13 December, 2007

Securing Shame

Talking of shame, it`s amazing how many of us learn to live with our fears. If we don`t face feelings of shame or inferiority, they grow to be part of us.

As intimidating as shame is, it can often become a kind of comfort zone. We develop coping strategies and start to believe that this is just part of our character.

Whenever I see beautiful houses with bars at the window I think of the windows of our hearts. Bars can be great. I lived in a house with bars myself. I was glad of them. They were a deterrent to intruders. But bars also prevent those inside from getting out.

Often, instead of facing the bars that have built up around our heart, we dress them up. Like these houses with their beautiful flowers. 

Jesus didn´t come to dress up our inferiority or to beautify our shame. He came to banish it. You don`t have to make the most of your fears. You can give them to Jesus. When we truly surrender the security and familiarity of those things that have a negative hold on us, Jesus meets us with freedom and mercy. We learn to think differently, speak differently and respond differently. 

We learn to walk free.

Galatians 5.1: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 

10 December, 2007


Without relationships, our lives would be so barren and empty. They bring so much joy, comfort and encouragement. But they can also be a challenge.

Great relationships involve give and take. They require teamwork. Everyone has to work at them in some way. Even if you are not consciously working on a relationship, you are still investing in it every time you relate with the other person.

We can invest positive things in our relationships. Encouragement, expressions of appreciation and time. We can also invest negatively through criticism, awkwardness and moodiness. 

One of the most significant ways we can invest in relationships of all kinds is to choose to make ourselves vulnerable. Wisely. But vulnerable. Letting other people know who you really are and how you really feel and think.

Many people are truly afraid to let others see the real them. Who they really are. But as we get to know Jesus more, we learn that our only true security is in knowing that He loves us unconditionally. He is changing and developing us and it`s ok to be who we are. We can leave our problems and bad moments and actions at the foot of the cross, receive forgiveness and move on into the day free from shame. 

When we are free from shame, we are not so afraid to make ourselves vulnerable to others. It`s also interesting to see that making yourself vulnerable in relationships with others can open the way for others to respond in the same way to you. Somebody has to make the first move. 

It`s true that sometimes you kick the ball in a relationship and get it kicked back in your face. But if you never give it a try, you could be missing out on something great. 

The ball`s all yours. 

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment....We love because He first loved us.

07 December, 2007

Time to talk

It`s true, somethings are better left unsaid (see Unspoken, below). But there are also times when somethings just have to be said.

The tricky thing is how to let it out. Usually, when things need to be spoken, it`s because something must be addressed. An attitude, a hurt, an explanation.  Sometimes things ought to be said because without them, people are left in ignorance. Like an encouragement or affirmation. How does someone know you appreciate them if you don`t let them know it?

I`m continually amazed just how crucial 2 things are to good communication. Timing and attitude. 

And they both need to be in balance. Speaking the truth in the right way at the right time. Encouraging and affirming at that moment of need or success. Avoiding an argument in the heat of the moment so that you can take time to consider the real issue and discuss it quietly later.

Food for thought. A recipe for great communication and more peaceful relationships! Speaking at the right time, in the right way, from a right heart.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 7: " To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to tear and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak."

04 December, 2007


I`m fascinated by the true power of love. The world thinks of love as an emotional bond. A feeling.

But true love is also like a reflex action. It makes us react and respond spontaneously. It is also something to be learned. Like a journey of discovery.

Love is a joy and a challenge. Whether we are talking about romantic love, love amongst family members or in friendship.

Corinthians tells us that Love is the most excellent way. You can be as "spiritual" as you want, but if you don`t express that in love then it just makes a clanging repulsive impression. Hmmm. 

There`s also that brilliant phrase "speaking the truth in love" in the book of Ephesians. If we pastor, prophesy or simply want to be helpful. If we teach, correct or truly want to encourage. If we really want to become great and excellent as Church then we have to learn to do it in love.

Being honest, but saying it in love. Now there`s a challenge. So the next time you want to open your mouth to speak your mind, check out your attitude. Because you may be right, but if you can`t say it in love, it will repel.

Some things are better left unsaid.

Ephesians 4:14 & 15 "...that we should no longer be children...but speaking the truth in love...may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ..."