A new beginning

babyAs I’m writing this we are waiting for our new baby to be born – the moment could be any time now. By the time this appears on the website, I’m sure she will have been born. What a wonderful time, to see a new life enter our world and I can’t help thinking what sort of life she will have. Our 3 year old daughter is growing up in a world so different to the one I grew up in, which was very different to that my parents grew up in. Our world changes so quickly.

Whenever we start anything new, we will always have expectations, hopes, dreams about the future. It’s impossible to predict how things will turn out and what will happen in the future. Those aspects of life which don’t change as quickly are our values. These values can be the same as those of our parents and our grandparents and are often influenced by just those people.

As we grow up in this world which is moving so fast, we need to have the right values which will guide us on the path we will take through life. That’s my hope for my children, that they grow up with the right values. The values which are life affirming, life enhancing and make the world a better place. Values which will help us to play our part in building communities whose hallmarks are love, mercy and justice.

The highs and lows

spain losers Spain winners

I wonder how you’re feeling at the moment. There are times in life when we feel we’re on a high (without the influence of narcotics) and others when we feel at a low point. If we like engaging with sport (as Kick London does), then playing in or following a team can take us to those high and low places. Did your team win the league or just miss out? How is your team doing  in the football world cup? For some, these are very important questions and have a big impact on their emotional state! We have to experience both the highs and lows, we can’t have one without the other – just think of Spain who have won 3 major international football tournaments and are out of the current world cup at the group stage!

I am not a passionate sports fan but I do follow the matches, without getting caught up in the emotion of it all. I’m sure I’m not alone. Everyone has something that they get passionate about and that’s important as it helps give our lives meaning and purpose. But some things are more important to get passionate about than others and it’s the important aspects of our lives which we should get passionate about. I’m thinking of the relationships we have with people and how we care for one another and our neighbours.

I want to be passionate about how people are treated, how we look after those who are neglected and marginalised by society and how I can promote justice, mercy and love in what I do and how I relate to others. That’s something worth getting passionate about.

Boundaries

41GmQAbITwL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX342_SY445_CR,0,0,342,445_SH20_OU02_Not the cricket type, which were (very) few in number in the fourth one day international between England and Sri Lanka, with the notable exception of Buttler. I mean the personal type. I’ve just bought a book about boundaries and I’m keen to read it, when I find be time. Perhaps setting some boundaries will help me find the time. Whenever we want to achieve something, especially things which are worthwhile and productive, it always comes down to having the discipline.

We can have good intentions and even the desire to do something but if we don’t have the discipline then it’s likely we won’t do it. I’m not sure how we become disciplined as I’m not very good at it, but I guess it’s the old story of taking one day at a time.

The urgent and the important

to doLast week I wrote about slowing down and having taken a week off and gone away on holiday I feel like I have slowed down. Although it was somewhat difficult chasing after a 3 year old and playing games with her all day everyday.

It also reminded me that what is urgent isn’t always important and we so easily get confused about this, albeit without thinking about it much. Slowing down helped me to realise what is important to me in life and when the pace is slow we notice things we miss when life is fast. It’s like we take in more of our surroundings when we walk rather than drive in the car. We have more time to be … ourselves.

I need to be reminded often about the need to slow down, reflect on what is important and try to focus on these aspects of my life, in between all the jobs I have to do! It’s always worth the effort.

Taking a break from it all

slowWe live in a busy world and it’s easy to get caught up in the flow and be pushed along at the speed of everything around us. I often feel like a piece of wood in a river, trapped in a strong current with no means to slow down.

So with this in mind I make sure there are times when I slow down and stop. In fact I’m writing this a week before it appears on the website and when it does appear I’ll be on holiday, by the seaside, away from the hustle and bustle of normal life.

It’s so important to take time to rest and recharge so we have energy to carry on and face the pressures of every day life. Simple things like going to bed earlier more often, resting our minds as well as our bodies and just trying to do less, saying no to things we might otherwise want to do.

I’m sure I will be a better person in so many different ways if I take time to slow down more often. It’s easiest said than done but we have to start with the intention and we’ll get there in the end, however slowly!

Having the right attitude

heartIt’s not always easy to do the right thing and it’s even harder to do the right thing with the right attitude. It’s one thing doing something because we have to (maybe because it’s our job) and sometimes we do it grudgingly or through gritted teeth. It may get the job done but I’m sure people will detect what lies beneath the surface and discern our attitude.

When relating to people, I’m sure it’s our character and personality, demonstrated in our attitude that people will warm to, not simply the fact we do something for them, however nice it might be. If our actions come from our heart and our heart is in the right place then we will have much more of an effect on people. Our love for them will shine through – not a romantic love but a servant hearted love which always seeks to serve. If we do things in that spirit of service and with the right intentions, then the results will be much more positive and affirming than if we just did it because we had to.

Meeting other people’s needs before our own is a sacrifice as we will have to give up time or the things we want to do or need, but in the end it is of far more value and long lasting.

The power of one a day

molehillsWhat do you do once a day? Go for a run, have lunch, read a paper, check the sports results? We are all creatures of habit and we all have a standard daily routine. Whether we have a paid job or some other job which fills our time, there are certain things which we do once a day, everyday.

If we were to commit to doing a simple act once a day then over the course of a year, at the end of that year  we would have a mountain. That simple act could involve getting fit, losing weight, promoting your business or simply an act of kindness to make someone’s life better. The thing is to do one thing once a day towards that goal, towards that mountain. Many little things make one big thing and so often we are put off by the prospect of the big thing that we never do anything about the little things, which is a shame.

‘Enough molehills is all you need to have a mountain.’ writes Seth Godin who inspired this post: http://sethgodin.typepad.com

Keeping promises

rainbowHave you seen the film Noah yet? I’ve seen the trailer and read some reviews. Apparently it’s not like the Bible. It’s more of an eco-movie than a Biblical epic with a religious theme of salvation. Perhaps that’s why the Pope didn’t want to meet with Russell Crowe or maybe the Pope doesn’t see his role as promoting films.

Whatever we think of the film, the story of Noah reminds me that God keeps promises. The sign of the rainbow the Bible tells us, is a sign given to us by God that God keeps promises. You may say rainbows are caused by light refracting through water, but why does light refract in to 7 colours? Perhaps God made it that way.

In any case, it’s important we all keep our promises. I’m often reminded of the promises I make to my 2 year old daughter and she always expects me to follow through on them, which I do. Being true to our word is an important part of our relationship with each other and builds trust, which is also very important.

What promises have we made and are we keeping them?

Where’s humility gone?

duckHumility doesn’t get much of a mention these days, so it was good to see some examples of it in the news recently.

Remember Palm Sunday when we remembered the humble king Jesus riding in to Jerusalem on a donkey? It’s hard to be humble these days as we see plenty of people asking us to follow them, cheer them and copy them as they seek to promote themselves before and above others. Where are the examples of people of humility who don’t seek the limelight but simply get on with their job with integrity and humility?

A recent BBC Sport report said  ‘Hard work and humility …  have allowed Atletico’s bunch of largely unheralded journeymen, none of whom (with the exception of Villa) were superstars before they arrived at the Vicente Calderon, to barge their way without an invitation into the upper echelons of world football. For any football fan who has become cynical about the modern game’s tendency to be ruled by huge dollops of money, Atletico’s unstoppable rise has been a breath of fresh air.’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/26966304

Then there’s having humility forced upon you. Wirral Cricket Club were all out for 3 runs recently in a Cheshire league match. Ten of the batsmen were out for 0 and the number 11 gained one run with the other two coming from leg byes. They lost by 105 runs. www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/27177518

What are we impressed by when we see others? Which aspect of their character are we most attracted to and what role models are we making for young people?

New life at Easter

easter-egg-512x512We celebrate Easter with eggs as a symbol of new life. Do we remember it was the death and resurrection (raising from death to everlasting life) of Jesus which we are celebrating?

Jesus said ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ His death and raising to life was the way we can achieve this life. Whatever we’ve done, if we ask for God’s forgiveness then we are forgiven and can experience this new life. This is the transformational nature of the Christian message which Easter is all about. Those things which bring us death no longer have any power over us, because in Jesus we can overcome them and live in the way God intended, which will ultimately be realised in heaven. If we live according to the values and way of Jesus now, we can have a glimpse of heaven here on earth.

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (The Bible)

 

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