And even if you don’t realise how well you’re doing….I’m clapping for you already! I didn’t realise I was gliding till someone mentioned months after that they had seen me handle x situation. But I won’t lie to you…in the moment I was so overrrrr it! All I could focus on was the sandpaper. All they could focus on was the gliding. PERSPECTIVE!
Just as an arrow starts in the quiver and then must sit in the bow and be pulled back before being dispatched; sometimes we must graciously sit where we are placed and go through a process of pulling before our time of acceleration.
Momentum is not just about speed, it’s also important to note the force behind the movement.
The pulling process is seldom enjoyable but it is comforting to know that God, the force behind my process, knows my end from my beginning.
A while back I read an article about being an arrow in God’s quiver. Click here to read it in full. Part of Isaiah 49:2 says, “…in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away”.
So many times we hear, “you were made for such a time as this” but what if you are being hidden in such a time as this? Quarantine aside, there are always “wilderness” seasons. “Drought” seasons. There are times you feel you lack momentum…but what if you are learning so you don’t fail later? Maybe what seems like pull back is just the thing your momentum needs.
He hid me away.
Revelation 12 details a woman who is taken to a place in the wilderness; a place God prepared for her. We see her son being taken up to God’s throne and so this tells us that her positioning was deliberate; intentional. She could have easily been taken up to the throne room also. But she wasn’t. Instead she was in the wilderness for 3.5 years.
Wherever you find yourself being placed, know that it’s intentional as long as you are in God. In the quiver or the bow, in the desert or the wilderness, on the mountain or in the valley…He is there. Pulling you; hiding you away; readying you to gather momentum.
It’s taken me a while to truly understand the importance of church. Not necessarily the building, but the body – the living organism – the people. Now bear with me; only about 5 years ago I firmly believed in a ‘Lone Ranger’ philosophy. Extremely detrimental I know, but at the time, I revelled in it.
At the end of 2015, a friend asked me if I spoke to anyone at the church I attended. And I have never been asked that before so I was taken aback a little bit. Why would I – speak – to anyone? I guess she noticed I was always back home immediately after the already short service finished. But I liked it like that. In and Out. No fuss, no drama. “Church is meant for fellowship” she said. And I’ve never forgotten that statement. At first I questioned if we read the same Bible because I hadn’t seen that one before lol. But truth be told, even if it was in mine, I wouldn’t have noticed because I wasn’t interested in that concept. At least I thought I wasn’t. Why then had this line from over 4 years ago stayed in my mind and in my heart?
I changed church and started serving again. Disclaimer – there was nothing wrong with my old church. I had been in this city for 3 years and only really started attending church properly (consistently) in my final year of university. I still missed my “home” church in London. I had tried doing the online community thing and couldn’t be bothered to follow it through each week. Who knew turning a laptop on was so much of a chore? I then bounced from church to church when I could be bothered to leave my bedroom on a Sunday. I was just a very inconsistent church-goer. But after being in my old ‘new’ church for about a year, I just chose to switch because I felt more at peace with my decision to serve in my current church.
So I joined a department but again kept myself to myself and really only made an effort to speak to people I already knew or was already friends/friendly with. Random fact – I know my personality type and felt/thought it would just save us all from any misunderstandings if I kept it surface level for the most part. I stayed in the department for about 2 years and learnt a lot. And then I left. I felt it was time to help in another area of the ministry. But in hindsight, in the 1st department I served in, I could have made more of an effort to interact before I left.
Same church, new department…
Again I started off the same really. I was there to help. So anything more than this was unnecessary. Until my friend (Batman) got a job in London and I (Robin) was left in church (the building) but not really feeling like part of the body. I really do not like putting myself out there. I hate it. Detest. Coupled with the fact that my heart really wasn’t here in this city. If I’m honest, during the end of that year and the beginning of the next, I really disliked going to church. Everyone was nice and welcoming etc. But I was just too stubborn.
I decided to make an effort…
Starting with learning names. Then I added another department to my weekly to do list. It had to be challenging but fun. Tick, tick, tick. I was back in another department that I loved. Then came the next task. No more rushing home straight after service even if I was super tired. ‘Stick it out Anthea, it’ll be worth it‘. It was easier to tell myself that I was doing it for someone else; for the one person who might have felt how I did when Batman left. There’s nothing worse than sitting in church and not being able to concentrate on the word being shared because you’re so conscious of and distracted by how much of an oddball you feel. So anxiety on 100%, I learnt names and then uni courses and then random facts and then….you get the point. Church started to feel more like the body and not just a building and I realized that I was doing it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my own space and company…I love it. But church was/is my little dose of human interaction outside of work.
During lockdown (or solitary confinement as I like to call it) the building is closed but the body still lives. I miss the building and I intend to roll across the altar when the outside reopens. I love the physical interaction (or in my case the observations I get to make lol). But I’ve truly witnessed the living testimony that says “church is meant for fellowship“. There have been hardly any days where my phone has been silent because family, friends, church stay checking for your girl. I’m even still blessed to be able to choose when to reply lol. (Joke and another disclaimer – I get overwhelmed with replying via WhatsApp and insta DMs so sometimes a quick shutdown is needed and then I come back. Send me a regular text and you’ll get the fastest response).
But even on days when this lockdown is wearing me thin, I am grateful for church, fellowship, community, togetherness…
Don’t worry, if Batman had never left, Robin would most likely have never learnt such an important lesson. But almost 5 years after hearing it, here we are. A lesson that has helped me through this lockdown. Shout out to the wise friend who passed on the principle and opened the eyes of my understanding just a little bit more.
Oooooh 2019, 2019! What a year! Super high highs and super low lows all-inclusive and I’m not sure yet, but I think I might want my money back. Sidenote – I haven’t blogged in agessss not because I didn’t have anything to write….I just didn’t want to lol. And I really wasn’t forcing myself to […]
It has been a whileeeeeeeee and I won’t lie to you. I wasn’t in anyone’s mood hence why I haven’t posted but boy am I here to shake some tables. I meannnnn I have been waiting to post this one but I needed to do it from a place of humour rather than a place […]
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective. How it influences a lot of what we do, say, think & feel. And how a change of it can change what we do, say, think & feel.
Should I let you in to a bit of what I’ve been musing over? Disappointment. I guess that’s also perspective based too seeing as something that disappoints you may not necessarily disappoint me. However upon explanation, I may be able to see your perspective with regards to your perceived disappointment. I hope I haven’t lost you lol!
If you’ve been on Instagram during lockdown you may have stumbled into a live or two that was edifying and thought-provoking. But then I found myself on Twitter and was thrown through many loops lol. I couldn’t consolidate the fact that unless there’s a literal perspective shift past the “ooos” and “mmms” then nothing would change. And this had been ‘Exhibit A’.
I really don’t want to cause offence which is the main reason why there are no in-depth explanations but this wasn’t an observation or juxtaposition that I could overlook…not today. I only could see & feel Revelation 2.
My fear with this current season hasn’t necessarily been with regards to the deathly side of things. I tend to skip several logical steps and find myself in the far future lol. As in, in my children’s and grandchildren’s lives wondering what their generation would turn out like if there are no permanent changes made soon. And that’s where my fear lay. Maybe also because I’m getting older and so what I value has started to change. But I just think more about the ‘next’ rather than the ‘now’. And things returning to how they were is a bit daunting to me.
I’m not writing this to be judgmental or to even fill you with fear because as with any thought of mine that I share, it’s an outward expression of an internal process; one that’s ongoing. I’m not even here to say “now you know better, do better”, but I am. I’m not here to say “get a grip”, but I am. I could just go about my day, see certain things and sip water in the hopes of becoming Adele-like and move on…but that would be unfair to the generations to come. So instead here’s some food for thought…
Knowing takes knowledge, doing takes heart. You know better, you should do better. It’s not enough to know, you must have the courage to act. Make your next move your best move.
I think as a Christian, it’s important for us to think about legacy and the lack thereof long before we start a family. Fleeting pleasures are great in the moment. But that’s just it…“in the moment”. What happens after that? Of course at the centre of every decision we make should be Jesus. And I think He would have wanted us to think about legacy too. Just look at Matthew 1:1-17. The cross is an example of God’s heart for the legacy of mankind in the human form of sacrifice. He did something for us so that we may not perish and this was even before we were born. John 3:16. I do or don’t do x because I know there are ones counting on me without even being born yet. That’s perspective.
There’s always two sides of the coin. So let’s look at them both. The side who see and sip; you may see someone do something that disappoints you. But us doing x was never anything personal to you. Letting you down wasn’t part of the agenda. Making you fall was never an ulterior motive. So may the disappointment drive you back to focusing on Jesus, the author and finisher who will skilfully help you dethrone any person you may have accidentally put on a pedestal. To the other side who are figuring out how to live and what is right or wrong albeit more publicly than others. Let our personal conviction speak louder than our defence. May it carry us to an inward peace that manifests itself in external change. Until that time comes, may gentle nudges come to indicate to us how something we may want to do might be negatively perceived by another who is in a different (but just as legitimate) place in their faith.
Guess what? It’s okay to correct and to be corrected. Especially within friendship and faith groups. Inhale, exhale. You can’t leave me to my devices and I can’t leave you to yours because when destruction comes knocking…what will we say then? I know it can be super awkward and uncomfortable to raise or address certain things because we don’t want to seem judgmental…trust me I know. But it’s unloving for me to leave my friend to their mess in the hopes that they’ll eventually figure it out. “I love her so I left her to destroy her future” said no good friend ever. Or just call a spade a spade and know that you aren’t actually friends if you cannot be truthful with one another.
Top Tip ~ if you’re really struggling to bring something up to your friend, try writing it down first and read it aloud to yourself. If it cuts you deep and feels loveless, then rewrite it and keep going until it sounds loving but your underlying message should never be watered down. Even before you write what you want to say, first write down why you want to say it. Why am I telling my friend this? What is the underlying message?
Top Tip 2 ~ when we do things that might be in the slightest bit questionable, let’s try not to be so defensive to the point that we start to “turn on our own”. Again, I get it. I realise now how defensive I am. The Christian who corrects may not do so in a way that feels palatable but they aren’t necessarily in the wrong and we shouldn’t make them feel like they are. They’re trying to hold us to Romans 12:2. They’ve grown and so should we, right? (Read Opening Scene for more about that). It’s not to say that they’re perfect; no one is. Read verse 3 too (see, there’s balance in the Bible). We are one. One body that is and that’s the important part.
Anthea, who has done that time and time again and realises just how defensive she can be and also realises they (we) are really just trying to help xo
January has literally flown by! And I’m not sure how I feel about that to be very honest. I was enjoying it so much that I could have gone another week before entering February but alas! Here we are. Welcome to the 2nd month of the year guys! I hope you haven’t got the New […]