Tag Archives: work

The devil makes work for busy hands

26 Apr

I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase “The devil makes work for idle hands”, but just recently I have become convinced that the devil uses busyness just as much as idleness to distract us from following God with all our hearts.

Although Christians don’t like to admit it, I would guess that most of us struggle spending time with God, reading our bibles and praying. We can often feel guilty that we’re not doing it enough.
Over the last few years God has been helping me develop my quiet times…

…or in other words – I’ve actually been doing them regularly.

However, I still go through times {such as the last few weeks} when things get super busy and spending time with God seems to be put on the back-burner. This time, after a couple of hectic weeks when I was also ill I asked God to teach me how to continue to follow him faithfully even when things were super busy.

Here’s what I learnt:

1. Be disciplined

Oh yeah…you knew that one was coming right? It’s completely obvious but oh so hard!

God gave me a verse from Psalm 15 to cement this in my mind…

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?…he who keeps his oath even when it hurts”

As one lady from church says “anyone can march for Jesus when the sun shines”, but surely the real test of our faith and commitment to God is in those times when it’s not easy. If we’re still passionately following God even when things are going wrong then that cements our relationship and makes it real.

Now, I know that everyone has ‘seasons’ in life. There’ll be times when we can dedicate real time to in-depth bible study and prayer and other times when things are done more on the run, but I think as Christians we’re very good at making excuses for not spending time with God. We need to look at our hearts and at our motives. I know in my heart that if I examined my ‘busy’ days, there are still times when I manage to snuggle down with a novel for 15 minutes – why not spend that time sharing with my best friend, saviour and God instead?

2. Know where our energy comes from

If we need to find an example of a busy person, Jesus is a good person to start with. His ministry was a constant onslaught of teaching and needy people. So how did he deal with it?  In Luke 4 and 5 we see that Jesus went to a solitary place and he prayed. He knew that his energy, strength and power came from God so he went to him to talk about his ministry.

I get frustrated with myself when I forget this. I’m having a super busy day and I just end up forgetting to ask God to help me and so I do things in my own strength which makes things ten times worse. In the busy times spending time with God is probably more important – and yet so often we neglect it.

3.  Be fruitful, not busy.

The bible 100% advocates doing work for God and keeping busy, so don’t think that I’m suggesting we all sit around idle…

HOWEVER, I was reading again the story of the Vine and the Branches in John 15 the other day and it struck me…

What is the sign of God working in someone’s life?

Fruit.

Not busyness.

If you’re using your gifts to serve you likely will be very busy, but if you’re not listening to God and just getting involved in anything and everything you might not be fulfilling your God given role to the best of your ability.

We {and by this I mean ME} need to discern what God is telling us to do and be ready to say ‘no’ to people who suggest we do other things that in the end might end up making us super busy, but not super fruitful for God. We might seem like we’re indispensible and oh-so-helpful around church but if we end up sacrificing our personal relationship with God in the long run then, as Psalm 127 puts it, we’ll be “working in vain”.

Quick Questions

1. What do you think? Do you agree/disagree? Anything to add?
2. Do busy times drive you closer or further away from God?
3. How good are you at saying “no” when it’s required?

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Five Fact Friday

18 Feb

1. I was given a very beautiful congratulatory bunch of flowers by my Mentor today, which brought me a lot of joy!

2. Our car has now supposedly been fixed. We had it done by a welsh farmer out in the sticks and he had to change lots of parts and it costs lots of money. He said that it was a rubbish car and it ‘drove like a donkey’. HAHAHA, love the Welsh!

3. Yesterday was my day off and we went to Pontrhydygroes hoping to see the Golden Eagle which has been hanging around there. We got out of the car and saw it soaring above us straight away! I got an unsatisfactory photo to prove we’d seen it but it was flying very high.

4. I feel like I’ve failed in my new year’s resolution this month. I’ve eaten out quite a bit with friends, so need to try and cut down on that next month. Josh has completed his new year’s resolution which was to learn all 195 countries and capitals of the world off by heart. Geek!?

5. Part of my job is to welcome all sorts of people into church and make them feel welcome. We’ve currently got a homeless man coming in regularly with long black hair. He seems fine but obviously doesn’t have many social skills because he says some weird things and often stands at the hatch window staring at me. I just got my co-worker to go and speak to him today and he said he was ‘looking at the clock and admiring the attractive receptionist [me!]! Not sure whether to be freaked out or flattered! I’m praying that we can deal with him really well as it’s actually a bit of a daunting situation sometimes!

Hope you’ve all had a great week.

Quick Questions:
1. Have you ever seen an eagle?
2. How do you deal with people in awkward situations?
3. How many countries and capitals can you name? [I can do about 5!]

Snow is falling

20 Nov

Today I decorated the bookshop for Christmas. It’s a little earlier than I would normally do it, but because I’m not at work next week I needed to get it done.

 

One of the main components of my red and white winter theme were these large, hanging 3D snowflakes.

 

I’ve had so many compliments on these, but they’re actually really easy to make. Here’s how…

  1. Get six pieces of square paper and fold them in half diagonally.

  2. In the first triangular piece of paper, cut four lines each side of the triangle from the folded edge, but be careful not to cut right through the unfolded edge too.


    It’s easier to get a symmetrical cut if you fold the triangle in half and just do four cuts.

  3. Unfold your paper so that it is a diamond shape.
  4. Roll the innermost 2 lines together into a tube and tape together.

  5. Flip the diamond over and do the same thing with the next paper lines.

  6. Keep turning the paper and making tubes out of the paper lines, until all of the lines are joined.

  7. Repeat this process with the other 5 bits of paper.
  8. Now you have to join all the ‘arms’ together into a star shape. It’s easiest if you hold three together at first, and staple them together. Then do the same thing with the other three and staple the two together.

  9. To secure the ‘star’ shape staple where each of the six arms meet.

 

You can change the size of the snowflake by changing the size of the paper square you begin with, so that they can be used as hanging decorations or tree hangings.

Erm…Six Fact Saturday?!

30 Jan

I had a sneaking suspicion my five fact Fridays wouldn’t hold out! I didn’t post yesterday because I felt like my week had been quiet. Work has been ridiculously slow because my boss is away in Africa, and I didn’t want to bore you with the trivial.

However, I have just been reading back over the last six months of blog entries and have just realised afresh how much I appreciate keeping a blog! I have been giggling away about memories I have recorded and photos that we have shared. I know there was a big gap in the middle where I hardly blogged at all, and I feel like a lot of people (understandably) stopped reading then – but I have decided that even if no-one is reading this I’m still going to keep recording my day-to-day activities because it’s good to remember for ME.

Oh, wait! Grr. This is meant to be a fact post…Okay…

1. My week has been quiet and work has been boring!

2. I really appreciate my blog and even though no one reads it, I will still keep posting.

3. I AM HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy at the moment! This year has been so great so far! Even though life is quiet we have still done a lot of nice, relaxing things. I am cooking and baking again (new recipe to come soon), I am taking photos and I have spent some quality time with my wonderful friends and my lovely husband…

4. …who by the way bought me flowers AND took me out on a surprise restaurant date this week! Either he has smashed something that he hasn’t told me about yet OR he is a looovelly and marriage is fab! (Yes, I like the second option best too)

 

5. We have watched two great films this week. We went to the cinema to watch Sherlock Holmes on Wednesday which was a really good film (although it’s rated 12a and I thought it was a bit freaky at times!). We also watched My Sisters Keeper which was really well made too. I like how Nick Cassavetes deals with real life issues (like Alzheimer’s and cancer), but doesn’t focus on it – making the people and the family ties the thing that you really remember from the story.

 

6. A lady from church just bought me a surprise present! It’s a really soft bunny which you warm in the microwave and it smells like lavender. It was a total surprise and such a kind gesture! HAPPY!

Just out of interest, if you are still reading why not comment so I know you’re still around!?

Making more effort

21 Jan

I’ve been thinking about what I mentioned in my Five Facts Friday post about keeping my house clean being my New Year’s resolution. I’ve come to the conclusions that it’s not strictly true. What I should have said is that my New Year’s resolution is to make more effort.

Let me explain.

2009 for us was a rollercoaster year. We had some exciting times and have made some great memories. However, the year also contained a little more disappointment and uncertainty than you generally hope for. I finished the year feeling completely exhausted and despondent.

Nevertheless, after a great two week break for Christmas I felt refreshed and ready to go again. I looked forward to getting up in the morning and felt like I had my creativity back.

It made me realise that the reason I felt so down was partly because I was just really tired, and not because the whole world was crashing down around me. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t just lying on the sofa, wallowing in a pit of despair all the time BUT I realised that this year I need to make more effort to be happy, trust God, enjoy where we are and make memories, whatever is going on outside of our control.

So, even though I might be exhausted from rushing around doing a million different things I will still make more effort to do all those little jobs round the house before they turn into big jobs. It might be an effort at the time but I know that I will be much calmer, happier and a better wife if the house is ordered and tidy (I’m OCD like that).

 

Even though our jobs might conspire against Josh and I spending much time together I will make more effort to make the times we do spent together special, even if that means cooking when we don’t feel like it or playing a game together instead of just slobbing out in front of a film.

And all those other little things like exercising, exploring our surrounding area, driving, doing crafts and hosting dinner parties that can just get swept under the carpet with the busyness of life, I want to make more effort to live each day as it comes, enjoy the small things and serve God in every way I can. I want to make memories every day, rather than be looking into the future for the memories we will make then.

So, that is that. What are you resolutions and how are you keeping to them?

The past, present and future

16 Dec

Isn’t it weird how we go through seasons in life? Seasons of happy times, seasons of change…seasons of blogging every day, and seasons of not blogging at all?

I’m not really sure how to describe the last couple of months of my life, however, I can say that they haven’t been the best.

Back in the mythical time when I actually blogged regularly, you may remember I alluded to pushing doors for our future without actually going into specifics. I didn’t want to say too much because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but now I will explain all.

For the last year or so Josh has been applying to go forward for ordination in the Church in Wales. It’s a long drawn our process which can take years, but finally Josh seemed to be getting somewhere over the last few months. He met with one director who seemed to think that Josh could get through the interviews in time to go to college in September 2010 and was really pushing him through the system.

So, the last few months have been focussed on cramming for interviews and thinking about the future and what that means for us. If Josh becomes a vicar then it is pretty much signing up to a lifetime vocation, and it could actually be happening THIS YEAR.

While all this was going on work has been really busy and pretty tough for various reasons which I can’t really go into here. I still love my job, but lets just say it has been stressful and tiring too, and Josh working loads of evenings as well as studying for interviews meant that our time together was scarce.

Basically what I’m trying to say through all this ramble is that in the last couple of months I’ve felt like I’ve been in suspended animation (hence the lack of blogging – I didn’t feel like we were doing anything blog worthy!). I was concentrating so much on our future, and I was so tired just getting through the days that I forgot that I actually had to enjoy living for now.

But then we found out that Josh wasn’t going to get through the system into college this year. The board told him to wait a year and apply again then. At first we were both really upset and disappointed. It’s inevitable that it will be hard if you’ve built yourself up for something and been told that it is likely you will get through.
However, a week after we heard the news we took a short break to Pembrokeshire to relax, to catch up on sleep and to just get some quality time to hang out and talk. The rest we got over those few days away helped me to see that I had just been functioning on autopilot and that I was focussing so much on the future it wasn’t really surprising that I wasn’t feeling very happy in the present. 

Over the last couple of week I have been feeling better and better. The news that we have to wait a while still stresses me out a little – but only because I get stressed about not knowing what the future holds. I know that I shouldn’t and I’m still working on trusting that God has it in hand!

For the present we are planning to stay in Aberystwyth because moving anywhere for just a year seems like a lot of trouble just for the sake of it. So unless an unexpected job or opportunity crops up we’re staying put for the mean time. And I’m just trying to sit back and enjoy the present for a while, looking forward to Christmas* with my family and not worrying about what the future holds**.

*I bought the Muppet Christmas Carol DVD today – oh yes

**which will hopefully include more regular blogging. I’m sorry!

The mystery of September 4th at 12pm

4 Sep

You know those forward planning bits you have at the back of your diary? Well when I came to change diaries last month (Yea, I still think in academic years) I noticed that in the September section I had written

“4th 12pm”

 It’s been worrying me ever since. How could I have been so stupid? This is me we’re talking about. My diary as pretty much become an extension of my arm in the last couple of years. We have so much going on that I don’t even bother to try and remember any of it, it all just goes down in the diary.
With neat little codes and highlighted annotations…sigh

IMG_9409

So, what was happening on the 4th September at twelve? Was I meeting a bookshop rep, did we have a meeting with the police or someone from the council? Was it even about me, or was it work related? Was I meant to be reminding someone else of something important?

Then, a couple of days ago my worries were relived. I got a text message from my dentist reminding me that I had a dentist appointment on 4th SEPTEMBER at 12PM. Horrah for technology!

Normally I hate these text messages. Every other one I have received I had grumbled about big brotherish modern technology. Why can’t people ever write down their appointments? Surely people survived before mobile phones were around? But it looks like this time it saved my bacon. Not even I can be a super efficient office administrator all the time I suppose.

However, next time I won’t need a text message to remind me. This time it’s going to be highlighted in the diary with neon pen. DENTIST 5TH MARCH 12.30PM.

Introducing Thomas

14 Aug

My last guest blogger of this week is Thomas from The Week that Was. I met Thomas at University. Unfourtunatley he has left Aberystwyth now, so blogging has made it easier for us to keep up with each others goings-on. Thomas is lovely and his blog is great, especially as he keeps me on my toes challenging me with his campaigning efforts for various charities. Go and check it out!

If you’re anything like me, you would have checked your blog feeds/roll/subscriptions (however you actually check your blogs) and became excited when you saw that Rachel has updated her blog. Sorry to disappoint, but she hasn’t. Instead, Thomas of The Week that Was has, so you’ll have to make do with him I’m afraid.

When I was asked to be the guest blogger I instantly said yes, and then the realisation dawned. I’d have to write something. And it’d have to be good. Suddenly the art of blogging, because let’s face it, it is an art, was suddenly foreign. I’m quite happy drawing my childlike pictures (to run with the art metaphor) and admiring the Vincent Van Goghs of the blogging world, but then to be commissioned to actually create something good is a tad bit scary.

But what to write about? Lasagne recipes? No, I cheat with sauces in a jar. Churches? No, stuffchristianslike.blogspot.com does it too well already. Blogs? A bit too meta, and Rachel’s done it before. Jobs? Ah, I have a few funny anecdotes about them.

Recently I’ve been job hunting. I already have a job, as a youth worker, but that’s only for 12 hours a week. So I need to something else with my time, and I don’t fancy taking up knitting. One place was the Daily Echo jobsite. The Daily Echo, for international readers (i.e. Northerners/ Welsh and Americans), is a Pulitzer Prize winning local newspaper. I entered my details. Part-time, please. Within 10 miles of Southampton, please. And the first five were full time posts in Canada. Now, there is a small village in the New Forest called Canada, but I don’t think they have much need for a refrigeration/air-conditioning mechanic. The requirement that the applicants must be passport holders makes me dubious as well. Another job listed was a receptionist, and it quite clearly stated that the salary was £7.50. Okay pay? Not really. £7.50 per annum. Refreshments are provided though, the advert cheerfully insisted.

I’ve found some possible jobs to apply for but the all leave me with multiple dilemmas. You’ll have to read my blog for that though…