I haven’t done one of these posts for a while, where you time yourself for 5 minutes and just write, without worrying whether it’s just right. Kate’s prompt for this week is Try:
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I sit on the sofa with the phone next to me: Email, Facebook, Twitter, EBooks … I love how much I can learn, but I want something more. I want to be out in the midst of people again – to step out and try, if I knew what I was trying.
Because trying can be a very positive thing, but then there’s the negative side – the striving; the trying to do things in your own strength rather than God’s. As one of my songs says: “You lead me quietly beside the water; help me not to strive, and just be free – just be free”. Freedom from trying hard brings you into God’s rest – that quiet trust; that place of knowing He already did it all for you, with splintered wood and bloodied nails and sharp thorns. Because He went through the ultimate trial, we can go boldly before God – boldly, as if it’s the easiest thing we could do, and it is, because of what He’s done. I love the open door to the throne-room and the cleansing that’s on offer. Thank You, Jesus.
Jarrod Cooper (a friend-of-a-friend, and a church-leader I really respect) has written a new book: “When Spirit & Word Collide”. I was just reading about it and it got me thinking.
“The Word became a human and lived among us” (John 1:14). I’ve heard that read a lot at Christmas. It’s talking about the time Jesus came into this world as a baby, to eventually grow into a man who would take our punishment when He died on the cross. Hold that thought.
Some time later, when Jesus had gone into heaven and the Holy Spirit had been sent to fill His followers with power so they could tell others about Him, one of those followers (a man called Paul) was on his travels, searching for a place to talk about Jesus. “Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” (Acts 16:6-7). I have a body; I also have a spirit. What this is saying is that Jesus’ Spirit is the Holy Spirit.
If the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus and Jesus is the Word who became flesh, then it stands to reason that when Spirit and Word collide, you get Jesus … and where Jesus presences Himself, that’s the place I want to be.
You can sometimes read articles about different therapies (CBT, for example) that put us into categories, with our spiritual health nowhere in the equation. “Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic Into a Compassionate Friend” stands out because the author’s been a marriage and family therapist by profession, and also has a Christian faith. I like Kim’s picture (in chapter 8) of writing on a blackboard things we have against ourselves, then imagining the Lord coming with a damp cloth and wiping it clean.
I’m glad I persevered beyond the first 2 chapters. There’s so much useful material in this book, it’s difficult to know what to mention and what to leave out. Kim defines self-care as being a good steward of ourselves, whilst being aware of the needs of others. She examines our areas of need (physical, spiritual, etc), different ways of dealing with our emotions, and some of the things that can stop us adequately caring for ourselves.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who’s ever suffered with anxiety or depression, to carers, and (strange as it may seem) to all parents, whatever your children’s age. There’s a lot in here about how parents’ coping strategies have an effect on their children, so the earlier you can start practising some of what Kim has to say, the better. Self-care is one of those topics that seems inexhaustible, and instead of trying to cover everything, she cites other books that may be of help. A useful resource for any bookshelf.