Saturday, November 4

Authentic Faith: How To Maintain a Relationship With God When Life Sucks



I'm not broken, but I am pretty close to it.

This isn't the first time so since I'm in touch with my pain right now, I decided to use it to hopefully help at least one of you.

There's gonna be a fair bit of faith-based content in this one. I'm sure that's obvious by the title but just so you know what you're getting yourself into, I thought it best to warn you.

Let's start with John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Satan exists.

He is the father of lies and one of his favourite tricks is to convince us that he is nothing more than a figment of the imagination.

 He is NOT the opposite of God. He was defeated when Jesus died for us, but since he knows he is going down, Satan's main goal is to take as many people with him, just to spite God. It's not even about us.

Jesus, on the other hand, loves us unconditionally, He seeks to give us an abundant life, make us whole and reunite us with God the father. Salvation is a process, not a destination.

 As I covered the last post, we are unique and as such so is our path in life and in faith.

Step 1 in maintaining a relationship with God when you are hurting is to be real with yourself about where you are right now in this moment, even if you don't like it.


I once told Jesus, because of the pain of a traumatic event in my life that I loved Him but I was angry with his father. That was fine because God can work with that. Being real about my anger, gave me the ability to keep the conversation between myself and Jesus alive. Jesus doesn't just love us for the good bits of us, He loves the ugly in us too and even that dark side that we all have is no surprise to Him. He died so that we may have life, He is our ultimate hope and it is because of Him that we can have the next thing you need in order to keep that relationship with God alive when you are hurting.

Joy is the answer

Nehemiah 8:10 And Nehemiah continued, "Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who has nothing prepared? 

This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!"

Joy is very precious, it is not an emotion, it goes deeper than that. Joy gives us the ability to smile when inside we feel like crying, it gives us the strength to breath when the best we can do is just get through the day.

Satan wants to steal your hope and joy. Jesus gives us the joy we need to stand when we feel weak. You would be surprised at how many times I have had people say I look really happy, but then they are shocked when I say, that actually I am really hurting right now, it is only the Joy of Jesus that allows me to cope with the pain of my circumstances.



Step 2 in maintaining a relationship with God when life sucks is throwing yourself on Jesus, and allow his Joy to be your strength.

Once you have the strength to get through the day, you will also find that you have enough strength to get your armour on.


Step 3 The armour of God is very important, and you should put yours on every day. Fact is, even if we are on the winning side, we are still in war and every good soldier knows that before you can help someone else you have to first take care of yourself.


Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

How this may look for you (aside from reading the bible and spending a little time each day talking to God) may be different from how it looks for me.

For me, I find it super important to remember that taking care of me, means taking care of all of me, so that means my mind, body, emotions, soul and spirit combined.

  • I listen to music that soothes my soul.
  • I eat something, drink water and get plenty of sleep.
  • I spend a few minutes each morning talking to God.
  • I happen to love baths, so especially when I am hurting I make an extra effort to pamper myself...even if my day is super busy and I can only manage 20 minutes to spare.
  • If I can, I try to play some games or watch something to let me escape the pain for a little bit.
  • Ultimately, I remember that time is a healer, as is Christ and as I work with Him, I will find my healing in time and I rest in the fact that God can use this.

Nothing is ever wasted


There is beauty beneath the scars and just like myrrh, the more I am (unwillingly, I am not a masochist) crushed the sweeter I will let what remains be. It hurts yes, but signing up for the Christian life is not always easy.

Jesus overcame, so can we


When you are going through something painful, as well-meaning as much of what I have written may be, it may not seem like enough. So finally, I want to give you the number one key.

Step 4. Remember that Jesus is the good Shepherd and we are His sheep.


Trust the shepherd and rest in His arms, they are more than strong enough to see you through anything.

Healing journeys are often painful, messy and much of may seem unnecessary, but if you choose to rest in the arms of Jesus,

Just like a little lamb in the shepherd's hands, you will in time find healing and your story will be powerful.

Dear friend, you are so very precious to God, His love is unconditional so mater what your world looks like right now, you can find rest for your soul.


Just come to Him.  (Matthew 11:28)

I am more than happy to stand in prayer with you if you message me, or further, explain any of my points.

My desire is to see you shine bright because you can. 

Nothing more, nothing less.

Catch you next time.

I'm taking some time off for the Christmas season in name of needing to take care of myself right now so I will see you next year (unless I manage to get around to a surprise Christmas post that is)

Love Hayley

xXx


Friday, November 3

Authentic Faith:Sit Down Darling, Sometimes You Don't Need To Stand


I strongly believe that a big part of chasing fulfilment rather than happiness is relating to a higher power. In my case that higher power is God or more accurately Jesus Christ. I am as a friend of mine likes to put it " not a normal Christian but a CHRISTian none the less"  

This is going to be a personal post because this is the best and only way to truly be authentic while writing about this topic. 

Let's get to it! 




October 3rd 2016 marks 25 years since I left my dolls and ran downstairs to ask Jesus in my heart.  I grew up in a Christian family, but my very first steps in faith were taken at just 3 years old.
Since then, I have learned a lot about this whole being a Christian/Walking with God thing. I've thought a lot about what to write about in relation to faith, and the only thing that seems fitting is to make a very clear point about some things that have been on my heart for a long while now.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling - Philippians 2:12 (NLT)

Growing up, this was the verse my mum used most to explain the importance of being responsible for the results of my faith and how I grow. This along with seeking out the origins of all things( and another scriptural advice given by my dad that I will talk about next post), is something that will always be a guiding voice for me.

Working out one's own salvation is a very personal thing. While there are foundations to stand on within the faith, I do believe that God created us all different and therefore our individual walk with God will be unique to us. With that said, the pace of our walk is a very individual thing and if I may, I would like to remind any other believers out there that everyone has the right to walk with God at their own pace. He knows what is best for each person and is incredibly patient with us. 


For people in the struggle of faith stage, the struggle is necessary. Faith that has been shaken, can no longer be shaken. Some of us go to some pretty dark places during our search for God and you know what? That's okay.

God doesn't love us any less because we fall in the gutter once in a while and just because you did something sinful, Jesus is not going to fall off His throne! 

It is a sad reality that well-meaning Christians make other believers feel awful because they are not as far along the narrow path as the culture would have them be.

Sheep bite and spiritual abuse is a very real thing....

....and that right there is what this post is going to be about. 

So to start, let me be clear everything I am about to say is from experience, and wow do I have a lot of it. You see, I am a church-hopper. ( Yes thank you 50% of my readers leaving right now without hearing me out on what I mean by this, on the grounds of this hopefully see you next post)

I've already got a post defending Church-hopping but just quickly, what I mean by this is that I grew up jumping from church to church, (for some very good reasons) and now that getting church is up to me, I still haven't found a church that I can call home, largely because I am still dealing with some very real and painful wounds from my past church experiences.

I almost hesitate to write this post because the last thing I want to do is put someone off Christianity because of the fact that spiritual abuse happens. One thing I have got to make really clear here is that you do NOT have to go to church to be a Christian, and God is all about love, it is just, unfortunately, a  minority of misguided people that make Him look bad at church by hurting others (although I am sure most do it unintentionally)

Getting hurt at church is such a damaging thing. It can cause many people to walk away from God altogether, and many of those that keep their faith even after such hurt, don't go back to church at all.

As I have said already, sheep can bite!

What really doesn't help though, is when someone has been hurt by a church and then other people tell them that walking away is "doing what Satan wants" or that since we know offences will come, they need to be the bigger person and forgive. When someone has made up their mind that leaving a church is best for them, others really should just let them go gracefully. It is between them and God. 

Why is that so hard to understand??

What really tickles me is that in any other area of our lives we wouldn't put up with this. If we felt uncomfortable somewhere we would leave, guilt and consequences be damned! With church though, we tend to let the guilt sink in and stay in a situation we feel is hurting us, a lot longer than we should and this isn't good for anyone. 

I just want to throw it out there that if you feel uncomfortable or hurt by the way a church and/or its members are treating you, you have the right to leave ....and you should! 

If you are of an age where you need your parents/guardians permission to leave the church, talk it over with them, explain why you want to leave, be respectful and very clear.
It can be a really hard place to be between churches, it is very easy to get branded a church-hopper and you often have to deal with a lot of misunderstandings. It can be lonely and painful, and guilt can cause us to think we really should be in a church which doesn't help.

What is really important to remember though, is that Jesus has been in the worldliness, He gets it. He can and will heal you if you are willing to work through some things with Him.
You absolutely DO NOT have to forgive until you are ready to, and even then forgiveness does not mean you let people hurt you again, you can set boundaries. We are told to guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23

You may not even want to read your bible for a little while, and that again is okay. There are many other ways to grow your faith, and God is able to speak in ways you wouldn't necessarily expect.

When you are hurting, please take extra care of your heart

I know this is controversial but sometime's Jesus can call us aside to heal awhile before moving on to a new church and there is NOTHING wrong with you if you feel the need for this. God still loves you and has a plan for your life, you are not off track, you exactly where you need to be for this season.

Everything happens in God's perfect timing. 

Everything. 


Friday, October 20

Be Unique Not Uniform When You're Hurting ( Here's How)

Disclaimer : Before we get started, please note that all advise given is from experience only, I am not a professional in the fields this advise may relate to. As always please follow the advise of the professionals you are in care of. Nothing written here is designed to replace advise given by the medial professionals you are in care of. Although I have as much as possible tried to align with generally considered healthy standards, please exercise caution when taking any advise given, taking your own individual circumstances into account. Thank you. 



It's no secret that I like boxes, but people do not belong in boxes and they certainly should not be labelled unless they choose to be.

Today I am  choosing a label and in doing so, opening the door to healing and happiness and hopefully there are little nuggets that may be of use to you in what I share today.

Let's talk about pain management.


Oh and that label?

Hurting. 

Hey you have to acknowledge where you are if you ever want to change right?

Right now I have to acknowledge that while there are many good things in my life, when I am alone with the silence at the dead of night, it still hurts inside.

I've never felt more vulnerable, it's easy to share my past, it's long gone and nothing I do now will change what has happened, but to share my pain as it's happening, that's another matter entirely.
Here's my reality in a few phrases:I' Obedience is better than sacrifice, but sometimes sacrifice is necessary also. I'm broken-hearted but Jesus can fix it. (not religion) Don't move on, move forward. Wolf bite. We can do nothing about wasted time, but we can stop wasting time. Life goes on. Regenerate.

Bottom line, I'm in pain and chances are so are you in some area of your life.

The uniform way of dealing with pain is textbook.

We all know what we should do, but the reality is often a very unhealthy emotional roller-coaster. Riding that emotional wave is like junk food for our emotions, it may feel good in the moment, but often times we won't think it was so worth it after the fact. Yet most people will choose to repeate this behaviour over and over again, even-though, the results are fleeting.

Emotions are important but living by them will only lead to more problems. So I invite you to learn how to live above your emotions and in doing so you will move from uniform to unique.

It is a good thing that many creatives can tap into what is happening with their emotions and express this in their work but the artist still needs to be in control. Everyone needs to have a plan to deal with emotions, because if you don't your emotions can cost you a lot. 

Here's my tips on things to include in that plan.

Accept yourself as you are, not as you want to be.

While it is awesome to aim to live to the standards of your best self, you're not there yet, so acknowledge and accept yourself for where you are now. Maybe certain elements of your personality will never change, so even though you are working hard to change, accept that some parts of you just won't and that's okay. No one is perfect, but it is still possible to find the beauty in your imperfections and learn to love yourself for that.


Know your defaults.

What do you do when something bad happens?
What are the signs you are falling into patterns you don't like about yourself?
Write them down, then find healthy alternative ways for handling your pain.

Be unique.

It's your plan to handle your own pain so include the things that you love in your strategy, for example, if you like me are a writer then maybe writing will help you cope with pain or maybe you would just prefer scribbling on paper with the music blaring, whatever works for you, as long as it's not harmful to yourself or others is fine.

Give yourself some time

You will need time to handle the pain in your own way, but also give yourself a time limit for this. Your emotions may want you to stay in a slump for days on end, but responsibility shouldn't be shirked if you are able to keep your commitments, then do it. It will save you so much trouble later, trust me.

Don't bottle it up. Let others help you.

I know  especially if like me you are the kind of person to want to handle things alone if you are able to do so, that it's tempting just to act like everything is fine, but the fact is we are relational beings and if you can share the pain with someone else, it's healthier for you. It's not weak to seek professional help if you think  you need it, it's actually a very brave step and should be applauded, but even before this family and friends are often more willing to listen than you may think and if like me, you believe in God, then talking to Him can help too.

See to you basic needs.

Make sure you eat something, get some sleep if you can and do things to help you feel able to handle the day. Pain sucks as does Jet, but neither of these last forever.


Let your art heal you.

The thing you are most passionate about often has the power to help you get back to normality and this can be a key to helping you move forward after something painful has happened. Time does heal, but you don't have to suffer every second of that it takes to do that.

Find the beauty beneath your scars.

Yes pain usually comes with much darkness but that does not mean that all the beauty in your life is stripped away because it hurts. Find the beauty within and outside of you, and that will ignite a spark of hope in your heart, which is enough to get up and move forward past anything in life. Just one spark is all it takes. So take that spark, and shine bright.

Use your pain, if you can.

Some of the greatest stories and art was found in the depths of very real pain. Maybe the world's next best novel will be birthed out of your own painful experiences. It worked for so many of the greats, it can work for you. Your life experiences are unique to you, maybe there's a story there?

Research. Take time to know and understand yourself and to seek out resources that are designed to help you handle pain and move forward in life.


These are just suggestions, you can take what works for you and leave the rest, I remind you this list is written from experience only, but if something helps then by all means use it.

How this plan may look in action is simply a written or verbal agreement with yourself that when you are hurting instead of running back to your default unhealthy behavior you will do x, y and Z instead which is much healthier and works best for you. It doesn't need to be long, just sincere.



Myrrh is an oil that has many healing propitiates, one day we will do a post about how exactly Myrrh can help when handling pain but here's just one more thought before we finish today.

The more myrrh is crushed, the sweeter it smells. Sometimes our pain can produce something powerful, brilliant and amazing, and I truly do believe there is beauty beneath the scars.

Anyway, that's about it for today's post.

Catch you next time, 

Love Hayley

xXx 

Friday, August 25

Here I go again on my ownnnnnnnnnnnn! ( got that tune stuck in my head)

Okay so here's the deal, I'm jumping back in.





I have got some amazing content ready to upload here but I literally only just decided I'm definitely going ahead with this new blog a couple days ago and so if you are here early September 2017...

There's not much to see here yet.

I'm working on it!

I've been doing this whole blogging malachkey thing for over a decade now, my previous one got to a point where I felt like it wasn't true to the person I am becoming and really not serving my audience so I scrapped everything, sold off some stuff and I'm starting again.

Some times in life you just gotta pull the trigger. ( but don't hurt or kill anyone if you can help it obvs)

Anyways

I will be back shortly, in the mean time stay uniquely you

Peace Out

-Hayls. (a.k.a Hayley Esther)


Here I go again on my ownnnnnnnnnnnn! ( got that tune stuck in my head)

Okay so here's the deal, I'm jumping back in.





I have got some amazing content ready to upload here but I literally only just decided I'm definitely going ahead with this new blog a couple days ago and so if you are here early September 2017...

There's not much to see here yet.

I'm working on it!

I've been doing this whole blogging malachkey thing for over a decade now, my previous one got to a point where I felt like it wasn't true to the person I am becoming and really not serving my audience so I scrapped everything, sold off some stuff and I'm starting again.

Some times in life you just gotta pull the trigger. ( but don't hurt or kill anyone if you can help it obvs)

Anyways

I will be back shortly, in the mean time stay uniquely you

Peace Out

-Hayls. (a.k.a Hayley Esther)


Introducing Alterations - The Art Of Change Mangment

Today guy's I'm just going to jump straight into this. It's been a while since I last put a post out and that's purely jus...

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