Saturday 17 May 2014

From under the sideboard?

On Tuesday  we were supposed to be going away for a few days to celebrate our 31st Wedding Anniversary.  However the weather forecast for the Peak District wasn't very good so we went on Wednesday instead which was actually our anniversary.
May 14th 1983

So good news! I had gained a day to catch up on the various classes that I am taking.  I decided to concentrate on the BrenĂ© Brown one based on her book The Gifts of Imperfection.

Lesson 4 of the second part of the course was based on Guidepost #9: Cultivating Meaningful Work.

First we had to identify our 'Superpower' and our 'Kryptonite'!   I realised that my superpower is facilitating.   Now that may not come as a suprise to those who only know me through the challenge blogs!

It turns out that all my life I've been a facilitator.  I hated the term when it came into teaching as I felt that I was first and foremost a teacher.  But it's probably only a bit of semantics.   I facilitated learning.  For the pupils in my class and later for the adults on the staff.   When I moved into church administration I facilitated the work of the church.  I organised conferences and supported other people's ministries.  And that was one part of the revelation on Tuesday that one of the things that made me feel alive was the knowledge that however small an admin task was - and quite often it was a chore - I was facilitating someone else's ministry and God's purpose for them.

Brené shares this Howard Thurman quote in her book:
Don't ask what the world needs.  
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

At church I have been facilitating the Freedom in Christ course and through it I have seen changes in people's lives and my own.   Now I facilitate the challenge blogs and see people overcome their inner critic through the support of the other people in the groups.   Setting up the challenge blogs takes time and commitment but I love doing it.  I have no idea how long each one takes to set up because I get so absorbed in it that time doesn't matter.

But the great revelation for me was that the three phases of my life have been a continuous path.  I had compartmentalised them and to be honest had felt that the first two areas of work had been a waste of time.  Yes I earned money but I had come to see them as time wasted when I could have been doing something more meaningful.  I felt especially negative towards my years as a church administrator when the church itself was closed down some years ago.

copyright unknown

And that's what happened through this study of guidepost #9.  The realisation that the main thing - the superpower - was facilitating put things into perspective.

A couple of years ago I had some life coaching sessions with Robin Norgren and one of the things we talked about was procrastination.  Now procrastination has a very negative connotation for me - it's about not starting things or not finishing things.  Robin suggested I used the word hesitation instead and to look at why I hesitated about starting new projects.  Looking at why I hesitated to start turned out to be about wanting things to be perfect and right and knowing before I started that it would all work out well.  I worked through this and from there was able to start the challenge blogs - an idea I had for a while but hadn't started.

This change in perspective is sometimes referred to as cognitive reframing but I prefer to think of it in terms of the Bible verse about renewing the mind.

Romans 12:2 (The Message)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: 
Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Our western culture is very negative and it is easy to slip into that way of thinking.   But to renew the mind and to see things from a different perspective, especially God's perspective, is to free us from negativity.

I am currently writing a course for Made 2014 which is about looking at events that happen in our lives from a different perspective.   I was invited to be a teacher on the course shortly after I changed my perspective and realised that I wasn't participating in my own life very much and wrote this post.

What things do you need to find a new perspective on?

Which areas of your life could do with some quiet reflection and a new action?

It may seem like a mountain at the moment and something you're not willing to deal with.  I know that feeling!  But I have discovered that these things are bigger in our minds and thinking than they are in actuality.   So go for it.
Change your perspective.
It doesn't need to be from lying upside down under the furniture!

Here's a tag made by Rinda which sums it up well.

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Happy Anniversary! What a timely & encouraging post, Bernice. Thank you. That translation of Romans 12 is one of my favorites. And I love Brene Brown! I'll have to get that book from the library next week. You are truly walking in your calling/gifting. God bless you for facilitating this wonderful blog! I may not always create but just reading your posts speak to my heart and draw me closer to God....daily!

  2. Recognising what you love to do and then understanding that you were maybe meant to do it is a huge step in being a congruent and complete person I believe. I do not believe God put us here to suffer in any way .. we are here to find and be ourselves - that gives joy to all. Lovely post Bernice xx


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