God does not make junk

We grow up in life learning to disown the things about ourselves that we see as negative.

We are taught to change our habits regardless of how ingrained these habits are. People are always telling us how to live and how to act. Some of this correction comes naturally to us and some of this does not.

Yet there is a difference between the way God corrects us and the way society corrects us. Society tells us to just do it and to change our ways, yet God has a difference approach.

We are made in the image of God so we need to explore this further. Many years ago when I was training to be a Priest, I remember visiting a psychologist for some therapy as part of my development; and I remember the psychologist writing the words ‘God does not make junk’ on a piece of paper and handing it to me. From that point onwards, I began to realise that there was a distinction between the way God views us and the way society views us.

Society wants conformity; God wants us to be us.

If we are made in the image of God, then we are beautiful people. We are to embrace ourselves for who and what we are. All we need do is to change our ways and to embrace and love every aspect of ourselves. There is no need to classify what is good and what is bad. This is not for us to do. We only need to embrace ourselves and to love every aspect of ourselves. This involves loving our thoughts and habits regardless of what society has taught us. Only when we truly thank God for every thought and for every action can we place ourselves on a spiritual path that will lead us truly to God.

As much as this might seem absurd, it is the path to true change. Embrace and love yourself first. Do not separate what you like and dislike. Praise God for everything about yourself. Start to see God’s true gifts in everything. Turn your life around by loving every aspect, and know that when you do this, God is working with you to fashion your life and to take you on a journey beyond your imagination.

We will only find true happiness when we embark on this journey. Just as we do not own the world, we do not own ourselves. We are made in the image of God and therefore belong to God.

Praise God for everything and really mean it.

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Try not to be too hard on yourself.

Any progress to any change in our lives is likely to happen in stages or steps.

I have begun to realise that when I want God’s intervention in my life to alter something that I most dislike about myself, I need to aware of some realities. For most of us, we are not likely to see sudden miracles that seem beyond belief. We are more likely to see changes that come in steps along the way. When we break this progress down, we can then see the work of God intervening to bring about change. Instead of getting upset with the lack of progress, we need to look at the small steps of progress and give praise to God for these interventions.

Continue to praise God for your situation eventhough it continues, but stand firm in knowing that God is working in this situation to bring about lasting change.

The more we place our faith in knowing that God will instigate lasting change regardless of the present circumstances, the more likely it is to happen. Yet more importantly, our faith needs to be lived out with praise; this is crucial.

Only with an open and loving heart, full of praise, will we witness lasting change. We might not like what we see in ourselves at this point, and we might continue to travel down the same path day in and day out, yet we still need to embrace this dislike and praise God for it. Only by doing this, will we witness God’s intervention to alter our course. God does not impose time limits. Change happens when the moment is right. It happens in God’s time, not ours. So continue to praise God for your burden knowing that you are in safe hands. Change will happen. All we need is faith, patience and praise.

So next time you feel down about yourself, and want to kick yourself for falling into habits that you prefer were not there, thank God for them, and for the time you spent falling into those habits and know that it is through these times that God is best able to work with you and make lasting change.

Change will happen. We need to recognise that this is happening.

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Praising God for the good, the bad and the ugly.

Observing life can help us learn so much more about our future.

Recently I was watching a movie called ‘The Railway Man’ which was about a British soldier who was held captive by the Japanese army during the 2nd World War in Thailand. He helped create the Thailand to Burma railway called ‘The Death Railway’. He was severely punished and tortured during his imprisonment. There was a Japanese translator who was instrumental in this and he was to be given an opportunity to confront this man later in life.

Prior to this chance meeting, he had suffered flash backs, panic and depression from his imprisonment time. Anger and hated for his captors had lived on. Years later when he met his transgressor he had only had one goal and that was to kill him.

His meeting took on a different result and he was to learn that the Japanese translator had also suffered since the war, yet in a different way. He had felt guilty for what he and his Japanese colleagues had done. His grievance had been deeply entrenched and he had set about trying to right the wrongs that the Japanese had done.

This meeting between the two of them eventually brought about some healing in their lives and they were able to move forward in peace.

When I reflect on this story I am reminded of how God works in our lives. We have expectations of how our future will unfold but more than likely it will unfold differently. In many respects, this story can teach us to expect the unexpected. Life does not always dish out what we expect of it. Just as we could expect the worse, we could expect the best too.

By chance, I have visited ‘The Death Railway’ and walked on the bridge that the allied forces had built. I have been to the museum and cemetery, and seen the hundreds of allied graves, and I have travelled along the railway line and witnessed the harsh environment. Never had I expected to have witnessed this part of history, yet I did.

The story of the railway man is a true story and it highlights the twists and turns that life can hold for us. It amazes me how some of the prisoners of war survived their imprisonment. The conditions were harsh and so too were the Japanese. So much faith in God would have been required in order to survive. Despair would have been close to the heart of many. Yet out of this tyranny came reconciliation for two men who harboured so many emotions.

I need to be reminded of this story. When life has its difficulties and insurmountable problems, I need to be reminded of God’s ways. God works through everything in order to bring about change in our lives and the lives of others. Whatever our situation, whatever we hate about ourselves or dislike of others, God uses for our benefit or the benefit of others.

It is not for us to reason way, but to acknowledge with an open heart and to praise and thank God for everything in our lives – both good and bad.

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