you’re not the boss of me now

31 August, 2006

When I was a little kid, I was picked on a lot, and eventually came to the conclusion that I didn’t care what other’s think about me. I was just going to be me, and if people didn’t like me the way I was, that was their issue! So, I did my own thing and stayed mostly on the edges of any forming, and reforming social structures. I mostly stayed away from the ‘childish’ popularity clashes that were the plague of the school-yard.

Unfortunately though, I didn’t do it very well, I had opinions and hated injustice and would often end up once again the brunt of verbal and sometimes physical abuse. Eventually I became the ‘classic victim’, the easy target – and as much as I told myself it didn’t matter what others thought, it really did hurt, and I would often cry myself to sleep at night not understanding what was wrong with me. I came to the conclusion, somewhere around grade 5, that I didn’t matter.

When I was in year 9 in High School, there was a girl a couple years older who was my Nemesis. She was a bully, and took great delight in taunting and humiliating me whenever she could.

One day I was leaving school for home and she came over with a bunch of girls in tow, and emptied a can of Creamy Soda over my head. I remember the laughter and the teasing, and I remember not even being angry with her and instead of smacking her [really hard!], I turned around and started the 4klm walk home, Creamy Soda running down my back. I remember walking through the main street of Dandenong trying to act as if nothing had happened, as if nothing was wrong. I also remember being incredibly disappointed with me, because I hadn’t stood up for myself and lamenting the fact that there wasn’t anyone else around who would stand up for me either.

I went home and showered and went to netball practice, and acted as if nothing had happened. But I knew it had, and the rest of the team also knew by then that it had, and I knew I’d have to go back to school the next day, and I knew that it was easier to pretend that all was okay and to believe that I deserved the humiliation, then to stand up for myself in what was clearly a losing battle.

I was 15 at the time, and as hard as I tried, and desperately wanted to believe I was okay, I knew that I wasn’t. And for a very long time, I didn’t think too much of myself. I could no longer ignore the voices around me that were telling me I was a waste of space, and eventually, and even against my better judgement, I believed them. This is what I heard, and this is what I believed. Somewhere along the line, I’d blocked out the quieter voices of those who did love me, like my grandparents. I suppose because the dissenting numbers were so great.

By the time I left school, I mostly hated me. I hated that I had no clue how to interact with others in a socially acceptable way. I hated that I was so easily bated. I hated that I couldn’t stand up for myself and mostly I hated that although I acted as if they were all childish morons, I really wanted them to like me. I really wanted to matter, I wanted to be heard and I needed to know that there was some sort of reason for my existence beyond being the local punching-bag.

My point is, that no matter how much we maintain that we don’t care what others think about us, it affects us because we are relational beings, and as much as I hated the greater part of my school years, I did learn a very valuable lesson. I learnt that we spend a great deal of our time comparing ourselves to, and competing with others, and not just throughout our school years, it’s everywhere, and throughout every age. It is, I believe, a very stark indication of our need for reassurance and love.

I suspect we need to hear a voice outside ourselves tell us we’re okay, we’re beloved, we’re accepted. This of course is the gospel, the good news, no, the great news, and it’s why I made it through those harrowing formative years, and why it is that I’m the amazingly confident and incredibly together person that I am today (well okay, I’m getting there).

The big difference for me now, is that I know that I am truly loved by my Creator, and I also know, just as assuredly, that I do matter and I also know that the words and actions of those around me, (no matter how wonderful, or dreadful) are just the voices of other broken people who need to know that they are loved. And while the love of family and friends is important, it’s not redeeming love, and if we rely on a jury of our peers to continually reassure us, we’re going to get caught up in the competition/comparison cycle, always looking for the next compliment or pat on the back, and not thinking twice when we put someone else down.

The Father’s love however is different, it’s redeeming love. There’s nothing we can do or say that can persuade Him to love us more or less. It truly is amazing. It flows from Father to us and on to others. It’s the kind of love that takes hold of your heart and compels you to fly, to soar to run and not grow weary!

And, it’s the only kind of love that can redeem us from the competitive/comparison cycle, and allow us to live in the freedom that God first intended. Free from proving ourselves, free from fighting with others, free to love, to live, to learn, free from religious obligations and guilt, free to make mistakes, and mostly, free to share this love with others and not tear them down for fear that this love may not come our way again.

It’s the most amazing truth I’ve ever experienced, and it has made life, truly delightful!

it is finished

26 August, 2006

Well my birthday has come and gone (last Thursday) and it was really good. Started a new job that day, and caught up with my parents, and then went out for dinner with friends in the evening. We not only celebrated my birthday, but we toasted the end of a really bad year. And it really does feel like it’s over. Finally, and most appreciatively!

Went for a walk this morning with my friend Shells. We met Zo & Ben for brekky and then walked home again. The round trip was about 10klms (approx 6.2 miles). We did 9klms (5.5 miles) last Saturday. Came home a different way today. I have to say that endorphines rock! I feel great! Why didn’t anyone tell me before!!? Of course, I do have the beginnings of a blister on the bottom of my left foot, looks like I’m over due for some new runners. Oh well. Considering doing a similar walk tomorrow. I’ll see how the muscles are holding up.

Doing a load of washing at the moment, then going to visit the parent people. It’s my Dad’s 72nd birthday today as well as Mum & Dad’s 39th Anniversary. I love my parents so much and still do not like this whole aging thing they’re going through. It’s R.O.N.G. wrong (as my friend Ky would say). So, off to give them a hug!

scared weird little christians

21 August, 2006

Back coffee-shopping today, and re-reading Don Miller’s “Searching for God Knows What” and Don’s talking about “God Impostors” – people who falsely represent God.

I remember a few years back I found myself unable to sleep one night so got up and turned on the TV. The only thing on other than those annoying infomercials was a prominent U.S. Pastor. Some of what he said was great, but after a while he took a turn for the worst and joined the rest of mindless television by having his own little infomercial of sorts. There was this great spiel on how this guy was furthering the good news of Jesus by preaching and how he wanted to take ‘his ministry’ all over the world, but in order to do so he needed some astronomical ridiculous amount of money to by his own personal jet so that he could “preach the gospel to the ends of the earth”.

Argh! What was THAT? And why do people support this guy? My little car isn’t doing so great at the moment; maybe a few of you wouldn’t mind contributing to a new BMW for me so that I can feed the poor in Dandy? What a ridiculous concept!

But it doesn’t stop there, about six months ago (can’t believe I’m ‘outing myself’ on this one) I caught an episode of “Wife Swap“, the American TV show where two families, from completely opposite sides of the track, swap the matriarch of their households, who spend a week experiencing life in their counterpart’s home. Anyhoo, in this episode, one of the women was a Christian, and the other was an holistic healer/earth worshiper. The long and the short of it was that the second lady was absolutely lovely, very gentle, very sweet, very caring, very generous toward the Christian family and the Christian lady was incredibly selfish, self-righteous, and judgemental. Not only that, but her Christian friends were completely horrid to their guest, one lady bailing her up and badgering her regarding her relationship with “the Lord”. When she didn’t get the required response she gave her friends a smug, “see, she’s not saved” look and walked off. They were absolutely dreadful to this peaceful lady who came into their community for a week.

I did feel sorry for the Christian lady, she was totally out of her depth and reacted primarily out of fear when she realised she was staying with a family who had a massive pentagram in their backyard and who celebrated the summer solstice with a pagan party, she was also included in a talk-back radio station with a clairvoyant – which she walked out on. This was all the stuff, and the type of people she’d been taught not to interact with.

The point being of course, that she was totally ill-equipped to relate with these completely lovely people. In all her bible study and church going, she’d learnt that this stuff was evil, and to stay away from people who practice it “or else”. She was rebuking stuff left right and centre for fear of contamination! Obviously nobody had ever adequately explained to her that these are people that Jesus died for, that Father loves them and that He who is in her, is far greater than stuff behind their pagan worship. She had nothing to fear at all.

I was cringing as I watched. I was appalled and so embarrassed for all concerned. Embarrassed for the lady who had just been so un-sanctimoniously rejected by the Christians, and also for these ladies who have been taught that Christianity is a label that they can wear and it’s enough to make them feel safe and secure and better than those who are yet to meet Jesus. It seemed they’d not only missed the point (and a fantastic opportunity) but portrayed the complete opposite of who they claimed to trust their lives to. And once again it had happened on television for all to see – which of course was the point of the show.

It’s easy, of course, to judge these people, I did it readily enough. The truth is though, that there have been times when I have used my “Christian” status to my own advantage. In some ways it’s like a ‘free pass’ into a club. A club that is full of people who (for the most part) accept us, and reassure us that we’re okay, and who are kind, loving, and accepting.

Unfortunately though, generally speaking, Christians aren’t always sure how to interact with people outside our club, who aren’t like ‘us’ and who don’t believe the same things. Sharing the gospel has become a scary prospect; what if we’re rejected? What if we stuff up? What if we don’t get all the facts right about Jesus and they ask us a really difficult question, and the Pastor doesn’t answer his mobile phone or isn’t available to meet with our friend for coffee and a quick conversion???

I think that’s why people give financially to the aforementioned ‘pastor’ – he has, after all, been ’empowered’ to reach the lost, and to preach the gospel. It’s easier to pay him to do it and to get caught up in all the hype that surrounds ‘his ministry’ then to face the inevitable rejection.

I also think it’s why a lot of us keep to ourselves, stay within our own little Christian groups and don’t mix very well with non-believers or why we often pretend to be something we’re not (ie. morally), because we want them to come to know Jesus like we do.

Of course, we do tend to know an awful lot about God, and the way he wants us to live our lives. I wonder though if we don’t know Him enough to trust Him to lead us (just like we expect He does with our pastors etc) as we walk this stuff out with the people around us… you know… as a priesthood of believers? There’s nothing better than getting to know him and learning to trust him as we ‘go’, for ourselves.

There really is no substitute!

another bridge crossed

18 August, 2006

I had a job interview on Monday. The first one since I quit work last October. Up until now I’ve been just doing work that comes my way. The main reason being, that up until recently, I was certain that nobody would want to hire me. Crazy right? Afterall, I’m incredibly gifted, talented, really quite funny, of above average intelligence and incredibly humble, and yet, my confidence was completely and utterly shot to pieces after what happened with work. It took me ages on Monday morning to summon the courage to make the call to organise the interview. In the end I made myself go get the phone and dial the number. I realised about 5 minutes into the interview that everything was going to be ok. I wasn’t in the least bit nervous and felt quite confident. It went well by the way, I start next Thursday, which also happens to be my birthday. It’s only a temp job, but will certainly help pay the bills until I find something in Dandenong.

Dad’s done so much in me over the last 10 months. We relate differently now, well, ok, it’s most likely me that’s relating differently, He’s really his same old reliable, loving, affectionate, encouraging, reassurring (although I do wonder if he gets a tad tired of that one at times), kind self. He’s quite lovely really. I look back to February and the mess that I was and the depression that had set in, and all I can do is say a very sincere “thanks” to God, and my wonderful friends who loved & prayed me through it.

So, a new day has dawned (just to get all dramatic), and I’m [still] very excited about what’s to come!

home again, home again

7 August, 2006

Honey! I’m home!

I had a fantastic time in Queenstown primarily I’m sure because it has officially moved to first place on my “the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen” list (knocking Tintagel in Cornwall, England to #2). I went with 5 friends and a 6th met us over there for the second half of our trip and we had a blast! Skiing, sightseeing, walking laughing and of course eating!

Here’s a shot of Queenstown I took from the lookout (had to take a gondola ride up there), that mountain range in the distance is “The Remarkables” and they so are!!

We were staying down observatory favby the lake and our apartment had the dual view of the lake and the snow-capped ranges, so beautiful (did I mention this place was beautiful?).

Dad certaintly must’ve been having a wonderful moment when he spoke this place into being! Magnificent!

Oh, and I ended up going parasailing/flying on Saturday. The base-jumping was $100.00 more, so maybe next time!

Here’s me with the ugly yellow smiley parachute (lol) flying over Lake Wakatipu, this is pretty much right up there among the most fun things I’ve done!


The views were magnificent, and while it was a tad (read ‘very’) cold , I’d do it all over again without hesitation!

And here’s a shot taken by a friend that shows just how high up I was…


I guess with all these shots it’d be easy to assume that this was the highlight of the trip, but really, even though it was a lot of fun, the best part was going away with friends and being able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

I loved it. This was easily one of my favourite trips ever!

Having said that, it’s great to be home though. I had a wonderful day today finalising the holiday stuff and reconnecting with my immediate future. Had a great chat with the Lord this afternoon and I’m very excited about the things he’s teaching me about who He is, who I am and how to share that with others.

So lovely!