How to get up after a hard ending

5:30 am Unknown 0 Comments

A note from Wendy:
You might remember Fran from her first guest post on my blog about how to know if it’s time to leave your past behind. I’m happy to have her back again. I also recently signed up for her free simple (but sassy) writing course and have been enjoying working my way through it. 

Life often doesn't go the way we planned, and when it doesn't it can be hard to find our footing again, if you're in that place I hope this devotional from Fran will encourage you. 

devotional for a breakup

Guest devotional by Fran:

Usually, I say “No”.  Usually, when they offer to buy me a drink, compliment my blonde hair, grin at my warm smile, or try a clever joke I shrug in response, “sorry dude- it’s not happening.”

This time something felt different, and I said yes.  

There is no formula, strategy or method what can make sense or account for the connection between two people. The meeting in the bar, the first drink, the moment I said yes- it all felt like I had tumbled, a real world Alice, down a dark tunnel into a whole new world.

I would love to tell you dating has been easy for me and I met someone kind and honest at 22. The typical church love story. I would love to tell you he was into church; he did the right things; he asked me for coffee, sent me goodnight texts with heart in the eye emojis, remembered every anniversary, let me pick the movie, initiated prayer nights, and proposed in less than 6 months.

It’s been nothing like that. My dating life has looked like the games you find kids playing outside shopping centres on the wrong side of town. The ones where you put money in a slot, a rusty metal claw lowers into a mass of round balls with prizes, it grabs something, pulls it up and then, at the very last moment, the ball always drops. Uh-uh. No matter how many times you put money in the slot and watch the claw, the ball always drops.

I recently broke up with the boy I met in the bar. Because I really liked this one, it was worse.

Until you have gone through a break up I don’t think you understand what can be held in the human heart. There’s something about a break up which brings you to your knees, teaches you great lengths of empathy and, even though it will heal, leaves scars.

I write this article because I am sure there are many out there who, like me, find themselves in a place of disappointment, hurt and raw confusion. Maybe it’s a breakup, or maybe it’s something else in a relationship where you feel like you are watching a game play out again and again.

In the midst of the confusion, the desire to rewind time and the “I don’t get it”, I’ve found I have had to remind myself of some rational relationship truths (Or I may loose the plot!):
- Communication and care is not a “nice to have”, it’s a reasonable expectation
- Either you can over-think a situation and let it have your joy, or you can decide to let it go
 - It’s not fair for only one person to fight to make things better
 - An unhealthy relationship is exhaustingTrust the small, still voice inside you which says “No,” and “Be honest.”

It’s times like this where the goodness of God holds me in so many ways. I’ve discovered, when I step back from the questions, an inner strength and peace. I’ve unearthed a maturity and perspective on the situation which doesn’t feel like me. I’ve found my folding emotions have lost their impact when I’ve shared them with friends who love me and make me laugh. My sadness has subsided when I’ve chosen to look forward, look upwards, and see this as a closed door on the long path of my life- many adventures await me.

Romans 15:13
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Things don’t always work out the way you think they are going to, especially when it comes to relationships. I want to encourage everyone because I know what it’s like to put another coin in the machine when you don’t want to. Either we hide away, caught in our last ruined headline or we stand up, shake it off, put on a sequin top (of course!) and get back at it again. I don’t know what boys you’ve met in bars, how many times the balls have been dropped, or what you’ve had to let go, but I believe God has got you (and me), firmly, yet delicately in his big and capable hands.

About Fran Thring, the author of this guest devotional:

Equal parts sassy, kind and fun I tumble my way through life; my brain a constant mishmash of cultures and ideas. I reckon when we are generous, cool things happen. Running, writing and Jesus keep me sane. Some days I eat banana chips for dinner and some days I drink wine with my friends while the Cape Town sunsets. I blog here:

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photo credit: BuddaBoy Jakes 10th Birthday - Warrington Quasar via photopin (license)

Are you burnt out? Here’s one way to slow down.

12:53 pm Unknown 0 Comments

The running club, I'm a member of, has a chant that the pacemaker sings when the group he's leading needs to slow down. It goes:

Easy. Easy. Ea-Zee. 

We sing this as we run and slow our pace down so we don’t burn out too early and fail to finish the race. 

For the last couple of months, I've been following a half marathon running plan. The run today was set at a comfortable pace. It was slow enough that I could walk some of the distance if I wanted and still finish. It was a recovery run because I've been doing some long, fast distances.

Slowing down isn't easy for me.

I kept finding myself running at too fast today, running at race pace when I should be going slow.

Easy. Easy. Ea-Zee. 

I'd tell myself this. Hearing my running club in my head, slowing down the rhythm of my feet. 

As I caught myself running too fast, I thought about how it’s not only in running that I don’t give myself permission to slow down.

My personality is prone to burnout – I’m an INFJ-T in case you're wondering – and I just burnt out at my last job

I’m not a doctor or medical professional, but here are a few signs that you might be burnt out or heading towards burnout:
- Lack of interest and motivation in things you used to enjoy
- General feeling of exhaustion or being completely spent (could be mental, emotional or physical)
- Feeling like what you’re doing doesn’t matter anymore
- Increased illness due to a weakened immune system
- Depression, anxiety or anger

Burnout is a state of chronic stress. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms (there are more listed here) it should be a wake-up call that something needs to change. Burnout doesn’t go way on its own, you have to change something to get better.

Lately, I've been trying to take the time to recover from burnout. It's tough because my inclination is to run to the next thing. To look for clients and work to fill the financial and time gap my job left.

I find I need to remind myself, over-and-over,
Easy. Easy. Ea-Zee. 

Give myself permission to slow down, to let my burdens be light.

I don't know about you, but too often I'm trying to prove something: that I can run fast, work well, look holy, and I fail to hear Jesus' invitation to run life at his pace: 
Easy. Easy. Ea-Zee. 

I don't know what caused your burnout but I know Jesus never meant for you to carry "hard" on your own. 

Jesus is there like the pacemaker of the running club. He can't force you to slow down but he can guide your pace and ease your burdens.

So next time you’re going too fast, slow down long enough to hear Jesus’ saying, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:30 – MSG)

Ponder: What changes do you need to make in your life to stop being burnt out?

Prayer: God, I'm tired and worn out. I need you to me here because I'm too burnt out to go to you. Give me the time I need to take a real rest. Open my eyes to the opportunities to slow down that you give me. Show me the changes, big and small that I need to make to recover. Walk with me and teach me when I need to take it easy, easy, ea-zee. Thank you that I as I let you shoulder the hard things you will teach me how to live freely and lightly. Amen. 

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When you need to take a leap of faith

5:00 am Unknown 0 Comments

Look at the birds in the sky. They do not store food for winter. They don't plant gardens. They do not sow or reap—and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird. If He looks after them, of course He will look after you. Matthew 6:26 (VOICE)

When I resigned from my job Xylon told me, "You have to take a month off. Before you look for work or think of the next thing, you must take May to rest."

I loved the idea and I hated it.
I leaned into the idea of days reading books and I pushed against the idea of not contributing to costs.
I began jotting down a list of hobbies I wanted to try and I wrote lists of potential clients to approach for freelance work.
I collected a pile of books to read and I started studying a free part-time course to be a better digital marketer.
I submitted and I resisted.

The last day at my job fell on Wednesday.
Thursday, a country-wide holiday to commemorate the first democratic vote in South Africa,  started like a holiday should. Breakfast with my parents - in town for a dentist visit – and a cardboard box tied with string and filled with cheesecake to take home for an after dinner treat.

However, a few hours into my first day of holiday I felt overwhelmed by the idea of a month of rest stretching ahead of me.
I found Xylon working on his Mountain Bike in the garage, "What am I going to do with one whole month of doing nothing?"
As he reached for a tool to tighten the water cage on his bike, he responded, "You'll figure it out. Before long you’ll have more things to do than you have time."
A few minutes later, he rides off to meet his cousin.

I looked around the garage for a project and spotted an old piece of driftwood I had rescued from the beach months ago. It seemed like a good place to start so I dragged it outside and collected my tools.

As I moved the wire brush backward and forwards to remove the dirt and old bark, I thought about this month: The value of it. The weight of it. The preciousness of it. How I don’t want to waste it. And how I really don’t want to waste it by worrying.

I know it's unlikely I'll get this gift again: a full month to take care of myself, to recover from burnout, to refresh my soul.

Every time I mention I worry about the future, Xylon tells me how every other day God shows him an animal that isn't worrying about where its next meal will come from. He keeps reminding me we need to be more like the animals and birds, more trusting that God will take care of us.

Brush. Brush. Blow the sawdust away and start again on another section of driftwood.

As I worked to find the beauty in the wood it came to me how I need to spend this month. I need to live as if come 1 June I have 3 golden clients waiting for me to start working with them. I have to live this month secure that Xylon and God will take care of me.

You see we can't really afford to live on one salary so I know when Xylon says, "rest" it costs him something.

What it's taken me over a month to realize is that when I say, "Yes, I’ll rest", it pays Xylon back in trust and respect. And to him, that's worth the extra hours he'll have to put in to pay the bills.

When I say "yes", and allow myself time to refresh my soul after burning out, I'm showing God I believe He will take care of me.

It is scary! I have had to fight the part of me that wants to write proposals for clients, make meetings and guarantee an income in June.

If it wasn't scary there would be no need to take a leap of faith and believe I am even more precious to God than a beautiful bird. If He looks after them, of course, He will look after me!

Brush, brush. Whispering a prayer as I go that God will help me live with confidence that he is taking care of the future even as I rest in Him.

Ponder: What areas in your life do you need to take a leap of faith in right now and trust that God will provide for you?

Prayer: God, I'm scared. I don't know how [fill in your worry] will turn out. You know how much I want to take control of the situation, how much I want to fix it but instead, I am choosing to trust you. I am choosing to live with confidence that you will look after me. Help me to rest in you today and when the time is right to know which doors you want me to knock on. Thank you for taking such good care of me. Amen.

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