》HONOUR《

In June we are exploring HONOUR. (Also- It’s June whattttt- this year is flying!!) She Spreads Light are hosting our very first event at the end of the month based on honour so we thought that this would be a great theme to be exploring and digging deeper into what honour really means to us.
In the Oxford dictionary, honour is defined as  “High respect; great esteem.”, “The quality of knowing and doing what is morally right.” Or “Something regarded as a rare opportunity and bringing pride and pleasure; a privilege.”

In the Bible, Honour is described through all of these definitions. The commandments describe honour in the terms of high respect..  E.g “honour your father and mother” – Exodus 20:1

By the definition of morals the bible says; “never tire of doing what is good” -2 Thessalonians 3:13

And finally in terms of privilege, firstly Jesus is a privilege, this world is a privilege, your life is a privilege. A verse that describes honour in terms of privilege is Ephesians 2:8-9- “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

I’m a person who likes to understand every definition of aa word and be able to relate it to something so apologies if you knew the words inside out, but it’s always nice to give your memory a refreshment!

So having all the important stuff out of the way. What does honour mean to me? I would associate honour with the first definition mostly- respect and esteem. So here I am talking about honouring your body and I’m excited for this. There’s many aspects to honouring your body. Today I’m going to be focusing a small part of the physical and mental aspect.

•physically•

As a physical approach, the body is what you see as a normal person and not a surgeon or even a radiologist. Real life isn’t Grey’s Anatomy, sadly but quite thankfully too. The bible tells us that our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and we should treat them as we would a temple. We wouldn’t tell a temple it is ugly, nor damage it, and we wouldn’t leaves it to rot and wear away if it somehow gets damaged. Honouring our bodies are hard a lot of the time. It’s difficult to love yourself and it is difficult to believe that you are a masterpiece at times but it is the truth. I’m currently feeling like a massive hypocrite telling all of you to love yourselves when there are days when I don’t, and there’s days when I don’t believe that God wanted to make me this way. I know the truth but sometimes I don’t want to believe that truth. But so many of us are like this girl or boy, man or woman and quite possibly cat or dog.

When I was younger, my granny always gave my sisters and I £5 pocket money. I always would have been so excited to go to the shop after leaving to buy a new magazine. Although these magazine were aimed at pre-teens and teenagers. (think of TOTP, shout etc.). These magazines had covers and pages filled with celebrities, I remember getting a magazine and there was a poster of the High School Musical cast. I admired that poster with an admiration so deep-looking back it is so embarrassing. I remember wishing that I  could sing as good as Vanessa, I wish I had golden blonde hair like Ashley,  and I wish I was as intelligent as Monique, never mind being as pretty as them and as thin as them. Even today I still find myself looking at the magazines in a shop like cosmopolitan, vogue and glamour in which the covers are of beautiful, perfect, photogenic women, who have perfectly tanned bodies, clear skin and have no sign of fat or flaws. It’s so draining to try and love yourself in a world which doesn’t want to you love yourself, and a world which portrays women as having to be perfect and a world which poses a fake reality. I never saw any magazines which showed real women, which showed women who had problems.

As someone who has a body littered in scars like how an arena looks after a concert or how a field looks after a festival. It’s almost fake to say that your scars are beautiful. As a girl who’s scars are mostly intentional writing about honouring your body is a little bit or probably a whole lot laughable, but kind of a complete turn around and kind of humbling to know that I can still honour my body even after everything done to try and damage it and after every hateful thought towards it. Knowing that as much as I may have hated my body, it loved me back so incredibly much that it heals itself from minor bruises and cuts, it fights common infections, it keeps breathing it keeps going. Its comforting knowing that I am forgiven for ruining a masterpiece and that my apology to my body is accepted wholly. The body God made for you is a miracle in itself. Healing is another theme in itself so we’ll leave that for another post.

I am constantly amazed by the fact that god created us and handcrafted us to perfection, he even knows the number of hairs on your head. And I know you’ve probably heard this a billion times but its so incredible. I would hate to see a beautiful building falling apart, or a piece of art destroyed it would hurt my heart. So much. Even imagine your favourite, most sentimental, most beautiful thing you own getting damaged. This is what I imagine God feels when we don’t honour our own bodies and when we don’t love ourselves enough.

Looking at yourself in a different perspective can help you honour your body. For example, when your dress shopping for a big event, find the things that you like about your body in the dress. Or when you think things like I wish I was as thin as them or I wish my nose wasn’t like this. Tell yourself things like I love my eyes or I like that I’m short. Lets get one thing straight but. Beauty is not outward appearance.

Honour your body by doing the right things, like exercising, feeding it right and caring for it when it’s hurt. Rachel’s category, Take Care of Yourself is a really good read to dig deeper into the physical perspectives of honouring your body in a fitness aspect that I would honestly have no idea what to write about.

mentally

The first time I asked for prayer for my mental health I was 15, I was trembling , sweating and my voice was shaky. So shaky that I’m surprised that the girl could understand what I was saying. I was honestly expecting her to look at me and say “you look put together and happy, plus you’re too young to experience mental health issues; wise up. Is there something else you want prayer for?” but she didn’t; she went on and prayed, so deeply with so much love and so much passion. After she was finished we talked for a really short time and she was so supportive and really lovely about it. I’m honoured that prayer happened that night and massively proud that I plucked the courage in my introverted, shy, anxious being to get up, because it was a night which changed my perspectives on how the church really does view mental health and issues surrounding it.

Mental health is something not widely talked about in the church, but I think that’s it’s not that the church doesn’t want to support , more so the fact that it’s still a taboo and there’s still a stigma attached.

A word I remember so clearly from that prayer is joy. She prayed that I would find true joy in Him. True joy is unexplainable. It’s kind of like being with your best friend, at your favourite place, eating your favourite thing, listening to your favourite music and wearing your favourite thing- when nothing goes wrong and there’s no deep sadness that overrides that joy- but so much better. It like the adrenaline pumping through your body at a concert before the main act comes out- then they come out- then there’s screams- then they begin singing- then pure silence- pure peace. Joy is beautiful and divine.  Impossible to describe accurately. Joy is that peace that god provides. I don’t know about you but I don’t think I experienced true joy for a long time before I loved Jesus. See that concert and the favourite things those aren’t everlasting, they’re not going to be there forever after a few hours the adrenaline gone and the lights are back on and the arena is left littered and empty. Sure, there are a few dark days in-between the  joyous days, but He is ways there no matter how dark it is.  The joy He provides is permanent and eternal. A friend of mine explained Joy much better in a beautiful and honest post last night have a read to explore it more.

Peace is found in Him. Find Him and you will find peace. It’s so important to take care of your mental health. Honouring your physical body enables you to also honour your body’s mentality. Speaking love to yourself and speaking hope and speaking peace. Allowing gods voice to overrule the negative thoughts and allowing the worship to take over. Practicing self care is so good. Self care is as little as brushing your teeth in the morning to going for a run. My go thing for self care is pulling out my bible and flicking through the pages I’ve wrote in sand drawn on and also pulling out a box which holds all my letters, notes and just things I want to keep and reading them- some I read more than once or twice. Here’s a huge list of self-care.

This month I pray that God would break your heart for what breaks His, especially in how you see yourself and how you respect yourself as a person and body crafted by the one who loves you with all of His heart. I pray that you would honour yourself with such a deep love and respect that you would believe you are beautiful and that you are worthy and that you are a masterpiece. I pray that you find peace on god and allow him to overrule the negative and the things holding you back from living the life of love and the things holding you back from living for him.

We love you all so much and we are so excited for the rest of this theme to unfold into the incredible Honour event.

Lots of love, SSL. xo

comfortable

Comfort zones are comfortable and familiar. They’re not scary and we don’t have to take a leap of faith and we don’t have a rapid heart rate when we go into them.  That’s why we love them and rarely leave them. Leaving that comfort zone is sometimes almost completely debilitating and terrifying. I think many of us wait for God to tell us where to go or what to do next instead of just doing it when we feel that we want to, we wait until we feel comfortable to take that step.

I was watching a show when one of the characters said this and it kind of hit me:

“Everyday you don’t open the door, it gets a little easier to stay inside… no one can open this door but you.”

I just thought comfort zone. I think this is so true, I think that if you create a comfort zone and stay In it, it does become harder to leave it, it becomes harder to make dreams happen. A lot of us have beautiful dreams, but it’s so hard to carry them out and let them unfold due to this invisible box we have ourselves trapped inside. God will give you that dream and He will constantly speak to you and tell you to do it, but you have to take the action. You have to actually listen to him and believe that leaving that invisible box is safe, it’s not dangerous and it really isn’t scary. All you have to do is say yes. All you have to do is go and do it.

Nehemiah was like all of us. He had a comfort zone too. When the walls were destroyed in Jerusalem, he was shocked and hurt. Nehemiah prayed until God showed him what to do. God told him to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. Nehemiah didn’t like that thought. He was uncomfortable with it and was completely out of his comfort zone. He didn’t want to do it, but he knew his heart was in this and that he needed to do this for God’s glory.

Having a comfort zone is okay and it’s okay to go home and let your soul be at rest for a while, but don’t stay there, lock the door and don’t let anyone in. When you feel your heart telling you to go do that thing, come back to faith and loving Jesus, start that bible study or even just as simple as going and talking to that girl you feel needs prayer. Do it, if not for you, do it for Him. He is calling you to take that leap of faith and step out of your all too familiar comfort zone. When you take a leap of faith, it will become easier to open the door.

Do it afraid.

in the mess

Dear you,
The you who has had a rough week, the you who doesn’t have straight A’s, the you who scrolls through Instagram and Facebook first thing rather than flick through the pages of your bible, the you who spends too much money on that chai latte, the you who values your worth by the number of likes on your profile picture, the you who is messy.
Far too often, we define ourselves as these things. We value ourselves as how we’re feeling, our grades, what we do, we define ourselves as being messy. It’s hard to ignore the voice in your head telling you that you’re worthless and telling you that you’re not good enough and that your mess is too much for anyone else to handle.
Your mess is okay. Your mess is real but it doesn’t define you. Your mess is never too much for God. He loves you even with your mess. He loves you even when there’s 43 tabs open and you can’t figure out which ones playing the music, when chemistry notes are on the same page as health and social care notes, even when you fail that exam that you revised so hard for. He loves your mess, absolutely loves it. He can handle the mess and He wants you to hand it to Him and trust Him to take it.
God is always good. Even in your messiness. Even in your crappy days. He is always listening and always loving. I believe that God doesn’t always give us these challenges, but He will take us out of them eventually. Even if His answer is no at this very moment, He is still good and He is still working. Don’t give up. Keep asking. Keep believing.
Believe that God is the answer to your problems, He doesn’t promise to answer all of our mess, but know that He is the answer. Hear His whisper. He is asking you to Trust in Him. know that when the mess becomes messier, He is in the middle of it all, with you. cleaning up the mess, when you don’t even know where to begin in the mess.

lots of love, SSL xo

All about that book

Someone once said ” In books I have travelled, not only to other worlds, but into my own.” Anyone who knows me even the slightest will know I love to read, I am one of those annoying people who will leave you with a huge pile of books to read because I just can’t help recommending every amazing book I’ve read to others. But as well books have been pivotal in my relationship with Jesus, finding a book that points me to God and His word is always a winner. Now I’m about to leave you with a few books to add to that infinite “to be read pile.”

For those exploring faith and Jesus…

Blue Like Jazz.  This book was one of the first christian books I read and follows Donald Miller’s own journey of faith in a brutally honest way. There is something so special reading such a candid account of someone’s journey with so much relatable content. This book doesn’t contain any confusing theology or religious jargon, however it does contain a
cartoon strip (you’re going to have to read it to find out more) Wherever you are in your faith, just read it.

For putting feet to your faith…

Love Does. Have you ever thought about God’s love as a verb? This is exactly what Bob Goff explores in this book, writing stories of himself and others about how they have answered the call to share God’s love everywhere they go through their actions. This book is literally a written pep-talk and a easy, but enlightening read.

Praying Bolder Prayers…

Red Moon Rising. This book follows the 24-7 prayer movement and Pete Greig writes of how God has moved in big ways through something as simple as prayer. Reading this I was drawn to be more expectant and found a new appreciation for the gift of prayer. To be able to be in conversation with the creator of the universe in such an intimate way is something that constantly baffles me. (PS-if you’ve read this already Greig’s new book Dirty Glory is also a fab shout!)

I could write on and on about even more amazing books, but for now I will leave you with these three. As I’ve already said these are books that have been pivotal in my journey with God, but we must not forget the ultimate, life-changing, life-breathing book, God’s word itself-The Bible. Although it is amazing to read the interpretations and experiences of some truly gifted people it is important that we always put the Bible first.

In 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul writes “ All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

Never lose wonder at God’s amazing book, continue to pursue knowledge in order to know Him better through both The Bible and other books inspired by His word.

 

 

WORD.

Samuel was a prophet he relied on the voice of God as well as the word of God. David was a man who leaned heavily on the voice of God – he himself a man after God’s own heart. Last week I lost my bible. It was a total drama. Like old school. There were no tears, but trust me I was close. It made me really think about the reality that so often I idolise my bible. That I put it above an actual encounter with the living, breathing, very much a live God.

This is so wrong, and I whole heartedly believe Idolising our Bible is something lots of christians fall into the trap of. The bible was created for us to grow in connection with God. The bible is a good thing and loving your bible is so very important yet when we use it simply to form an argument or to learn head knoweledge, we completely miss the entire point of what the bible is – a sign that posts to Jesus himself.

 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. – 1 John 5 v 3

Jesus became the word. The word isn’t Jesus. The commandment is to have ‘no other Gods’. To put him first, to bring glory to him and to seek him above all else. That is what his word is for – to bring glory to he who created it not to bring glory to oursleves. We have to stop manipulating the word to fit our ideal of how things should be. Are you encountering God when you read your bible? Are you applying it to your life? Or are you storing up brownie points in your head trying to convince yourself that just reading with no encounter is what God actual longs for?

Relationship starts with redemption. Idols are Idols. Lay them down, check your heart. The commandments say ‘I am the Lord your God’, not I am the Bible your God. God’s commandments are only to find true freedom. Never to burden.My prayer is that you would learn to love his word, hungering after it daily. But that you would truly know that a relationship is not a reading list. That, relationship is what he truly desires.