Creativity Explosion

Paint_by_ChibitI would like to discuss further thoughts on the topic of creativity. The process of exercising dormant creativity within has been assisted by several things in me. I am finding that the process of learning that brings change in and around me is a deliberate one. These are not times for continuing the same old life patterns but searching and adjusting my life.

Changes in me that are helping creativity to be developed:

1. Being thankful for small things – I wrote in my blog on May 7th about my thankful journal.  “I am challenged over the number of blessings that fall around me that I miss. That sunset laid out in the sky for me, the bird outside my window singing for me, the smile from a friend made for me, the warmth of my socks, the crunch of gravel on the path, the embrace of a daughter, the lift in a piece of music, the droplet of rain hanging off a leaf, the smell of bacon in a pan. These are all an extravagant love gift from my Father that were given me fresh this morning” .By consciously thanking God for small blessings of beauty every day we open ourselves up to an emotional response to our Father. We appreciate his soft touches, are open to his gentle touches and our hearts learn to feel afresh

2. Watching less tv – I have found that an automatic reaction to my heart being tired, upset or bored is to amuse myself with the TV. This takes off the responsibility that I have to deal with my life and the hours ahead. TV is often a bad choice for me because if I am tired I know there are better ways of relaxing, if I am upset I  really know I need to deal with it, if it is boredom I know that there are better ways to spend my time and if it is avoidance of things I should be doing I know it will only lead to guilt.  TV just doesn’t bring out the best in me.

3. Time resting in God’s presence – I have found that there is such value just being me with God. Not praying, not reading, not singing, not doing anything really just being with Him. He has a way of finding hidden secrets inside and working these through with me and bringing to light depths of riches that he has planted there. It causes me to dream, hope, come alive and wake up.

4. Tuning in with emotions – we cannot become so used to hiding our emotions that we deny who we really are. It hurts to let our emotions go, it may meet ridicule to express who we really are – but being genuine and free is worth the cost

4. Giving my heart space to leak – in order to leak creative God thoughts there first has to be stuff in there to leak. Time and space drinking in God and his truths is vital to be filled. Then let the leaking begin – it may be a poem, a dance, a  story or a painting.  Your creative spirit will need a medium to leak with expression into. Just as water and air carry vibrations and noise so you need something to carry your heart. We couldn’t hear anything in a vacuum, so our hearts cannot have creative voice in a vacuum of nothingness. Your medium of expression will differ from others – we have a fantastic young man who says his medium of creativity is algebra, another who says it is cooking, another who takes photos and yet another who builds furniture with wood – it is time to experiment with different things.

5. Allowing myself room to make mistakes  – perfection and keeping it all together is a characteristic of the old persona. God chose to make humans with weaknesses and faults. We need to embrace these. Let your experiments be developmental, expect to go wrong, to go beyond normal, to push the boundaries and be prepared to make a mess.

6. Being creative just because – I am finding that I need to be creative because I am creative. It isn’t for a finished product, for the affirmation of people, for an end result but just because.

Once a month we have a worship session with the youth where we just leak creativity. I wrote down just a small sample of things they can do. It gives a starting point for someone to think differently. Today give one of them a go!!!!

rapping, dancing, singing, song writing, movement, mime, drama, poetry, story writing, journal writing, cooking, art, drawing, photos, writing a letter, writing a letter to God, graffiti, cartoons, sculpture, pottery, sewing, knitting, collage, nail art, power points, graphic design, posters, videos, hair design, caption strips, journals, …………

Allowing the ‘real me’ into the sunlight

English: Parrot painting Ελληνικά:

English: Parrot painting Ελληνικά: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something is happening to my friends on this adventure right now that excites me. I am seeing a release that is causing new songs, new dreams, new drawings, new rapping, new paintings, new life changes, creative time management and much more. Something is stirring deep in my heart too. Let me explain what I see:

In order to appear spiritual and successful we have been encouraged to pretend to be someone we are not. This person is not us, it is who we would like to be. We hide our weaknesses and faults thinking that the ‘real me’ is not acceptable. We put a different persona forward – this persona is all sparkling, slick, organised and confident. We may be encouraged to hide ‘real me’ even deeper inside if we try to express our fears, weaknesses and doubts that ‘real me’ is feeling and we get rejected or are misunderstood. Perhaps we get told to pull ourselves together, we get told to confess the truth and stop crying, we get told to have faith and think of others in worse situations than ourselves.

We subsequently become ashamed of who we really are. Our weaknesses and faults make us feel like failures. People seem to love our new persona and not be so impressed with the ‘real me’.

The only trouble is that we start to hide not only our hurts, bed memories, mistakes and pain we also hide the good things we are. We hide our sensitivity, responses, choices, passions, opinions, things we care about. These things at the core of the ‘real me’ get hidden away. We feel they are not suitable for public show, they are embarrassing and not up to standard.

By hiding our core we start to become numb. We lose our wow factor- our wonder in the small things that make us look and say “wow”.  Appreciation of beauty needs our emotions and a very personal response -but we no longer trust these things.  In loosing our sensitivity and delight we loose touch with all that is creative inside us

The journey I am on has meant that all the cupboards of my life where I have stored the unacceptable memories, the painful words, the shame of mistakes and the ‘real me’ have been overflowing. I have had them all packed up nicely along with my sensitivity and ability to feel. I have made a choice to unpack these and face what is inside. This means facing loss, grief, misplaced trust etc. but what I didn’t expect to find is that as I have deliberately started to deal with the negative things I have started to find myself.

The ‘real me’ has started to find its way through the rubble of the healing process and out into the open. I can start to make choices, feel, respond and not be ashamed. I can show my weaknesses and mistakes and it is ok. I can not have it all together but still be loved. I have started to draw, paint, write songs and think again. It is exciting to feel a fresh expression of things inside.

Freedom brings creativity.

The Golden Calf – doing2

God is bringing all of us to a place of rest and quite. I keep coming back to this point at the

English: Stream leading To Calf Hey reservoir

English: Stream leading To Calf Hey reservoir (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

minute 🙂

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23

You do not need to do because you lack nothing. You cannot persuade God by doing stuff to love you more, that you are worth his love, that your value is increased – He cannot possibly love you any more.

It is in those times of lying down, those still waters that a miracle will occur. You will come to know the truth about God’s unconditional love. Do I know this love in its fullness? – no I don’t , but I am hungry for more and open to learn where I am telling myself lies, or hiding hurts.

As a child I was born with a severe skin condition. My skin was sore, itchy, uncomfortable and the sores often got infected.  This meant my memories of childhood are full of sadness. I was called names at school – such as carrot peelings, I was picked on by teachers, I had trouble adapting as a teenager as my appearance was not beautiful and wherever I was I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed for looking like I did. God healed my skin 4/5 years ago – but inside I have a greater journey to go on. The affects of withdrawing, being picked on, feeling ashamed and rejecting myself is taking a while to work through. It is in the times of waiting before God that he shows me who I am, what I have taken on that isn’t of him, what he thinks of me, what memories still affect me today and much more.

I must admit that I was skeptical of all this heart healing stuff. Though it was for the softies, or perhaps the flaky Christians – but God has shown me how essential it is to my life in order for me to be saved – fully whole inside and out. How can I be ready to hold the presence of God in its fullness in revival if I am tender and cracked. We need to be vessels ready for Him. I want to know him more.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)

Lies and labels

In Exodus 5 we find that because the Israelites  were trying to find freedom to go and worship their God Pharaoh put the pressure on big time! Do not be suprised if whilst try to shake of inhibitions and find freedom that your enemy starts putting the pressure on for you to stay the same. We must be careful that we don”t react in fear but stand strong.

 “That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people:  “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw.  But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and worship our God.’ 6-8

Traditional target arrow and replica medieval ...

Traditional target arrow and replica medieval arrow. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They are lazy!! What a label for a people crying out under the constant work load demanded of them. If I was trying day in day out just to keep going and get everything done  and someone turned around and called me lazy it would be like an arrow to my heart.

I have had arrows like that thrown at me before. Often I dodge them as they are thrown in jest – “Oh Alison you are crazy!” . I can brush them off when I don’t agree with them. They do no damage to my heart and I do not listen to them. But sometimes things people say stick to me. I remember a lie said to me once by a leader – “You are negative that is why you are not feeling happy”.  I agreed with the assessment of me  as I listen to them and the arrow was given permission, by me, to land into my inner life.

The arrow started to cause problem with my daily living. It was painful and caused me to accept other lies. I thought “I am negative and a bad influence on other people and I will just bring everyone down”. I stopped talking in fear that I would be negative. My lack of interaction in conversations made me think up questions whilst people were talking and I thought that it was a symptom of being negative. I  sometime thought the questions were wrong and perhaps I was not good hearted after all—- I think you get the picture.

The key to dealing with lies that people throw at you is not to agree with them. They can only stick on you if you let them. If you brush them off they loose their power straight away. Laugh at the cheek of the enemy to try and stick  false labels on you. The time that is hardest to brush off a lie is if you know that there is a glimmer of truth in it. You see the sugar coating is true so you swallow down the whole pill into your depths thinking that the medicine is yours.

Today: List all the lies and labels people have put on you over the years. It might be a church leader, school teacher, friend, spouse, parent etc. Sit down and break agreement with the lies you have agreed with and allowed in. Tell them they have no place in your life.

Don’t just read this post but be deliberate in taking each of those arrows out – they wont go away by chance 🙂

Let Yourself Be Loved

Love heart

Love heart (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Part of finding out more about our relationship with our Father is letting him love us. When we ‘soak’ in God’s presence we lie back and say right God just let me know more of your love. It is how we breathe life back into our damaged hearts.

“Let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.”  Danny Lee Silk

Chris found this and I thought you all would like to read it……

How he loves you

God’s love for us is enormous, extravagant, endless. God doesn’t love us sometimes. He loves us all the time. God doesn’t love us conditionally He loves us unconditionally. Psalm 36:5 says, ” God’s love is meteoric, His loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, His verdicts oceanic. Yet in His largeness nothing gets lost; not man, not a mouse slips through the cracks. Whilst it is great to know this truth, I have found that knowing it in our heads doesn’t always translate to holding in our hearts. Even though God’s great love is demonstrated on the cross, the truth is we often don’t feel or experience the love of God. This lack of feeling God’s love is more about us than it is about Him. He loves us!

We drastically underestimate God’s love for us. Three of the most common reasons why we underestimate how he feels about us are:

 1. It is Easy to feel “Common” to God

It’s very common for us to feel common to God. Since there are 7 billion people in the world how could I possibly be special to God? How could he possibly be “jealous” for me?

 2. It easy to feel ” alone”

It’s the exact opposite of the feeling above. Even though there are 7 billion people in this world we feel like we are all alone. “It’s my problem, it’s my battle to fight, it’s my issue to sort out”. But God says, ” I see where you’re at and I’m actively working on your behalf”. We are never out of his sight! Matthew 10:29-31 reminds us, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

3. It is easy to feel “unlovable” because of our failures and sins

We know God’s high standards. We know His holiness, which then causes us to feel as if we don’t measure up. So we reject His love from a place of feeling unlovable

What I am trying to tell you is that God is crazy about you! He has abandoned all hesitations, all apprehensions and is completely committed to love you with an everlasting love. He is not ashamed of us. He is not willing to abandon us. Even when he doesn’t approve of what we’ve done, He still approves of us!

K Wise

Champion Life Magazine

Starfish survival

In our life group this week Naomi brought this video to my attention . She said

English: Large red starfish Gomphia gomphia fr...

English: Large red starfish Gomphia gomphia from Komodo National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

it reminded her of what God is talking to us as children of God. We make mistakes and then want to hold on to things. We want to do what we think is best and we won’t let go.  We hold onto all the pain, unforgiveness, anger, fear and grief. All we need to do is let go, lie still, face up to heaven and call out to daddy. Just like the children learning new skills in the video we need to learn to rest in God’s love, breathing and surrendering ourselves without a struggle. We may not understand how strong his love is, or how we will stay afloat but we can trust the one who teaches us to the way to be still.

No longer striving to do, but resting in being loved.

How to Grieve

waterfall

The Israelite nation in Marah are now away from the land of slavery making bricks day in day out; they have space and time to let emotions loose and face their trauma and loss. God has taken us out into the Wilderness to teach us and give us space to change.  Pain isn’t something to push down and ignore – it needs addressing. 

Gerald Sittser the Author of – A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss  describes how he lost his mother, his wife and 4 year old child in a car accident where he was driving. The drunk perpetrator was never convicted because the it could not be proven beyond any shadow of a doubt at the trail that he and not his pregnant wife was driving. He write in his book “However painful, sorrow is good for the soul…The soul is elastic like a balloon. It can grow larger through suffering.”

God does not give us suffering or pain – but He can use what life throws at us to bring our heart increase. Lamenting can enlarge our soul. Many of the Psalms are laments of sorrow and are full of grief.

Ecclesiastes says there is a time to mourn. God can take our tears, take our pain and make us more. He can enlarge our souls through grieving well. Mourning  can teach us compassion and empathy. We know that unless we mourn we cannot be comforted and in fact those that do mourn God will comfort Matthew 5:4.

Some may need to do the same as Nehemiah (1:4) – he sat down, wept, mourned, fasted and prayed. Some may need to read Psalms to express what they feel (try Psalm 43) other will need to just draw near to God and give him their pain. He has taken all our pain on himself on the cross. He has paid for it already so we can give him what it his. He doesn’t fear our pain, he won’t complain but just take it gladly from us.

 How do you Grieve well?

Taken from Grieving and Healing: 5 Steps to Help You Through the Grieving Process. From Sharon O’Brien http://seniorliving.about.com/

1. Learn to accept that your loss is real.

For many people who are grieving a loss, the first impulse is to deny the loss. Grieving denial can range from downplaying the loss, as if it’s not important, to having the delusion that nothing/no-one has been lost.

2. Make it OK to feel the pain.

The pain of grieving can be both emotional and physical, and unfortunately there’s no way to avoid it. Denying the pain of grieving can lead to physical symptoms and can also prolong the grieving process.

Some people try to avoid grieving pain by being busy or traveling; others try to minimize grieving their loss by idealizing the loss/loved one or refusing to allow negative thoughts about the loss/loved one enter their minds. Some grieving people use drugs or alcohol to deaden the pain.

3. Adjust to living without the loss.

When we lose someone/something we also lose the part of our lifestyle that included our loss. Part of our grieving is for the parts of our life that will never be the same.

4. Let go allow yourself to move on.

This task can be especially hard as it can feel at first that you’re being disloyal/lost when you start to think about enjoying a life that doesn’t include the deceased/the thing you have lost.

Learning to cherish a memory or dream without letting it control you is a very important step in the grieving process.

Today: Release your pain of loss and give it to the one who has paid for it already. Draw close to your Father and let him comfort you in your grief. He can and will heal your heart.

Allowing yourself time to Grieve

Part of the healing process of our hearts includes paying attention to our loss.

Innocence Blooming

Innocence Blooming (Photo credit: bob in swamp)

The nation of Israel had lost many things in Egypt. Their freedom, dreams, dignity, babies and loved ones, among other things, during their time in Egypt. They needed a time away from work and tasks to pay attention to their grieving pain. For us this loss can be church moves , job, divorce, lost dreams, loss of a leader, loss of innocence, loss of a loved one, etc.

I spent some time thinking about the losses that I have experienced in my life I listed them in my travel log and was shocked as I reached 25 major losses in my life fairly quickly. Things that I had brushed over and not given myself time to deal with.  There are two times particularly that highlight for me how slow I am to grieve and how it has caused damage suppressing emotional trauma within me.

When I was 18 one of my best friends, in our gang of 6 during college, was killed whilst driving a car past the end of our road. I didn’t cry over the loss for 7 months. I remember the day God tackled me to the ground in order for me to give him my pain. It was a vivid memory for me – the day I cried!  One other time I didn’t know how to take my grief to God was after a late miscarriage. I was surprised at how much the loss affected me and didn’t know how to morn someone I had never seen. There are other times in my life when I have lost dreams, friendships, homes and other things that were dear to me.  I had for a long time denied and excused the affect of emotional trauma on my life. Now it is time to face and deal with the hurt.

Peter Scazzero in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality  lists ways in which we deny loss or excuse it:

Denial –  We refuse to acknowledge a painful aspect  : “I feel fine. It didn’t bother me a bit that my boss belittled me and fired me. I wasn’t bothered”

Minimizing – We admit something Is wrong but in such a way that it appears less serious than it is : “My son is doing ok with God. He’s just  drinking once in a while”. When in fact he is drinking heavily and rarely sleeping at home

Blaming Others – We deny responsibility for our behaviour and project it “out there” blaming it another:” The reason my brother is sick in hospital is because the doctors messed up his medications!”

Blaming Yourself – we inwardly take on the fault: “It’s my fault my mum doesn’t take care of me and drinks all the time. It’s because I’m not worth it”

Rationalising – We offer excuses and justifications to explain what is going on: “Do you know that John has a genetic disposition toward rage that runs in his family? That is why the meetings aren’t helping him”

Intellectualising – We give analysis, theories and generalities to avoid personal awareness and difficult feelings: “My situation is not that bad compared to others in the world. What have I got to cry about?”

Distraction – We change the subject or engage humour to avoid threatening topics: “Why are you so focused on the negative? Look at the great time we had last Christmas.”

Becoming Hostile– We get angry or hostile when reference is made to certain subjects: “Don’t talk about Joe. He’s dead. It’s not going to bring him back.”

 Today: Use your journal and list the losses through your life. This loss can be church moves , job loss, divorce, lost dreams, loss of a leader, loss of innocence, loss of a loved one, loss of friendship  etc. It is time to let yourself grieve for these.

Made for Heart Connections

Our hearts  were made to be connected.

The Heart

The Heart (Photo credit: petalouda62)

 

I look around and see iphones, ipads, yourgymn, ipaper it all about me (or I). I sit on my facebook by myself. Watch tv by myself. I wonder what has happened to community and the heart of living together. Have we, the church, picked up the ‘I’ culture or do we recognise how integral community is?

Let us look at the beginning of how God made us and the very nature of who we are:

The way we were made

  • In God’s image

Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT)

 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in  our image, to be like us. .. So God created human beings in his own image.  In the image of God he created them;  male and female he created them.

God has always been an us  ‘Father , Son and Holy Spirit’. He has always  been in perfect relationship, sharing heart, ideas and creative fun together. Here we find God chats among himself and comes up with the creative idea to make man. There is a consensus and God together makes it happen. God forms man in His/their image.

When he made mankind he made  ‘a them’.  He didn’t make a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ but a ‘them’. We were made in the image of God to be in perfect relationship, sharing heart, ideas and having creative fun together.

  • Not made to be alone

Genesis 2:18

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

Because God  has always been ‘a them’ He has never been  lonely. It is in his nature to enjoy company and open hearted relationship in unity. We were made in God’s image with His DNA. We were made to be together in open hearted relationships with soul companions, it is against our very make up to be on our own. God desire is unity with us and unity among us.

  • Made to be open with each other

Genesis 2:23-25

“At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone,    and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’    because she was taken from ‘man.’”This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

The idea of being naked goes further than not wearing clothes. It is a picture of the open honesty Adam and Eve  shared. There hearts were connected in such a way that nothing was hidden and their weaknesses were not a hindrance. They were one in body, heart and spirit. They were joined in heart connection and this is shown in the oneness that intimacy brings through physical union.

Heart connections

The heart is more than just a place we love from it is the core of our being and passions in life. If we are hiding our hearts in hurts and disappointments we cannot connect our hearts with others.  This leads to loneliness and rejection that is against the way we were made to be. Is this why so many are suffering from metal illness and depression in our society? We are living against our very nature hiding our hearts in brokenness.

Today: Recognise that you were made in God’s image to be in heart connection with others. Think about the state of your own heart and how easy you find it to be connected to others. Determine that you will seek to go to the healer and get your heart healed up so that you can join it in relationship with God and kingdom lovers.