The Year of Inclusivity

Today we are joined by a guest blogger, they’ve asked to remain anonymous. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the read – I did!
16708_52073
We’re on the downhill slide to the end of April and so this question might seem a little out of place but I have to ask. How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? In years past, I’d be excited about the fresh start that a new year offers. I would nearly always have a handful of resolutions, wholehearted convictions to write more letters, start running walking, eat less junk .A list of new habits to form to create a new me, a list which, usually by the end of Jan, I would part ways with, never to be reunited again…until the 31st of December. So this year, my resolution was to not make any resolutions.
It’s working well so far. Sort of.
Early in Jan I was reading one of my favorite blogs, and the topic was – you guessed it – New Year’s resolutions. The blogger asked her community of readers what their thoughts were on resolutions. Many said that they didn’t bother with resolutions anymore. Interestingly, many talked about the concept of choosing one word by which they would attempt to define their lives, for the year. The one word could be something as simple as ‘nature’, and for one person it could be just a reminder to get outside and enjoy nature as much as possible. Another reader had decided on ‘creativity’ as their word for the year, and signed up to attend different art and craft classes through the year. So it’s basically up to you to decide on what the word is and how you would apply it through your year.
onewordMy word for the year is inclusivity. I didn’t quite choose it arbitrarily, nor did it come to me in a blinding flash. It came about like this. We were attending Christmas Eve service at church, and a skit had been prepared for the children. The lead character was carefully preparing a gift for the coming King, and happily accepted the help of friends to make this gift perfect. All that is, except for this one friend, who was messy and had dirty hands and made a mess of everything he touched. The lead character was horrified to discover that the messy friend had gotten hold of his carefully prepared gift and basically messed up the whole thing. Distraught, he began to try to explain to the messy one that this was a SPECIAL gift for the King, who would not appreciate grimy hand-prints on his gift, or any sort of imperfection. Messy people and their messy gifts were unwanted by the King, he said. Thankfully the lead character was brought to realise that gifts, not matter how imperfect or messy, as well as the gift giver, were dearly, dearly loved by the King.
I clearly recall feeling horribly uncomfortable in my seat as I watched the skit unfold. You see, I had come so very close, that very night, to behaving like the lead character, who had carefully prepared his gift, and was happy to exclude and reject a friend, just to have things his way, to have his gift spotless. I too had prepared a gift, and I also had a messy friend who could mess up my careful preparations.
A few days before, I had sent out invitations to a Christmas Eve supper at our house. It was to take place after our church service. I had carefully planned a cosy evening in our decorated home. I conjured up visions of relaxed conversation, eating and drinking and just being merry .Life had been busy up to that point, as it usually is leading up to Christmas. This would be the perfect occasion to relax and enjoy myself.
I’m not proud to admit that I had decided to not invite a particular family to my party. This family is dearly loved by our family. But they’re known to arrive way too early, or too late, or forget to turn up at all, sometimes it would be just the one member who would attend, or all. They would bring a lovely and generous dish but forget the main ingredient and think nothing of dashing off to pick it up. In short…they were unpredictable and added an element of uncertainty to my careful plans. I had no intentions of being made to bear with the discomfort of unpredictability.
But then, day or so before Christmas Eve, I suddenly decided to invite them. I knew that they were going through tough times and that they would love a chance to socialise. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did, because after sitting through that skit at church that evening, i was mortified to discover how much I’m like that lead character in the skit. Intent on my own ease and pleasure, I came so very close to rejecting and excluding the people who needed friends and support most, simply because I didn’t want to be uncomfortable.
4e093053214b1728312cf93bf34fecc4That night I learned how important inclusivity is but more than that, I also learned how so very easy it is to pass it by. It’s pretty uncomfortable to be inclusive, but oh so very comfortable to just do your own thing, have things your way, just how you like it.
But then there’s this. God’s master plan for humanity, which we witness at the cross, is inclusivity at its ultimate. It was also pain at its ultimate. Through this He has made a place for us in this world, and in the one to come. You, I – we are invited, included, expected, accepted, warmly and lovingly welcome beyond what we can imagine, to come to the Father and just be. It is an example that I’ve been challenged to follow.
The definition of inclusivity is to intentionally include marginalized people, such as people with disabilities or who are part of a racial minority. I’ve decided that inclusivity in my definition would be to include everyone – because so many people feel alone, lonely, left out. I can’t fill all the gaps for all the people I know, but for an afternoon, or for half an hour – I can give someone my time and my attention and hope that they feel very much included in, and are a part of my life.
Thank to my anonymous guest blogger  – I’ll be back next week
Until then, Happy Ponderings xx
Advertisements

…. greater love

tumblr_mls5n41feh1rj3ommo1_1280
There I did it – I just used Wikipedia as my guide to history –please forgive me!  This week as we approached ANZAC DAY in Australia we remember the massive sacrifices which were made for us to live in the freedom we do – we are a very blessed nation, As a foodie, the famous biscuit crossed my mind.  You see them everywhere at this time of year, but we don’t always stop to ask why.
So here’s my Wikipedia bit….
Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I. It has been claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_biscuit).
I wanted to give you a little insight into the Famous ANZAC biscuit and prompt you to maybe bake a batch between now and next Tuesday and remember the sacrifice that the generations that have gone before have brought us.
‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15:13
And by generations I don’t just mean the last few, but the countless generations who have been before us.  We live in a time of untold gratitude towards those who paved the way for the good, no great things, we have in our lives.  No matter where we live, no matter whether you had loved ones who went to war or not, we all know people who have make sacrifices for big and small for others, for us.  There the ones I feel prompted to say thanks too, along with being filled with gratitude for those made the ultimate sacrifices for freedom (this always reminded me of Jesus too – now amazing His sacrifice of love)
fresh vegetables on wooden tableOh, before I go, here’s a link to a ANZAC recipe (I prefer them on the chewy side, or straight from the freezer..yummm delicious!) http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/anzac-biscuits/cc4e2031-8b63-48e7-8eff-b2637f472180
Next week we have a guest blogger, who’ll be joining us.  I’m so looking forward to it…….
Until then, Happy Pondering x

 

i want to know what love is…

828ae0878a4862b0832b1c2d6b5080c1

I’ve heard is stated simply ‘show God’s love practically and give to those in need’. Heidi Baker frames it this way, ‘love looks like something’. For God, it looked like Jesus coming to earth and dying upon a cross for all of humanity, throughout all time. The Bible says God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21). Blows me away, that’s a whole lot of love right there!
We all hate the word sin, because it seems like judgment; but truth is everyone mucks up, and the result of mucking up is that we are distanced from God. Look at the world, there’s lying, cheating, hating, grudges, pride, stubbornness, doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. I know you’re thinking, some of them aren’t sin- you’re right in a way. But some of them are the effect of the mucked up state of our lives and world. Life is full cause and effect.  Drink too much; get drunk.  Eat too much; put on weight. Doubt yourself and your potential; welcome low self-esteem. Don’t talk to God about your concerns and worries; open the door to fear and anxiety.  Try to long to be strong in your own strength…. .  Hope your catching my drift.  And here’s where I’m heading with it, (but before I do.  I don’t lightly say that issues of depression, low self-esteem, anxiety are an effect of a mucked up world, I say it from a place, where I’ve seen it, lived, it, battled it and been able to find strength in God as I’ve moved thru it.) .  Ok, as I was saying ….. Hope your catching my drift.  And here’s where I’m heading with it, in spite of all of this, God choose, and Jesus agreed to come and sacrifice His life, so that we could come into relationship with God and step into freedom from all the cause and effects that make the world, and our worlds – simply mucked uP!

f4325aab0c929093e35c1833fe1b164b

Often, we hear God spoken about and think of Him as some judgemental dude, who either has old glass windows in a building or a mega big building filled with riches.  But that’s more an image of religion- a lifestyle of do’s and don’ts.  However, there is an opportunity to have a relationship with God, where you can talk to Him about the very real things that are going on in your life.  To read the Bible and see how some of those Old Testament girls and guys actually have stories which can help you out in the tough times you’re facing.  To welcome the Comforter (AKA Holy Spirit) into your life and have one who will help, guide, encourage and talk with you about life.  And as we approach Easter this year, I just wanted to encourage you not to just think about the Hot Cross Buns, Chocolate and Easter Bunny; but instead ask:
  • How am I really doing at life? . (I always seem to do this – I ask you to ask massive questions, in a light -hearted manner.  Sorry, if it’s a brain bender).
  • Could I use a relationship with God to help me get through the day?
  • Does what I’m reading, question what I’ve known of God.
  • Do I know God or do I just know a little about Him.
  • Am I happy with my relationship with God
Just a few things to ponder as we sip on coffee and eat (hopefully) a delicious Lindt Bunny (… see I’ll eat Chocolate too this Easter).  Knowing that as I do, I can chat with my God about the very real highs and lows of life.  And that’s worth celebrating each and every day.  Not just when the supermarket throws hot cross buns (yummy) and choc eggs at me.
And if, as you have pondered those questions, you think, I’d like to know more about the God she talks about.  Start this way ‘hey God, can we talk, I’d like to know if you’re really there….’.  I’m sure He’ll answer you, after all its His nature to talk to those He loves.
Until next week
Happy pondering xx

sac.ri.fice

058161_355e798968d542f08bce2a6b491118f9

Sacrifice – groan…. I can almost hear it audibly as I type.  What’s she gonna tell me I have to give up now… groan.

 

Nuh, it’s not like that at all. Sure, there is an element of giving up something, it’s even in the definition 😉 , but look at what follows … ‘for the sake of something regarded as MORE important or worthy’.  In simple terms is it really a sacrifice to give up the last Tim Tam Biscuit (yumm… I’m on a no chocolate or coffee self-imposed thing, at the moment, and each time I type about them, it’s like I can remember the fabulousness of them.  Anyway, focus ER!) As I was saying before, I licked my lips, is giving up the last Tim Tam biscuit really a sacrifice when the person you’re giving it to means so much more to you.  Ok, bad example for all the chocolate lovers out there who are screaming at me – Yes!

 

But the key thing in sacrifice is that the thing you are giving up, is of lesser value than the ‘who’ you are giving it too.  Where it gets harder to comprehend, is that people have sacrificed their own lives, for the freedom and safety of others.  That’s where love enters the equation of sacrifice. We see it time and time again, when people lay themselves down as a sacrifice, whether it be a teacher giving a kidney to a student (saw that on the new the other week – amazing !!). A mate in war, giving there life for another; or someone intervening in a fight they wander past on the street.   We hear it said in news reports all the time, it’s what anyone would have done.  Deep down we know its no though. And this is where the challenge lies.

I consider it a case of preferring another to yourself. And here’s where the challenge is applicable every day.  Do I prefer Bob more than the last Tim Tam, do I prefer the red car merging in before me, more than I do my own driving agenda. Do I prefer my friends and family, and therefore compromise my wants for the benefit of them.

So whilst sacrifice is about giving up things, it’s also about loving others first.

Until next week

Happy Pondering

image