The Lillies and the Sparrows

Lillies and Sparros Media

“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – Matthew chapter 6 verse 27
Yesterday I asked a group of young adults that I meet with weekly a question:
What are some of the most common fears people have about the future?

Their responses:
1. Being judged by others
2. Jobs
3. Failure
4. Finances
5. Rejection
6. Being alone

Sometimes I wonder how many hours of my own life have been spent worrying about these things; about whether or not I’m good enough, whether I’m meeting some insurmountable standard that I’m not even sure who set.

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed dreaming, or hoping, or creating, because it seems like there’s no room. “I have more important things to worry about now.”

I think I’ve forgotten how to feel.
My mind can’t remember how to wander, it couldn’t get lost if it tried.
I used to wonder about whether we could really shame the wise with the wisdom of foolish love, I used to wonder what it would look like if we all took down our walls and looked eye to eye at the human standing in front of us and saw only that, a human, a brother. I used to indulge in these outlandish fantasies, even if momentarily.

And now I’m wondering how I can fit all these tasks in, how I can produce more, how I can impress you, how I can prove that I’m a success, and you,
you took my pen from my hand and said stop dreaming girl. Join the line, fit the mould, work harder, straighten up, straighten out every single crease and bump until your flat and lifeless and no longer a threat to our culture of productivity,

I used to dream.

A wise man spoke some harsh truth to me the other night.
He told me, breathe.
You’re so frantic, so stuck in this cycle of systematic production, so anxious about doing everything right that you’re doing nothing well. Not because it isn’t good enough. But because you’re not in it. You feel nothing for it. You are not changed by it. You are surrounded by life but you’ve become so bound by the factory formula that compels you to do more, produce more, have more…
that you have nothing. And you’re moving faster than ever. But you are empty.

He said, you are flying past the life you’ve been dreaming of.
In pursuit of the next best thing because you’re afraid that what you’ve got and who you are is not good enough.

Pause. Listen.. Feel. Taste. See. Be. Pause. Breathe.

By all means pursue your dreams but remember to check that they are actually yours. By all means compete. By all means be driven. But too much competition and drive will keep you reaching forever and stop you from being thankful for what is in your hands.

 

 

And he was right.

I came into this world with nothing and I will leave it with nothing.
In a world of 7 billion people there is an incredibly minute chance that I will be remembered. That is quite a freeing thought. Not that my life is worthless, but that it’s worthless wasting it worrying.

Because if you do remember me, God forbid it be for the fact that I was too busy to care. To worried about my to do list that I never enjoyed doing.

If you do remember me for anything, I hope it is for loving, deeply. For noticing the outsider and creating space for her. For sitting with you in your hurt. For filling rooms with joy. . I hope you remember my laugh. My eyes that took the time to really see you. For being fearless in challenging the things in life that keep us captive and isolated.

Not for being too afraid to try.

 
About the Author:

Katie is a social work student at Massey University and part time youth pastor at North West Anglican. Katie is originally from the UK, giving our GC team the ‘cool accent’ factor. Katie loves food, people and fitness, and is always off on a hike or run somewhere exciting. She speaks at and MC’s our cafe events, and writes for the blog.

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A letter to my best friend

Letter

Dear Best Friend, Thank you for being my friend.

I’m unsure if I could ever thank you enough for being there during the hardest years of my life. With your help, I am now in a place of positive mental well-being, I like myself and I feel valued.

I know that it was hard to be my friend.

I was not only sad and unhappy, but I often got angry at you and made you feel bad.

I know that it was hard listening to me talk about things so negatively… and that you didn’t always know how to respond. But let me tell you now – you made such an impact.

Long ago, I wrote a song and some of the lyrics went like this… “they say it’s easier to calm a crying man, more than a man who is down”, because more often than not, that was my experience. However, this never stopped you from trying. No words can explain how much that meant to me, despite maybe not showing it at the time.

I appreciate that you always listened to me and made me feel valued.

I appreciate that you cared about me and made me feel needed.

I appreciate that you tried to make me smile, even when I wasn’t responding.

I appreciate all of the time and effort you placed into our friendship.

I also really appreciate that you made me handle things on my own sometimes. It was tough at the time, but in the long run, it helped.

You always let me know you were there for me, but that you also weren’t always able to put your own life on hold in order to comfort me. Although it sometimes felt harsh, it helped me begin to develop my own coping mechanisms and has greatly contributed to my ability to have a healthy and positive mentality. You made sure that I was loved, valued and just that little bit less lonely.

To me, Best Friend, you are a legend.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

 

Anonymous.

 

Prayer Tools and Guides

candle-prayer-magick

Where to from here? That’s what many of us might be thinking after our event last week on Common Prayer. So we at the Grace Collective thought it would be helpful to share some tools with you to begin with as you delve deeper into different ways of enriching your prayer life. It’s by no means comprehensive. In fact it’s rather a small list. But our prayer is that it would be the beginning of a journey for you into different ways of praying alone or together which will enliven and strengthen your relationship with God. We hope you find them helpful. Continue reading

Common Prayer

Common Prayer BlogPrayer is a beautiful thing. When we pray we are participating in Jesus’ relationship with the Father through the Holy Spirit. We enter the Triune dance between Father, Son, and Spirit of God through Jesus who is our Great High Priest, sitting at the right hand of the Father and making a way for humanity to come back to a relationship with God. There is so much going on in a conversation with God that we don’t always have the capacity to acknowledge all at once, but in this short piece I want to remind us of two elements in this transcendent and yet very grounded practice at the heart of our faith. Spirituality and mission are intrinsically connected, and for today’s cold, anxious, groaning world, the slowness, silence, and solitude of the contemplative spiritual practices of the monastics is good news. Continue reading

ONE SMALL THING

prayerOne small thing,

At the same time,

Every day,

With gratitude in your hearts.

A dear friend of mine once shared with me this mantra. A friend who carries with her sixty years of discovering what it means to engage with a God who cares deeply for his people. She often spoke to me about the franticness of life and how the “glorification of busy” robs us of the deep fulfilment God longs to soak us in. For her, praying is constant, simple, and sincere. But I think she’d say it’s much more about listening, than telling God what she wants. This friend lives in a closeness to Jesus that is infectious. Not that she is never worried, or tired, or annoyed, but that she somehow walks through these human experiences evidently close to God. It intrigued me. So I asked her once, What’s the trick? How do you spend time with God? I kind of expected her to give some vague answer which was really just a question back at me, in that mysterious way that intriguing people like to answer curious questions. But this time she didn’t. Continue reading