Three years ago, I posted a video on YouTube titled 'Dear Future Me' . It got around 500 views, but is now unlisted due to it being a total cringe-fest. However, now it's almost exactly three years on, I thought I'd write a letter in reply.
Dear Younger Self,
We're eighteen now, nineteen next month! And yes, we still feel a year or two older than we actually are. It's sometimes difficult, like recently when you feel like you've grown out of friendships. But it also comes with the blessing of hanging out with incredible people who are actually 5-10 years older than you, but you feel like you fit.
You ask whether we "survived high school". Oh Rebecca, we thrived high school. I'll give you some tips for your last year or so...
1. Do your homework, and preferably without the aid of Google.
2. Stop asking, "what's the point though?" in every maths lesson
3. Enjoy the little things. I miss so many things about school and it genuinely makes me sad to think that I'll never sit in an English lesson ever again, or I'lll never play Ultimate Frisbee on the field in the rain again, and I'll never go on another Geography field trip where we sit on a cliff top eating lunch in Sunny Devon, or trudge through a river, clipboard and snack in hand.
4. Keep going and believe in yourself! You've come so far and you're only going to go further!
No, we didn't go to College in the end; only dead fish go with the flow. We did A Levels from home and, spoiler alert, it's tough. Put your music on, find a way to study best, and don't give up. Do some more practice essays and get them marked... use your tutors!
We made it to Uni! We're on an actual university course! Not Belfast, we had a bit of a crisis earlier on in the year about what to. Instead we're Student Youth Worker and studying at Nottingham CYM. That leads me nicely onto dreams...
Over time your dreams will change, and that's okay. Don't stress yourself over not knowing what to do; there's always time to figure it out. Just because you verbalise that you want to do one thing, doesn't mean you have a legal contract to do that. But just be aware that your plan doesn't always fit with God's. However, the flip side of that is that His is always bigger and better. Trust.
You asked how much we've grown. The answer is simple: more than you could imagine. Last year we did YFC's gap year program and a year of Youth Work Placement, and we grew so much that 17 year old us is barely recognisable to 18 year old us. We learnt so much from the people around us and from stepping out into new opportunities. The only advice I'd give you, the only thing I'd change about that year, is that you write more down. Write a short summary of every youth group you lead, every youth trip you go on, every chat/meeting you have with your line manager.
I have one more thing to tell you before I go, and it's a big'n....
Stop putting yourself on a tightrope of trying to please everyone. When you fall from that high, it's only going to hurt you. So, hop down from up there and work towards a better you for you. There are so many people around you right now that care about you, that will give up their lunch break to sit and chat with you, that will pray with you after youth group again and again and again. They do that because they care about the current you, not the perfect and without fault you. And I know you just want to hear them say, "I'm proud of you", but don't pressure yourself to always have a smile on your face just to hear those words. You don't have to hear it to know it.
Let's catch up again in a few years,
(p.s. yeah, we like the name Rebecca again.)
How's your week been? After a terrible week where I felt attacked in almost every area, I've had a really lovely past couple of days that included a positive meeting, working with Youth for Christ on a resource, lunch dates with friends, productivity and creativity.
I really feel like I'm in a season of learning and growing. A lot of things have changed in the past six months: I've moved out, I started uni and I started a new job. There have been some areas of my life that have been really difficult in just the last few weeks, but I feel like I'm learning a lot through them. Here's what I'm learning...
I watched a sermon online this week and the preacher said, "cultivate a perspective mindset". He reminded me that, "no matter how big your problem is, your God is bigger". I'm learning that even by thinking, "I can do this, I'm committed to this" and changing your perspectives of the situation, the actual practicalities of the situation might not change, but your joy and hopefulness will!
Who you choose to surround yourself with is so important.
Surround yourself with people that you feel safe with, people that inspire you, that you have a good time with and people that give and take. Don't surround yourself with people who make you anxious, people who you don't trust not to talk about you behind your back, and people that just take and take.
This week I had a quick coffee and some study-help with someone who was my youth minister for five years, and is now a friend. I went to Life Group with someone who Line Managed me last year and is now a friend. I had lunch with someone who I've admired for years and is still one of my biggest inspirations, but more importantly is a friend. All these people are a joy to be with, they encourage me, make me laugh and inspire me.
I'm learning that it's okay to grow out of friendships! It's okay for relationships to change as people do!
3. ME TIME
Amongst the uni work, youth work prep and emails I've sent this week, I've been able to spend a lot of time on me, and I've realised the importance of that.
One afternoon I drove to a garden centre and wandered around all the Christmassy bits; all the twinkling lights, colour co-ordinated baubles and shiny tinsel gave me all the Christmas feels!
Another night I sat in front of the TV and watched all my current favourites (Eastenders, Holby City, The Great British Bake Off) and I lit some candles and painted my nails. I've also started an artsy project, which you'll see in about two weeks!
All these little 'self-care'stereotypes' can make all the difference.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, and you have a very lovely weekend.
Things are all over the place at the moment, and I feel drained of creative juices. I have a couple of blog post drafts I could post, but they don't feel complete and it doesn't feel like the right time.
A lot of Christian blogs you read are always positive. Or, perhaps there are posts on negative topics, but they always come from a place of positivity. Integrity is a value I admire, prioritise and hold tight, so I don't want to post on something that I don't feel 100%. For example, I don't want to post on 'Spending Time With Jesus' when I'm avoiding Him. I don't want to post on 'Friendships' when I'm struggling in them.
So instead, here's a blog post about what I've been really enjoying over the last month. I hope you very much enjoy it.
Click on the photos to follow links
If you can dodge the rain, walks are so lovely around this time of year. Check out your local parks and National Trust sites. Go with family, go with friends, go with the dog or go just for some time on your own. If you're Midlands based like me, Clent Hills and Cannon Hill Park are my favourites, so dress up warm, take photos, chat with your loved ones or spend some time in prayer.
REST IN YOU
A song I've had on repeat over the last week or so is 'Rest In You' by All Sons & Daughters. The instruments and vocals give such a restful, calming feel and the lyrics are so powerful. My favourite is, "You cannot change, yet You change everything". It's just a great song to get your perspective on things back in place.
SHE READS TRUTH
'She Reads Truth' are an amazing and creative bunch of people. I receive daily devotionals via email that I get so much from, and it's a really great way to kickstart my morning. The devotions are easy to read, even with groggy, tired eyes! They also do really great Bible Study books available online. Like the emails, the design is beautiful and the content is inspiring.
They have an Advent-themed book coming out soon and I'm so excited to get my hands on it!
I love this weather. I'm such a summer sun kind of person, but this year I've been really loving the crisp sun shining and the cold air allowing for layers. Mind you, by 3pm it's too warm for half of the layers!
A favourite of mine has been this jumper from Zara. It was just £25 (converted) in Spain, so I was surprised to see the much higher price in England. Even so, it's so warm and soft. It goes well with a top underneath and a coat on top for that difficult layering weather.
I call these boots my 'Smash It Boots'. I wear them and I feel confident and professional. They're comfortable enough to wear all day and I can even drive (a short-medium distance) in them.
BAD GIRLS THROUGHOUT HISTORY
When I left my job at the Toy Shop, I was very kindly given a Waterstones voucher. With it, I bought 'Bad Girls Throughout History'. It's an inspiring book, telling the tales of 100 rebel girls throughout history, alongside beautiful illustrations. I like reading one or two before I go to bed.
I'd love for someone to make a Christian version of this; women throughout the Bible to women through to women these days who do incredible things for Jesus.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please comment below what you've been enjoying over the last few weeks!
I'm sure you'll agree that it is one hundred times easier to praise God and trust His ways when our lives are sunny and bright, when everything is going right in our eyes. But what about when the waves come crashing, lightening strikes, thunder roars and rain pours? How easy is it to say, "I trust you, God" then?
In my experience, it's not easy. When things haven't gone my way and have been more difficult than ever expected, it's been really hard to say, "I trust that God is in this". I know it to be true in my head, for I've been taught that since I was little and in Sunday School. But how true do I believe it in my heart?
Recent experiences have really taught me how to trust God is in the storm, and I'd like to share that with you today.
1. WORSHIP IS A WEAPON
I see worship as a very powerful weapon. I was taught about a year ago something that has changed the way I worship: the devil hasn't always been the devil - first he was an angel. What do angels do? They worship God and know the power of worship. Therefore, the devil knows exactly what worship does and the power it has. I find sung worship incredibly powerful, even if I don't believe the words I'm singing with my whole heart. It's difficult, and it's something that takes a lot in you to do, but there's something very powerful in singing, "You are my Rock in times of trouble" even if right now it doesn't feel that way. Use worship as your weapon.
Who knows what you are going through more than God? Who can change how you're feeling more than God? Who in the Bible was the one to calm the storm just by speaking to it?
I love the way the James 4:7 in the Message Version talks about surrendering to God,
"so let God work his will in you. Yell a loud 'no' to the devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet 'yes' to God and He'll be there in no time... get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get back on your feet"
I love the imagery in this verse; watching the Enemy run away with one word, and the image of God coming to your side "in no time" when you're down on your knees.
3. FOOT PRINTS IN THE SAND
When ever I consider, "is God really here?" I am always reminded of the Foot Print in the Sand poem, pictured below.
There is never a time in your life when God isn't there. If you don't see another set of footprints walking alongside you, perhaps it's because God is carrying you.
4. TURN TO SCRIPTURE
When you don't know whether God is in your storm, turn to the scripture for encouragement and truth. Has there ever been a person in the Bible that was led by God into a storm, and was left there? No.
As I was writing this blog post, I went online to Bible Gateway, and the verse of the day was Proverbs 29:25, which says,
"the fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe"
It's easy to read these verses and think, "easier said than done". It's true, it is so much easier to say, "I trust in the Lord, I am safe, I do not fear" than to actually trust in The Lord, feel safe and not fear. But, like with worship, I think there's something powerful in praying that and declaring that over yourself, and leaning on these verses for encouragement. Likewise with Deuteronomy 31:6, which says,
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you"
Again, easier said than done to be strong, courageous and fearless, and to trust that God will never leave you. However, if you do believe this truth, and you start living in this storm as if it is a truth, then just think how life changing that can be. Leaning on the Word and trusting that God will never leave you or forsake you, will perhaps be what gets you through the storm.
5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH CHEERLEADERS
Paul was a great cheerleader. A lot of his letters are cheering people and churches on. He came alongside his friends like Timothy to encourage them and teach them.
Through a storm, cheerleaders like Paul are exactly what you need.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Paul encourages us to encourage others. He writes,
"therefore encourage one another and build each other up"
Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and build you up. Surround yourself with people who will challenge you, put things in perspective, offer solutions, and tell you that they believe in you and you will make it through. Sometimes just having a new and brighter perspective can make the storm feel less rocky, and certainly a lot less lonely!
I hope this blog post has been in some way encouraging!
My Bible is an NIV Journalling Bible. When I got it from Etsy, it was a blue/white/pink polka-dot fabric Bible. Because of the fabric, it got pretty grubby. So, I decided to cover it.... here's how!
1. GET INSPIRED
Head over to Pinterest and type in 'paint cover Bible'. Whether it's a floral design you're looking for, or an illustration of the deep blue sea, you're bound to find something on Pinterest.
2. SET THE SCENE
I painted my Bible on window sill of the Juliet Balcony of my flat. I put a black bin liner down so as to not get paint everywhere! I lit some candles and put some calming worship tunes on. I made sure I had everything I needed - paint brushes, water, paint and snacks.
3. BASE COAT
Paint your Bible with white paint. I just used white acrylic paint from The Works. Remember the edges and sides of your cover!
4. GET STARTED ON YOUR BACKGROUND COLOUR
Once your base coat is dry, you can get started on your main background colour. If you've mixed shades together, it's really important that you have enough paint. Otherwise when you've run out of paint, it'll be really hard to get the right quantities to get the same shade again.
- Again, make sure you remember the edges and sides of your Bible.
- paint your Bible whilst it's closed, whilst it's opened slightly and when it's totally open and flat on the floor (or wherever you're painting). This way, you'll paint every part of your Bible.
- paint in the same direction over the whole Bible.
Unless you're feeling particularly confident, whether it's the outline to flowers, lettering or waves, draw your detail out with a pencil first.
- Use a light, soft pencil.
- remember to rub out your pencil lines before the next step!
- Try out different mediums. I used a blue Sharpie for my bottom layer of lettering and gold nail varnish for the top layer. I also used pink and red sharpies for the flower details.
Now you've got your detail and you've rubbed out the pencil lines, you can gloss your Bible - I used acrylic clear craft spray. Open your Bible to roughly halfway through, lay it flat on a bin liner and spray away, holding the can about 15cm away from the Bible. Wait for the first coat to dry, and then spray again, just to make sure that there's no part not glossed.
And there you have it, your very own personalised painted Bible! I'd love to see your creations, so tweet me a picture!
Thanks for reading!
There are many discussions on when Generation Y ends and when Z begins, but it's around the years 1996-2000. Being born in 1999, and being Worcester Baptist Church's Youth Worker, I am a Generation Z Youth Worker.
I've drafted and redrafted this blog post many times in an effort to make it tidy, but still my thoughts seem scattered. In essence, this blog post is about the high and lows of being an 18 year old, Generation Z Youth Worker.
When it comes to social media, being a Gen Z Youth Worker can be a massive pro. Generally, it gives me an added insight to this generation that perhaps a 30+ year old youth worker wouldn't have. I understand how Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook works, all without it being explained to me by a Young Person. I understand why young people want to keep their 'streak'* with a person, even if they find it tiring or annoying. I understand repeatedly checking how many likes the last post got compared to a friend's. I understand the positives and negatives of modern day social media, not because I've read up on the research, but because I've grown up with it.
I find being a Gen Z youth worker really interesting when it comes to research. The research about Generation Z - the young people I'm leading- is also about me. For example, Youth For Christ did research in 2016 and found that 94% of Gen Z use social media on a daily basis, yet 67% of those surveyed recognised it as being their biggest negative influence. I find it so interesting that this research both informs my youth practice, as well as telling other older youth workers about me.
I think being Generation Z impacts what I teach and how I teach it. For example, Youth For Christ's research found that Generation Z's biggest concern was school and exams, the second was what other's thought of them, and the third was their appearance. As Generation Z, I'd agree with this. As a youth worker, this research would inform what I teach.
Similarly, Youthscape did research called 'Losing Heart', and in it they discussed what young people want to talk about VS what the Church is talking about.
The top things Churches were talking to their young people about was the basic beliefs of the Christian faith, prayer, personal reading of scripture, and serving the community. The bottom things were pornography/sex/relationships, same-sex attraction, drugs and mental heath.
The top things young people wanted to talk about were mental heath, how to share faith with friends, pornography/sex/relationships and same-sex attraction
Just to note: all these topics are things I do and will teach, but it's a matter of priority.
Again, as a Generation Z, I agree with this. As a Youth Worker, this research informs what I teach.
But I think the biggest challenge of being an 18 year old youth worker is the feeling of being too young and therefore not enough. There are so many incredible female youth leaders that I'm inspired and encouraged by, but I can't help but see them do youth work and think they're far more capable than I am. I know that I'm just starting out so can't expect to have a handle on everything, especially as some of these youth leaders have been doing youth worker longer than I've been alive. But they all just seem 'together'.
I was so reassuring when I heard a podcast by one of my biggest inspirations, saying that she struggles with body confidence, and another of my inspirations said she struggles with feeling not good enough to lead a new generation. It's not reassuring because I want these incredible women to feel like this, of course not, but if makes me feel a whole lot less alone.
Thank you for reading! Please let me know your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting me @rebeccasaz
* a streak is a Snapchat feature. When a person sends a photo to another person daily, an emoji of a fire appears by their name, along with the number of days photos have been sent. For example, if I sent you a photo on Snapchat every day for 30 days, on your screen would be, "Becca *fire emoji* 30"
I had the absolute pleasure and privilege of interviewing Blogger and Vlogger, David Gibbs.
David has a blog titled 'Confessions of a First Time Dad' where he beautifully and powerfully shares his experiences of parenthood, well-being and mental health. With his fiance Ebony Day, David has a family vlogging channel called My Tiny Tribe, on which the pair share the highs and lows of being first-time parents, featuring travel, Q&A's, life updates, day-to-day-life, and the ever-wonderful Daisy - what's not to love?
I present to you, an interview with David Gibbs....
Hi! It's great to chat to you. How are you doing? Is life with a baby treating you well?
I am doing amazing.
Life with a Daisy is almost beyond words. It's been the most challenging but rewarding eight months of my life. When I look at Daisy I see Grace. Parenthood is a powerful, beautiful thing.
As many of my readers will know, I grew up in a Christian family, have been to Church all my life, I went to a Christian school and now I'm at Bible College. What, if any, faith-related influences did you have whilst growing up? How did you 'find God'?
Ahh, so I grew up a strict Atheist with absolutely no faith related influences. I read the books, learnt the clever arguments and felt smug in my intellectual, material worldview. Th funny thing is though, when you are broken and in pain those books, those arguments and that smug superiority complex just doesn't count for anything. They fall short. It all falls short. I found God through a twelve step recovery program. It turns out I'd been seeking Him all along. I think a lot of us are like that; we are born into this feeling that something is missing and we spend life trying to fill it with all these different things - be it drugs, food, sex, alcohol or work. It doesn't fill the hole but we keep trying and trying. Four years ago I got to a point where if I tried for much longer I would lose myself completely. When a man spoke to me about this idea of a higher power I had the gift of desperation. I was so broken I actually listened. From that moment my life change. Every day since has been a miracle.
That is so powerful and incredible.
So you've said in Instagram comments previously that you don't follow a certain dogma or religion/ Could you just explain your feelings and though-process behind this?
I can - or at least I will try. I find it hard speaking about religion as it's such murky waters and I never want to offend. I guess it's as simple as this for me.
I didn't find God in a church, or a temple or in a mosque. I met him right where I was in the darkness. As of today, my experience with Him doesn't fit truthfully with a certain dogma or religion. That doesn't mean that I think Christianity is wrong. That doesn't mean I think Islam is wrong. It just simply isn't my truth at this moment in time. For now, I will keep praying and I will keep building upon this relationship and trust in that and in Him. I guess that is somewhat of a polite answer. The truth is I also feel a lot of the time organised religion can be something that stands in the way of someone when they need God the most. I've had conversations with people that are begging for help but the moment God is brought up they shut down. Why? Because for them God is organised religion. It's hate signs and judgement, strange clothes and strict rules. I'm not saying that's what it truly is. I'm just saying generations of misguided actions in His name has caused the very answer to become the problem. I feel that the tides are changing though. Less about memorising the words and more about experiencing His Grace and His love and passing that on.
For me, having a sense of God is really important. For example, I feel closest to God when I sing worship songs. Or sometimes there are things that I pray for that get answered. Sometimes things happen that can be seen as coincidence, I feel like are God. Is this something you've experienced? Has there been a time where you've been able to pinpoint, "that's God"?
I feel God in everything. I feel God in the good and God in the bad. I feel God in Daisy's laugh. I feel God as two strangers smile at each other on the tube. I feel Him in the everyday, I feel it when I'm watching a singer in a rock band connect with an audience. When I look at the audience and I can see for that moment they are connected to the music so intensely. When you can see in that moment they feel understood and the storm has lifted. That's beautiful. It's messy but it's beautiful. When I see humanity working together, in even the smallest way...it's then I feel him most.
Wow, I think that's something we can all learn from.
Your followers saw that you went to Hillsong Church recently - what was that like? Daisy looked super cute in the big baby-pink ear defenders!
Daisy and Ebony at Hillsong Church
It was soooooo cute! Daisy loved it!
I love Hillsong. We don't go super often but whenever we do, I love it. We've been to the conference as well. I know, this may sound a little strange as I am not Christian haha.
For me, any place where people meet to worship I feel home.
Thank you so much for your time! Do you have a favourite faith-related quote that inspires you that you'd like to share and finish on?
"Divine discontent ignites a longing. The exile remembers his own home and begins the long road back to the beloved. It's only because he wants us that we turn our eyes from the outer world and set out in the ancient journey of the soul back to it's source. This call is always present because each and every atom sings the song of remembrance, every particle of creation desires to be reunited with the Creator"
Amazing! Thanks again!
You can read the Confessions of a First Time Dad here, or watch the Tiny Tribe here.
Some people seem to adore September; cooler weather that allows for sweaters, the excitement of Halloween and Christmas to come, and autumnal changes in the Starbucks menu. Others mourn the loss of Summer as they realise the things they were looking forward to - holidays, more free-time, sunny days, have finished, and now it's back to reality.
Whatever your preference, at this time of year I like to make three lists, and I recommend you do the same.
The first list is of things you're looking forward to.
The second list is of things that you're thankful for.
The third list is of people you're thankful for, and the reasons why.
Perhaps darker afternoons and evenings, wetter weather and the knowledge if summer being over makes you feel a little lower and a little less hopeful. For me, these lists make me excited for things to come, grateful for the things I have, and blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.
If you're creative, why not dedicate a page in your journal for these lists, and create zentangle designs in the corner, or draw little illustrations alongside each item. Or perhaps you'd rather just write a list on your phone notes. You could write it on a piece of paper and put it in your phone or wallet to remind you of the blessings -big and small- in your life.
A few days ago I came back from 5 days camping in Peterborough for Soul Survivor! The night I came back, I slept for 14 hours straight - if that doesn't show you how exhausted I was, I don't know what will. Despite the exhaustion, this year of Soul Survivior was one of my favourites. Here's why:
- The teachings this year were really great. Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft were up to their usual top standard, Tim Ross was hilarious and powerful, and a friend of mine was preaching on main stage, which was crazy! She spoke amazingly and really hit the heart's of the young people, and I'm sure many youth leaders too.
- I'm very much an observer. During SS, I loved watching the young people chat with each other, share stories, joke, play endless card games, have a water fight, dive deep into worship and take notes through the teachings. I loved how patient and kind they were to each other, even when tiredness crept it.
- Similarly, I learnt a lot from observing the other youth leaders; how they interact with different young people, youth work styles, creating conversations, asking questions, organisation....
- having long and deep conversations with the young people and youth leaders
- the worship was incredible. Worship is one of my favourite things to do. I find it much easier than other spiritual disciplines; meditation, reading my Bible, praying... However, I'm a picky-worshipper. Perhaps because I'm Gen Z, I find it so much easier to engage in worship when there's lots of people around me lifting their hands, when it's loud, when there's harmonies and lots of instruments. This is actually something God is really challenging me on, and is another blog post for another day. That aside, the Worship at Soul Survivor gave me space to surrender all, sing, shout, dance and jump.
- a favourite and least favourite was cooking. A favourite was the sense of achievement when I had cooked a meal (for 18, in a marquee may I add) by myself, as well as the love I felt when people offered help, and intervened and was patient when I made mistakes. But when I did make mistakes, I found it really hard. When I underestimated how long sausages would take to cook, or when I hadn't realised the gas had blown out, or I forgot about a vegetarian sauce, I felt like I had totally failed and I was showing everyone just how stupid I am. That was tough.
- After a long chat, I sat in the cold marquee with a young person at about 11pm, drinking hot chocolate and waiting for the others to come back. This young person said to me, "you've made Soul Survivor for me. You're actually alright". That made me feel pretty special.
- at meal times, we tried to create a space where we could share the highlights of our day and what we were enjoying most about Soul Survivor. I really loved that; hearing the young people's thoughts and seeing their faces light up as they tell a funny story. It felt very family-like.
- I started each morning by reading my Bible and praying. I loved hearing the chatters of the early-risers coming from the marquee as I read the Psalms. One morning, I felt a need to pray for each young person and youth leader individually, and as I did I had an image in my mind that I later shared with the group. This year at Soul Survivor, I really heard from God daily.
- the people I went with made it one of the best years. Their craziness, intelligent insights, their patience and kindness towards each other, and their growth through the week
- Finally, the journey home. All but one young person slept the entire journey home, and me and my Placement line manager chatted about the past year, the danger of comparison, church politics, holiday and age. As someone who loves road trips and deep conversations, these two hours were definitely a highlight.
I've had an incredible year with this Youth Group. Soul Survivor was the best way to end a perfect year.
My favourite song at the moment is by Hillsong Young and Free and it's called P E A C E. Featuring on their newest album, 'III', 'P E A C E' is all about declaring God as the Keeper of Peace even when the "lies come", even when "my thoughts don't line up", even when my "mind wreaks havoc".
A couple of weeks ago I sat in bed, opened YouTube and was going to catch up with a vlogging family, 'My Tiny Tribe'. On my YouTube home screen was a recommended video by Bethel, titled 'PEACE | Amanda Cook', who is one of my favourite Christian artists. I clicked on the thumbnail and the song totally broke me.
I cried the entirety of the song and when it finished, I dragged the slider to the beginning and listened again, and cried for another 10 minutes.
The second time, I sung the lyrics through the pain. In this version, Amanda Cook adds the lyric, 'this is where the war ends' and she repeats the verse 'all anxiety bows in the presence of Jesus the Keeper of Peace', and that's what I was declaring over my mind and my life.
This Is Where The War Ends.
'Tetelestai' is my favourite word. In Greek, it means 'it is finished', and it's what Jesus said as He was dying. The war of identity, the war of anxiety or depression or addiction or whatever it may be for you - this is where the war ends - right here, right now. It is finished already.
All Anxiety Bows In The Presence Of Jesus
That word, 'bows' is the one that gets me. Even anxiety bows in the presence of Jesus. I Googled the definition for 'bow down', and here's what some sites said:
"to show weakness by agreeing to the orders of something or someone higher"
"to cease from competition"
"to show respect and agree that they are more powerful"
At the time, I had this image in my head of personified Anxiety, and it jumped around and bounced off people's heads in complete power and authority, until it got to God. At God, it stood still, then bowed. Anxiety, something that has a grip on many, submits, ceases from competition, shows weakness, agrees that God is higher and more powerful than it's self.
Over the last last few weeks, through what has been a bit of a ‘mental health flop’, God has reminded me of His peace. People have given me verses about overflowing with peace, about carrying peace. I’ve read quotes, I’ve heard songs that sing about peace but I previously hadn’t noticed. In February at a training day for The Year Out, we were each given a piece of thread that represented who God is. The one I picked up represented peace, and at the time I thought, “other people have better verses than me, I wish I picked up a better one”. As I was praying for peace again this morning, I was reminded of my red anklet, and felt God say, “you’ve been wearing my peace on you’re ankle for months”.