Sunday, 12 January 2014
So, apparently it is not cool to do resolutions any more. I have to admit that all those Sunday supplements promising "New Year - New You" are very annoying. The Sunday Times are relentlessly pushing a book by some woman who thinks we should give up sugar. I am sure that this is an admirable ambition except the "delicious" recipes are completely unobtainable unless you are a Notting Hill dwelling, mega salary earning, bona fide FREAK!
Natasha - founder of Honestly Healthy - Breakfast is a smoothie made from 100g mango, 60g celery, 60g cucumber, 25g spinach, 5g mint, 40g avocado, juice of 1 lemon, 260ml coconut water, 1/2 teaspoon spirulina, 1 teaspoon chia seed. (I consider it an achievement if I remember to stir currants into my porridge.)
Or Johnny - founder of Bespoke Fitness. His sweet treats include Stevia (a natural sugar alternative) and Cacao (a natural antioxidant). (I have double checked and he doesn't seem to list a scone among his sweet treats. No accounting for taste I suppose.)
We can all probably do with reducing our sugar intake. I just am not sure that I want to make it my reason for living. A more sensible approach to New Year resolutions is the one word for the year thing that people are doing. Angela at Tracing Rainbows has come up with the word "Shine". Lucy Mills at Looking Deeper has chosen "Release" You get the idea. For me I think it will be "Responsibility" - both positive and negative.
It is my responsibility to make the most of my time, my energy, my rest. If I have goals for the year, it is my responsibility to do what is asked of me to move closer to those goals. I have to be a grown up about this and not spend my time complaining that God never does anything for me.
However, I also have to accept that it is not MY responsibility to keep the whole world happy. I can make sure that I try really hard not to make other people's lives a misery. I can try to be kind and sympathetic and thoughtful. But I cannot really bear the responsibility for making people happy. People come to me sometimes with a list of woes and look at me expectantly. I can give my take on it and maybe that can help (or maybe not) but other people have to take responsibility for their own lives sometimes too. Sometimes we really can't help ourselves and support is vital. Maybe just not as often as we think. I don't know about you but I have had people say "pray for me" but they don't really mean that. They mean "pray for me, take this from me, go find me the right people to help me, answer the phone night and day to support me, just flippin' come up with the answer will you!!!!?!" And I can't. Not always. I can listen but not forever. I can pray but we all need to pray for ourselves as well. In my rather limited experience, when we pray for something, God rarely bursts through the door in a superhero suit. Each situation needs us to learn, often slowly and when we look back we see the miracle and our place in it.
The Hollies were once memorably heard to sing in a sort of long drawn-out way "He ain't heavy - He's my brother." Well he is quite heavy sometimes actually. And maybe, when I have done everything possible to support him, we both have to accept that really it's now between my brother and God and he needs to get off my shoulder and go to God direct - before he puts my back out.
It does sound a bit horrible this and I am not saying that people who need support shouldn't get it. I am just saying that God does the one to one stuff better than me and sometimes I just have to give you up to him and then you get to experience what he has for you yourself.
Perhaps my most favourite pasage from The Message is the one from Matthew 11
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Sometimes we all have to find this in God for ourselves. That connection. That "Hullo. I was waiting for you to call on me." That thing that Jesus does that no one else can. There is a thing that only God can give you - and he won't let me go and get it for you. Believe me, it is much better for you to get it from God yourself.
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