Time

I’m obsessed with time. I’m a clock-watcher. Not in the sense of wanting something to be over, or to begin, but in the sense of wanting to carve out time for myself. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having personal time, and I would say it is essential, but for me it has become a source of anxiety.

If I am held up, or something is taking too long, I lose my patience, as I want to get back home to have “my time”. And for me, the evenings and the weekends can never be long enough. So I don’t really enjoy this “me time” that I carve out for myself.

I feel called to a better way to live. I’m resisting though, and it is difficult. But I feel called to hand over all my time to God. To put it in his hands. Then I think I can stop worrying about it.

I always thought that being in control of my time would be freedom. Being able to do whatever I want, when I want. But I’m starting to realize that me being in control of my time is not all it’s cracked up to be. I can never have enough, and it can never be good enough.

But in God’s hands, I don’t have to worry about it anymore. I can let go trying so hard to be in control of my life. When I trust God, I know that he is my provider, and he will give me whatever I need when I need it.

I suppose I have been a “Time Lord” so long, I’m quite used to it, and there is a kind of uneasy comfort in it. But I’m daring to imagine a new life for myself.

With my own hands on the wheel, I keep revisiting the same well-worn and unsatisfying roads, but who knows where I could go in life, if someone else took the wheel. Someone whose dreams and plans are far greater than I could ever ask for or imagine. Jesus.

The True Vine

If I may be so audacious, I’ve noticed what I think is a misunderstanding in how we grow in Christ. I think some Christians are under the impression that Christ makes us stronger and more gifted within ourselves over time as we walk with Him, as if God makes us independently more powerful and successful.

I would argue that it is the opposite! When you walk with Christ, you gradually realize how utterly incapable you are in your own strength, and how completely you need to depend upon Him. We become less and he becomes more.

If we are to grow then it means we are to become more like Christ, who himself is humble, gentle, meek, lowly in heart, giving himself completely to the will of the Father, doing nothing except that which he saw his Father doing, living in total obedience and dependence upon God the Father, whose power is made perfect in weakness.

Christ himself has said that he is the true vine, and we are like branches and must remain attached to the vine, who is the first source and the continuing source of all good things within us, and as Christ says, if we should be cut off and separated from that vine, then we would wither and die.

So we should not become conceited thinking God has made us great, no, God has become great in us! As Paul said, “not I, but Christ in me!”

Perhaps it is not a popular opinion, us having been raised in a society that puts high value on independence and personal growth and strength, but there is a real freedom in realizing that it’s not all on us, we have a good Father that we can depend upon.

Honesty in weakness

I felt that God has told me today, that he doesn’t need me to be perfect, but he wants me to see my weaknesses and acknowledge them. I have been so defensive, not wanting to admit where I am weak and sinful and where I struggle, but God wants me to know today that he doesn’t need my perfection, he needs my humility, honesty and openness. It is enough to acknowledge where I fall short and to confess it, to boast about it even as Paul says, and present myself in weakness to God, because his power is made perfect in weakness. I don’t have to defend myself or hide from him any longer. He knows my intimately, he knows the number of hairs on my head, and he for sure knows where I am weak. It is no surprise to him.

It is enough to admit I struggle in an area and say sorry to those it hurts, and then try to do better. I don’t have to defend myself and fight back. I don’t have to hide my flaws and try to convince others that I don’t have them. It’s time to be authentic and real, and admit it all.

July 14th 2018

This was the day my whole world changed. I remember this Saturday morning, almost 3 years ago. I had been so depressed and just felt dead inside. I went for a walk into Preston town center. A man was playing a guitar and singing on the street, and I sat down on a bench near him. Turned out he was singing about Jesus, and I had a moment where time seemed to slow down and I felt calm and at peace.

Then I got up and walked around the block and there was a table set up, where a pastor and his wife were handing out leaflets and chatting with people. At first I walked by, but something stopped me, and I said in my mind, “okay, fine, I will go back and talk to them.” So I spoke with them, and I went to their church, and I ate with them and joined in with their community.

And then through the course of the next year, my life changed radically. I started a new job and moved to Manchester, I gave up smoking weed, my deep depression lifted, and for the first time in the longest time, I was happy and content. I had hope again for the future. I met my wife and we are about to move into a house together.

All because in that moment on the road that day, Jesus prepared a table for me, and I stopped and turned back. One small decision changed things forever. I just had to say “okay, I’ll give it my best try.”