when they come because we cannot believe they were true. We are not worth the attention of even mermaids- they will stop singing when we go by, as our friends stop talking when we enter the room. How has our generation deteriorated so? Surely, with the consistent reassurance of people literally “liking” us, and taking the time to “comment” and “share” what we’ve said, we should be at the very least able to believe that, amongst the amount of friends we have, some of them must be legitimate? But we cannot allow ourselves to believe such things lest we be proven wrong. To hope and fall is worse than to not hope and, perhaps, one day, fly. Isn’t it?

Poem copied from : http://www.bartleby.com/198/1.html

The Gay Marriage Thing

Before you read this, I’d like to point out I’ve attempted to express my opinions with as much grace as possible. If you read this, I’d love to hear your opinions, but not if they’re filled with hate simply for outlining what I believe.

At this point in time, I don’t know where I stand on gay marriage. As a Christian teen with a lot of non Christian friends, I get asked a lot, and it’s left me with the feeling that I need to stand on a “side”. One either represents the “against” side, which is the one with all the stodgy old people, or the “for” side, which is all the “dude, but are you really a Christian though?” people. Well, yea, I am really a Christian, but this is hard.

The “for” side looks appealing. Firstly, it would mean that I fit in with my generation, and, surprisingly this has very little [for me personally] to do with peer pressure. You see, it’s widely recognised that generation X and Y are the ones that are pioneering. We’re getting rid of all the rubbish people have been struggling with for centuries, toppling things such as sexism, racism, illogical thinking [particularly when it comes to advances in the fields of science and technology], and domestic violence. We’re finishing off these beasts, and moving on from antiquated thinking.
When it comes to Christianity, however, the mentality shifts a little. How do you maintain a dynamic religion in contemporary Australia when you serves a God who is the same “yesterday, today and forever” [Hebrews 13:8]? A good point that has been raised is, how do we know that this whole thing about homosexuality in the Bible isn’t like this whole thing about modesty in the Bible? [Applicable to a very specific context which has changed over time.] I was reading an article [yes, I’ve actually done research] a few weeks ago on sex before marriage, and while there were some good points, one that rubbed the wrong way was, “but if you cut out that bit of the Bible, why not cut out everything that just doesn’t suit you?” [it was said rather patronisingly, as well]. Well, that’s not right, because yea, the Bible is there for guidelines that have been pretty helpful for society, and it’s clear [to me, and a lot of other Christians] that when humanity tries to live without those guidelines, we stuff up. But what about 1 Timothy 2:9? “And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” It ticks a lot of boxes- New Testament, so we’re subscribing to the New Covenant, and it’s in amongst a lot of good words of wisdom. But if we think about it today, a lot of Christian women do their hair nicely and wear gold and pearls and stuff… So we back it up with a bit more Bible. 1 Peter 3:3 says “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.” Now, that’s logical and explains a little more. He’s talking about modesty, pride. So you can wear that stuff and not be proud, but you could dress very, very modestly and still have internal issues of the heart. Okay. But homosexuality?

Another point that’s been raised is, “well, whatever people do with themselves is fine [1 Corinthians 10:23] but gay marriage means it won’t be marriage any more”. This is a hard one. It’s caused such a ruckus that the Presbyterians have begun considering dropping out of the Marriage Act of Australia if it goes ahead, because homosexual marriage just wouldn’t be marriage. The thing that makes the “for” side of gay marriage all the more appealing for me is that this hasn’t been handled with much grace. It just seems that every time I read an article on it, someone is having a hissy fit with a large lack of love. I’ve seen it referred to as turning marriage into a “government and societal register of sexual friendships”, and that, I find, is quite rude. I was trying to read with an open mind, but if all the people against it are speaking like that, I can see why people default to the for side. I wanna be where the people are! [Not the grumpy old grouches of the Christian world…]
And, presented with love, I can see the “for” side’s argument quite clearly [although, feel free to correct me in the comments section]- we love each other just as much as heterosexual people who decide to get married to, and deserve the right to declare a life long commitment to each other in the same way. Well, at least that’s what I’m hearing. Becuaes that’s what marriage, at it’s core, is- a public statement that you have found the person you want to dedicate the rest of your life to loving [hence the whole “in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part” thing]. No matter what marriage has become, or how some people [inside and outside of the church] see it, that’s marriage. Except, this is where the “against” side rocks up.

Because [and this is kind of the major part of their argument, and what keeps me on the fence], marriage is a religious tradition, and therefore how it’s defined by religion is quite significant. God sets the rules out for marriage at the very beginning of the Bible- it’s clearly important.
“That is why a man leaves his mother and father and is united to his wife and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24.

Not much room for interpretation. Yes, marriage is a major declaration of love, and a new level of relationship [which is what leads to debates on the “divorce” thing] but the Bible clearly states it’s between a man and a woman. This isn’t some concept but a definition. The following example may help visualise.
If you were to build something with four legs, made of wood, and then a board across the top, which you may add a cushion to, before adding a solid back, what would you call it? A chair, probably. And if someone were to argue and say it were a table? Well, no, because a table is built differently to serve a different purpose. It may be wider, and impracticle to place a cushion on. It may be taller, too. You can’t debate the word “chair” or what it’s made for, or that a table is something different. Yes, you might rest something on a chair, but that isn’t what defines it. Similarly you can sit on a table, but that wasn’t what it was built for.

So, I have to say that I’m sitting on the fence. I’ve heard some great arguments for both sides, and I’ll continue to ponder it, but at the end of the day, I think we ignore what’s important. Jesus did not outline to his followers what we must think about the rules of the Bible. Indeed, check out Matthew 23– he rebukes those who spend their time concentrating on the laws and rules, and who try to shove those rules down other people’s throats. The only things he said are important, and sum up everything, are Mark 12:31-32. Love God, love each other. If you can’t present your opinions without hurting people’s feelings, or disregarding them, then stop expressing your opinions. They don’t matter [no offense], not when it comes at the cost of loving people. That’s what Jesus said we need to do. If you’re so dogmatic that you post hate on people’s walls, unfriend them, stop hanging out with people of different sexualities or constantly bicker over interpretations of the Bible, “you are in for trouble!” [Matthew 23:16a]