Category: Faith


Of late the expression & mantra of “one day at a time” has been going round and round my consciousness.  I first took notice of this saying whilst reading it as it adorned the walls of many a public AA meeting I’ve attended.  I’m not an alcoholic but have had the privilege of sharing much time with a number of recovering ones.

As with us all if we are honest I’ve some things in my life that I have to wrestle with.  However with the 5 words and philosophy of “one day at a time” I can neutralise them, make progress and even overcome them.  A permanent and frequent reminder of this philosophy would be helpful.

Generally speaking I’m not a fan of tattoos, but perhaps if subtly and tastefully done I can see that they could have their uses.  At one stage in my life I came close to getting the Linfield FC badge tattooed on the ball of my right hand shoulder however 20 years on and I’m glad I gave that one a miss.

The more I think about it the word “one” relates to a lot of precious things in my life most important of which is my faith.  One God, one King, one Saviour, one way… no compromises and no additions.

I’ve also been interested in a movement called “ONE” for some time now. ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly inAfrica, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures.  For a long time I’ve been concerned by how little I know about the rest of the world and how little I’ve done to support those who need it most.  On my own I can’t do much but with others, together as one we can make a difference.

I’m not sure I’m quite ready for a tattoo just yet but if I was to get one this would be what it would be about…

Why put off your good resolution?  Rise and begin this very moment and say, “Now is the time to be up and doing; now is the time to fight; now is the time to amend”.  When things go badly and you are in trouble, then is the time to win merit.  You must pass through fire and water, before you can come into the place of rest.  You will never overcome your vices, unless you discipline yourself severely.  Thomas Á Kempis

Thomas Á Kempis was a fourteenth century monk who’s writings are still widely read across the world today.  By this very fact alone it’s self evident that he has lots of valuable wisdom and insight to pass on to society.  Wisdom that is as fresh today as it was all those centuries ago when it was first written.  As I read further into his book today this quote jumped off the page as I’ve been recently thinking a lot about discipline.

I grew up with a mother who wasn’t disciplined and a father who was.  This is not a criticism in fact it often blended well and made the house both functional and relational.  However it’s perhaps time to deal with the outdated thoughts and concepts I have embraced concerning discipline. Somewhere in the depths of my mind I have a file labelled “discipline” and it reads as follows;

Discipline = Boredom, Stale, Restricting, Lonely, Cold, Lifeless, Joyless, Soulless, Rigid…

Just describing the above file and definition exposes some of the issues and archaic thinking that I have embraced and adopted as a child and nurtured as an adult.  My inaccurate and incomplete thinking of discipline has largely remained unchallenged and has heavily influenced my day to day living and approach to life.  If I’m honest the area it has had the largest impact on has been my relationship with food however it’s not been without influence in many other areas of my life.

Generally speaking it’s easier not to be disciplined and not to have to challenge oneself.  To date unless it’s something of great magnitude and importance I’ve chosen the easier path.  However as I approach my forties it’s time to review my thinking and update the file.  It’s time to wipe the slate clean and to renew my thinking.  It is time to mature and adopt a more purposeful and balanced approach. Perhaps the new file should read as follows;

Discipline = Productful, Essential, Costly, Challenging, Protecting, Preserving, Helpful, Tough, Loving…

Has our culture of instant gratification and greed been at the expense non commercial holistic self care?

Summer brings to our house copious amounts of activity, chaos and emotional upheaval.  It’s intense and it can pull you inside out and out side in. September comes and you can feel like you’re in such a spin only superman could have experienced it.  So two weeks into September & its time to put the pieces back and restructure. I’m a lover of lists and the creation thereof, here is another…

  1. To return order & focus back into my life
  2. To get back to a regular rhythm of prayer & devotion.
  3. To have found over 100 geocaches.
  4. To have thought through what I’m doing with counselling.
  5. To get as close to 17 stone as I can.
  6. To return to training three to four times a week including regularly
    attending spin classes & training outside on my bike & hill walking.
  7. To get the back garden into a respectable shape.
  8. To have the domestic administration once & for all
  9. To get the garage fit for purpose.
  10. To get a new boiler fitted to the house.

Cutting loose…

Over the past few months I’ve been reading a series of four books written by Steve Goss as part of his work with “Freedom in Christ”.  They focus on things that may be holding you back in your faith, areas like faulty thinking and dodgy theology.  Alongside of this I have had a growing frustration within myself that much of my thinking doesn’t add up.  Some of my rules and behaviours are simply outdated and as I examine them I wonder how they were ever helpful in the first place.

I once worked with a man who in his teens had developed severe fits of rage.  He would get into fist fights very easily and found that he struggled in many social settings.  As a result he set himself the rule that he didn’t go out socially.  Things like weddings and parties were out of the question & he even had reservations over walking the dog.  40 years later and as we worked together he began to realise that these rules were nonsensical.  Perhaps if they made sense it was for the man he was in his late teens and twenties but not for a man in the autumn of his life.  Over time the seasons of life had changed for him but unfortunately he had not realised that the rules could have and should have changed too.

At the time I thought this was all a little sad but recently I’m realising that I too may have areas in my life were I’m making the same mistake.  I tend to hide it but at my core I am a very insecure person and I hate this, it makes a prisoner of me and stops me from functioning.  It conflicts with other parts of my persona in so many different ways that at times I could scream with the frustration of it.  I want to be social but often haven’t got the courage.  I know exactly the point and the events that this comes from and how the resulting life rules were made.  These were made in a previous life season and have little or no bearing now and yet I still allow them to influence me.

This is just one example and I am mindful of others.  The more I have prayerfully looked at my life the more myths and lies within myself I have found…  Its time to cut loose, its time to move on, here’s to a future full of freedom in Christ free from falsehoods, myths and outdated thinking.