Monday, November 16, 2009

Count the Cost

I have this one secret desire - that my life would count for something. I am not one of these people who believes in living an average life. I do not believe that I exist for myself alone. I am not alive as an exclusive island who exists to gain the very best of life. I was not born into this world to go about life as a 'normal' person. There is nothing normal about me, and there is nothing average about my life.

I was born for greatness. I was born to make a difference and to bring about change. God's plans for my life are for pioneering new strategies and processes, for building structures and practices that challenge the normality of everyday life. His plans for my life are to fulfill a higher purpose, one that I can only dream about. In fact, when I begin to imagine what could be in store, my mind literally tangles itself into a knot trying to get itself around the possibilities of what may lie ahead.

I am doing God no favours if I stay small and in the background, out-of-the-way and unobtrusive, not wanting to make a fuss. No one benefits from my anonymity. I am who I am so I can achieve God's plans for my life and the world.

Am I big-noting myself? No. 'Gee, she's got tickets on herself' I hear you saying. Not true. This is the truth - I know that I know that I know that God's plans for me are for good and not for evil, that they give me a hope and a future. Before the earth was set on it's foundations God had chosen me to be holy. Only things He has deemed as holy may enter His presence. Only those who enter His presence can know God.

I want my life to matter. I want my life to count for something. This world tells us that in order to have a lot, I've got to keep a lot. It tells me that to get ahead I've got to be concerned for me, let everyone else worry about themselves. This world says that your influence is measured by how big your house is and how much stuff is in that big house. It also tells me that when people know your name, you've made the big time.

But everything in my being fights against these 'ideals'. Influence is not only measured by material wealth. You cannot put a monetary figure next to the chance to speak hope into someones world. You can't tell me that a new car is worth more than the chance to change a child's life in a poverty-stricken country. I may never meet him, I may never have the honour of shaking his hand and walking down his street, but right now I have the ability to positively affect his life through sponsorship. In a few years time, that shiny red car is going to be full of rust and blowing black smoke out the exhaust. But that child... I have given him the gift of life. How can you compare the size of your house with the size of that opportunity?

If I keep everything I have tightly grasped in my fists, how am I able to reach out? If my hands are busy keeping my possessions in check, they won't be free to lend a helping hand to the lonely widow down the street who needs help moving boxes in her garage. If I hold tightly onto my money, my hands aren't open to give and aren't open to receive. I would be missing the point.

What does it matter if people know my name but I do nothing to help them? What good is my name if I can't reach out to hurting humanity and do something to alleviate their suffering and pain? My name is but a breath if I'm not willing to speak words of life, offer hope and touch the wounds of society. If I ignore humanity and their desperation, I am shunning the message of the Cross.

Joel Houston from Hillsong states, 'If what we're doing within the four walls (of the church) is having no effect on the streets that we travelled down to get there, then maybe we're missing the point.' Maybe we are missing the point.

I was born at this time in history for a reason. At no other time has another 'me' existed. My words, my time, my finances... I have something to give. I'll always have something to give. My God has graced me with gifts and abilities that have a purpose attached. My greatest achievement will be to hear 'Well done, good and faithful servant' at the end of my time here. I must keep going, I must start something, I must reach out and extend hands of grace, mercy and hope.

How am I going to do this? I don't know. I don't have all the answers yet. But I do know that I won't stop praying for God to break my heart for what breaks His. I will beat with the heart of heaven. I'll put shoes on and run with the message of the Cross, the message of hope and redemption and restoration and mercy and grace. I know that I'll never stop chasing after the One who is these things.

I know that my life will count for something.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Could you please clarify?

Something interesting happened to me the other day. I was having a conversation with someone very close to me, and they mentioned something that confused me. Now, sometimes it doesn't take much to confuse me. Talk to me about something like the stock market or economics or mechanics and you've pretty much lost me as soon as you open your mouth. But for the most part, I can follow an in-depth conversation and generally understand what you're talking about.

So, here's my friend and I and she's talking to me about interesting stuff. I was generally interested in what she was saying. But pretty soon, she'd lost me. I was still caught up on her opening sentence and trying to understand what she meant. You know how you try to split your concentration between comprehending what was already said, and storing up what was currently being said in order to sort through it in a few minutes time? That's where I was.

Instead of walking away feeling refreshed by our discussion, I walked away confused and pensive, and by pensive I mean brooding.

For the rest of the night, I was left wondering, 'What did she mean by that?', 'Surely she couldn't have meant this?' and 'Great, so where does that leave me now?'. I was stuck between an immovable rock and an uncomfortable hard place.

Now, for those of you who have never had the inexplicable joy of being stuck between that rock and a hard place, let me paint you a picture. It's rough, it's sharp, there's no comfort, you begin to twist and cramp into positions and situations you were never meant to contort to. You begin to worry that people will overlook you and not be able to rescue you.

Basically, you're stuck.

Enter from stage left: me. There's the rock, there's the hard place, and there's me wedged between them both. I wasn't getting unstuck in a hurry.

Enter from stage right: a light bulb moment (bing!). Why don't I ask my friend what she meant?

Cue applause. Curtains close.

Act II.

The next morning on my way to work, I rang my friend. We discussed our discussion. The key to this one? I opened my mouth and asked for clarification.

Understanding is underpinned by clarity. The more clearly you see an issue, the easier it is to understand it. When my friend clarified her point, I was instantly able to understand her perspective and point of view. Brilliant.

As soon as clarity entered the scene, understanding and fresh perspective followed. I was able to twist myself out from the rock and hard place and keep walking along on my merry way. Am I saying that positive thinking got me out? No. Maybe I'm suggesting that understanding is the key to life? Nah, not really. Understanding is integral in knowledge, but revelation is integral to wisdom and wisdom is the front door key to living a full life.

All I'm saying is that clarity allowed understanding which allowed new pespective which allowed me to stand up and keep going.

Fade lights. Roll credits.

Thanks for watching Clarity.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In all that I do...

So it's been a very long time since I have sat down to write one of these things. Perhaps it is more that, it's been a long time since I've had time to sit down to write one of these things. Time seems to be one of those things that, if you don't harness it correctly, it can bolt so fast you don't even know which direction it went in.

But that's beside the point. It hasn't been for lack of inspiration that it's taken me so long to sit down with laptop in tow. I've got hundreds of ideas swirling around in my brain. There's movies, books, songs, blogs, sermons, photos, designs... how do I get them all out? Someone said the other day, 'If you can think it, you can do it'. That is true. If there's nothing going on upstairs then there's nothing coming out. So all of that to say that I really should have been more productive, blog wise. So my apologies.

I like words. I go through word phases. I like the word surreptitious. I also enjoy spouting off discombobulate. Big words make me happy. Words with big meanings are also lumped into this category.

Lately, I love the word excellence. What a word. What a meaning. What a life statement. All that excellence encapsulates, I want to manifest in my world. In all that I do, I hope to bring excellence, deliver it to the platform, build it as a pillar in my functioning.

Excellence is not just neat handwriting that deserves a sticker in your book. Is is not just a word that spawned from 80's cult films like Wayne's World. Rather, excellence implies above and beyond. It provides a standard of performing and living that is greater than just good. It's very definition is superiority, quality, virtuous, supremacy, superbness. It is a noun, a thing, a quality that can be obtained.

If in all that I do I want to achieve excellence, does this mean that I want to be viewed with supremacy? No, absolutely not. Excellence in and of itself that exists for it's own gain is not excellence. That is pride. Excellence attached to a cause is what makes it excellent. When you join excellence to a reason, you create the catalyst for heaven to invade earth.

Is this lofty and high end philosophy that is futile in its existence? No, I don't think so. When you insert excellence into your daily life, you find something that, in its very nature, is great. When I create something and do it with excellence, then that thing is great, it is above average, it is superior. It is now something that goes beyond the mundane into the realm of supernatural.

Am I saying that everything I do is better than what everyone else does? No, I'm not. What I am saying is that excellence honours God. Excellence doesn't honour the gift but honours the Gift-Giver. Excellence takes the gift, such as musical talent, creative writing, business solutions, sporting skill, and says, 'Since You gave me the best, I'm giving You my best back.' Excellence doesn't call for perfection; excellence calls for the best that I can do. It's not in my strength anyway, but in God's. But I can surely bring Him the best offering I can and stand back and watch Him move.

Excellence ensures that I enable my world. It positions me for God's best. If I am diligent in operating in excellence in everything I do, I am sure to unlock God's best in my life. God can and will move independently of myself, He is God. But time and time again in the Bible, people's honest and excellent offerings moved God's chess pieces. Think Esther, David, Nehemiah, Gideon, Jeremiah.

I exist in life to bring glory to God. That is what I want to do and that is what I will do. I can bring glory to God by operating in excellence. It's about going above and beyond. Doing a half-baked job does not bring glory to God, nor does it honour Him. Being diligent and prepared, not being satisfied with 50% and ensuring I give my all is what brings honour. God gave His best for me, He gave me Jesus. The least I can do for Him is give Him my best. I can give my best to Him by doing tasks for other people with excellence. If someone asks me to do something, I'm not going to give them less than my best. For giving my best honours God.

I'm starting to sound like a broken record. That's fine. It's just that I've gotten this revelation of excellence. I hope that in my ramblings I shed some light on it for you.

Love all round.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

sitting on the throne

I was reminiscing today about my holiday in Europe. My friend and I spent six weeks swanning around Germany, France, Italy and England, shopping, sightseeing and enjoying being a very obvious tourist (maps + camera = Aussie out of water).

Whilst in Germany we travelled to Munich and went to visit Schloss Neushweinstein. Basically, it's a castle. You may know it from such films as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the puzzle in the back of your wardrobe. It's a famous castle, built by some famous king in the foothills of the German Alps. It's beautiful, it's decadent and it's extravagent.

Of course, the day we decided to visit the castle the buses weren't operating which meant for a very long, very tiring trek up the side of the mountain to get to the castle. But that's an aside. Once at the top, we were ushered through the castle. The guide began telling us the story of the king who built the castle, saying that it took years to build the castle and longer to decorate inside it. In fact, it took so long that the king died during the process and the castle was never finished.

Despite this, the rooms that we were allowed in were, needless to say, fit for a king. Golden this and golden that. Wooden carvings and statues, paintings, lavish fabrics...stunning.

Until we entered the Throne Room.

Paintings like I had never seen covered every inch of the ceiling and walls. Gold was in abundance, colours so beautiful you felt like crying. I should've put out a search warrant for my breath because it was taken away by how magnificent the room was.

Yet something wasn't right. It was empty.

Crazy? Yes. There were people there, or course it wasn't empty.

The king wasn't there? Of course not, he was dead long ago.

So what was it?

A throne room suggests, well, a throne, right? That's what was missing. How bizarre? A throne room with no throne?

What exactly is a throne? Well, it's where the king sits and rules from, makes decisions, does this and that. Basically, it's where the king is king.

But this castle, in all it's extravagence, had no throne. That makes me sad. The king never actually ruled from this particular castle because it took so long to build and then he died. So this throne room never saw the king be king.

Are you seeing what I'm getting at?

I don't ever want my life to resemble that castle. A throne room with no throne, a castle with no king. That was the saddest room I have ever been in. In all the majesty and splendor, there was no room for the king, nowhere for him to sit and be king.

This is probably the part where I say, 'Who is sitting on the throne is your life?'. Wow, tacky Christian-ese. But in all seriousness, you can be sure that my life won't look like Schloss Neuschweinstein!