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The road that goes nowhere

The road that goes nowhere

“Barricade the road that goes nowhere. Grace me with your revelation”

Psalm 119: 29 (The message)

My heart is heavy for our world. We officially just passed 500,000 people who have lost their lives to COVID 19. The political landscape is full of minefields and no matter where our conversations traverse there are explosions going off everywhere. We are being schooled in the art of truly listening to another experience and story, there is also a sadness that pervades cafe conversations.

We’ve all been down those dead-end street conversations. The ones where there is no right answer. Each side has their barricades up and the pain is palpable. These are the roads that lead to nowhere. Conversations laced with sarcasm and emotions overflowing. Those seasons also where we have tried to go off on our own and ended up on a track towards isolation and destruction.

This psalm goes on to tell me;

“I choose the true road to Somewhere, I post your road signs at every curve and corner.

I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me; God, don’t let me down!

I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll just show me how.”

Psalm 119: 29-33

The stories we each tell and the sense we try to make of them, hold us contained in a holding pattern of conversation. We believe that we are communicating effectively but we end up feeling barricaded by roads that lead to nowhere.

Roads of old stories.

Roads of assumption.

Roads of pain and mistrust.

Those circles that dig us into patterns of destruction. Dead-end streets. The same old narrative that entraps us in its snare. Prayer is this place of guided meditation, that allows us to groove a new way forward. Even when we find ourselves repeating the same old patterns of communication over and over.

This is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. This is the place where we grow in the midst of challenge, conflict and difficulty. I created this downloadable screen saver to help you lean towards the fluidity of new ways of thinking and reacting for growth and discovery.

Prayer helps us to lean towards fluency of understanding. Where we can release a fixed mindset and creatively co-create a new mindset with God. Rather than going down those dead-end streets, those places that lead to nowhere, allowing ourselves to grow, discover and change the narrative of those old conversations.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4 : 16 (NIV)

God, barricade those places from me.

Help me to lean deep into your revelation.

Help me to discover your way above all else.

Question for discussion in comments below;

Where are you getting stuck in conversations that lead to nowhere?

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Steady my friend, steady

Better days are coming

“Oh that my steps would be steady, keeping on the course you set!”

Psalm 119: 3-4

Amid change and transition seasons, it can feel like steadiness is as complex as trying to hit the bullseye of a moving target. This season of intense information, pivot and redirection can be so tiring. The lethargy is not because we are running fast and hard, the lag comes from trying to hold steady. The resistance causes a full-body response. When our brain is overthinking, our body responds. When we are making big decisions and holding space for others, our body feels the weight. Tiredness is not just from physical exhaustion it is also from the toll of emotional processing.

Are you holding up the arms of others?

Do you have a backpack full of responsibility?

The tiredness you feel comes from the deep core decisions that are confronting your everyday. We are being asked to show up and make decisions from our centre. The steadiness that requires is like doing a balance class and doing a hundred sit-ups each day. Decisions around work, the safety of our family, future plans without knowing what the world will look like in two years time, the list goes on and on.

I have been having a lot of dreams lately. One reoccurring is of long tunnels that never seem to end and then suddenly they change and I am left feeling afraid. I have also had a reoccurring dream of running a marathon, running, running, running and the finish line seems to never appear.

Then Psalm 119 asks us me to steady.

Oh that my steps would be steady.

Steadiness reminds me of a tree. It’s flexible and moves with the storms but it is planted deep. The beautiful encouragement I have been getting throughout this season from Psalm 119, is that it is a psalm of pilgrimage. We often think that steadiness is about staying still, retreating and hiding from the intensity. Although rest and retreating is a necessity to honour the sabbath and finding our strength again, this psalm encourages us to move forward with small, slow and simple steps.

This is moving towards the course set before us.

This is the beauty of steady, simple steps.

Move forward.

Keep on, keeping on.

Finding the beauty amid the broken, messy places and staying true to the integrity of who you are and the decisions you have made. Although the year 2020 has been a challenging one, it is not over yet. It is a powerful opportunity for us all to press reset and focus again.

Your question for the comment section discussion:

What makes me feel steady?

If you would like help to press reset, download my reset journaling booklet and watch the video course to help you find focus. Only $9.95 gets you the book and the video course. DOWNLOAD HERE

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Psalm 119- don’t go it alone

“That’s right don’t go off on your own; you walk straight on the path He set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live. Now you expect us to live it.”

Psalm 119: 3-4

Life right now is angry. Everywhere we turn there is an opinion that challenges us for an answer. Community is scattered, people are unsure and the world is full of fire.

Then enters our work life. We need to collaborate on a daily basis, with work colleagues, family members and friends to be able to move forward in this season of complexity. There are days that I struggle with collaboration so much. If only everyone did everything my way then the world would be so much simpler (SMILE!)

This rabbit hole theology is when I find myself buried amid of rabbit warren of regret, trying to do the right thing. Trying to have the right answers, trying to be helpful, trying to keep all the plates spinning.

The aftermath of projects gone awry, people’s intentions misunderstood and the understanding of one another’s perspectives.

Like our terrible attempt at homeschooling. My husband and I had very different applications of the assignments that sat before us, for our five-year-old. I thought I was great at collaboration until I had to try and decipher the school’s expectation of English comprehension and what my eight-year-old was supposed to be doing instead of playing Minecraft.

I wrote this in my journal mid-sentence of the homeschooling debacle of 2020;

“I thought I was good at collaboration until recently. I feel tired, I feel let down and I feel disrespected. God help me to find my way through this. To find your way with ease.”

This is the power of common-unity. These spaces where ease allows us to not always be the responsible one and to just let things slide, choosing my battles on what is really important and what is just noise.

Then enters Psalm 119;

“Don’t go off on your own.”

Psalm 119: 3

Life on your own little island, with no one messing with your heart and possessions, might seem like a great idea in this very moment, but the beauty of our relationships is the power of connection and empathy. As we sit and listen to the stories of one another, we find the perspective we have been looking for, amid the rubble.

Relationships are not easy.

Your community can not be found in a quick consumable flat pack.

It takes time, it takes generosity and it takes the humility to allow someone to have a different perspective to you. The greatest relationships that I have observed are the ones who live with abundance and walk with generosity.

Discovering the power of common-unity means that you will not always be in the right, means that you will need to try again, it means that you will need to call, connect and follow through with your commitments.

Belonging is not found in the moments of sameness, it is found in the acceptance of our differences and loving one another fiercely anyway. If we need to change to fit into a group, then it’s probably not the right group for you anyway.

I know at the moment large groups of people seems scary and tense. We were however designed for relationship. You were designed to thrive amid difference, complexity and freedom. We were prescribed to live in a community. Reach out, make a phone call and listen to someone who has a different opinion to yours.

This is a place of growth.

This is the beginning of diversity.

This is our proving ground of trust.

Discussion question for comments section:

Where are you trying to go it alone?

“That’s right, don’t go off on your own; you walk straight on the road he set.”

Psalm 119: 3

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stay the course

Stay The Course

Psalm 119: 1

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily in the direction and road revealed by God.”

Lately, I have wanted to shut everything down. It’s a regular occurrence don’t be alarmed. I overthink it all. My life, my writing and the paths I have chosen to walk. I wonder how much I have been doing to try and gain my own sense of self. This is a weird mix of living authentically but at the same time just wanting privacy and a lot less noise. And there is so much shame being perpetuated across the media waves lately. So many shoulds. So much anger. Most of it righteous, but the projection has been shutting people down rather than opening up the discussions that are so badly needed.

I have chosen this pathway but if I was really honest, it’s a sparse, rabbit trail of crumbs that asks me to carry on. Every time I decide to give up, an email lands in my inbox, with encouragement about my writing or I meet someone for the first time that has been impacted by the stories I have told.

This season in the world has really rocked me. With six months of my calendar wiped in one day and a new book release that has fallen flat into this bizarre time in the world, honestly, it all looks a little shallow on this side of a worldwide pandemic and racial inequity. Then I come across Psalm 119, it was written hundreds of years ago. It is an acrostic poem that explores the beauty of scripture and the rhythm of daily devotion. The first verse reminded me to go back to the beginning of this year and remember what I had promised myself.

Stay the course.

What does it mean for you to stay the course that God set for your year?

Verse two goes on to say “You’re blessed when you follow His direction.”

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when you have a job.

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when your book sales explode.

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when your house is perfect.

It doesn’t say you’re blessed when you have all the answers.

It says you’re blessed when you follow his ways.

The penultimate question is…

“What is the course that was set before me, that I am to walk towards?”

“How would he respond in the current climate?”

Across the next few months, each Monday I am going to write from a different verse from this long, enduring Psalm and walk on a pilgrimage of rhythm in reading the word of God as a form of meditation.

In the comments below tell me what course or decision you had made at the beginning of 2020 and needed to be reminded of?

The decision I made at the beginning of this year was to walk in abundance. To believe the very best in those closest to me, to look for abundance in my thought processes and collaboration. To have fun with my children rather than being so serious all the time. To look for God’s provision rather than the worlds. None of this has changed. However, every sentence above has been challenged.

No one knew what this year would end up looking like this. No one could have predicted what was to happen. However, God saw it and called us to walk steadfastly remembering the simple things that draw us once again back to the promises that He has already enacted in our lives.

My meditation this week is to steadily walk again in the course that was already set. No need to recreate everything. Just come back to the very simple things that draw me towards God once again. Reading, writing, slowing down, singing, laughing and remembering that amid it all, He ultimately is in control.

Psalm 119: 1

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily in the direction and road revealed by God.”

Tell me your thoughts below.

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The Daily Examen

The Examen is a method of reviewing our day in the presence of God. It’s practice more than a method, breathing in for thankful reflection for God in the simple things. It has five steps, which is an opportunity for a quick quarter-hour daily examen through writing or meditation.

This method is from the work of Ignatius of Loyola.

Ask God for insight: Let’s look at our day with God’s eyes, not merely our own.

Give thanks: What are we grateful for? The day we have just lived is a gift from God.

Review the day: Rewind your thoughts through the day and be aware of how each section makes you feel.

Face your shortcomings: This is an opportunity to sit with the moments where we have caused harm. A moment of confession.

Look toward the day to come: I ask where I need God in the day to come.

To download your own copy of this process click here to print for yourself: PDF VERSION