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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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

The Sex Talk

Picture it with me for a moment.

A Youth summer camp at an awesome space, with incredible speakers, too much sun, Hillsong worship (pre-oceans but post the brass band stage). There was a buzz about the camp when Saturday morning approached.
We were having a conversation at 9am that day about sex and relationships. Starting together, but splitting into guys and girls. The classic set up. You probably know the drill. Continue reading

“Gosh, you’re so bossy!”

It was the night before a youth camp and I was in full work mode (I worked for the organisation putting on the camp). There was loads to set up and get organised and it was my job to help make it happen.

I was hard at work in one of the main areas while a group of people, of male volunteers, standing around talking. I asked if any of them could help me with what I was working on to which I received the response “gosh, you’re so bossy!”. Continue reading

#Squadgoals Story

IMG_0064With the upcoming Grace Collective event, “#SquadGoals”, I have been thinking quite a lot about what it means. So let me share my story with you.

Growing up, I was bullied quite a lot and always felt like I didn’t fit in. My only ‘Squad Goal’ was to have a squad. I thought that if I found a squad to gate crash, that things might start looking up. This meant that I spent a lot of my time trying my best to please others and trying to fit into the mould of those around me. Continue reading

Shifting my goals

mundane2

The horror of the “same old thing” is one of the most restricting passions of the human heart.

We wear the word mundane, with shame.

We dread that something be the same as it was before, for to be unchanged, is to be failing.

Without realising, my demand for change diminishes my pleasure and increases my desire, whilst simultaneously emptying my pockets, and my sense of satisfaction.

When I finished high school 3 years ago, I went on an adventure. And I did some incredible things, things I don’t regret doing, and things I will truly treasure for the rest of my life. However, I am beginning to realise that although taking on new challenges and striving for cool, great things is not necessarily bad, for me, pursuing adventures for myself has at times blinded me to the reality of the consistent beauties that already exist in my life.

I have been living a “mundane” “normal” life again for over a year since my trip.

“Back to study” “Back to work” “Back to living at home” “Back to the same old thing.”

And secretly, and sometimes not so secretly, I seem to circle back to a longing to be elsewhere, back there, somewhere different, somewhere exciting.  Continue reading

I’m A Kiwi Too!

11080898_10203108374344771_4240644590051391261_nWhere am I from? It’s not a straightforward answer. I’m Sri Lankan, born in Bahrain, and have lived in New Zealand since I was two – I’m quite a mix of different cultures. This gets interesting when I meet new people here. I often get called Indian or Fijian Indian. When I explain to people that I was born in Bahrain, I receive confused looks – it’s in the Middle East folks. My cultural heritage and ethnicity is important to me, but I’m also very much Kiwi. Is it therefore fair that I’m often treated as different just because I look different? Continue reading