Rest to refresh your soul

Those who know me know that faith plays a large part in the strength I’ve found in my life journey. Taking time out to reflect and think have been important disciplines.

Isaiah 40:31

Putting faith aside, it is important to stop; to reflect; to rest and renew your strength. When we carry burdens our strength gets quickly depleted.

Soul care is essential

Take time to look after your soul. If you are a person of faith…pray. Lean into God. In my experience it really does help a lot.

Finding joy isn’t dependent upon your circumstances

There is a lie we believe about joy. We are told or taught, or somehow come to believe that joy is based solely on our circumstances. I don’t know where this notion comes from, but I know it’s not true in the experiences of many people.

Watch any movie and you will notice moments of joy even in hard times.

Think about the great novels: there are moments of deep human connection, descriptions of beauty, and glimpses of grace that make us smile and warm our hearts as we turn the pages.

Joy in a storm

It is even said of Jesus that because of the joy set before him he endured the cross. That’s a strong statement – there is an endurance that leads to joy. Like many songs, The best is yet to come by Australian band Sheppard testify to this. Sometimes life can be tough, but as we stop to notice the world around us and reflect on its beauty we can experience joy on the journey. During every war the sun rises and sets on each day, bracketing the war zone in glorious light and shades of beauty. I believe some of us need to hear that right now.

Finding joy is not dependent upon our circumstances. It is dependent upon our CHOICES.

Will we choose to find joy despite our circumstances?

This is an important question, and your answer will either help or hinder your journey.

May we choose to find joy and enjoy the journey 👣

Your value is in who you are

I recently went to Holy Island off the coast of Northumberland. As I walked with my family we arrived at a beautiful pebble beach. All along the beach there were beautiful pebble towers

Lindesfarne | Holy Island

I instantly began looking for the tallest tower. And then began to build my tallest tower.

Why do we feel the need to build?

I built my tower, and sat to enjoy the fruit of my labour. As I looked I found myself realising that my tower would be knocked down. This fragile cairn of stone would become rubble. I picked up a stone and looked at it. I saw beauty in that single stone. I didn’t need to build because beauty was already intrinsically present on that pebble beach.

Why do we find it hard to accept the value of who we are in our own right?

Today as I write, thousands of young people are receiving GSCE exam results. They will experience many thoughts and a range of positive and negative emotions. People will give them verbal and nonverbal messages about their sense of value, identity and belonging in the world based upon their level of achievement.

I would love to let you know this:

Your value and identity are not based on your achievements – they are based on the beautiful human being that you already are.

It is good to build a secure life through achievements and hard work, but the results should not define you.

Be defined by the love you feel from people who accept you unconditionally.

Be defined by the character of your heart.

Define your value by the love and warmth you share with others.

Determine your own value through how you hold your head up high, and how you view yourself.

We are all like my pebble on the beach: People will try to put you into their category; their box; their view of you.

BUT…

Your value, beauty and sense of worth are already present in who you are. Be encouraged that as a unique and wonderful human being you will make your mark on the world in your own way.

What we do is the overflow of who we are. Be the best YOU that you can possibly be. Hold your head up high and know that today you are heading into the world to show them who you are, not who they think you are.

And as you do, take time to Enjoy the journey 👣

You are a beautiful human being

Enjoy the little things

One of the things I’ve been doing throughout lockdown is finding joy in the everyday things that are around us. It has been a wonderful practice to develop.

Regularly Finding the joy in the little things helps us to develop a mindset of wonder at the beauty around us, as well as pulling our thought-world into a positive state (sometimes only for a moment).

The more we find enjoyment in the little things, the more we build up a well of joy and resilience within ourselves. Building joy also impacts and increases our level of hope that things will be okay.

But what if your life is full of pain? What about when you’re carrying trauma, or going through a hard time?

Here’s a few words from my experience of pain that I hope will encourage you…

Stuartwriting | a personal word

May we find joy in the little things each day – there is beauty, wonder and joy all around when we look closely. Enjoy the images I’ve put below – they are examples of enjoying the little things.

And Enjoy the journey 👣

Bumble bee
Clickity cluckity chicken
Canal walk
Rainy day

Even rain in the window can bring joy! 🌧

Be true to yourself

Did you know that YOU are the most important person in your life? There will never be anybody that knows you the way you know you. This is why it is important that you are true to yourself.

Being true to yourself starts with being honest with your self. It continues with presenting your true self to others. This is not always easy for us – people may not like the real you, or they may like the real you even more that the masked version.

Being true to yourself minimises the internal stress we place upon ourselves. It releases us from the pressure of hiding behind our masks.

Being true to ourselves is easier when we surround ourselves with people we trust, people who accept us for who we are rather than who they want us to be. We are not meant to live life behind masks, or living in the shadows. We live life best when we are in open honest relationship with trusted people who walk with us in life. Life can be hard – it is definitely much better to do life with others who empower us to be true to ourselves.

May we each life life well by being true to ourselves.

Enjoy the journey 👣

Are you open to the bible?

I’ve tried reading through the bible from cover to cover numerous times – needless to say, I don’t always get through it, but I do often sense God is speaking through what I did read. I began to think about how often I open the Bible. As I thought about opening the bible my mind began to wonder if opening the book was just the initial step to hearing from God through it’s pages.

It struck me that we do need to open the book, but also that we need to be open to the bible.

Will we open the Book and be open to The Book each day?

I’m not asking us to be legalistic and force ourselves to read everyday till we are gorged on words that come to mean little to us except guilt and failure at our own lack of self-discipline in reading it. Rather, I’m asking that we consider our heart-attitude to the bible. This is about how expecting a God to touch our hearts through it, rather than just reading from habit.
How can we do this?
I believe it’s simply just asking God to speak to us personally through the words we read in the bible.
May Christ set us free from the feeling that we need to read every day, and set within us a deeper need of hearing from God so that we live more like Christ every day.Enjoy the journey 👣

Fully restored

I wrote yesterday about how I was restoring an old bench – I thought I’d do a little update and show you the end result.

Bench restored.

The bench has had the debris removed.

The old rotten slat has been replaced.

We cleaned it up.

We repainted it.

We placed it in the garden to be used as a place of rest.

This is the art of restoration.

And this is the bench…

Restored to function as a place of rest

Whatever you’re doing, have a great weekend. I pray you will restore your strength.

Enjoy the journey 👣