It’s 2016. The first post of the year. Where to begin? Truth be told, I don’t know where to begin. I find that when I don’t know where to begin, I should go back to the start.
Blogging started back in 2011 when I wanted to tell my friends and wider readers about my experience of being a teenager with cancer. I wanted more than anything to tell them that I still believed God was good, despite the ugliness of the situation.
Now it is almost 5 years later, and I still want to tell my friends and the world wide web about God in this very messy world that we live in.
But I want to start this year of blogging by telling you honestly about what I struggle with on a fairly regular basis. Why, you ask? Because I want you to know that little bit more about this writer. I have been sharing bits of my heart here and there, but I have kept my vulnerabilities from view. It’s not commonplace for me to share my personal struggles. However, I have felt most connected to other bloggers and writers when they share a part of themselves that is normally hidden from view.
Of course there are some things that I wrestle with the Lord in my prayers which would not be appropriate for sharing via this writing platform. But the following areas of my life, I feel I am desperate to share. Maybe there is someone who will read this and be like ‘yes, I totally get what she is on about’. Then again, maybe this is just my quiet, little place on the internet to be vulnerable.
There are days when I feel like the world’s worst writer. It’s tough considering anyone can start up a blog, write an article, try their hand at a story… I am a drop in the ocean. It is a competitive field. But I a determined chickpea.
I have wanted to be a writer since I was about 10 years old. Maybe earlier. A teacher left a comment in my notebook that if I continued the way I was going, she was sure that I would become a writer. At the end of high school another teacher wrote in my leaver’s book that she looked forward to reading my first newspaper article. This just added to my determination. I had an electric typewriter. I loved writing with a fountain pen (although I wrote with it back to front when I was younger…). Now I have started a distance learning course to qualify as a Magazine Journalist. Scary times. With all my heart I want to write.
Boy, I cannot believe I am writing about this. Without a doubt, this is near the top of the list of my vulnerabilities. I have been putting on weight for several years. When I was in my early teens I used to think I was fat. I compared myself to the girls in my year that were athletic, wore makeup, did their hair in a certain way, had boyfriends and looked the part. They were so much thinner than me. I just felt like Violet Beauregarde from ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ – ballooning up, turning purple, being rolled away.
Looking back at my school photos, there was nothing remotely wrong with how I looked. My perspective was completely tainted. Sadly now I have gained quite a bit of weight over the years. I turned to comfort eating when I was about 16 years old and haven’t really stopped since.
This year, I am praying for self-control. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit: ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…’ (Galatians 5:22-23). It is the last one mentioned, but probably the hardest to ripen in my life. It is easier for me to grab a chocolate bar, than a piece of fruit (whether an actual piece of fruit, or the spiritual kind!).
It is not going to be an easy year to try and lose some weight and just generally make wiser, healthier choices, but when the bible says that ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (Philippians 4:13) I take that to mean ‘all things’!
As a relatively rookie wife, I am learning the ropes of marriage and will continue to learn until death do us part. However, I often get caught in the Comparison Trap. I compare myself with other wives (and women for that matter) of all ages and abilities, and then tend to put myself down. I can’t crochet. I am not the best with finances. I loathe the washing up. I struggle to get decent bible and prayer time with my husband. I am not great at arts and crafts. I am not involved with a variety of activities at the church. Why did he marry me?
Despite this, God asks that I love and respect my husband. And I love him and (hopefully) respect him! We are by no means prepared to give marriage advice from years of experience. But we are seeking to put the Lord first and are spending much more time together in the bible than we used to. We are praying more together. I am persevering with the washing up. Thankful the Lord sees our hearts in this.
I am not out to seek the approval of a man or woman, but God. It is hard to keep my eyes on God when such thoughts race through my mind at any given time. But I am learning to ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
As I am well and truly in 2016, I will continue to blog from the heart. It is by no means easy to be vulnerable, but when we are in vulnerable we provide an opportunity to look at ourselves honestly, make a positive change and maybe help another in the process.
God wants us to be vulnerable before Him. Come to Him with all of your worry, doubt, pain… just be you. The Lord already knows you from the inside out, but as in any relationship, it works two ways. So come to Him, all who are weary and He will give you rest. Be you, but be prepared to have your vulnerabilities on show so real, lasting change can happen.
Happy New Year!