Mini Moral Dilemas

I took a trip to ASDA today to buy some cute star stickers for a game I wanted to play with the kids in my relaxation class. I bought three packs and paid for them in cash (a whole £3). On arriving at the class location I started opening the packs, to make the game preparation easier, only to discover that in fact there was an extra pack stuck to the back of one of the ones I had purchased.

The stickers in question!

What to do? Why is it even a question? I had taken (though unwittingly) four packs of stickers from the shop and only paid for three. That’s stealing right? But they only cost £1 each (hardly worth the fuel money to go back to the shop) and it wasn’t my fault that they were stuck together, right? Right? Okay maybe not.

Don’t worry I’ve already decided to take them back tomorrow. I know I’ll get weird looks from the shop assistants because 1) something similar happened to me once before and the staff were really gobsmacked that I returned the item; 2) many people would likely think – ‘well that’s a bonus’ and hold on to them; 3) hmm, I had a third reason but now I’ve forgotten what it was 😂.

This small scenario got me thinking though. How many things do I do that are morally questionable just because they’re not particularly hurting anyone? Like maybe when I park at a meter and don’t pay ‘cause I know I’ll only be a few minutes or take a pen home from work that doesn’t belong to me and never bother to return it – I mean it’s only a pen right? Don’t get me wrong I haven’t polished my halo and resolved never to do anything morally questionable again – I can tell you right now that there’s a high chance that I’ll park at a meter without paying before the week is out.

Should I act differently to the majority because I’m a Christian? What if someone has a really good reason for doing something questionable like taking medicine for their sick child because they couldn’t afford it? I think I’d do that for my child. It’s a can of worms when you start thinking about it but I guess I’m interested in your thoughts on this.

Is it just me or do people see certain ‘misdemeanours’ as totally excusable?

Is there ‘a line’ somewhere that says for example that it’s okay to steal something if you didn’t mean to or if it’s not worth much?

I’d love to hear what you would do; and no judgement here by the way – I mean I just stole a pack of stickers.

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How Do I Pray?

It’s the middle of the night here in the UK but I can’t sleep. I’m sitting here drinking camomile tea and tossing up between ironing or ordering food shopping 😝. I don’t really want to do either of those things so instead I’m writing this post.

Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten how to talk to God. I talk to Him a lot. I share my feelings with Him all the time and I tell Him even the things that no one else knows – I mean why not? He knows anyway.

My difficulty is that once again we have a friend who has cancer. The doctors can do no more. They’re using words like ‘palliative care’ again. We’ve been here before. More than once. Each time my friends have been asking God for a miracle. Each time I’ve prayed for that with them. I know God heals (I’ve seen this before too). I believe He wants to heal. I’ve expected God to heal. So far (if I’m remembering correctly) only one out of many friends and family members has been healed from cancer.

So how do I pray? Am I doing something wrong? I remember a few years ago teaching on this very subject in church. It was a difficult time. We had not long since lost a young friend to cancer. Many of us were struggling with continuing to ask God to heal. I’d go back and reread that sermon now but I lost it when my hard drive packed in so I don’t know if there’s anything that God was saying to me back then that would have helped me now. Probably. I remember that in essence I felt that I shouldn’t stop asking.

It gets harder to keep asking though. I mean I still do. I still know God can. I just don’t get why so often it doesn’t happen. I know God isn’t a genie in a bottle but He is God and He tells us He’s willing to heal and I know He’s able to heal so what am I missing?

I guess I’ve heard most of the answers to my question already too. I’d be surprised if you can give me an answer I haven’t heard before (feel free to try though). I’m just putting this out there because it’s on my mind tonight. Someone gave a word this morning about keys at church (related to something different) and I feel like there’s a key somewhere to be discovered where healing is concerned. I’d love to know where it is. I’m sure I’ll keep looking because it feels like I need to find it.

Pray… but how?

The Bottom Line

The last few days I’ve been pretty hormonal. I always struggle more with feelings of depression when I’m hormonal. On the whole I think I’m doing better with that but there are always some days that are harder than others. Sometimes when I’m really struggling all I can say is ‘Jesus I need You’ over and over. That’s the bottom line for me. When everything feels too much and I can’t cope on my own I know He’s there and somehow He’ll get me through it.

In February 2018 I was reading a devotional On the YouVersion app called ‘Jesus I Need You’ by Thistlebend Ministries and came across this prayer. I saved it on my phone and I’ve read it over and over since then. I even printed it out and stuck it in my prayer journal. It’s covered in highlights and circles, underlines and outlines, hearted and triple underlined – you get the picture. Anyway I thought I’d share it here in case it’s helpful for anyone else.

JESUS I NEED YOU

Jesus, I need you! You are my Lord, my God, my King. You are worthy of all of my worship. Help me, by your grace, to know you and love you so deeply and dearly that the things of this world fade away and grow strangely dim.

I want to worship you and you alone. I don’t want to be forged by the culture. I am in you; I want to be one with you. Bind my heart to yours, and place your truth deep within me. I not only want to know you and your Word, I want to have the desire to forsake sin and follow you and your Word. Enable me to worship you in spirit and in truth.

I need your power, your grace, and your love so that no matter what life brings my way, I can respond to each situation, each person, and each trial the way you would respond—all for your glory. I don’t want to respond merely outwardly, but rather from within, from the river of living water. I want to be so close to you, Jesus, that your Spirit flows forth from me in all I do and say. May I find all of my joy in you.

May I glorify you in all I say and do. (Psalm 42:1-2a; Galatians 2:20)

No matter where I am, what I am doing, what Scripture I am reading, or what song I am singing, I want my mind, my energies, and my heart focused on you and not on me and my circumstances. I want you and you alone.

No matter if I succeed or fail, win or lose, am rich or poor, am included or excluded, am known or forgotten, may I be content knowing that you are mine and I am yours.

May my chief aim be to love you and be loved by you, to please you and serve you. Help me to see my sin, mourn it, and forsake it, by your grace. Help me hunger and thirst after righteousness.

Lord Jesus, grant me your grace, your mercy, and your lovingkindness to enable me to see you, know you, love you, and be one with you. Thank you that your Word tells me if we ask anything in your name and according to your will that you will do it. Amen. (John 14:13-14)

(Not so) Amazing Discoveries about Myself.

I’ve discovered some new things about me. Turns out there’s still more to know, even at my age!

I’ve discovered I can eat Bombay mix out of a bowl using only my tongue. Amazing but true! 😂 Maybe I have a really long tongue?

I’ve discovered that I can make my stomach look really gross if I scrunch it up just right. Between the stretch marks and the less than toned bits and the ‘becoming more obedient’ muscles I can scrunch it up pretty good. 😁

I’ve discovered that some people (maybe those who require an eye test?) still think I look under 25. Yup, I actually got ID’d today in the supermarket. I might not have been so happy about that if I hadn’t had my driving licence with me. 😝

I’ve discovered that I hyperextend my arms when I stretch. To be honest I barely know what that means but I went to a class the other night and the instructor mentioned it. Never heard that about myself before! Maybe it’s because I love hugs. 🤗

I’ve discovered that I have issues with shame. I guess I knew this but I didn’t appreciate what it was before. I think I’ve always confused shame with guilt in the past. Now I realise that my constant battle with not feeling good enough is shame too.

I’ve discovered that my new business might actually work! I mean I always hoped it would and knew it had potential. I guess I just wasn’t sure that I could make it happen. Now I have 5 schools and a family signed up and more enquiries outstanding. (In other exciting news – I now have a logo for my business which is so cool!)

I’ve discovered that even writing these few short random paragraphs somehow helps me feel better about life. I don’t really get what that’s about but since it helps I’ll try to keep doing it.

New Routines

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with routines. We all have them, even if they’re as simple as going to sleep at night or brushing our teeth in the morning. I love them because I feel more productive if I follow a routine but I hate being tied down to them and feeling like I can’t do what I want to do because of BORING routines! There have been times I’ve got so bogged down in them I’ve felt like I HAD to follow them and that just made me feel caged.

One of my good routines has been exercise. Exercise is not something I’ve always found easy (See this post for more) but I got into a good habit with it. Then when I was at my lowest point with depression I wasn’t doing as well with that routine although I’ve mostly managed at least a couple of times a week. I’m getting myself into a new routine with exercise now just to change things up a bit. The last couple of weeks I’ve gone to a class with my friend A on Tuesday mornings and gone swimming on Thursday mornings and I’m still trying to do some weights in the house too on other days. I’m not as consistent with that as I was though.

I used to be pretty good with my housework routines too. When my kids were little I discovered the Flylady (www.flylady.net). She has great suggestions about how to work short routines into your life to keep on top of everything. I never did follow all of her routines but I did try to do an evening and a morning one and did certain housework tasks on certain days of the week (like cleaning toilets on Thursdays 😂). I did struggle a bit with resentment at times when I felt like I was doing everything in the house and the rest of the family weren’t pulling their weight. In reality I put it on myself though. No one asked me to do it or expected me to do everything. Anyway my housework routines have gone to pot. I still try to keep the house tidy when I have the energy and the motivation but the routines are out the window on the whole. Maybe I need to try to work up to doing better with those again? While I’m on this subject I’d love to know your thoughts on this. What works best for you – cleaning a whole room at once or doing one job, like dusting for example, in all the rooms and then vacuuming all the rooms at another time?

The Flylady 😊

My work routine used to be pretty easy. Mondays, Tuesdays and alternate Wednesdays I was in school. On Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings I took relaxation classes. Now that I’m totally self employed that routine is less defined at the moment too. I do have some classes booked in on regular days but quite a few are still up in the air. I think routine is helpful in my work life so that I feel like I’m being useful and productive. I’m getting there with this one though. My latest decision is that Fridays will probably be my day off. 😁

The other really helpful routine I had was my devotional time. I used to be so good at getting up early and spending time reading the Bible and praying and listening to God. I’m not so good at getting up early now. I’m still reading every day and praying but it’s not like it was before. I miss those times. I know I benefited from spending that time alone with Papa God. I need to get back to this routine. This was highlighted for me at church today too. The pastor said ‘sometimes we get frustrated and disappointed rather than hungry.’ I think I’ve done that. I need to get hungry for God again. I know He satisfies.

Anyway enough of my random patter for now. I’d love to know what routines you find helpful? Maybe I could incorporate some of them into my week? Do you struggle with routines sometimes? What helps? I could use some assistance with this. 🙂

Visible

It’s been a while again – I know. My head is still a bit like Cotton Wool and I’ve been doubting myself. I miss writing though so I’ll try to just focus on one thing at a time and maybe I can sort my thoughts out that way?

I had an unusual experience yesterday. I was looking after little B in the morning and took him out for a walk to the park in the village. As I was walking to and from the park several people spoke to me. That’s not unusual 😂 but what was unusual is that they were people I didn’t know. They spoke to me as if they knew me – two separate guys actually shouted across the road to say hello and ask how I was. One lady clearly recognised me and was chatting away but I didn’t know her.

I’m more used to feeling invisible to be honest (I think I might have mentioned that before). Most of the time I feel like I go unnoticed and many times in my life I have felt like people didn’t even hear me when I talked. This was different. I felt visible. Could they have mistaken me for someone else? Probably not – I have yet to meet anyone with hair like mine (it’s blonde on top and a deep pink underneath in a short asymmetrical style). Maybe they recognised me from the Community Fun Day – I was wearing an orange hi-vis vest at that so I was probably harder to miss?

Whatever it was it was different – good different. I guess it’s no surprise that it feels good to be seen. It made me feel like I live in a really friendly place too. Is it just me or does anyone else feel invisible at times?

Slightly random thoughts there guys but that’s one thing less buzzing around in my head 😝. More random thoughts to come I’m sure…

Cotton Wool

Cotton wool – I have a couple of friends who shudder at the thought of the stuff. They really can’t stand it. It makes their skin crawl just to think about it, never mind touch it. Anyway, I digress. This post is really nothing to do with cotton wool. It’s about my head, my brain or my thoughts. I don’t know really and that’s part of the difficulty.

Do you ever have one of those days when your head just feels like cotton wool or candy floss (cotton candy) or a tangled up ball of string? Like there’s something wrong with your brain and all your neural networks are connected up wrong? I’ve had quite a few days like that in the last couple of weeks (although I have to say I’m feeling better now on the whole) where there are so many thoughts jumbled up in my head that it sort of feels like I’m not thinking about anything. Do you ever get that? Maybe it’s just me? It’s like there’s so much going on that your brain just goes numb or shuts down but you know it’s not the same as having no thoughts because your head feels fuzzy and restless.

I don’t even know what to tell you about those thoughts because when they’re all jumbled up like that it’s hard to distinguish between them. I guess there are thoughts about work and family and friends and what various people I know are going through. Thoughts of the past and the present and the future and what my hopes and dreams were and are and what God wants to do with my life – assuming my life is still in some way useful to Him.

I’m not even really sure what I’m trying to say about this. Maybe I’m not really trying to say anything? I’m just trying to process what feels kinda confusing at times. I guess what I need in those times is peace of mind? A peace that passes understanding. So I don’t need to be able to work out my thoughts or make any sense of them but instead just allow His peace to bypass my understanding and fill my mind. Maybe it’s about trust again? I don’t need to have it all worked out or understand everything because my Papa God is in control and I can rest in that.