Complete.

First – a note to the menfolk.

I have no idea how many men read my blog, but I wanted to address those who do, before I go any further. Please don’t get put off by any possible, mention of saggy baggy girly parts today, and of girly emotions. Of course I write like a chick, with girly examples, because I am a chick and the only way to write with any kind of authority is to write from what one knows…..however…..I really, truly believe that if you as a bloke can get past my girliness and can translate through the froth and bubble, then anything that is worth saying to all the ladies in the house, could potentially have meaning for you too….all righty?

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The customer service job I do for paid employment now, means I meet a lot of members of the public. I love that.

If it’s not too busy when I’m working, it is easy enough to start up a conversation with Mr or Ms Jo Bloggs. I especially love it when I see that moment of ‘whoa now’ in Jo’s eyes. That ‘whoa now’ that comes when they realize that yes I am asking them how their day has been so far, and by the fact I can stop what I’m doing for one millisecond, and look them in the eye, so they know I am genuine in my asking.

That’s one level of ‘whoa’, but when I can build on that and remember what we talked about previously, the next time I see them, and ask they about x, y, or z, then that’s a whole new level of ‘whoa’.

And it’s not because I have an amazing memory, cos I don’t.

And it’s not because I’m an extrovert who loves to hear the sound of her own voice, I’m not and I don’t.

It’s simply because I’m on a journey to be able to understand who I am and what makes me tick.

I ask about people, because I care about people.

I care about how that wedding went with the guy who was transporting a bride to her wedding ceremony on his boat, that he had taken days to clean and even bought special ribbon for.

I care about the upset girl whose landlord’s cat just died and the landlord had put the cat in the freezer. Strange but true.

I care about the woman who had just taken a month’s stress leave from her work and was not looking forward to her tomorrow.

For the longest time I didn’t fully embrace this caring business. I’d been told I was too sensitive. But the more I got to know ‘me’, the real me, the me who I believe was designed by God for a specific calling, then the more I can walk in the caring lifestyle.

But it is taking intentional moves on my part, in my heart, to see myself as how I believe God sees me.

And life is better when we can do that. So much better. I’m happier and more at peace with myself, as I’m learning to fully accept who I am. As a whole. Body and personality, all the big bits and little bits that make up ME.

Back in the day when coloured jeans were cool the first time around, and spiral perms were highly sought after, and the original tv series of Anne of Green Gables filled my Sunday afternoon viewing (have you heard, they are making a new one!), inspirational button badges were the thing. I remember one of mine had in bright orange against a black background, ‘I’m ok, God doesn’t make junk’.

As a twelve year old with braces, a short boy hair cut and pimples peppering my face, I truly believed that. I was ok because God doesn’t make junk.

Then somehow after the swirl of growing up, and in becoming a Mother I lost confidence in who I was as a person because I allowed others’ criticisms about my personality and my own little bit of lack of acceptance of my appearance to cut deep down, and I struggled with extreme loneliness with multiple moves. I allowed the thought that maybe I wasn’t ok to take root.

Danger, danger, Will Robinson.

But the good thing about things that take root, is that they can be pulled up and transplanted or thrown out. 

The whole appearance thing? Well now, miracle of miracles, as a nearly forty year old I can honestly say I’m fully comfortable in my own skin. The wee wrinkly kangaroo pouch thing I’ve got going on…that’s testament to my five foot two frame producing some chunky babies; the first two were eight pound twelve ounces and eight pound thirteen ounces. Skin that’s had to grow to accomodate little people, doesn’t just un-grow itself. There are legitimate reasons people who have lost massive amounts of weight need some help in the nipping and tucking department. The lines around my eyes, heck they are only going to multiply like rabbits, the more life I live and the more laughing and smiling I do. Love lines I call them.

So when I hear of friends who are unhappy with their appearance and hold onto what may be unattainable goals, that hurts my heart.  I get that it’s an easy and understandable place to be, but I long for them to walk further along their journeys. There is a release and freedom when you can just be. Yes, all the while aiming for good health and making the most of what you’ve been given, because I believe we are to be good stewards of our bodies, but in that, resting in the fact that you are ok, God doesn’t make junk.

As far as my personality goes……well……I’m learning to look at the end results of different traits……if what is in me leads to more joy, patience, kindness, goodness and self- control, then that trait is something to develop further. And if it doesn’t, then maybe that’s something to try not to do. Something to try not to be. What was labelled as me being over-sensitive, can actually be me being caring and compassionate.

Notice I said ‘learning’.

This is a journey, yeah?

I read something this morning by an author/pastor guy, Paul Giovannetti.  He puts words to these thoughts so well, “If somebody whispers, “You’re stupid,” often enough, you’ll begin to believe it. Once you believe it, you will think it. Like a radio jingle that won’t go away, the “I am stupid” script gets stuck on a permanent loop. Once you believe it and think it, you might feel it. As the lie worms deeper into your heart, you’ll feel stupid. Head hanging low, mind feeling dark, fear stinging your throat with vomit, you will, finally, act stupid.
The lies of the enemy create self-fulfilling prophecies.
The only way to unwind this self-defeating pattern is to tune in to a new whisper: “All that is true of Jesus is now true of you.” You must hear the whisper often, in different settings, when you succeed and when you fail. When you are happy and when you are sad. In every circumstance, trial, victory, or defeat, you must hear the echo of the Father’s voice over and over again: You are complete in him (Colossians 2:10).
If that is good enough for God – and it is – then everybody who doubts it about you can go take a flying leap.

We’re on a journey to tune in to this new whisper.  We’re on a journey to believe that we’re ok, God doesn’t make junk.

We are (all the parts of us – the good, the bad, the not so pretty; all the parts) complete in Him.

  

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Down the rabbit hole.

I started the New Year pretty much wordless. 

Then. 

Whammo.

Inspiration. Motivation. New thoughts and ideas just flew at me, when I wasn’t expecting them.

Come down the wriggly, twisting rabbit hole with me….come join me on this adventure….

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Our first church service for the year ‘went off the hook’ to speak like a young trendy thing that I’m not. But it did. It was a great service, with a visiting guest speaker who was articulate, passionate and infectious and spoke a God breathed and inspired message. 

The speaker, Kindra, looked at Lamentations and of how ‘the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases’. She mentioned that the Hebrew work for ‘steadfast love’ is ‘hesed’, and ‘hesed’ has unfortunately not always, in every instance been translated correctly in different parts of holy scriptures. For as much as it refers to the steadfast love of God in its original usage, it also referred to the steadfast love that we as people in general should have for each other. 

Steadfast love.

Yep I thought. 

I want that for others. That’s a thing to aim for.

Then I got to thinking that steadfast love is going to be lived out differently in and through different people. We all have different roles to play and what I’m called to do is always going to be different to what you’re called to do. 

But it has occurred to me that it all, ‘all’ being this steadfast, unwavering, unshakeable love, starts at the same point, for each and every one of us. 

And that point I believe is to see people as Jesus would see them. All people.

To see all people as beloved.

Cherished.

Worthy.

Unique.

Valuable.

Equal.

This is quite the rabbit hole. I’m only just getting started.

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My teenage son is quite the avid photographer. He’s saving his pennies for a new and better camera and has been quizzing his Grandad over brands and recommendations and specs and suchlike. Among Grandad’s selection of hats he’s worn so far, he’s had camera shop owner added to the bunch, so he’s a good person for our kid to get free advice from. 

From all this talk Ive learnt that the bodies of cameras are pretty standard and many brands are on an even playing field. What sets a great camera apart from a good camera is the lens put on it. And the lens brand doesn’t have to be the same as the body of the camera, as long as the body of the camera was designed to accept other brands.

Down this rabbit hole I’m in, I’ve discovered that we are like the body of a camera. We can function just ok by ourselves, but when you stick a good lens on us, we can zero in on things that really matter. We can capture precious moments in time and make good memories. With a good lens on us we really can make a difference. We can see things for what they really are. And that lens is Jesus’ eyes. 

We’re pretty limited in our functionality as just a basic body. We’re sometimes frail. We second guess ourselves. We get hung up on looks and appearances. But there’s huge freedom when we let that all go, and can just rest in who we truly are and then when we partner that with contentment with knowing WHOSE we are, and then allow God to work in and through us and over time our Jesus eyes become sharper and things come in focus better….

When things go wrong with cameras it’s usually one of two things. Sometimes it can be that the power source isn’t good enough. The batteries aren’t charged properly. Hello? Nuff said, right? And another comon problem is dirt on the lens. A speck of dirt, seemingly naked to the eye…isn’t naked to the eye when it is somewhere in or on a camera lens. It can ruin every image taken. That’s kinda why my own eyes aren’t the best lenses for my life. I screw up. My perspectives are often way off what they could and should be. I’m tainted by own sense of justice. My lens is not reliable. God’s one is so much better in every way.

The thing with cameras and lenses is we can all start off with basic camera bodies. But we get to choose which lens to put on.  

We get to choose how to see the world around us.

We get to choose how to see people. All people.

And that’s a blessed privilege and amazing challenge and crazy honour all rolled up into one. 

Quite the rabbit hole.