Dark season

Dare to dance

Dare to dance

Not all of us like to dance. Some people go through all of life without ever giving it a try. Some make a lifestyle of dance and others of us pine for a time where we used to dance as a way of life. 

For me, I spent much of my life watching dance, teaching dance and dancing myself. It was when I was crippled by back pain that I started pulling back from the thing I so loved. Now if I see dances and dance movies that harken back to my previous life, I find it upsetting and saddening to think back to how my body used to feel and move. 

Overcome Me

Overcome Me

Being overcome by something doesn't usually have positive connotations. It implies succumbing to something, giving in to something that is too strong for us to withstand. It's not something that comes with choice, it's something that overpowers us and that goes against our will. 

This is a picture painted with the colour of fear, and doesn't appeal to even the strongest of us.

What if that is exactly what needs to happen? 

Who's on the throne?

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throne of your heart"There is space only for youOn the throne of my heart.I long and yearn to sit at your feet.Just to be with you,Just to stand in your presence,Just to see you in your Glory,Just to hear your voiceThis is all my soul desires"It's really easy to say that we love God, we adore God, we put no one else before God, we worship God, we serve God, and a thousand other things about how we interact with God.Recently I was challenged about really, who, or what is on the throne of my heart? Who or what is taking that space from, or sharing that space with Yeshua?For me, this challenge came in the form of food and exercise. After having 3 kids I was determined to take control of the situation, get fit, lose weight and live more healthily. I threw myself at it, working out daily, trying many different eating programs which left me rigidly following plans which had no 'give' to them. I enjoyed it! It got results! I got fit! I gained muscle tone! I made it to many personal goals, like running 5K! I did it! right?Wrong. I reached an all time low, emotionally, when I realised that if I was going to maintain this weight loss and fitness level I was going to have to deny myself constantly, discipline myself relentlessly, and have no leeway for the rest of my life. That isn't living. That is slavery.I was desperate - it was something I'd struggled with since I was a child, I cried out to God, and it came crashing in on me - I had never sought to hear what God's opinion was on this matter. I had tried to fix it completely humanly, completely scientifically, and it wasn't His way!Over the next few days and weeks came a very deep and at times, painful process of realising how much I had put things before Him. Even when it was with good intention, and a 'right' desire - to be healthy and look after my body. I suddenly felt freedom for the first time in my life in this area, and once I understood that God had made a way for us to live healthily, without plans, calorie counting, restricting myself, without viewing foods as 'good' or 'bad' - and guess what? I was free and I lost weight.The amazing side effect of weight loss isn't what I'm writing about here, I realised how many times I'd not run to God when I felt down - I'd run to a chocolate bar. I had this horrible realisation that I'd put a piece of chocolate on the throne of my heart, rather than the Almighty creator of heaven and earth. Chocolate.For you it may not have anything to do with food or exercise - it may be music, work, technology, money, friends, ministry, family - it could literally be anything - where do you run when you want comfort?It's hard to run to God because it's usually the moments when we need to run to him, that he feels furthest away! So we find a quick fix, which usually becomes a crutch without us even knowing or noticing. We shove things between us and God which fix us for a few minutes, or even hours, but it doesn't deal with the root.For me, the root was emotional - I was a comfort eater, and I didn't even notice! I had no idea how many times a day I ran to food instead of God, and until I found a strategy to distinguish between my heart needing to be fed, and my stomach needing to be fed. Up until this point I couldn't tell the difference, and used my self made comforter for both - food. Now I learned the difference I could feed my heart on God, and my stomach on food. Both in their rightful - and enjoyable, places.Recently a good friend and co-worker quoted "The final question presented to humanity is this: Who will you worship?". I was worshipping food, fitness and the ideal of being thin and muscly, and I didn't even realise.Whatever gets our most attention is what we worship. Those things can be good things - like our families, being a good mom, being a good friend. But if those things become slightly too emphasised, and it becomes a crutch where we gain even the smallest amount of identity, then they've climbed up onto that throne and have taken the place of the King. I'm not saying we should deny who we are, I am a mom, there is an aspect of that being my identity, but it's not the summation of who I am, it's a part of the calling and role that God has for me. My identity, the essence of who I am made to be, is wrapped up in Him.As I've walked through this process it's becoming increasingly clear to me that this is what God does with us. He gently peels things away, he strips us back, getting rid of the 'stuff' we wrap ourselves us in. He wants us to be who he made us to be - without all the bolt-ons we add. He's stripping us back to the original design, and yes, he'll use all we've been through to enhance that, and teach us things, but we think we can outsmart God so often. We think we can help Him out by adding things to the already perfect recipe. God didn't leave things out when we made us - he got it right - exactly right.When we clutter up our throne room, with little bits and stuff which we think we need, the process of emptying, ordering, stripping back and restoring get harder and harder, more and more painful. Some of those things have taken up residence in your throne room for decades! Those are hard things to root out - but you see, the King wants a clear throne room, with no distractions, where he can speak, and you hear clearly. Where you can run to Him and not trip, where He can love you, and you can not share it with anything else.The question is - are you willing to clear the throne room? You may find unexpected things sitting on your throne - like I did. You may already know what sits on your throne. In either case, the King is ready to be given back his throne, He's waiting on your acceptance of this challenge to gently re-order your throne room, and let him take up permanent residence.  

Fresh Oil

Fresh Oil

Let the pressure be just right.Let the darkness be fleeting and never lonely,So that what comes forth is pure, and an oil you're pleased with"

On a recent family visit,  I had the privilege of  seeing my son operate an ancient olive press. He followed the instructions given to him perfectly, and pressed a few (not quite ripe!) olives and we saw the beginnings of oil coming forth from them.

Ever since then, the enormity of the meaning of the olive press has been made more real to me than ever. The struggle that each olive goes through to produce this precious oil, is such a representation of what God is doing with us. We need to be squeezed, refined, and put under pressure in order of that pure offering to found in us.