Share Four Somethings: January

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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.

Something Loved

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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!

Something Read

get out of your head

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.

to:

(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!

It is released on January 28th and you can find it on Amazon at these links: UK, US.

Something Treasured

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!

Something Ahead

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.

Inspire Me Monday

    Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up          Tell-His-Story-button-newest-200x200  purposefulfaith.com     

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37 thoughts on “Share Four Somethings: January

  1. I most definitely need to get out of my head! And I wrote a post this month about my love of the church! I read this and kept thinking, “This sounds a lot like what I wrote about this month!”

    Great minds and all. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love these four somethings! I’ve never had a macaron but I’ve enjoyed watching them being made on The Great British Baking Show! Keep practicing and maybe I will be watching you someday!😊 I’m definitely going to have to read this book. I call it “rehearsing disaster” and I spend way too much time doing it. It’s exhausting! It is a true blessing to have a church family to love and I’m glad yours is supportive of you and this new journey you are embarking on. I will also add it to my prayer list! It is a need I wish we didn’t need but the horror is far to prevalent in this world of ours. I admire your desire to help. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cindy! No matter how good I get at macarons I will definitely not be on the Great British Bake Off! There’s no way I could spend four hours making a cake as so many of their challenges seem to involve! I hope you find the book helpful too, and thank you so much for your prayers. I definitely need God’s wisdom in this.

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  3. I love the format of your January musings. I’ve been debating whether to get Jennie Allen’s book and your recommendation put me over to the side of reading and getting the book. I might wait until I can check it out from the library.

    I’m praying for you as you step out faithfully as a Journey to Heal mentor. What a gift you have to share. May you find the exact place, timing, and people to begin.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you found the courage to push past your fears and speak to your church, Lesley. Sounds like this book really offered you the practical insights you needed to go to the next level in your faith. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for this review! I’ll be pinning!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So good to hear from you, Lesley! And your post reminded me of the monthly 4 somethings, which I usually do, but forgot this month. Hubby and I are traveling right now, which completely threw off my schedule. I will have to wait until next month to write about the new 4 somethings.

    Your Journey to Heal mentoring sounds like a fulfilling and exciting new opportunity for you to share God’s love and healing power with others. I hope you keep us updated on your progress.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a neat opportunity you have before you! I’m thankful your presentation went well and had such good response. I like what you shared from the Get Out of Your Head book. Sometimes I have let a thought spiral go on far too long before I remember I can actively change my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lesley, that little tidbit you share from Jenny Allen’s book is priceless! I am going to try that. Congratulations to you for completing your training to become a mentor for women recovering from sexual abuse or assault. So needed.

    For me, January has been a time to work on a couple of daily habits and try to do weekly planning/evaluation. (I had the planning part before, but missed the key of looking back to evaluate!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Betsy! Glad you found that insight from the book helpful too. It”s interesting to read about your January goals – I think I’m also better at planning but not so good at evaluating

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  8. It’s so good when you find a church where you are really at home. We changed churches a couple of years ago and have found much the same thing. Love those Macarons but you’re braver than me to try baking them. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. oh i love that you’ve found your church home, Lesley, and that there is so much joy and freedom and support where you worship and do life in community.

    what an encouragement for those who don’t have such a place to know that yes, there is a family out there, just waiting for what I bring to the table.

    beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda! It is such a blessing, and I never thought it would be possible that I could enjoy church so much or feel so accepted, so I hope it will encourage others not to give up.

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  10. What a cool post! January has been loooooooong! I am systematically going through every room, closet and drawer in this house. I’m not leaving one inch of this place untouched. My goal is to finish this week. I’ve made at least four trips to Goodwill. It’s so difficult to let go of stuff. But it’s good!

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Patsy! I had great intentions for clearing out a lot of things in January too but it hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped. This is a good reminder to look at where I can find the time.

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  11. Lesley, what a great post. God has had to work with me for years regarding my thought life. It’s a constant choosing where to focus—how to direct—my thoughts.

    I am really excited to hear more about how God will use you with the Journey to Heal ministry! I completely understand the need to step back from blogging at times. Knowing where God wants you to focus your time and energy is smart.

    For me, it’s been a month of trying to learn some new things. But, my big prayer would be for a dear friend whose heart stopped on Saturday night. God totally saved her, but she will be having a pacemaker and defibrillator put in in the next day or so.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This insight you shared from the book is so good to change our thought patterns. I’m writing it down now. 🙂 I’m sure being a Journey to Heal mentor will be quite challenging, but I’m also sure you will be a blessing to those you mentor!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am so excited for your next step in ministry! It seems like an area in need of understanding and loving leaders. Thanks for the book recommendation. I considered adding it to my to be read list–I think you convinced me!

    Liked by 1 person

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