Becoming a part of the family.

This week I’ve realised that stepping out of my comfort zone doesn’t always involve travelling half way across the world on my own.

Oddly enough I actually feel very comfortable doing that.

But sometimes you can step out of your comfort zone in a Church hall ten minutes from your front door, and that is exactly what I’ve done this month.

When my friend suggested I help with our Holiday Bible Club I thought, “Sure, why not? What could possibly go wrong?” as I completely forgot about the fact that I would be insanely nervous about the whole thing as it got closer. I’ve been working on getting more involved at Church since about March, you see. I started with small group, which went well, but outside of that I wasn’t so sure what to do. We were coming up to the summer and Kid’s Church was coming to an end so I knew there would be few opportunities in Kid’s Ministry to get involved again until September, so I was certain I needed to help with Holiday Bible Club.

As the event got closer and closer and I found out more about pre-club team meetings I got gradually more nervous and, on the day of the first meeting, considered chickening out twenty minutes before it started. However, I know how good things are when we obey God, when we do what He wants us to do, and I knew He wanted me to go to this meeting.

Honestly, the meeting was great. It was far less intimidating than I thought it would be and I had to stop myself looking like a crazy person and grinning the whole way home. The second meeting was just as good and the first three mornings of the club have been great. I’m enjoying getting to know the other volunteers immensely and the kids are just beyond amazing.

Up until this month when I really stepped out of my comfort zone and got involved with Church I would feel reasonably anxious in social situations and would choose staying at home to avoid the awkwardness of getting to know new people. It was horrible because I always wanted to get out of the box that I felt I was stuck in but just didn’t have the courage to do it. There were a lot of things holding me back but, eventually, by the time that first meeting rolled around, I had let go of a lot of my issues (if not all) and was choosing to trust God rather than anyone or anything else. I’m pretty certain that I’ve almost totally lost my anxiety just by doing this one thing that, in the grand scheme, is really small; God is so good.

What got me through was going with the intention of serving God. As scary as the whole thing was, if I was there first and foremost to do God’s work in looking after the kids and making sure they have a good time then I couldn’t go wrong. ┬áBut in choosing that as my aim God has given me so many wonderful blessings. Getting to know the other volunteers and being a bigger part of the Church family than ever before is the best thing He could have done for me. Being used by God to enhance His Kingdom is the greatest thing I think He could’ve guided me to this summer.

I may still have itchy feet, but they’ll have to wait until next summer before they get to travel the world again. For now, they are set firmly in Ireland, where they’ll be until June rolls around again next year.

All prayers that the rest of the week at Holiday Bible Club goes well, for the kids and the leaders, would be appreciated.

x

PS This song has been very important to me recently and very relevant; give it a listen!

Advertisements

Change.

Since leaving my job I’ve started getting up at 7:00 am most days to go running.

I leave my phone at home and head to the beach where it’s just me and my thoughts. Every single day is beautiful, whether the sky is overcast or the sun is reflecting off the water, and I can’t Instagram it or Tweet it or Facebook it. It’s like the world stops turning when I run, while all I can hear is the tide slowly moving in and out, my lungs breathing deeply, and my feet hitting the ground.

This morning I decided to cycle instead of run and I took a slightly different route and, before returning home, took a break and sat on a bench and stared out over the beach and talked to God.

My head has been all over the place recently. Change has swooped in like an eagle swooping down to catch its pray, and with it it has removed different people and situations from my life. I have lost people who I thought would be around forever, people who knew more about me than anyone else. I left my job that had become my security blanket for the past ten months; life might get hard but I could always rely on the fact that I was going back into the office on Monday to take my mind off everything, as much as I hated being there.

I have also gained things; I’m going to college in September, I’m helping with my Church’s Holiday Bible Club and another kid’s club in the south of Ireland.

And after that I’ve already started to plan, mostly in my head, adventures next summer.

The past thirteen months have been thirteen of the hardest months I think I have ever lived. They have been relentless in breaking me down and tearing me apart, but they haven’t been wasted. I can already see God using all the stress and the struggles to change me, to make me see Him more clearly; He does not waste pain. And all these things in front of me that scare me a little bit will be opportunities to grow too.

I could never settle for the monotony of what life has been for the past year and God has used that to motivate me to make things better for myself.

One of the best things about God is that He does encourage us to make changes, but He always remains the same, He is always consistent. That is why we can find our security in Him and not be afraid that everything is changing, because He never will.

x

Writing Prayers.

I used to write songs.

I was really good at it too. I could sit down and the lyrics and music would just flow, no holds barred. It was how I would escape from life, where I would put all my thoughts and ideas, my dreams, my plans.

Now I’m lucky if I write one song every six months.

For some reason I’ve just lost the ability and my passion has died down quite a bit.

The past week or so has been reasonably rocky. Some things have happened and this morning I picked up my guitar to write something but I just couldn’t. I played a few riffs, strummed my way through some nice chord progressions, but the lyrics just weren’t there.

Music isn’t my escape any more, you see. I don’t actually need an escape these days because I have Jesus. I have a God who listens to everything I have to say, who I can talk to whenever I want, and who, once everything’s out in the open, encourages me not to dwell on the past and to focus on today. It doesn’t mean the things that hurt me will instantly stop hurting me, it doesn’t mean my heart is instantly healed, but it means that I’m surrounded by a love that will heal far better than time ever could.

I built up idols, you see. Idols that basically turned into blinders that totally 100% stopped me from seeing God; and people do this all the time. People go through their whole lives kidding themselves that they’re trusting in Jesus when, realistically, they’re trusting in money or friendships or their job or sport or whatever else people turn into idols. I experienced a rocky path that made me think I was trusting in God when I was actually trusting in something totally different, but I am so blessed to have figured this out now.

It doesn’t mean I’m not hurt, it doesn’t mean things won’t hurt tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. But it does mean that yesterday I was so engrossed in the Bible and for the first time knew what it was like to have God complete me. People talk about that “God shaped hole” and I thought it was cheesy until yesterday when I understood what it was like to no longer have that in my heart.

I am still healing, but Jesus came to bind up the broken hearted and to heal their wounds so I’m in the right place to heal now, and because I now understand how strong and mighty He really is I can finally let Him heal me when I would have tried to do it myself before.

I used to write songs, now I write prayers.

x