Today I’m joining with Heather Gerwing and friends for Share Four Somethings as well as linking with some other lovely bloggers listed at the end of the post. For 2020, the Share Four Somethings categories have changed slightly, so I will be sharing about Something Loved, Something Read, Something Treasured, Something Ahead.
I’m not sure if I’ve tried macarons before, but I attended two gatherings this month where they were served, and I discovered just how good they are!
I was inspired to have a shot at making some, which didn’t go so well. (The image above is not of the ones I made!)
They didn’t taste too bad but they were slightly under-baked and hadn’t risen as much as they were meant to. However, I believe they are meant to be tricky to get right first time, and, as I can’t find anywhere near me to buy them at the moment, I’ll have to keep practicing!
If you’re anything like me, the idea of getting out of your head probably sounds quite appealing at times! It can be far too easy for our thoughts to spiral out of control, with the doubts and questions and “what ifs” leading us to places we’d rather not go.
Jennie Allen’s book provides a challenge to deal with this issue, and a practical guide to help us take our thoughts captive as Scripture instructs us to do.
Too often, we can feel like victims of our whirling minds, but she points out:
“Every spiral can be interrupted. No fixation exists outside God’s long-armed reach. Because we are a “new creation” we have a choice.”
This is the key message of the book – we have a choice in the way we think, and the choices we make about our thoughts go on to impact our actions, emotions and relationships.
While I’ve heard this message before, I’ve always struggled to put it into practice, and what really stands out about Jennie Allen’s book for me is the second section of the book where she addresses a number of common thought spirals, such as those based in shame, fear or cynicism, and she gives specific advice on how to deal with them.
As well as biblical insights, there is some fascinating information about neuroscience, and there are some practical techniques (which appear to be based on cognitive behaviour therapy) to help tackle problematic thoughts.
One that I found particularly helpful was to change the thought pattern from:
(negative emotion) because (reason)
e.g. I feel scared because I am going to share in front of my church on Sunday.
(negative emotion) and (reason) so I will (choice)
e.g. I feel scared and I am going to share in front of my church on Sunday, so I will focus on the fact that God is with me and trust him to equip me.
Seriously, I was glad I read the book for that one insight alone! I like it because it encourages you to acknowledge how you’re feeling about a situation but also to recognise that you have a choice in how you deal with it.
I’d definitely recommend this book – it is one that I’ll be coming back to and seeking to put into practice!
I know I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but I love my church family!
Almost four years ago when the new church plant began in my area and I was invited to join, I was sure that my answer would be no.
Fortunately God had other ideas!
After struggling with church for years, I have found my place, and, even after a few years here, I have never lost the wonder and the joy of being in a community where I belong, where I am welcomed and valued, and where, together, we can make a difference in our community.
Last Sunday, I spoke in front of the whole church, sharing part of my story and my vision for a new venture (see Something Ahead). It felt risky and vulnerable – the acceptance and support of the church community mattered a lot to me – but I had nothing to fear. I was met with nothing but love and encouragement, and I am so privileged to take the next step on this journey knowing that I have the prayers and support of the church community behind me!
If you’ve been around here for a while, you will have heard me mention Journey To Heal Ministries, a wonderful organisation which aims to help women who have experienced childhood sexual abuse along the path to hope and healing.
In the autumn, I completed the training to be a Journey To Heal mentor, and since then I have been praying, preparing, and waiting to get started.
On Sunday, I told the church about it, and, while I don’t have a definite way forward yet, the word is getting out in the church and in the community, and I have a few follow-up conversations with people interested in finding out more or wanting to help.
I don’t know exactly what the way ahead looks like with this, but, as some of you know, it’s been quite a journey so far. I’m excited to see the next step, and I’d appreciate your prayers.
How has January been for you? Feel free to share a highlight or a prayer point in the comments.
PS – I’m sorry I’ve not been around as much or engaged as much in the blogging world lately. I have to recognise that as I look to start Journey To Heal in my community it is going to mean cutting back on other things a bit at times. I will still be around, posting and visiting as much as I can.