How do you see yourself - Joyce Meyer

Every now and again I will come across something that inspires and motivates me to remember why exactly my heart desires to walk into my future adventure doing workshops with awesome Girls!
I just read one of those 'Inspirations' by Joyce Meyer. Joyce Meyer has been a distant mentor in my walk with God.Years later she still continues to help me Step up and Step deeper into Gods love and purpose for my life. Making a totally ordinary existence - a great adventure and extra-ordinary! I thank God for her and the wisdom He has bestowed on her, with a voice that we can hear and be taught by - no matter which continent we live on.

What she had to share...
How Do You See Yourself? Do you like yourself? After years of trying to help people emotionally, mentally, spiritually and socially, it was a major breakthrough when I discovered that most people really don’t like themselves. Some of them know it, while others don’t even have a clue that this is probably the root of so many other problems in their lives.

God wants us to have great relationships, but self-rejection and even self-hatred are the roots of many relationship problems. In fact, I’ve found the Bible to be a book about relationships, providing valuable advice about my relationship with God, other people and even myself.

How are the relationships with other people in your life? What about your relationship with God…and even with yourself?

Did it ever occur to you that you have a relationship with yourself? While I’ve never given it much thought, I spend more time with myself than with anyone, and it’s vital to get along well with me. Remember, you are the one person you never get away from.

We all know how agonizing it is to work day after day with someone we don’t get along with, but at least that person doesn’t come home with us at night. We can’t get away from ourselves, not even for one second, so it’s of the utmost importance that we have peace with ourselves.

Many of us fall prey to self-rejection because we feel that nobody really loves us or accepts us. We figure that if nobody else loves us, then why should we love ourselves? Because we think others don’t love us, we feel that we must not be worth loving. But that’s a LIE we’ve believed for way too long!

We should love ourselves—not in a selfish, self-centered way that produces a lifestyle of self-indulgence, but in a balanced, godly way that affirms God’s creation as essentially good and right. We may be flawed by unfortunate experiences we’ve gone through, but that doesn’t mean we’re worthless and good-for-nothing.

We must have the kind of love for ourselves that says, “I know God loves me, so I can love what God chooses to love. I don’t love everything I do, but I accept myself because God accepts me.” We must develop the kind of mature love that says, “I know I need to change, and I want to change. In fact, I believe God is changing me daily, but during this process, I will not reject what God accepts. I’ll accept myself as I am right now, knowing that I will not always remain this way.”

Many times people who reject themselves do so because they can’t see themselves as good, proper, or right. They fail to see themselves the way God sees them—as precious children He dearly loves.

As you begin to see yourself through God’s eyes—someone who’s loved and cherished—your view of yourself will begin to change. You’ll begin to see yourself not as rejected, but as loved and accepted…unique and beautiful in His sight.

Butter - Gross!

Sometimes something so random totally consumes your mind! In the past 24 hours it has been BUTTER! and followed by a passionate YUGH! =(. So I need to vent-blog my daily 3500 women words and share a bit more about my bad butter experience and why it is consuming my thoughts.

I was waiting for a quote to be sent to me so that I could print it at Postnet yesterday. I guessed it would take an hour or so, I decided I was going to go have a coffee and a bite to eat at the local coffee shop next door to the Postnet. Eish! I ordered a Chicken Kebab Baguette with honey and mustard dressing and a side salad. I waited over an hour and then my baguette arrived with more like honey and mustard butter. I scrapped off 4+ Tablespoons of butter off my roll and left it in a heap on the side of my plate. I may have imagined it but it felt like I could still taste the remaining butter on the roll at 10pm last night. Why this is totally gross - the facts about butter and fat in general is quite a shocker!! It will make you think twice about ever eating butter again and why the excess butter yesterday has got me totally grossed out.

A scraping of butter that one may have on your toast represents 5-10g grams of  fat. Fats and oils contain nine calories per gram. That's up to 90 calories for a scrape of butter on your toast and face it who has just one slice. Have you checked the calories you burn on the machine or on your polar watch when you exercise? ... do you know how long it takes to burn 90 calories at even that intensity of exerting yourself? On top of that, who says that we even burning off that scrape of butter. Your body will burn all the glucose in your bloodstream first - say from the bread - before using the fat's energy. I will get into the digestion briefly next. But through reading its clear that your body basically will burn up glucose for energy that you get from carbs or proteins, but the fat you eat will likely - as the saying goes - go straight to your hips!
It is important to remember that we all have unlimited storage place for fats, I read that for example, patients who have spent a long time in hospital and have lost a lot of weight often need to have their dentures re-adjusted, because they have actually lost fat on their gums (x diet, pg 63). Not even our gums are safe from butter let alone our bums. =)

So for those who need to get technical in the simplest way possible for me to explain on the digestion of fats and why should we should avoid them almost entirely, here goes....
"Dietary fats, like those in butter, meat or cooking oils, are basically organic compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen,and oxygen. They consist of complex molecules and are the most highly concentrated source of energy in our daily diet. They belong to a class of substances called lipids. Unfortunately, dietary fats do not dissolve in water, as a result they are not easily broken down by fat-digesting enzymes (lipase) in the watery content of the gastrointestinal tract.Therefor fats tend to take longer to digest than carbohydrates or proteins". So because fats take longer to digest they tend to get burned up last as an energy source.

Your body will take the extra fatty acids and store them as adipose tissue, better known as body fat. That adipose tissue can be broken down and turned into glucose when you need more calories than you consume. But many people already consume to many or enough calories and therefore never need to burn the excess 'butter in our storage'.
"A healthy digestive system will absorb about 95 percent of the dietary fat that you eat" Doesn't this fact make you want to scream, so its not excreted like many other nutrients or vitamins in excess ... if you have a healthy digestive system you likely to not escape any of the extra butter thats heading straight for your special fat storage places. Another reason it is not excreted  - as stated above - is because fats are not water soluable.

Aparently 'healthy' olive oil is not a totally safe option either. Although we need the fatty acids because they are essential for a healthy heart and low cholesterol levels. Unfortunately the healthy fats are still absorbed and stored in the same way as butter on the gums, hips and thighs! It is better to get your healthy fatty acids in the right doses in a capsule form.

All that butter - oh my hat - what if its gone straight to my gums?

Our Beloved Africa

A poem by Angus Buchan, I share his heart  and love for Africa! I thought this was very special, may it warm your heart and hope for Africa too. If the poem doesn't blow you away the picture of this african sunset and the beauty of the picture certainly should! =) enjoy!


A land of such contrasts.
Much death,
much love.
So harsh
yet so gentle,
so sensitive.
A land which has the most incredible sunrises,
and most beautiful sunsets.
A land of the most diverse cultures and ethnic peoples,
Each one bringing to the tapestry
such beautiful colours of love, passion, patience,
determination, striving, failure and success.
Africa, my beloved Continent.
It is a deeply spiritual place
where the acknowledgement of God
has always been known by its people;
where men and women came from over the seas
to tell us His Name, "Jesus the Christ".
How we have embraced that truth
with everything that is within us.
We have died for Him,
been martyred for Him,
and now we are taking Our Nkosi
to the peoples of the earth who have forgotten Him!
Our beloved Africa sheltered the "Christ Child"
when His mother and father fled the tyranny of evil in Israel.
And now, as Jesus is preparing to return to earth
to claim His own, we are once again blowing the trumpet,
warning the peoples of the earth to turn back
to Almighty God.
There is an urgency in the land which is unprecedented
anywhere else in the world.
Africa knows the King is returning soon,
and our eyes are lifted up towards the clouds.
We see the signs so very evident in our continent:
Signs of war and violence, of hunger and drought,
of floods and disease, of poverty and greed.
The travesties of injustice, anger and greed
cause us to look up and inward,
to prepare ourselves for the soon-coming King.
While the world continues to seek for peace
and well-being in their own wisdom and strength,
their own efforts,
they are truly being horribly deceived by the ruler of this world.
My beloved Africa,
There is nowhere else I would rather be in this earthly life
than to be resident in you.
Irrespective of all the suffering I see around me,
the unfairness, the abuse, the inequality,
yet to live here is to live in reality.
All else is living a lie.
And so, by the grace of God, through Jesus Christ,
I will endeavour with everything that is within me,
to make my beloved Africa a better place
for all peoples to live in;
to introduce its people to their Creator,
to combat hatred.
With God's love,
where there is hopelessness, to bring vision.
Where there is brokenness and pain,
to bring healing and joy.
Because, as the people of Africa put their complete focus
back on God then, indeed, she will arise and shine,
and the glory of the Lord will come upon her,
and the continent which has for so long
been called the dark continent,
shall have its name changed for ever
to the Continent of Light,
for the Lord Jesus will arise over us.

Angus Buchan

"Change is the very nature of life, - welcome it. No glass ever became sand again; No bread ever became wheat; No ripened fruit ever became a flower. Welcome change, and choose what kind of glass you create, what kind of bread you bake, what kind of fruit you harvest" - Unknown

I really Like this quote! one up on "embrace change"

I can be the Kayak girl!

I had a dream a little while ago which has made me realise something quite significant about myself. In this dream I saw myself in a kayak doing a canoe race with someone. I knew it was me in the dream although I did not recognise myself. I had long brown hair, I was tanned ( not likely after a year in Ireland and returning to South Africa for a second winter). But what has had a major impact on me is that I had this super toned body - muscles everywhere. I even had my much desired Michelle Obama Arms!!
Why the impact? I realised that I had never seen myself or even imagined myself like that before. Yes, I desired it, and have tried endlessly  to tone up... but never actually 'seen' myself looking so super hot and healthy ... Fit, Firm and Fabulous! The image inspired me and motivates me now ... because I guess the cliche 'if u can see it - you can achieve it' (I hope). But this is not my point.

My point is that my self-image has always been distorted. I have always! always! always! seen myself as the 'very chubby, friendly girl'. I know that ones self-image is like the cruise-control setting in Ian's much loved TDi Polo. If you set the cruise control at 100km per hour, you can slow down or accelerate to a higher speed for what ever you need to, but the cruise control will always bring you back to 100km per hour.  To make point: If my self-image is me weighing 10 tons - I may lose or gain 5tons. But if my self-image is or I see myself as 10 tons its likely that I will always slowly creep back 10 tons. The same goes if you see your self as a loser or as unsuccessful or a bad friend. You will never rise above the expectation you have of yourself.

I will give you some example of my mindset. I joined the gym here in Worcester for the couple of months that we'd be here. As you know you have to go through the whole assessment - make me a program exercise first. Anyway, so I go and tell them my usual goals blah blah blah... get on the scale ( The usual result ) and then the BMI and fat percentage. I read the results and expect the worst. I was surprised to see I am in the normal-healthy range for fat percentage.... and my thought is first 'the dude is clearly not a professional,he must of made a mistake'. Then my mom gets one of these fancy scales that can measure your fat percentage...I am surprised it is almost exactly the same percentage as the 'unprofessional gym dude'. So I think it must be his table that's incorrect,I search the web and check the scales handbook ...I am in the healthy zone. I did a few more tests at Run/Walk for Life and yip same result. My problem is that self-image is that I am not 'Normal'!! but maybe, just maybe I am. Not my ideal!!, but 'normal' is a very big jump from what I thought I was.

I need to change the expectation of myself in order to firstly accept that maybe I am okay - even now - which  is the hardest part! and that 'I'...yes 'me'  can actually be the girl in the Kayak! I have seen an image of myself - and that I can actually be 'her', IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE ...because I have seen an image that it is! even if only in my dream  =).

In my next blog will be about how I got this self-image - the lies I hear/heard and believed which set my cruise control at very chubby - friendly girl.  Likely the most important reason for this post being written. Because many of us have been  told lies about ourselves that we have believed and it may be stealing our potential.
Quote of the day. " I have learnt... that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it."

Accepting Second Best?

In my post ‘The 2 year Old in You’ I wrote about how adults have lots their ability to make their world colourful. We have lost our creativity, imagination and belief that we can change our life-world. I have also come to know that we have lost the dreams we hoped for in our lives. The dreams we desire most are the very things we have lost faith in believing we can achieve them. Dreams including a love story with a romance so beautiful its tangible to everyone around you; marriage that lasts a lifetime and doesn’t fear divorce; a career so exciting you actually jump out of bed in the morning – not necessarily a career that will change the world but one that changes yours; or a family that’s still together and not broken. We have come to accepting that this world is a dysfunctional mess - Why pretend things can ever be any different? We accept mediocrity at the cost of the dreams for our lives. We settle for second best and wonder why we are ‘just living’.

A quote by Eric and Lesley Ludy puts it like this “As we grow up, the world tells us that aiming our lives at the impossible only leads to disappointment. Somewhere along the way, we are persuaded to loosen our grip on our dreams and we pitch our tents in a land where everyday humans dwell”. Why would we want to settle where everyday humans dwell??? Where is the adventure? Where is that person in you that would rather go take a step into the wild to discover something new and exciting rather than stay inside where it’s boring and safe?
Something else the Ludy’s said that I thought was so significant: and hear this"After all, if you never aim high, you will never be disappointed with mediocrity”

Either we play it so safe that we say “Its not worth taking the Risk” so we often settle for second best or harden our hearts so much in order to avoid disappointment – suppressing and suffocating the very dream we desire most.

I mean the above most in regards to Love. I have had 3 conversations with friends recently that have made my heart rather sad. The first one is a 16 year old, beautiful, talented young woman who tells me that she will never get married. Don’t get me wrong I think she would love to, but she says ‘It’s not worth the risk’ she lived through her parents divorce and now continues to give me stats on the divorce rate in SA. Then the situation with my last two friends is that they have come to that point in their relationships where they have been dating the ‘great guy’ for a while and they are dreaming of marriage, but he just isn’t asking or planning anything of the sort. And if the girls try hint their hearts desire of a man so in love with them that he wouldn’t hesitate to fulfil their childhood dream of a romantic story of when he buys the prettiest ring and promises to honour her by making her his wife forever! Instead he has excuses of ‘I just haven’t thought about it, or I like the way it is’, or ‘I don’t believe in marriage’. The girls’ heart begins to harden, her love and childhood dream of marriage and a family begins to suffocate. What I fear most is that they ‘pitch a tent where everyday humans dwell’. That they settle for second best.
If your boyfriend cannot see himself marrying and honouring you and it’s your hearts desire and dream to get married’…and he isn’t planning on changing his mind and your love and heart is beginning to harden… know this, it is his loss! He will wake up and one day and realise that he believed the world lies. He settled. Pitched a tent of mediocrity without taking any risks and lost out.
Believe this - you were born for a romance! It is out there when two people believe that love is possible and realise that is worth taking the risk and if you are both willing to give 110%. Don’t hold back because you scared of a statistic. Believe that your life can be different and you do not have to settle for ‘everyday'. Don’t hold back because life is an adventure and there is a lot to be discovered. Don’t lose your passion and belief that the impossible is possible. After all, with God all things are possible to those who love and trust him. The God who is the God of the impossible, who can do above and beyond what we expect loves us and desires to give us the desire of our hearts. If you cannot trust yourself with your dreams… trust God.

And if any boys who aren’t honouring their girlfriends with their hearts desires happen to stumble on this blog. If you love her, honour her! Be her knight in shinning armour. The world lies and leave you empty. A Women blossoms when she is in love and loved – you will benefit in her glow I promise you.

I updated my Facebook profile yesterday as ' It's time to start my adventure'. What I meant is that I am going to step into the life that I have been living on the side lines for the last while. I wrote in my first blog post about what I intended for this blog 'Girl Talk Topics'. If you read my last couple of posts they have been what I have been reflecting on in my life but not what I wanted the focus of this GIRL TALK blog to be. This same 'theme' has been in my life too. It has been my hearts desire to pursue doing GIRL TALK workshops on Self Image, Self- worth and accepting yourself as a unique, beautiful, purpose filled girl. Helping women like me and many others who struggle for their self worth in a world that makes a women's worth often look cheap. The workshops are to help girls find their identity, help them find the girl God made them specially, for a purpose on purpose! I hope to host these workshops with an team that I haven't met in Pietermaritzburg yet, but am hopeful and faithful that God is preparing their hearts for this mission. Together we will hopefully help plant seeds and truths into many girls hearts at schools, youth camps and churches. Seeds that will help girls' grow into more confident, wiser, purpose filled girls and with the ability to say the word 'NO' loudly when needed. My blogging is meant to compliment this, to help me sort through some ideas and together with your feedback and critism get the best of the best in order to help a generation get a clear message instead of from a world that sends a thousand different ones.

So my point ... watch this space. I am going to get focused and step into my greatest adventure yet! I am going to try stay focused on my dream and hearts desire and not step into the norms of this world. And norms for me are the getting a job so I can 'fit in' with everyone else, if its not a job at a school with teens or a youth group ... STOP ME! and a big temptation - earning money for the sake of earning money.  I enjoy business, and see lots of opportunity thats gets me on my rollercoaster ride of planning and scheming, unfortunately a ride that wastes my time and gets me off of the path that my hearts desires most to walk. 

I am sure I will still throw in a couple of odd ball 'what I am thinking about ( normally chocolate, my handsom husband Ian and flowers)' blog posts. But my theme is going to be mainly GIRL TALK REHAB!  =) enjoy!

The 2 year Old In You.

We have lost something very special in the process of growing up into being an adult. We have lost the colourfulness, creativity and beauty that we were born with. Most adults are dull dispassionate people that believe that we are no more special or beautiful than the next. Our lives are colourless and we accept it because we are pretty similar to everyone else we meet. Where did our beauty get lost? And how would it change our lives if we found it again?
Little children dress up into princesses or super hero outfits. Girls in pretty dresses and crowns, and then they come to display just how very pretty they are to just about everyone, and when their daddy or child minder says they the prettiest little girl they have ever seen, they do believe it!
Little boys are firemen, Ben 10 or Spiderman and when they have their right outfit on they truly believe they can change and save the world. They are heroes and nothing can defeat their abilities. They can protect and save anyone and everyone. They can achieve anything!
Psychologists call this fantasy play, where children create a world they can control and feel secure and safe in. They make their own colourful interpretation of their world around them. They know the difference between reality and fantasy. But what I find incredible is that they can create this world with their own meaning and belief in themselves by the age of two. They splash the creations of their imaginations to make a safe place and add beauty into a world that’s big, dark and scary at times. And they believe that they can make a difference, they can achieve anything and yes, that they are the most beautiful or the greatest hero that has ever lived.

Somewhere along the line we step into a ‘reality’ that we cannot change our life-world around us. It is what it is. We listen to the lies of people that we have met and believe we no longer have anything worth offering and are no longer beautiful. We are plain and ordinary, even when we are dressed in our pretty dresses and shoes - deep down inside our hearts we question whether we are beautiful, and when our husbands or loved ones say “WOW you are the prettiest women I have ever seen” We don't believe it!
Adults lose their creativity; we seem to accept our lives the way they are instead of adding our own colourful interpretation to it.

I want to find the childhood ‘Juliette’ again. I am going to try out new things and believe before I start that I can do it. I am going to learn to play an instrument with my own tunes; ride my bike in the mountains and not worry so much about falling. I am going to learn to mosaic and even if what I create isn’t what I hoped it would look like, I am going to stick it up on the wall anyway, to try and learn from it – instead of chucking it away and saying I am useless and not artistic. What if one day by accident I create a new style of mosaic that’s never been created before? Maybe my mosaic creation will change the way people have been doing mosaic for thousands of years. Yes it maybe a pointless example but that’s the kind of belief that will change my life-world. The small things in my life matter. And lastly but most important I am going to try believe that I am going to find the little girl who knew she was pretty and special, because we all are unique and beautiful, perfectly made in Gods image. He knitted us together in our mothers wombs. We are entirely perfect in God's eyes and also perfect in the eyes of the ones who love us unconditionally too. So I will dash on perfume to fragrance my day, pick flowers for my desk because they brighten the room, send my husband silly ‘I am mad about you sms’s’ every now and again because I believe it will add a smile to his day. Or bake my neighbours cupcakes even though I don’t know them. All day, everyday I am going to try splash a little bit of inspiration into my life and hopefully the lives of others too. To make my world seem less dark and big and impossible to change, I am going to change the ‘reality’ of this mundane listless life and step into the fantasy play of life – adding colour to whatever I want, to make this world seem like more of a fairytale to me again.

Cocoa Children

On the way home from fetching Kirstin and Megan - my two younger cousins from school. Kirstin, the eldest announces that she no longer eats chocolate! As you can imagine it was followed by a gasp and a " what on earth are you thinking" and then silence.She begins to explain her reasons and the main one being that her friend had recently given a speech in English class informing them about the children slave labour in the cocoa fields. For a chocolate lover like 99% of the female population on the planet to stop indulging in our much needed cocoa moments it had to be serious, very serious. I started to investigate and think about it with a critical mindset, hoping to possibly find her a cure for her distate for chocolate - I found out so much more than a cure.

West Africa's produces 70% of the world's cocoa. The Ivory Coast produces 40% of West Africa's cocoa, with the main supplies going to our favourite chocolate sources Cadbury, Nestle and Hershey's amongst others. It is well known that the Ivory Coast, Ghana, many central South American and African countries where cocoa is grown are some of the most poverty stricken, third world, undeveloped countries. Children are dying of starvation daily. This terrible truth is why many children are forced into slave labour with the promise and hope that they can feed themselves and their families. Many of the children start to work in the fields from the age of 8 years old. Sadly many of these children are also bought and sold across borders - a very real form of slave trade in today times.

Through westerner's eyes that has been educated and never ever had to labour in a field, I see this as shocking!! But having been on outreach into Mozambique experiencing poverty amongst the people in the community. I am also able to look at the issue through different eyes. These children have almost nothing, many only have one or two sets of clothes - shoes are a luxury. A family may have a small piece of land that they can produce a few crops. If these crops don't produce food it is an all-or-nothing situation. I hate to think about how many children have to go to bed daily with empty stomachs. This is a reality in a poverty stricken country. Now as an 8 year old in that situation, where there is no opportunity for education as there is no educational system for you to attend. Your mother and father and their fathers have all worked on the plantations all their lives. You have never known or seen anything different. You are hungry and your family needs you to bring in a much-needed wage, would you mind working on a cocoa field? I have to wonder if these children see it as abnormal or as child abuse or if they see it as an opportunity. Culture is very different in cocoa producing countries.It may be a very honourable thing to go out and work for your family. To me it seems as crazy as sending your son off to war in our society, but there is honour for those sons that go - in doing it for your family and country. Its a cultural norm, it is expected.

I still don't agree with the child slave labour on any level. But I would like to look at who are the real child abusers here. Is it not the government that fails these children by not creating a educational system to give them a real chance for an opportunity in life. Is it not the world's fault for standing by and not assisting these countries develope themselves optimally. I am not saying just with money but with life skills to improve their situation and lives.
We can all start by buying only FairTrade chocolate. If more of us would support the Fair Trade brands, the suppliers who have to meet the markets needs, forcing our favourite brands like Cadbury and Nestle to become FairTrade. By buying FairTrade you not only meeting your chocolate fix needs gulit free, you are ensuring that the labourers in the cocoa fields are getting a fair wage and there is local community developement happening with the profits made from the fields. Supporting Fair Trade farmers that don't abuse children for slave labour. You will be putting your money into business that creates a work opportunity for many families - making positive impact on their communities.

It does not help we all stop eating chocolate, this would only create a situation where even more people have no hope or way to earn a honest wage. We just need to choose what chocolate is actually good ethically. And make a statement - if its not Fair Trade its not worth it

Nothing New Year

At the start of a New Year many have new adventures to look forward to: starting school, university or a new job - perhaps in a new town. A wedding day, a new business venture, an Iron-man challenge. Whatever it is, it may bring ‘new birth’ excitement. You’re motivated, enthusiastic, full of ideas, passionate about the task, driven. You're even excited to get up in the morning and get going with your lot. 

For many, the start of the New Year has no new experiences to look forward to. You’re doing the same thing as last year - December 31st the sun set and January 1st the sun rose with no real difference in your life. One cannot think of any New Years Resolutions you really care for or have the energy to try and achieve. It feels like you have done it all before. You may be feeling contempt instead of contentment. But how do we change how we feel and get motivated?
In my previous post I reflected on how familiarity breeds contempt. The opposite of contempt is often respect. Do you remember the first month with your new car, the awe, the carwashes and polish, the careful driving, the thankfulness and gratitude?Remember getting your new books at school, the contact plastic and pretty underlining? Remember the enthusiasm for the subject? Do you remember the privilege of getting into your university years class to try achieving a degree, to be part of the group of students who have been given an incredible opportunity to achieve what many can never afford to? Remember what kind of professional you said you would be, what difference you would make?
I think that the ‘familiarity that breeds contempt’ may be one of the biggest thieves of life. I think to have no passion, no respect, no honour, no love for, no enthusiasm or dissatisfaction is the worst state we could be in.

Think of how it steals from your life…

The job you dreamed of getting is now the worst part of your day, and you start considering a new profession hoping it will change how you feel about work. In reality, the next job a couple months down the line will have the same lack of appeal if you don’t have an attitude change towards your work. Feeling a little appreciation for the seat you fill that many may wish to be in.

The business you started. All the shiny new equipment isn’t so shiny and new anymore. The challenge is over, it’s a functioning unit. I dare say… it is even starting to feel like a 9-5 day everyday. It's feeling a whole lot like a normal hard-working day. You don’t really feel like making a great impression on every new prospective client (you are a successful, established business after all). You don’t really feel like running the extra mile or making your product a step above the rest (the product you have has done fine till now). The challenge is gone! A new business may be the answer for the entrepreneur, but perhaps a reminder of how hard it was to start up in the first place, and what the reason was for your success - the service with a smile and the passion - may be what you need to regain your passion? Knowing what a privilege it is to own your own business, and being able to bless your staff with a good salary and an environment they love to work in?

Your bible - where is it as you’re reading this? How does it look? If you met with Christians in countries where they're persecuted, or with Christians who are unable to read or write, or unable to find a bible printed in a language they can understand, you would be reminded of what a privilege it is to have your own leather bound bible. If we weren’t so familiar with it, it wouldn't be so difficult to find time to read it. We wouldn’t try to find a reason to dishonour it. We would wipe it clean, have a special place for it, and treasure the time we get to read it openly and freely. We would share it with whoever we wanted. We would love its fragrance, and never leave or forget it behind.

Your marriage and relationships. Core relationship values are respect, commitment, intimacy and forgiveness. What then happens when you allow familiarity to set in? Unappreciated good-bye kisses, morning coffees, movie nights in, dinners prepared for you, bills paid, someone to always call and share news and laughs with, friends to share your life with?
Disrespect or contempt steals every joy from your relationships. You will look down on, mock (even in jest), be hurtful to, and be unthankful for them – resulting eventually in dissatisfaction. You may find it difficult to be patient, kind, gentle and loving. You won’t have any motivation to enjoy any time you have with the person you once could not stand being apart from for one second. Maybe it is a good idea to remember what drew you close to the person you loved in the first place. Imagine if today was your last day to share with them. Try spending a day with someone who is lonely and you will find the cure for your dissatisfaction - renewed love and respect! Finding the cure will help you find the joy and happiness you lost in your relationship too.

Quote: "John Gottman's theories of how to predict which couples will stay married state that there are four major emotional reactions that are destructive to a marriage: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism and contempt. Among these four, Gottman considers contempt the most important of them all."

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

I waited in anticipation for the snowfall I believed with all my heart would fall for our last winter in Ireland. Whenever the weatherman gave any tiny indication of ice or snow, I was like a child at Christmas looking for Santa. I would get up several times a night and check outside my bedroom window to make sure I wouldn’t miss it if it started to snow. It didn’t snow most of the nights I got up, but I believed like Elijah in Kings 18:45, when he sent his servant up the mountain 7 times to check if the storm was coming that he believed God would send. Finally on the 7th trip, his servant said he saw a tiny cloud the size of his hand on the horizon. Elijah knew with that tiny bit of hope that a BIG storm was coming and it did. Every minus degree and white cloud was to me a sign of imminent snowfall. I was beyond excited!

Finally the snow day came! Oh my, the joy was incredible, its was beautiful and so special. We spent most of the day in the snow, making ‘Happy’ the snowman, and making snow angels, having snow ball fights, taking snow walks at 11pm, and bum skiing down the steepest and highest mountain we could climb. I would watch the snow flakes fall, in awe of what God has created and could shower down on us. The detail in every snowflake amazed me, the creation of the hoarfrost – the detail, formations and the sparkling white ice crystals was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced in nature. In the beginning we couldn’t get enough of the snow…

Two weeks later, I am getting ready to sleep; I take one last glance out the same bedroom window before closing the curtains. It is still snowing; it barely gets a second glance. No real excitement, no text messages to my friends to remind them to check outside, no more photos. What has changed? …
 The snowfall was just my reminder of how quickly it can set in
The saying goes as follows: "familiarity breeds contempt”.