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, …………

Working through pain

A dear friend of mine gave me the link to this podcast to use in a youth setting. I would like to share it with you. I know it won’t be relevant for everybody – but if it helps you I am pleased 🙂

http://podcast.moralrevolution.com/working-through-pain-by-jason-vallotton

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.

Letting your tears fall

‘Ignoring our emotions is turning our back on reality  listening to our emotions ushers into reality. And reality is where we meet God Emotions are the language of the soul. They are the cry that gives the heart a voice.. However we often turn a deaf eor – through emotional denial, distortion, or disengagement  We strain out anything disturbing in order gain tenuous control of our inner world. We are frightened and ashamed of what leaks into our consciousness. ln neglecting our intense emotions we are false to ourselves and lose a wonderful opportunity to know God. We forget that change comes through brutal honesty and vulnerability before God’  Cry of the soul Dan Allender and Tremper Longman III

A Single Tear ~ Aladdin

A Single Tear ~ Aladdin (Photo credit: canhasal)

During this journey I have discovered that not to address my emotions is to live in denial. I have found that I no longer think it is healthy to sweep things under the carpet and pretend they are not there – I need to deal with my heart.

For such a long time I have been taught, either directly or subconsciously, to hide weakness, to confess positively, to die to myself – even the good desires, to ignore my emotions, to believe I am a new creation and the past does not affect me, to hide conflict and quieten my questions, to get on with life and cover over brokenness, weakness and failure. I have found that this causes me to feel inadequate and ashamed as the “stuff” inside me affects the way I live and causes me to limp along in pain. There has to be a reality, an admitting our brokenness, a healing of the heart and a reconciliation of our souls.

For me I think it is like having rubbish in the rooms of my heart. We stomp on it, shout at it but do not deal with it. We squash it down into the recesses of our heart to try and forget about it all and lock it safely in to minimize damage. We are aware that the rubbish is there when people press against the door with what they say – it provokes a reaction in us. Memories and thoughts that are hidden may still be sore we may get angry or withdraw. We start to push so much inside we become hoarders of unresolved issues. We then become frightened to deal with things because to clear out the rooms means opening the doors. We know that once one thing falls out – the whole lot will follow quickly afterwards and this is too overwhelming to deal with. It is time to take a deep breath and open the door of the deepest recesses of our hearts. Time to let the rubbish fall out, be cleaned out, healed up and let ourselves feel again.

The only way to grow up and become emotionally mature is to understand myself and let the power of God into the deepest recesses of my heart.

If we read Isaiah 35:1&2 again we see that the desert where the crocuses blossom is full of flowering glory. The passage tells us that the land is parched and dry -so what is refreshing and watering these bulbs in order for them to bloom? The streams and waters do not start gushing forth till verse 6 so it isn’t the rivers.

Can I make a suggestion that it is the tears of those going through the wilderness bootcamp/college who are learning to let go? These are the children who have opened the doors of their past.  It is the tears of those forgiving, releasing their pain, being touched by God’s love and crying out for more.

What follows this process? When we look further on in the same passage (verse 10) we see that sorrow and mourning will be no longer be found because joy will crown their heads and gladness and joy will overtake them.

Today: Spend some time with your Father and give yourself permission to feel again. Start to open those doors of your heart and let give God access to  the secret parts of your soul.

Forgiveness 3

I don’t want us to brush past this important part of the journey. We need to take some active steps to deal with unforgiveness  before we move on. This is not a one off act but we will need to deal with it again when it crops up in the future. We are always learning how to forgive others.

Forgiving someone has to be act of the will. Quite often the person you must forgive may already be dead. These people are often the most difficult to forgive, but are the most important. There may be people from situations in your life which you may feel are impossible to forgive, or ones that you simply refuse to forgive, or even ones that you say you just cannot forgive since they have caused you such deep pain. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring you to a place where you are enabled to make the choice to forgive. He will reveal to you all the people and situations which make forgiveness necessary.

Today : Sit down and take your time doing this exercise. With each of the names written down in your travel log pray through this prayer. It might help to visual the person in the room sat in front of you as you pray.

“ —(insert the name)—- I forgive you for all you have done to me. I release you to the grace of God.  I break agreement with bitterness  dwelling in me. I now breathe in your love and forgiveness God”

After you have let go sit down and refresh yourself in God’s presence. Perhaps listen to some music, or just wait quietly.

Forgiveness 2

Forgiveness lesson from flowers

Forgiveness lesson from flowers (Photo credit: juliejordanscott)

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness is a choice and vital to our relationship with God. Unforgiveness determines intimacy with our Father and feeds rejection. Harbouring any unforgiveness or unconfessed sins will definitely hinder our spiritual growth and communication with God.

Unforgiveness can be detrimental to our physical and spiritual wellbeing. It can manifest itself as depression, anger, hatred, resentment and bitterness etc. It can cause physical ailments, all of which rob us of peace and joy.

We need to invite the Holy Spirit to remove weeds form the garden of our hearts. We can ask him to search our hearts as David did in Psalms 139 and He will look for any hurt, wounds or pain that the enemy would seek to exploit through unforgiveness. We must not do our own digging. It is important to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal:

1.        Any unconfessed sin

2.        Any unforgiveness of others

3.        Any unforgiveness of self

4.        Any ungoldly beliefs (lies you have believed)

It is helpful to make a list of all the people and situations that have ever caused you

Hurt, Pain, Fear, Resentment, Jealously, Shame, Rejection, Loneliness, Anger, Guilt, Dishonour

Don’t forget to put you own name and God’s name at the top of the list. This is very important!

Unforgiveness is a doorway for Satan to come in , gain a foothold and take control in certain areas of your life, and even the lives of family members. Forgiveness closes the doorways to the enemy which is vital before the house or temple can be cleansed and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Today: Spend some time with God and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any body in your life who needs forgiving. This includes forgiving God or yourself. We will look at what to pray in more detail tommorrow

Forgiveness 1

For few days we will be looking at  the power of  forgiveness – the answer to bitterness

World Without End (Follett novel)

World Without End (Follett novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I start with a personal revelation whilst watching World Without End by Ken Follet. In the last episode there is a scene where the wicked Petranilla (who had killed many for the sake of ambition) was in a room with the heroine, Caris. Petranilla had killed Caris’ mother, father, best friend and tried to burn Caris at the stake. When Petranilla realises all her evil plans had turned against her she takes some poison to kill herself and Caris has her chance for revenge. I found myself seething with anger at this venomous character and wanted Caris to make her move. Caris, however, turns to her enemy looks her in the eye and says “I forgive you” and then starts praying for her. I was moved to tears and thought “so this is what it looks like to be truly powerful”.

 

Here are some key thoughts on how to be powerful in forgiveness.

•        God recognises that we have been treated badly

‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.’ Genesis 50:17

•        He sees our tears

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

•        Forgiveness always costs

They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven. Leviticus 5:18

•        We are not to forget the sacrifice God made for us to be forgiven

“who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit  and crowns you with love and compassion”, Psalm 103:2-4

“I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” Hebrews 8:12

•        God forgives as we forgive

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15

•        Forgiveness is as powerful as a healing

Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? Mark 2:9

•        God wants us to forgive others much as we have been forgiven much

Read the parable of the unforgiving servant  – Matthew 18:21

Today: think about the the attitude of heart that Jesus encourages where one person freely forgives another (Matthew 18:22). This is what a powerful person looks like in action.

The Oasis of Marah

The pre-requisite to the fullness of the adventure, for the Israelites, was a visit to the oasis of Marah (Exodus 15:22ff)

The Israelites had suffered emotionally and physically after a life of slavery in Egypt. The atrocities they had experienced , the injustices they had seen the oppression they had carried would have taken its toll on all the people. The  Egyptians  were without mercy, ruthless, oppressive and systematically butchered the Israelite children  (Exodus 1:13- 14) It says in verse 14 that the Egyptians made their life bitter, this was a culture where bitterness was rife.

Now at the beginning of a new journey God wants to give his people a fresh start. He wants to take away all the bitterness and heal their hearts (I am the Lord who heals you Exodus 15:26)

Bitterness comes in our lives when we have had unwanted experiences – failures, disappointments, setbacks or loss – that are perceived to be beyond our control. Bitterness occurs when one believes, rightly or wrongly, that other people could have prevented the undesired outcome. Regret involves blaming oneself. Bitterness, much like other negative emotions, could bring on illness.

Why do we want to hold onto bitterness? It is because the letting go of something that has affronted and hurt us down to our very core is hard. What we don’t always realise is that our core, whilst hosting bitterness, becomes full of spiritually rotting, putrid slime. This seeps into our thought world, sleep time and daily living. We find that if someone presses a sore place in our heart we explode into anger spewing this rancid acid out damaging those around. For some of us we implode  swallowing this gunk back down to our stomachs making us feel sick and a burning pain within.

In the passage in Exodus 15 we find that the way to heal bitterness was to through a pieceDSCN0611 of wood in the water that God had chosen. This is a picture of the healing the cross brings to our lives. We are healed because he gave his live for ours.

Today: Let us look how entering freedom means we leave the past behind. Think of situations where you may still feel bitter about the past. Tomorrow we will start to look on Monday at the process of healing bitterness.