child-like

This week I’ve been on a mindfulness training course which was great. I learnt about how to apply mindful attitude to day to day situations, and I think it’s a powerful technique which helps with relationships, group situations and all sorts of stress and anxiety. We mindfully ate a jelly baby and I wondered why I don’t eat jelly babies every day!

Couple the ability to empty your mind with the ability to commit your life to God, or Jesus, and christian mindfulness or meditation is a really key part of growing in faith. There will always be a voice in my mind spouting negativity and I have to learn to ignore it to develop more in Christ.

I found this quote from Martin Luther, and put it on my desk

“You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”

The most resonant part of it this week though for me was that a child-like approach to life is really beneficial.

Like most mums I am constantly thinking about schedules, time-tables, gym kit, drop-offs, pick-ups, bed-time deadlines, practices, homework, discipline and good nutrition, and it’s hard to switch off from all that and really enjoy my family and my life. When they are actually doing something really cute, I can sometimes completely miss it!

The child-like approach means going- oh look there is a beautiful bumble-bee, or how nice, that person paid me a compliment, or trying not to laugh at something funny they’ve said, rather than just brushing it away. Seeing everything new, is how most toddlers operate, and it’s so exciting! Wow, a bubble being blown!

If we let ourselves we can also really enjoy and indulge in the small things, like the first glass of wine on a Friday night! I went swimming this week when it was really hot, and loved the cold water on my skin, it was pure bliss!

In the bible as well, Jesus says, be like the little children, their faith is pure and honest and open- in other words don’t overcomplicate it- just be with me, love me, and enjoy being in a relationship with me, there isn’t anything to demonstrate, give, control, or master, just being open to love and being loved.

Luke 18 v15-17

People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Camping

When I’ve prayed, I’ve been recently presented with an image of  a tent. It appears randomly seemingly unconnected to the rest of the things I’ve been asking God about. So this weekend on a camping trip with some friends, I was looking out for what camping is about.

The first thing seemed to be about getting the right equipment, so having a tent and a sleeping bag, are kind of important.

Secondly you need to work out how to put the tent up and keep it up, so that you stay warm and dry all night.

Thirdly you need some good company to enjoy the experience with, my intrepid friends and our kids had a fantastic meal together followed by a glorious yellow sunset and lots of singing curlews.

Fourthly you are open to the elements, not just the wind and rain, but the neighbours. Ours were out to party and went to bed about 5am. Along with the dawn chorus and lots of toilet trips, so we didn’t get much sleep.

Fifth you are doing without home comforts- that’s kind of the point, so the little things really matter. Nice chilled glass of white wine, posh chocs on Saturday night, and the best muesli I’d ever eaten when we had our breakfast outside the tent, as we’d been awake since the early hours and I was starving!

So I think my life going forwards is likely to involve some more of – building new homes, building new groups of friends, and living with the elements! People tell me in church terms I’m a “pioneer”, this is about building new church in the UK. If you already have a lovely church building I guess that’s already home, so building new ones, is likely to start with some camping out, and trying on for size new venues, and new neighbours.

In the Old testament, God explains to the Jews, how to build him a tent, called a tabernacle, which has huge symbolism and opulence for the Jews, but wasn’t an actual building, more of a movable palace.

Exodus 25 v8 “have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.”

Overall though camping was at times a real hassle, and I could have happily killed said curlews and/or neighbours in no particular order, and will definitely be taking pull-ups next time, and needed more blankets, I came home from camping, feeling energised and full of fresh air and happy memories, and slept like a baby on Sunday night!