In the midst of the brand new season I find myself in, I have been sorting out cupboards diligently across our family home. It is an important way that I have learnt to release the old and step into the new. The way we transition changes our capacity for the new. This week I started a new role and I am stepping back from social media for a season to surrender my attention to my new team.
Amid all this change, I found myself sorting out my underwear drawer (please don’t write me letters).
I personally have a favourite style of underwear, don’t be shy, I am sure you do too. My husband does also (although he would be mortified at my choice of topic on my blog this week). It made me smile to think of the style I bought pre-parenthood and post little people taking over my whole, entire world. I look for my favourite pair as I sort through my drawer full of such things. And the day always begins in a very bad way if those preferential bottom covering friends are all hanging on the washing line out to dry.
I am looking for support.
I am looking for staying-in-placeability.
I am looking for flexibility.
I am looking for stability.
These deep breaths of comfort tell me everything will be okay. If I choose one of the left-behinds, I regret that quick choice for most of the day. The more organised amongst us would throw away all the ones that have not made the favourite cut. Maybe that could be this evenings job.
As I read Psalm 119 this week I interweaved these two random thoughts together. As blasphemous as this sounds, I have come to know and experience the older that I get, that God’s comforting voice is like my favourite pair of undies.
Recently I was standing in the kitchen with my son, talking to him about his “psychic powers” (smile). As he pokemoned me with his language and passion, I simply reframed his thinking and said to him “Babes, your powers are prophetic, not psychic” his head tipped with intrigue.
I said to him “You see I have found in my life that God speaks to me, it is a simple, soft voice but this is the way that I hear his direction and knowledge for the steps in the future” he smiled deeply and said something profound that I have not been able to shake…
Max said “Mum, I know what you are talking about now. I hear a voice in my mind. The voice is soft and kind” then with tears in his eyes he said, “Mum the voice sounds just like yours…”
“Let your love, shape my life”
There is a shaping happening in all of our lives, whether we acknowledge the influence or not we are being supported, comforted and shaped by those in which we spend most of our time.
Moments of intimate knowledge. In my life, I have found God to be my greatest comfort in my difficult times of need. I have sometimes found that we make renewal sound so much fancier and spirituality is explained in ethereal and fancy ways.
And the thought of describing God’s love and comfort like a pair of our favourite pair of old underwear can seem a little irreverent but I find God to be gritty, reliable, constant and actually so very basic.
His love is basic and nurturing, reassuring me to take that next step of courage.
“Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not piling up loot”
Psalm 119: 34
It has taken me hours to sit and write today. Something so small, simple and routine that empowers every art of procrastination possible. I know if I sit and write, then I will process and focus, but to actually surrender to the process is so hard.
The honest process of showing up to a blank page is a wrestle of my will. Every time I pick up my pen something distracts me. A phone call, the oven I turned on and forgot about…the list continues on.
I’ve tried to procrastinate my way out of this but the result is futile.
How distracted are you lately?
Psalm 119 draws us into a rhythm of resilience. A way that we surrender to those disciplines that build strength and fortitude, even through the toughest seasons. I have been coming back to this same Psalm, every day over the last few months, to help find a rhythm in a season of in-between.
Seeking out a word of wisdom helps us to find the inspiration we are looking for to begin again. The surrender of our will towards that which brings growth and an honest word brings the satisfaction we are looking for. Why is it so hard though?
We live in an era of distraction. Lately, I have had a reoccurring thought keep coming back to me.
"Work in silence, let success be your noise"
We live in a society and culture that tells us to speak loudly, to chant our proclamations across the airwaves and to shout louder and louder. This pursuit of social platforms is distracting us from the true work of growth and discovery. A piling of notifications, telling us that we are making a difference. But what if all the hours, all the time we have given to social media and building our audiences, is distracting us from the deep work that is calling us within?
Throughout this season of transition, how distracted have you been?
I love this verse when it cuts straight to the chase…
“Give me a bent for your words of wisdom and not piling up loot. Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets.”
Psalm 119: 34-35
Those shiny things, the internet rabbit holes, the promises that if we just buy one more thing, that feeling of distraction and disappointment would be filled with satisfaction. Online shopping, another pen, one more outfit, maybe a new notebook…
“Yes, that is the answer!”
However, I am learning that things, will never replace the work required to show up to a blank page and do the work of transformation. This is where true satisfaction comes. This is where I face my dark spots and I remember the promises I made to both my future and self, to overcome those places of distraction, to grow again.
Wisdom is not found in a catalogue online, it is developed across seasons of listening deeply and facing those truths that we would rather forget.
Wisdom is carved in our heart as we return to quiet places of prayer.
Wisdom is dug from the crevices of telling the truth and owning our responses.
Wisdom is uncovered when we listen deeply, rather than just responding in defence.
A few months ago we would have laughed at this verse in scripture and thought quickly “I would never pile up loot, toys and trinkets to try and satisfy my hungry soul” and then March happened. Toilet paper became scarce, you couldn’t find flour on the shelves and baking powder became a commodity.
Our world became desperate for the things we thought we needed to stay safe and secure. Yet wisdom asks us to remember that toys, trinkets and supplies will only meet some of our needs. It is the deeper words of wisdom, that hold us steady in times of desperation and despair.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets. Help me surrender once again to the power of Your word alone.
Amanda’s latest book Dear Creative Self can be purchased here:
Guide me down the road of your commandments. I love travelling this freeway.
Psalm 119: 35
Today I am writing from a place of frustration.
It’s okay, I am learning to feel all the feelings that in the past I would have suppressed. I would have numbed with Netflix and chocolate or maybe even gotten angry about something that had nothing to do with this frustration. Today I write and you are my companion in healing. It is the places that we take these feelings, to find a resolution that can be the hardest lesson to learn.
Where do you take your frustrations?
The funny thing is, it is these moments that become the stories that others tell about us and the stories that we tell ourselves. Our emotions become our indicators that frame the stories of our life. The legacy that we leave behind. They are retold over and over, they become the maps of our future.
Over the last few months, I have been reading daily Psalm 119. I have been sitting to reflect over its poetry and allowing the words to bring insight for this season. It is the theme of my current blog series called STAY THE COURSE. Exploring the highs and lows, the confusion and the anxiety that has pervaded this year of clarity 2020.
At the beginning of this year, I wrote on my office whiteboard “I will choose abundance in every area of my life this year, even if the people I encounter do not understand it.” This morning I wiped my big whiteboard clean, ready for a new six-month journey and I rewrote that statement again.
“I will choose abundance in EVERY area of my life this year, EVEN if the people I encounter do not understand it”
If you read my Gallup strengths finder test, you would see that one of my top strengths is strategy and connectedness but also there is a word on the test results that I have never really understood until this season of clarity. The word that is on my test is “Arranger”. I am driven to arrange things.
If you ask my husband, we never really disagree on much except this one thing. The arrangement of things. As we zoom out perspective on the year 2020 it has been a year of displacement for so many. As an arranger, I spend lots of my time trying to land projects, arrange projects and ideas in my head and this displacement has been terribly unsettling.
Have you felt a sense of displacement this year?
Last week the principal of my children’s school retired after many years of amazing service to primary schools in our state. As we arrived at school on the day of the departure my daughter spotted the new principal and yelled out the car as we arrived at school. She said, “So glad that you get to be the spare principal”.
This memory has made me laugh many times this week, but its a word in season for many I believe in this season of transition. With jobs lost and restrictions in place. With routines that are frustrating and rules that seem so unhelpful. We all kinda fall into the spare category. Its the season of leftovers, rules and it has all left us scratching our heads. When we would normally think we are in control of the decisions that affect the road we are walking upon, the upheaval has created new unwritten rules that we didn’t even know existed.
As a family we are currently trying to get my Dad into a care facility as his Motor Neuron Disease is moving fast. In the midst of COVID restrictions, however, nursing homes won’t allow children under 16 to visit and they also won’t allow day release (for special occasions like the football derby smile) and the displacement that is felt is devastating. It is impossible to try and think of my dad spending his last days in a nursing home and they won’t let him hold his new grandchild.
Then I return to Psalm 119:35 and the verse “Guide me down the road of your commandments. I love travelling this freeway”. Reminding my heart that there is a way, that is higher above my own. And purpose can be found even in the midst of the most difficult of seasons.
The Holy Spirit is named a Guide in some translations of His name. He is a person that guides and leads us, despite the displacement we may feel. Sometimes those places of frustration, those places of discernment are uncomfortable places. When we allow those emotions and feelings to arise, we can deal with them properly rather than numbing them away.
He guides us into purpose. ( “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” Luke 4:18)
He guides us into everlasting ways. (“However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth…” John 16: 13)
He guides us towards answers. (Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. Psalm 143: 10)
He advocates for us. (“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:7
I think sometimes we focus on the end of the road, the arrival destination that is years away. We forget that in the midst of our current season, the Guide is there to help us lean towards those places of displacement, as we lose sight of the beautiful things in this very present moment.
I have come to realise in these moments that I have forgotten to ask the Guide to bring me back to the beautiful freeway that brings life everlasting.
These freeways are wider than we can ever imagine.
These freeways are full of light, love and colourful hope.
These freeways are arranging new and brighter days ahead that bring satisfaction and reward.
We need the greater map, however, to help us find the road that leads to greener and greater pastures. This discomfort found in today is forging a new road for tomorrow, one that is full of purpose and potency.
You are not the story that you keep telling yourself or the story that others keep telling about you. Even if you are stuck in this season of great displacement, there are no lines that can hold you or any decision that can keep you contained. As we lean towards the story that the GUIDE is asking us to trust in, we realise that there is a great awakening, lying deep within.
This is a whole freeway full of purpose, everlasting ways, answers and advocacy. I sat today to write deeply into my frustrations so that I would remind myself there is another way.
What areas are you feeling displacement this year?
Write below in the comments, its a powerful tool for revelation.
This week I have released a new online webinar to help you to use storytelling as a tool for your business on social media. Click the button below to book your spot today.
“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?
“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.
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