Slightly late as the last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy, but I’m joining with Heather Gerwing and friends to look back on the last month as we Share Four Somethings.
After two years of COVID, live performances are still something of a novelty, so one of the biggest treats this month was the chance to attend a concert called “Faith At The Musicals”. It was run by an organisation called West End Has Faith and it featured five professional performers who have taken part in musicals in London’s West End.
They sang a selection of songs from musicals – a mixture of solo and ensemble numbers – and they also shared some testimonies and stories of their experience of living as Christians in the musical theatre world where they are very much in the minority.
I knew it would be a fantastic evening – faith and musicals are two of my favourite things, so it was the perfect combination. The singing was excellent and the stories were inspiring. I’m so glad I discovered it and got the chance to go!
If you’re a regular here, you’ll know that I am involved in a mentoring programme in my church called Journey To Heal. As part of that I meet occasionally with someone from my church who works as a psychologist and has agreed to provide support and supervision.
I have learned so much from her in the few meetings we have had, but our time together this month was particularly helpful.
I knew she was good at what she did, but after mulling over a complicated situation for a few weeks, I was amazed at the clarity I was able to find in just an hour of talking it over with her.
So, what did I glean?
The importance of boundaries. Most of the complications in the situation had come from boundaries not being firmly set or boundaries being blurred. While most of this was not down to me, it was helpful to learn from the whole situation, and it did become obvious as we talked that compassion and a desire to help can tempt me to overstep boundaries at times and that I need to be mindful of this.
I also gleaned that I sometimes underestimate what I have to offer or the value of what I do, and it was good to be encouraged that it is making a difference.
This month I got to lead my first residential for young people in two years! It all went very well, but one thing I had to brave was the anxiety that went along with it.
I have always had a degree of anxiety in the run-up to leading these events, but, probably because it has been such a long time since I did it, my anxiety level was much higher than normal.
One thing that helped was a study I was doing with She Reads Truth entitled “Do not fear.” It’s a 21-day study focussing on God’s faithfulness. Each day it looks at how someone in the Bible responded in a situation of fear and considers how what we know of God’s character can help us when we are afraid.
“Do not fear” is the most-repeated command in the Bible, but what I loved about this study is how it highlighted that the command is never given in a harsh way. It’s not about denying our feelings of fear, but it is about choosing to look to God. And as well as the command, the Bible also provides reasons why we don’t need to fear. Each day of the study focusses on one of these: for he will strengthen you, for he is present, for he will fight for you, for nothing is impossible with God, for he can be trusted…
I’d highly recommend it for anyone struggling with fear or anxiety.
This is a rather strange “something achieved” but to me it is quite an achievement – I got my brother to read a book!
Everyone else in my family is an avid reader, but I couldn’t tell you when my brother last read a book. He just has no interest at all.
However, as I was reading a book last month, I kept thinking how much he would enjoy it if he actually read it. I spoke to him about it and asked whether an audio book might be a option, but he said he wouldn’t listen to it, so I was very surprised when he told me the following week that he had downloaded the Kindle version and he was reading it on his phone!
For the last few weeks, each time we have chatted he has read a few more chapters and he is really enjoying it.
So, what is this amazing book, I hear you ask?
Ironically, probably not one that will interest most of the readers of this blog! It is a book called “Watching Neighbours Twice A Day” by the British comedian Josh Widdicombe. It is his memoir of growing up in the UK in the 1990s and it is structured around the TV shows he used to watch. As well as sharing stories from his own life, he reminisces about several 90s TV shows, and it was this, along with the humorous style of writing, that I knew would appeal to my brother.
He is the same age as Josh Widdicombe and enjoyed a lot of the same programmes. It’s definitely a book for people around that age who grew up in the UK and are familiar with the shows he mentions.
I’m just surprised and impressed that my brother decided to give it a go. I realise it’s probably a one-off but it has been fun to see him enjoy a book for a change and to be able to talk about it together!
What about you? How was February for you? Feel free to share a highlight or prayer request in the comments.