Friday, September 9, 2011


As I get older, I am becoming more in tune with what I believe, what I stand for and what I truly dislike. I guess some people would call it being 'set in your ways', but I think it's a little more than getting stuck in a routine of mediocre adulthood.

I think it's probably more along the lines of, 'another year older, another year wiser'. Amen to that. It's about time I grew up and starting acting like an adult. Maybe it's that nasty cynicism creeping into my world, leaving a bitter after taste of pessimism behind whilst cleverly disguising itself as being 'in touch with reality'.

But I think it's even more than that. I think it's when we finally get comfortable in our own skin and have developed enough self-awareness to realise just what makes us tick. I've been around me long enough to know what I'm like.

I've done the personality tests, the spiritual gift tests, the questionnaires, the psychological tests, the IQ tests, read the books, listened to the tapes, heard the sermons, and I've come out the other end knowing a few things. I know I'm a melancholic choleric who has the gift of wisdom and has a HUGE IQ. I also have the gift of exaggeration.

But even after all those written tests, there's a few things that time will eventually tell you, and often they will come from everyday interaction with everyday people. The beautiful people on the same team, the gifted individuals, the leaders, the sandpaper sisters, those darn sanguines and irritating phlegmatics who can't make a decision. It's through everyday life that I learned a few lessons about people, but also about myself.

I learned that I'm passionate about team. I love team, the very thought of team makes me smile. I'm sold out to the house of God. That's where you'll find me. I like to make big decisions carefully, complete with the pros and cons list. I despise it when commitment is lacking. And I believe that encouragement is one of the biggest weapons in my arsenal.

When I think about how vulnerable I used to be as a young person setting out on the Christian journey and how much it meant to me when a leader or friend encouraged me with a note, quality time, a kind word or something else meaningful, I'm reminded of the impact it had on me. I haven't forgotten those things, and literally still have every note someone ever wrote me in a box. So when I look at this generation today trying to find their way, their calling, growing in their ministry gifts, I think back to the impact that encouragement had on me and I pay it forward.

My dad says, 'You catch more flies with honey than vinegar'. I can make more friends and help more people to grow through encouragement than I can through reprimand. There are times when you need to deliver the hard word (my college lecturer used to say 'two positives then a negative' and 'sandwich it with encouragement'), but geez, there are always way more opportunities to deliver the kind and encouraging word.

Encouragement is free. It costs me nothing, but you can't put a value on what it could mean to the other person. I want the people I do life with to never doubt that I believe in them.

At the end of my life, I want to be known as an encourager. A leader? Sure. A great friend? Absolutely. But to be known as an encourager, that every time I led, every time I interacted with someone, every time I taught a newbie musician, I found something positive that they did and something positive within them, and encouraged them. That's what I want to spend my life doing.

'Hey mate, the way you played that chorus was awesome, great job!'

'You did really well tonight, I loved that you jumped in that song, that was heaps cool.'

'You led the band really well tonight, especially when you brought the chorus down and built it up again, well done!'

'I can see heaps of potential in you, you're pretty great.'

'I'm so glad I get to do life with you!'

Words can be cheap these days, so I never want to sound insincere, but it really doesn't take much to be an encouraging voice in a discouraging world.

At the end of the day, if you sow encouragement, you reap encouragement. It's a win-win situation really.

Friday, February 11, 2011

pass the gloves please

I'm one of those people who hates getting their hands dirty. I don't like getting dirt under my nails and I don't like the feeling of grime on my skin. I used to wash my hands a lot, so much so that I developed an allergy to the handwash and couldn't use it anymore.

I'm not a gardener, I don't much like cooking and using my hands to prepare food, and I most certainly don't do anything handy around the house other than the laundry. I'm not precious about my nails, but I do regularly groom and manicure myself so I don't look sloppy.

I don't really enjoy housecleaning, but I love the feeling of having a clean house, so I will occasionally pull out the furniture polish and get about buffing the timber. I can check the oil and water in my car, but that's as far as I'll go. No oil change for me. That's what I pay mechanics for. Their hands are already so grubby it would be a shame to dirty my pretty little paws when they could do it in half the time.

I do bath the dogs and brush their coats, but when it comes to the gross things like cleaning out their ears? Mum's the best person for that job. And let's not get started on who should clean up any mishaps on the carpet. Mum. Enough said.

I like washing up, but I always like to make sure that I have a sink full of clean water. We're not advanced enough to have a dishwasher, so it's good ol' fashioned washing up for me. I don't enjoy sticking my hands into luke-warm dirty dish water to pull the plug. I'll often use a fork to pull it out so I don't have to get my hands dirty.

Now, before you label me an OCD fanatic, let me explain. (...I used to organise my wardrobe in alphabetical order according to the colours of the fabric.... black, blue, brown, green, grey, orange, pink, purple, yellow. I have since recovered, but that obsession does linger every now and then...) I just don't like getting my hands dirty. I feel, well, dirty.

But I also know that things don't get done on their own. I've had to learn the art of rolling up my sleeves and doing whatever needs to be done. It's a pretty simple concept. When things need to be done, I do them. I don't like to have a job unfinished. I very rarely leave a job uncompleted. I do enjoy working through a to-do list and ticking off the things that need to be done.

My dad used to drill into me, 'If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well'. Thanks Dad. You bred excellence into me from a young age, as young as I can remember.

I'm no stranger to hard work. I do what needs to be done. And I've learned that, sometimes, you've got to get your hands dirty. There's just times where things need to be done. And there's no way you can't do them. You can't ring Hire A Hubby and get them to finish the job. It can only come from you, from your hands, from your experience, your background, your knowledge and wisdom.

There's some things that you've got roll your sleeves up for and get your hands dirty.

Now, you've probably figured out that I'm not talking about planting pansy's or scrubbing down the garage walls (because who wants to do that?!). I'm talking about getting your hands into the hard work, the team challenges, the building, the stretching the growing of yourself and others, the tedious tasks of teamwork and the painful process of internal healing. Sometimes, there's no other way to deal with it than to get out those princess rubber gloves with faux animal fur, snap them on and go about the Father's business.

Because when you busy yourself with building God's kingdom, He busies Himself with your steps. When your about the Father's business, He looks after yours.

What a privilege, what an honour, to spend my life getting my hands dirty for the Kingdom.