The life of an outsider

列印The final words from the Radiohead song ‘Creep’ resonate with me…

“I don’t belong here…”

I’ve often found myself explaining how my mind works or trying to explain how or why I did something with a phrase like “you have to excuse me, I’m not normal” – and it’s true, I’m just not normal.
While the world is trying to tell me that you should choose a shade of either black or white, I’m finding out that there are colours that work really well together in pallets we haven’t dreamed about.
While the world is being serious and telling me that you should choose your words wisely, I’m in the corner thinking that a thesaurus would have been a dinosaur that could help choose those words.
When people tell me I have to choose a side, often I don’t feel like I have that luxury… It doesn’t mean that I don’t care or understand either side of the debate, I just think that the ‘messy middle’ is where the hurt lies and the truth sits.
Maybe I’m just not educated enough to understand the complexities?
Maybe it’s because I’m just not that smart?
Maybe it’s the way I was bought up… My mum is Australian so that could explain a lot. What ever the reason the end result is that “I’m just not normal.”

A while back I had this idea to post a ‘dad joke’ every week day morning on social media, it was for a couple of reasons. One, I love dad jokes, my theory is anyone can get a laugh, but eye rolls and awkward sighs are where the real magic lies (remember ‘not normal‘). Secondly it was something that caused a reaction other than a negative one.
So I posted a funny comment or thought every Monday to Friday for one week… Just one week. I thought, that no one is really picking up on my idea, so I stopped. I figured it was great for a week, however maybe it was just something I did for just for me for that week?

I have never received so many messages and emails asking if I could start again, some people even sent me more material. The clincher for me was when someone said “my partner is in hospital and your jokes each morning help get him starting the day in a positive way…” they did however say “he thinks you’re crazy”…i read that as “not normal”.

It’s actually a lonely place not being normal.
You look normal, you ‘mostly’ act normal, but then you open your mouth and start talking and you start to realise that your thoughts, dreams, ideas and plans don’t fit in with what everyone else thinks.
While every one else is choosing team and taking sides, I feel like I’m the odd one in the middle thinking that either side have it both so absolutely right and at the same time so majorly wrong it… actually hurts my head.
Each side yelling at each other, telling the other not to yell.
Each side accusing the other of letting down the other, morally, financially and intellectually, and it comes out in frustrated and vague rants.
I stand in the middle and think.
Why don’t we just try and work together?
Why don’t we try something new that no one has tried before?
Let’s stop drawing lines in the sand and declaring your standing ground.
Let’s start to listen.
Criticise by creating?

Imagine if we could create some sort of radical middle that took the best of the left and the best of the right and created something that worked for each side.
Imagine if we could be free from both the left and the right?
Imagine if we could start working with each other than against each other?
Imagine if we created things that never could have been imagined unless we dropped our arrogance and pride and crossed the room, the street, the city?

But what do I know?
I’m not normal?
I’m the outsider here… but that’s where i choose to be?

“You can’t change the world if you’re just like it”

 

 

 

 

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Ripples in Time

instaquote-31-10-2015-21-40-24Albert Einstein, in 1916, discovered a theory that talked about the ripples in the very fabric of time and space.
We have the access to make ripples in time and space too, however many of us will never see the impact that we make because we are insular and too afraid to step outside of our boxes.

Is the reason more people aren’t changing the world because they think it’s too hard?
Or maybe it’s just not happening fast enough for us?

We live in a world of ‘instant.’ We live in a world of ‘just add water’.
Either way you  want to  look at it you have been able to get what you wanted in a fraction of the time you  could have. Would you have made soup or coffee from scratch instead of ‘just adding water’?
There’s a Joke by Steven Wright that goes “I put instant coffee in the microwave and I went back in time.”
We have things at our finger tips in an instant, and it starts to flow in to all areas of our lives

May of us want to change the world and want to make a huge positive impact on the communities and nations around us. However how many of us actually do it?
Why is that?

I believe it’s because we see a HUGE problem in front of us, and think that it’s just too big. We don’t have the huge platforms to talk from to the masses like big ‘A list’ celebrities who are able to speak out on things that they think are important. People hang on their every word. However I  believe that what we say and do has a far greater ripple affect than we even hope, dream or imagine.

Did you think that Rosa Park was thinking about the breakdown of segregation that would result as people rallied around her not getting up on the bus in 1955?
In her own words:

People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

Do you think John Otis was only considering the revolution that was about to be stirred as Americans sought independence as he stood up and spoke against ‘taxation without representation’, or do you think that the former Advocate General for the Royal Colony was thinking, “Oh well, there goes my career?”

The colonists are by the law of nature free born, as indeed all men are, white or black.
James Otis, Rights of the British Colonies, 1764

In both situations they were acting on their convictions. Rosa Park and James Otis were just plainly standing up for something they believed in. They had to step up and be brave in THEIR context. It may have been a small step but it caused a huge ripple! I’m sure they had no idea the intense movements they were adding to, or even sparking.

No matter how small, you can make a difference. Be brave, step outside your comfort zone and stand strong in what you believe. Take that step.

Love each other, listen to each other, give to each other, celebrate each other.
Be honest, be kind. The more you look into it the more you discover it’s less about me and more about how I respond to the people and the needs around me. As pastor Andy Stanley would say “What does love require of you right now??”

None of these things are revolutionary, are they? They are just small things that could potentially make a huge impact in someones life. Everything is becoming so insular, and self promoting and ‘me’ focused that the way we make the most ripples is to push against this flow.
Simple but not easy.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

You can’t change the world if you’re just like it.

Start the ripple effect today.

 

 

 

 

 

Why my friends frustrate me, annoy me and get under my skin … (or …how I’m growing thanks to my friends)

Friends

Friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isn’t it funny how you make friends?
There seems to be no real rhyme or reason to it.
Some are like you… some are not…
Some are for a short time in your life… some are for life.

There is no real scientific equation that can be proven that if you followed it would guarantee that you will have a true friend for life… sure there are always words and phrases that people use when they talk about friends… Loyal… trusting… support you… are there for you… have got your back… Are always there for you… etc.
And when I look at my closest friends a lot of these phrases are true, but there is something that surprised me as I looked closer at my friends… it was the things that I admired about my friends… it was the things that frustrated me about my friends… and the things that made me stronger because of them.

If I was to describe myself I would use phrases like:

  • Big Picture
  • Impetuous
  • Breaks rules
  • Curious
  • Likes to play/have fun
  • Expresses
  • Emotional
  • Takes risks
  • Imaginative
  • Creative
  • Talks a lot
  • Feels
  • Vision focused

It starts to paint a picture of someone who is creative and always on the go…
My brain is usually pretty full of new an creative ways to do things for people, express myself and communicate.
However it also paints a picture of someone who maybe isn’t as grounded all the time as I maybe can be.

So I sat down and looked at my closest friends… and it was actually amazing to see how the people I valued the most were people who were almost the exact opposite to me.

My closest friends were:

  • Logical
  • Factual
  • Neat
  • Reliable
  • Planners
  • Grounded
  • Listener
  • Controlled
  • Reduces risks
  • Goals and objective focused
  • Efficient

And I wondered why I kept getting frustrated by them on one hand… and drawn closer to them with the other.
And when you look at the two lists it doesn’t take much to notice it’s because we go about the same tasks in a totally different way...
We look at things differently…
We fulfill different parts of the same vision or job.

Where I would be used to come up with an idea… I’m not the best person to follow through with the idea, that’s where people like my friends excel…
While I think about things in big picture form… my friends are all about the detail.
While I am being emotional about the people… my friends are looking at the facts

It’s frustrating sometimes because they will sometimes tell me something and I’ll be like “Darn they’re right… AGAIN”

But there is this real sense of Iron sharpening iron… my closest friends have free reign (within reason) to tell me the true as they see it… they can pull me up on things that they think I may be lacking or neglecting… they can be truthful even when they know it may be something I may not want to hear.

But here is the thing… I trust them so much that they have permission to talk into my life… and as a result I have learnt so much from the closest of my friends

I said to one friend not that long ago how much I admired them and the things that they have shown me… but I was surprised when they said to me how they had learnt from me the art of “looking to the left and the right when moving forward…” and it made me think… “Yes this is what about true friendship is about”

There is a verse in the Bible that is often used at weddings:

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (New Living Translation)

You see it seems to me that we are to join with other to help minimise our weaknesses… and maximise our strengths.
If I was with someone who was to much the same as me… I wouldn’t grown anywhere near as much and I certainly wouldn’t have someone with me who helps me where I am weak.
Or to use the famous quote from Jerry Maguire “You complete me”

Because if you look at my two lists above… my closest friends literally complete me!

We’re two sides of the same coin.

 

 

How would I know you love me?

Love for Arts

Love 

So I’ve been thinking about how do I show, my friends, my family my loved ones I love them…
And also how do the people I love show how they love me?

I posted the question on Facebook and got a few different kinds of answer from Gifts to kisses, from doing things for me to neck rubs, spending time together and even telling me “I love you”
There are even websites dedicated to it… one of my favourites is http://www.5lovelanguages.com a great way to find out what way you like to be shown love (there’s a simple 3 minute test that is really handy to have done).

For the record they way I like to be shown I’m loved is in this order:

  1. Words of Affirmation 

  2. Quality Time 

  3. Receiving Gifts 

  4. Acts of Service 

  5. Physical Touch 

In fact it’s often a combination of the top three for me  that really get me going.
I like to be told I’m doing well, that I’m loved, that I’m appreciated… communication is BIG for me.
However I also love being able just to ‘hang’ with my loved ones, just to talk… just to be there with them just laughing goofing around, we can even sit in silence and I would be happy with that, in the knowledge that my friend is spending their quality time with me.
And finally I love people giving me stuff but here’s the thing… it could be a piece of string or a pebble or a leaf… it really could be anything as long as someone has put the time into thinking why they have given me this gift.

And so from the above list I would usually show I love people in the same way… the way that I love to be loved.
That can be hard because, well we’re simply not the same… we’re different. The way YOU show you love someone isn’t the same way that I show I love someone.
It’s handy knowing what someones ‘love language’ is, and when you know what spins their wheels it makes things a lot easier… If I like to be told “I appreciate you …” but my loved ones like me to give the hugs, then it’s really easy for me to say to them… “I tell you I appreciate you all the time”
To which they reply… “yes but you never SHOW me you love me!!!”

So if you don’t know what someones love language is where do you start?

The answer is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Now you see this verse a lot in weddings… but it’s actually a really good view on relationships in general.

Love is patient… it means there’s no hurry “One Day …” I’ll wait for you…

Love is Kind… why be mean or nasty or  talk behind backs, what does that achieve?

Love is not jealous… I’m going to support them in the time they spend with other people

Love NEVER gives up… it’s seems so easy just to throw in the towel sometimes, however sometimes we just need to work through things.

Love never loses faith…

Is always hopeful… even when things look far from it

You see it’s not just about marriage… or  just about our friends… it’s about relationship.

In fact Jesus made it even MORE clearer than that.

He said this:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35

So I guess at the end of the day our job is to LOVE one another…

The Bible even says “Love your enemies”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idolise/Demonise relationships

Let's Talk About Feelings

Let’s Talk About Feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Relationships are hard in the first place…

Remember when you first started going out with someone… you love the fact that they were so laid back… they were just so relaxed… they never seemed to have a care in the world
If we are to be honest you started to idolise them… but then what happens?
After a while his ‘relaxed’ manner seems to grate on you… “they’re not relaxed… they’re lazy” you might think… “Sitting on the couch each day playing their guitar while I’m looking after the kids and cooking the meals”

What’s happened… You’ve demonised them for the very thing that you used to idolise them for… the same things that attracted you to this person in the first place.

Or how about this…

You started going out with someone… and they like to communicate… they talk through their feelings… they blog… they write songs… they think of words or ways of saying things that you have never thought of…
And if we are honest you might even start to idolise them a bit for it… but then what happens?
After a while you’re thinking… “OMG please just shut up… enough with your feelings… just give me space.”

You’ve demonised them for the very thing that you used to idolise them for… the same things that attracted you to this person in the first place.

And I’m sure if you think back you can think of a few different situations where you started to like someone and the things that they did made you smile… or you thought was cute… or made them interesting… only to find that after a while the things they do start to get under your skin!

The problem is people change… feelings change.
That’s why it’s so important to put God at the centre of every relationship that you…

Or in other words… put God at number ONE… so there is more chance for you TWO.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. Romans 8:5 NLT

You see… when you put God in the centre of your relationship… you’re not seeing the other person as a ‘conquest’ or just another partner… you start to see them as someone who you really want to care for… you really want to see succeed… you really want to see thrive.

It’s not about you anymore… it’s about what you can do for the other person…

Sometimes it may be as simple as just being you… and just being there for the other person.

But however it happens when God is in the centre of your relationship there isn’t any chance to idolise or demonise… because God is bigger than that.

I read a statistic recently that said around 50% of those who got married separated…  shocking huh???

HOWEVER…

Those who prayed as part of their relationship… the stats went as low as only 20-25% separated… so there was an 80% chance of success.

Imagine if we started to do that with ALL our really close relationships??

Imagine how tight and united we would be??

Re-Defining LOVE.

Author: Bagande

Author: Bagande (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Better is open rebuke, than hidden love” – Proverbs 27:5

Have you noticed that these days you’re not allowed to ‘love’ those who you trust, or care about… When you do with other guys it’s either a bro-mance, you’re gay… when you have a close relationship with someone of the opposite sex people automatically presume it’s a sexual relationship.

The reality is that it’s not the case… and it shouldn’t be like that.

Why can’t we LOVE each other?…

and why does it HAVE to be a sexual thing?

I love my family… I love my friends… I love my workmates… and why should I be made to feel ashamed at that?

Why do I feel I need to hide that?

Here’s the thing… When we don’t love one another we fall into the trap of disobeying a commandment of Jesus… we are to love one another.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35

So what does that mean?

What is LOVE?

If we have been to a wedding we have most likely heard 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (often called the LOVE verse)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

You see when we read through this list it’s very easy to see how ‘the world’ or society has changed lust and given it the title ‘love’ – but it’s clear to see they are two very different creatures.

There is NOT ONE part of 1 Corinthians 13:4 that says “Love is getting what I want” or “Love is about sex” or “love is purely physical”

So why have we made it ALL about these things?

Love is patient… it waits for the OTHER person

Love is Kind… it uplifts, it makes OTHERS feel good about themselves

Love doesn’t envy… it doesn’t worry about who you’re with because Love always trusts

It always protectsalways trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails

You see LOVE isn’t about YOU… Love is about OTHER people… and what you can do for THEM to lift THEM up.

It’s not about SEX… so why make it all about that?

The 60’s ruined the words “I Love You” it was almost abused with the ‘Free Love’ movement…

So lets claim it back!

Lets start telling people “I LOVE YOU” with out hiding it… without it being about something more than it is…
Which is one person caring greatly for another person… there is nothing wrong with that right?
So why do you feel ashamed at that?

I

LOVE 

YOU

It’s a colourful… bright… powerful phrase… that brightens dark places…

Lets not be ashamed of loving others anymore!

There’s a Rat in My Kitchen

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Angry Talk… get rid of it while you can!

I had a laugh with my good friend Monique the other day… she was telling me how she’s got a mouse problem… and the mouse is hiding in the kitchen somewhere…
The Funny part wasn’t the fact that there was in the kitchen… in fact Monique is terrified of the little thing… the funny part was how she discribed her kitchen

“It’s like a death trap Goose” she said

“There are traps and poison all over the place” she then chuckled…

It was a little bit funny however after I thought about it for a while I thought… isn’t it strange that we are so willing to get rid of  a mouse, a wasp , even a spider from our house that in a years time… in two years time… will have no impact whatsoever on our lives, yet we sit and stew on things in our lives that can destroy us… but not only ourselves but those around us.

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of people who are in relationships where there is anger issues and it’s tearing these couples apart… why?
Because there were issues before hand that hadn’t been dealt with properly before hand…

The problem with Anger is that it isn’t like a stop gate where you can just let things in.. or our… but it’s like an account balance it’s saying “You took something from me and I will keep pushing until I feel I have been compensated,” the problem with this is that often you’re not even with the person who wronged them. Some one somewhere in this persons life hurt this person… but instead of dealing with the issue… they hid it deep down inside…

Anger is something that you need to deal with as soon as you can… there is an old proverb that says “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger…”… you see don’t even let it get to the end of the day before dealing with it… in other words keep a short account of your anger.
The reason for this is when you don’t deal with it it jumps from relationship to relationship with the person who is angry… now there’s an even bigger problem because they are now angry… but they don’t know who they’re angry with… or what… so they will just snap at things that make them feel vulnerable. They’re taking the pain, hurt, and rejection from one season of their life to the other.

They start to loose sight of what makes them mad… and they make excuses about what makes them angry and they blame others, and the people they blame may not be the original source of the pain!

It happens a lot in marriage… and we’re starting to see it more and more.

It doesn’t matter how cute a guy is, or how sexy a girl is, or who he is or where he has come from or if you think you are best friends… if you are going out with a guy or girl who has anger issues… run for the hills… get out of it when you can!

“But we’re in love!!!”

I know this sounds harsh but “Get over it”… get out of there while you still can… MOVE ON… because either you break it up now… or they will crush it out of you later.
Because you are going to be consistently blamed for things that you will never understand.

You can apologize hundreds of times, you can say sorry, and no matter how hard you try you will never feel like they will let you measure up to their debt… and the reason why?… because the debit is most likely not with you!
You are just bumping into wounds that they brought into the relationship.

Ephesians 4:31 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior” (NLT)

You see it’s like if you get diagnosed with cancer… you don’t ask where you got it from… you just want to get rid of it

So why do we let these things so close into our hearts that we are willing to suffer the rest of our lives for it???

How long are you willing to have anger in your home?

Get rid of it… do not have it in your life… and if you are the one with the anger issues… take time think back and find out where it originated… because the people around you shouldn’t need to suffer for your actions.

And if you are thinking of getting married someone with these issues… get out of there while you can… don’t let it crush you… and what ever you do DON’T make excuses for it!
Because if it has come up already in your relationship it will again and again and again.

If you were the God who loves you so much that he was willing to send his only son to die for you and would do anything for you…
What would you expect him to want you to do?