Own it!

 

 

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Earlier this year my husband and I went on a 4 day retreat in North Carolina called the 18 inch journey, a head to heart experience of who God is and who we are in him. When we came back naturally lots of people asked us ‘how was it?’ which was a hard question to answer about something so deeply personal that has impacted us so profoundly.

But now almost 6 months months later I want to share with you one simple thing that I learnt. Im ready to share it now because for 6 months Ive practised it consistently, and its starting to bear fruit….

Own it.

Own your life, your story, your victories, your sins, your failures, your disappointments, your joys and your frustrations. Because until you own something you don’t posses it, and if you don’t possess it, you can neither keep it or give it away.

Being aware of things is not the same as owning them. Lots of people are well aware of their limitations, damaging behaviours and bad habits. But finding true breakthrough and freedom from these things doesn’t come easy. Well it hasn’t come easy for me thats for sure.

It goes back to the garden. I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.

We’ve all been hiding in one form or another since then. An example of my experience would be something like this. I shout at the kids over something minor, then I feel a pang of guilt and shame ( I was afraid ) I feel embarrassed to have acted out in front of my family ( I was naked ) So I either ignore it or blame someone else ( So I hid )

Owning simple moments like the one described above is simple but not always easy to do. It means coming out of hiding, saying no to pride and being humble.

‘Im sorry for shouting guys’. Full stop. No buts…. ‘Im sorry for shouting guys, but you are driving me crazy’ Doesn’t count as owning the behaviour thats just blaming someone else for it.

We use wonderful excuses to validate our thoughts and behaviours, we think or say things like:

‘Oh well, you know what I’m like I just can’t keep quiet about anything’

‘Im just an angry person I can’t help overreacting’

‘I hate confrontation thats just how I am so Im not going to say anything to my coworker for publicly disrespecting me, I don’t like to cause a fuss.’

‘they always push my buttons and make me respond like this, if only they pulled themselves together I would never react badly’

Judge. Blame. Run. Hide.

So basically my major spiritual breakthrough this year has come from saying sorry. A lot.  I can literally feel myself softening and changing every time I say no to pride and yes to humility. Im starting to become less critical and judgemental of others as I do the simple and profound work of owning my life.

And today something incredible happened, it was small, invisible if you weren’t paying attention, but joy exploded in my heart as I watched one of my kids reject pride and own something. This small thing was the fruit of the spirit growing in our home right in front of our eyes.

They had misplaced something for a while and found it this morning. ‘I found my thing’ they shouted up the stairs ‘it was in my bag, someone must have put it there’. ‘no one really goes in you bag, are you sure it couldn’t have been you’ I responded ready for the battle I was sure that was coming about everything being someone else’s fault. He responded ‘ You’re right, I must have put them in there and forgot’

Jon and I just looked at each other in shock, ‘did he just admit something was his fault….’ For this child this is a big deal.

You better believe we celebrated this victory with him and Im happy to share it with you. Part of breaking down pride and owning your life is being able to share both the failures and the victories…otherwise you get false humility….and don’t even get me started on that!

The way I live my life and respond to things affects people, and yours does too. Our children particularly are unconsciously absorbing the way we deal with life and learning from it. Thats a fact.

I could have shared with you 1000 stories of failure in this area of my life but Im choosing to share this tiny victory because it works. Owning your life works!

Maybe saying sorry isn’t something you struggle with but just fill in the bank. Cant accept a compliment? Why is that? Cant have anyone disagree with you? Cant accept criticism? Cant let things go? Go silent and passive in the face of difficulty? Flip out every time you make a mistake?

The list is endless, and Im here to break the news that just trying really hard to act right doesn’t bring breakthrough. Thats just a recipe for a pressure cooker, I shouldn’t be angry, ram down the emotion, I shouldn’t be angry, ram down the emotion over and over smiling sweetly until one day a lady treads on your toe at the bus stop and you explode like Hulk. Theres a better way;

One of the kindest and wonderful gifts of the gospel is repentance. Super religious word with some weird connotations. But honestly I love repentance, don’t know what Id do without it. The freedom and joy that comes from admitting stuff, saying sorry to God and any people if applicable, then turning away from that thing towards freedom. Thats all repentance is and its amazing.

Anyway there you go, heart on my sleeve

I pray it helps you today

Love Emma

 

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The gift of correction

Sometimes we have to go back to go forward.

I love progress.

I hate going backwards.

I’ve got this niggly shoulder injury, Ive had it for years. Its never bad enough to really stop me doing anything, so I just ignore it and keep hammering on when it hurts. Turns out my body isn’t letting me do that anymore and last week I had to go and see someone about it.

My lovely boss Jenny worked away trying to loosen and relieve tension from my left shoulder. I wanted answers and a solution and I wanted them immediately! I don’t have the time or patience for process with this, I asked her ” Is it tense?, Can you see why it hurts sometimes?” To which she responded “It is so incredibly tense, Im surprised it doesn’t hurt all the time…”

Right OK.  I went into the Pilates studio as a student this morning, as I often do. Jenny kept gently correcting me and showing me the subtle bad habits I have picked up. These habits are small, unnoticeable to most in fact, but they are there slowly but surely damaging my shoulder.

Where my body isn’t strong and stable enough at its deepest level, other muscles switch on take the load they aren’t meant to carry. When I do a full press up or roll up or plank I look like Im doing it correctly but I’m not and over time I’m damaging my body.

So I’m on a slow, corrective, take it easy kind of plan for my shoulder. Even as I type Im annoyed, I hate slowing down! Im going back to basics, I have to retrain my brain and my body to do the work properly, building back up using the right muscles at the right time. Jenny’s correction is a gift to me should I choose to listen to it and do the work.

Sometimes we have to go back to go forward.

When we moved to Dunbar and started a church there was a lot of going back to basics. Stepping back and allowing God to teach us things all the time. As we have worked with other churches and different people, as we have faced our own failings, as we have parented without the support of wider family we have been given great opportunity to learn and grow.

Our everyday life is a fantastic teacher, and close friends and leaders can help us so much if we go to them humbly and allow them into our story. I want to be awake to my life. To my thoughts, words and actions. To take responsibility for my life and allow Jesus to grow me into his image.

The church plant has been an amazing tool for personal growth and mirror to see the truth. But I think being a mum is just as great a teacher. When my little humans run around displaying my less than desirable attitudes or reactions its an amazing opportunity to be corrected.

I’m the kind of person who can be thinking and feeling a hundred different thoughts at any given moment. I wake up and my mind launches straight out the starting blocks. At my core are some deep seated beliefs about myself and God which shape a lot of those thoughts and emotions.

I’m not enough.

God isn’t fair.

I must control and understand everything to be safe.

Fill in the blank………..

So I guess just like you I have a choice, do I keep hammering on and ignoring the brokenness in my life? Or do I slow down and head back into my story for healing and freedom?

Just like my dodgy shoulder shows up every time I exercise, my deepest beliefs show up every time I’m challenged in life. Giving time to go back to basics and allow the Holy Spirit and a trusted few to correct me is my gift.

Do you allow God and a trusted few to correct you?

The truth is I am worth the time and the effort to be whole and so are you.

Happy Monday!

Love Emma