Tuesday, November 15, 2011


(Yes. I drove past this bilboard. And took a photo.)

I'm wondering how they do it?

How can someone keep all the things up to date that need to be up to date?

When I consider the following list that one woman might need to get done
  • going to the dentist regularly
  • getting regular pap tests
  • staying healthy in other ways - doctor/chiropracter/counsellor/whatever
  • keep leg hair waxed
  • getting haircuts
  • getting hair colours
  • taking children to the doctor/dentist/hairdresser
  • I'm sure I've missed some - what is on your list?
How do people do it? How do they get their children looked after for one thing?

Just thinking this, as I realise that I haven't been to the doctor other than for pre-natal visits for the last ten years (possibly indelicate to tell you how long since my last paptest?). That I ignored a reminder from the dentist twelve months ago, that I wear long pants for 80% of the year due to unsightly leg hair and that I stopped colouring my hair (myself admittedly) when I was 25.

Is it just me?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Feasting on truth

It still surprises me when time speeds up. I swear it accelerates. I've got one thing I need to do tonight, and I'm sitting here perusing what the webosphere has to offer. Was that just an hour? It felt like ten minutes.

We had spaghetti for dinner tonight, and I just can't leave any in the pot. Seconds is not very elegant, but don't tell them that I had thirds over the sink. Don't even mention the white shirt I've spattered with bolognaise.
I lose myself in things I enjoy. You too?

Interests and ideas flicker and evolve. Today's thoughts give way to tomorrow's inspirations, and I drop truth amongst thousands of other pretty, glittering concepts under my feet. Perhaps I disguise it when it doesn't suit and ignore it when it accuses me. It's hard to cling to truth when it's not politically correct or when it's dowdy.

But can you furnish a heart without truth? Can your heart function if the truth is buried under all the unnecessary clutter?

Truth allows a heart to have purity and clarity.

A vexed concept, truth, when we look with human eyes that want to prove our points of view and justify our own behaviour. Who can we trust to vouch for truth?

The popular answer is to say that each one of us needs to discover our own truth.

But the bible points to one truth. Jesus, who proclaimed himself God. Jesus, who is our window to see the truth of God. Jesus, who said truth was the road to freedom.

Paul wrote to tell his friends, "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise" in Philippians 4:8.

What is more lovely, true, pure and right, than the story of God in our lives? Jesus and his words, on paper between us, sharing bread between us, sparking our memories of him, seeing the grace of Jesus echoed as people live his truth.

I picture feasting on truth. I see myself engaging so deeply in the truth, in reading it and listening to it, seeing it, that the hours seem just like minutes. It drips from the tip of my chin because I am savouring it so deliciously. It spatters on my shirt as I suck it between my lips like spaghetti. Messy but so satisfyingly good.

It makes me regret the snacks I make of truth. Like accepting a couple of crackers and a piece of cheese rather than a steaming platter of my favourite spaghetti.

Purifying my heart, getting rid of the clutter, means feasting on the good stuff and leaving the non-delicious fillers.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Better Story

I read this book the other day. That is the first attractive point of many about 'A Million Miles In A Thousand Years". It is eminently readable. Hence I read it in less than 24 hours (and I did other stuff, too).

This is not a book review. I just want to tell you what this book inspired me about. I have been encouraged to live a better story.

We are all living stories. We face conflicts, decisions and choices and then we go on the resolutions. Not always Hollywood neatly tied bow resolutions, but outcomes, all the same.

I actually think that most of the time we feel that we stuck in certain stories or we lack awareness of or perspective on our stories. Many of us feel the choices or the pressures are outside us, in someone else's hands.

Miller talked about a friend who chose to live a better story by deciding to start building an orphanage overseas. His decision, and talking to his family about it lead to changes in his marriage and in his daughter's life. He chose 'a better story' for the family. And he was deliberate in his choice.

Part of choosing a better story is knowing where we fit in the metanarrative (if I can use a buzz-word correctly?) The big story of the world is in relation to God - creation, fall, redemption and hope. And if I keep that in mind, I can be more deliberate in choosing a better story. I want to live a story that embodies redemption and hope.

Sometimes I wonder if my life is too safe and middle class. That I work and spend time with my family and my church. But where is the sacrifice in my life? Where is the taking up my cross? I know we all have these fears. Most Christians wonder 'Am I doing enough?' in some form or other. Because we want to make sure God will love us or that other Christians will acknowledge our salvation.

When I think like that I'm in a tough story.

A redemptive, hopeful story is different to that. Sometimes I glimpse it, but most of the time I'm still trying to puzzle it out.

Miller made the point that we can do all sorts of things, live all sorts of stories in our imaginations, but what really matters is what we say and do. So much of my thinking remains unsaid, and undone. And as a consequence it is unreal. It does not really exist. The first step to living a better story is to talk about hope and redemption, to start doing hopeful and redemptive things.

To be practical - I need to pray instead of thinking about praying.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I did an exam a few weeks ago and last week I was anxious about the results. It's part of getting my professional specialty qualifications. And it's work that I have found myself pretty suited to.

Before I went interstate to do the exam a kind, faithful man said, that because God was calling me into this particular work, the exams would go smoothly for me. He wanted to reassure me and help me not to worry.

I wish he was right. If only faithfulness or obedience, or even just a desire to be good, were enougn to make life smooth. If only God's call or blessing would guarantee a straight and comfortable path. But that's not what I look around and see.

What if God wants me to get through this exam, but he wants me to learn from the steps I take to get there? What if I haven't studied hard enough? Or if I have a difficult day? Is there a way for me to even know what God wants in regard to an exam or a choice of profession?

I wished my friend was right.

When the results came and I had passed one exam and failed the other, I really, really wished my friend had been right. I can reply to him that even if I don't pass I'll trust that God will look after me. But can I live it?

Can I put aside the embarrassment or disappointment of failing and get up and try again? Can I persevere and study, again, all those papers I was looking forward to shredding? Can I walk into the exam and be confident of passing when the possibility of failure is now more real?

Part of me would just like to go and do something else. And I know this will take energy and effort to stick at what I have set out to do. I need help to stay faithful to this.

I have the relief of knowing that this is not a right or wrong decision. I could walk away and it would not be wrong. But I think about people facing all sorts of roadbumps in their plans and having to persevere, because they know it is the right thing to do. It is human to want to give up in the face of struggle or failure. In the face of loss or betrayal or deep fear of the future. Especially when our hope of success or change falters. When we lose hope, the journey becomes so much steeper and rockier.

I see, in my current roadbump, that I will not be able to persevere without knowing grace and finding strength in God. I struggle to pull myself up by my own bootstraps and I need help. The moment hope has flamed for me, I was realising I don't need to find all strength within me.

I wish I didn't need failure to be reminded of my inner depletion. That I am insufficient in myself. But the deepest surge of joy and life within me came with remembering that God is longing to be my sufficiency. He delights in me remembering that.

Sharing with Emily,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My mind, recently.

Anxiety is all-consuming. I worried over my exams so much that I woke up at 4:30 every morning, and I'd love to blame jet-lag, but Adelaide is only half an hour behind. It took three days of work and sleep to recognise myself again. I'm expecting an original thought to cross my mind by some time in March. If I can collect myself.

Tomorrow night at five I've got to check the results and frankly I'd rather not. I'm anxious and I want to stop not knowing. Then I could think about something else besides distracting myself, from thinking about not knowing. Yet.

It makes no sense to me that I can be thinking all this (and more), and I can still enjoy the walk over a low-tide river. I can drive for thirty minutes between fields of cows and horses and explain again the difference between a pony and a foal and love the conversation. While I'm knawed at by the worry I'm ignoring, or denying.

Truly, minds are extraordinary things.