When I moved to Yeovil from Essex two months ago, there was something I immediately noticed as being very different from home… hills!
Walking to work, I found myself amazed at how far I could see. There were views that I’d normally only get when we went on holiday, and I marvelled at them. I took photos and praised God for how wonderful his creation was!
Over time, I got used to the hilly landscape. Seeing the fields in the distance or far-off streetlights at night didn’t surprise me anymore. I went back to my habit of dawdling along, staring at the ground, which I’m sure my mum always used to tell me off for!
But recently, with the autumn leaves falling to the ground in their spectacular display of fiery colours, I couldn’t help but notice the beauty of nature, even when looking at the ground! It made me look up again and remember just how incredible God’s world is.
I think a similar thing can happen with faith sometimes.
It’s easy to get used to the idea that God loves us, isn’t it? Some of us have been taught ‘Jesus loves you’, and have been reciting John 3:16, from such a young age that we can forget what it even means, or just how true it is. We can get used to the beauty of God, and what he has done for us, just like I got used to the beauty of nature.
It’s great to remind ourselves of how indescribably good God is and how much he loves us. Let’s not miss out on the blessings he has for us just because we are not looking for them.
Joanna Hodgson, 19/11/2020
Hi, my name is Steph. I’m a first year intern at Oddments.
For 3 years, I studied musical theatre in a very competitive environment, where I was also being bred into what I like to call “Comparison Culture”. This became the catalyst to a decline in my self-esteem. Being the only Christian in college was a very lonely experience because I had no one else who understood my way of thinking or whom I could relate to.
A combination of being weighed every week, social media, being in a toxic relationship and falling away from my faith in God led me to having a very low opinion of myself. This affected my view of the way I looked more than anything else; but also created a lot of self-doubt about my capabilities in all aspects of life.
However, in recent months, I have been massively drawn to this bible verse in particular because I feel it perfectly depicts God’s love for us, and it helps to remind me that God carefully created me with a lot of thought, making no mistake with how I was formed. If we can appreciate nature in all its beauty, which is also God’s creation, then why can’t we appreciate ourselves??
There’s a quote that also sums it up perfectly:
“You are imperfect, permanently & inevitably flawed. You are beautiful.”
– Amy Bloom
So, what can we do?
- Lift your cares and worries to God.
- Read this verse.
- Speak this verse over yourself.
- Praise God for making you the way you are- God’s perfect creation.
Steph Wolfe, 30/10/20
I like what Rick Warren says in his book The Purpose Driven Life:
“The greatest hindrance to God’s blessing in your life is not others, it is yourself – your self-will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfil God’s purpose for your life while focusing on your own plans.”
Being a follower of Christ means a real change in mindset:
To live for Christ, you have to die to self
To lead, you have to be a follower
To be first, you have to be last
To be full, you need to be empty
To be strong, you need to acknowledge your weaknesses
To be brave, you need to have the fear of God
To be wise, you need wisdom from many advisors
Taking up the mantle of Christ and being his follower challenges our core values. We soon find out that within us there is a lot of self-resistance. We stumble over a roadblock called ‘self-determination.’ Our arms ache from the placard we grip that reads ‘I want to be in control’. We will be a follower of Christ, but we want to write some of the terms and conditions. And if life isn’t quite going as planned, it is not long before the bratty child in us surfaces. Then, the voice of blaming others emerges. Dissatisfaction with others, work, the church, the spouse, the relationship, the system, and the team become a constant moan.
Without realising it, we become our own barrier that prevents God working in us. We have become a self-perpetuating prophecy of doom that ends up being played out in front of others. We become the hindrance to God’s blessing in our own lives and the lives of others.
That is why this verse is so important:
“Keep watch over yourself.”
Barry Boyton, 20/10/2020