I don’t know about you, but, to me, this year seems to be flying in! It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of April already, but it’s time for another monthly review with Share Four Somethings.
There has been lots that I have loved this month: my first full-length residential with young people in three years, some beautiful sunny spring days, a week off work, and two trips to the theatre.
I think a particular highlight has to be Easter Sunday. As we gathered for church, there was a real sense of joy and celebration. Obviously we were celebrating the Resurrection, but since we had only been able to gather online for the last two Easters, there was something particularly special about celebrating together in person this year.
It was also the first time I had been at church when we didn’t have to wear masks, and it made such a difference to be able to sing properly together and to be able to hear one another in conversation!
I discovered an article a couple of weeks ago that really spoke to me. I read a lot of wonderful articles online, but rarely do I go to the effort of printing a copy to highlight and reading it multiple times!
The article is “Pastor Your Own Heart First” by Anthony Kidd, and, while it is aimed at pastors, there is a lot that is applicable to all Christians. It is a challenging reminder not to get so caught up in the activity of ministry that we lose our love for Jesus.
I’d encourage you to read the whole article, but here are a few parts that stood out to me:
“I was so focused on feeding others with the Bread of Life that I neglected to feed on him first.”
“God showed me that he empowers a man [or a woman] to be suitable to the calling of public ministry through a vibrant and ongoing walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. I discovered that doing for Christ to the neglect of being sustained by and reveling in Christ is a recipe for disaster.”
“Our usefulness in ministry is inextricably linked to our delight in Christ. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can overlook the condition of your own heart and still be helpful to others.”
For almost five months now, I’ve been dealing with various issues with my flat. I won’t bore you with the details, but it has been an ongoing saga, made worse by the fact that the vast majority of tradespeople have been incredibly unreliable about showing up when they were meant to or doing what they said they would.
The whole thing has taken up way too much of my time and energy, and has been far too stressful. I’ve definitely made some progress now with getting things sorted, but there’s still a long way to go!
I always find this the hardest category in Share Four Somethings, and I don’t think I’ve achieved very much this month!
However, one thing comes to mind, which is a small achievement but potentially significant. On two occasions over the last couple of weeks, I have said no to things that people have asked me to do.
Obviously these aren’t the only times I’ve ever said no, but the nature of these situations was such that in the past I would definitely have felt obliged, out of “politeness,” to do what the people were asking me to do. Neither of the asks were unreasonable, but I also had very valid reasons for wanting to say no, and it feels like a small triumph that I actually managed to do it.
In one of the situations particularly, I was very worried about how the “no” would be received. I doubted the person would understand, and I was concerned about being thought of as selfish. However, as I prayed about it, I felt that God was saying, “You don’t need to explain, and you don’t need to defend yourself.”
In both cases, the people I said no to completely respected my answer, and I think it has boosted my confidence that there are situations where it’s ok to say no.
What about you? How has the last month been for you? Feel free to share a highlight or a prayer request in the comments.