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Maintaining your Identity in a Shaking World

One of the changes I have made in this season of COVID, was a change of vehicle. I sold my old car and bought a second hand car that has one main advantage over the previous car I owned:

It will be cheaper to maintain.

The previous owner of this Kia Sportage from the last decade, was a man who did all of the maintenance himself. He’s a friend of my workplace and is a man of integrity. Every single piece of equipment in the engine compartment of the car, or “under the hood” (as I would say in Kiwi lingo,) has a date on it- signifying the time when he last worked on or replaced it.

As he was showing me the engine parts in my car, I learnt the function of what they all were put there for. It was a very educational experience and one I hadn’t ever had since learning how to drive. The only time I really learnt about what the different parts did, was when they broke down.

And so too is life… if our bodies break down in a certain area, are we not alerted to the importance of maintaining their health and wellbeing?

When our minds start to fragment under too much pressure, if we are aware or have others around us to tell us something’s not right, we can find ourselves in a counselling office or psychiatry unit, again given tools to help maintain a healthy mental wellbeing.

In every area of our life, we have to come back to our original state of intent and then maintain that level of health and wellbeing. Though our bodies and lives will eventually decay, we can still maintain a level of conditioning to keep them working at their optimal state for the amount of years they have existed. Maintenance takes discipline and repetition.

But maintenance can seem tiring. It can feel like too much work, right? Yet to not maintain, is to sustain injury.

We are holistic beings too.. so like my engine is made up of many parts with different functions, WE are made up of many parts that all need to be maintained. This can feel overwhelming, but when we understand the nature of our holistic make-up and what it means, then we can better get our heads around the fact that once you work on one, there is a ripple affect to the others.

Let’s see how the Oxford Dictionary defines the word “Holistic”

Philosophy – Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Medicine – Characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.

https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/holistic

So interconnected are the parts of our holistic make-up that now research is proving more and more what the Hebrew writer of the letters to the Helenistic believers of Corinth, was trying to say. See the Greeks, (God love em coz I’m half Greek and that’s potentially why I’m so philosophical lol), believed that they could do anything with their bodies and it not affect their spirit, their community or their mind. They had a worldview that contradicted the Hebrew worldview that we are all interconnected, holistic beings that affect the whole being by neglecting to maintain one part.

While we are being subjected to a season of isolation and restrictions, certain areas of our lives are being affected that will affect other areas of our lives. Fear and anxiety can impact our physical immunity; social distancing can impact our mental health; restricted access to particular food groups can affect our bodily functions; financial breakdown can impact on our parenting while the lack of an educational environment can stifle our children’s self-esteem. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg..

Many have learnt how to adapt and reinstitute certain practices and habits in different ways (like doing work, church or gym workouts online) but there are still some areas of life that have gone neglected. And without maintenance of those specific areas, we may be discovering how the lack of support, availability or awareness of, those elements of our BC (before Covid) existence, are now affecting our wellbeing.

Well, let me say, there is hope. Like taking a car into the garage and discovering that a part of your car, just needs some fine tuning or a new replacement, your life CAN be running on all cylinders again- and maybe even better than you had ever had it running before.

Perhaps the fact that we have been deprived of the necessary pains that helped to keep us holistically well, will motivate us to not take those disciplines for granted and use them now to make the rest of our lives, the best of our lives.

b4a.mvmt is a Movement of Holistic Restoration and Extravagant Generosity. In my next blog, I’ll be laying the foundation of how Jesus came to restore every part of our being. You are welcome to come and be a part of this movement as we challenge you to rise up into all that God created you to be.

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Rest and Recovery

““Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-29‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Jesus invites you to come and bring your burdens to Him because He knows what you can carry and what you can’t. The thing is that we aren’t designed to carry the responsibility of everyone and everything on our shoulders. When we do, our life will get out of alignment like our bodies do when we carry too much weight for an extended amount of time:

Anxiety increases

Relationships suffer

Our health gets depleted

Simple things become overwhelming

Jesus offers us rest, not just physically but mentally and spiritually. Resting in Him means that we allow Him to work on our behalf. It demands that we increase our trust in His Sovereignty and decrease our self-dependence and reliance.

Carrying the extra burdens that are associated with the broken, fallen world that we are surrounded by, will inherently bring us down. Jesus wants to lift us up. He wants to give us an Oasis in Him,

Maybe today your burden is a result of you taking on the responsibility of another person. Trust that God is working in their lives as much as He is working in yours. Let them take responsibility of their own decisions. You empower them in that place as you allow them to go through what they need to go through in order to see the consequences of their actions.

Rest in Jesus and He will sustain you. He will be your recovery.

Let’s pray

Dear Jesus

I thank you that you are in control of every situation and that you offer me rest from getting involved with them all. I trust you. Even though what I see, breaks my heart- I know that all things work together for good to those who love you. I love you Jesus. Give me rest in my mind and in my heart as I lay these burdens at your feet:

List your burdens to Him:

I commit these requests to you in Jesus name

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New Nature

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 TPT

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Coming into you’re new nature (or into a new level in that new nature) often feels like breaking out of a cocoon. The shell that was actually created from parts of who you were before, now sheds in order to make way for who you are becoming.

Often we look at a butterfly, forgetting what it was. Once it was a caterpillar. But one day, the caterpillar stopped eating, hung upside down from a twig or leaf and span itself a silky cocoon. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transformed its body, eventually emerging as a beautiful butterfly. But it took a process and that process took time.

Your new nature is a process of becoming the version of you that you were created to be. Situations will trigger built in coping mechanisms that painfully remind you of your past but graciously pull you into your present. You have to remind yourself that being recreated is a PROCESS, not an instantaneous procedure.

Neural pathways need to be rewired, old habits have to be replaced with new habits. toxic relationships have to be recognised, terminated and grieved; work and social environments might have to be re-evaluated and renewed, new boundaries have to be put in place and the list goes on.

By recognising the root causes of your sin or issues as a part of you that you can’t take with you into your future, you change and you grow; your new skin starts to take shape around your new heart. This is what refining does: it brings things to the surface, in the heat of the moment or in the fire of the night, that then allow a separation process to occur.

By separating your identity (who you are) from your failure (what you did), you can allow your strengths (the image of God in you) to surface and restore the very thing that tried to keep you from your true identity. The problem however, is that many of us see our weaknesses as hindrances to achieving our goals. We let them bog us down, rather than allowing them to be bogged down by the new us. We don’t have to become victim to our past, but we can have victory over those things and allow them to shape us into better people.

Blessing comes when we allow God to use our failures as an opportunity to display His grace. Like the Apostle Paul, we can embrace our weaknesses with a fresh knowledge of God’s strength in us.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Tomorrow, I’m going to look at how we can develop our new nature and understand how God sees you in the process. He loves you. He’s for you. With Him, you’re on the winning side so keep moving forward.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you that you set me free. Thank you for allowing me to be transformed into the image in which you created me for. You are my strength in the battle I’m facing. You are the One I look to as I reflect your nature to the world. Please help me to do so in a way that glorifies you.

In Jesus name, Amen