Friendship: Know your worth

Have you ever thought any of the following?

– I’m not interesting/exciting/cool/sporty etc.. enough
– They wouldn’t like me if they saw my mess/knew…about me
– People don’t want to spend time with me
– I don’t have anything to say
– Why would they/he/she want to spend time with me
– I am too much and/or not enough

For me, whilst I’ve always struggled with self-belief and self-worth it’s only in hindsight that I can see how my subconscious low self-esteem as a teenager and early twenty-something influenced how I behaved in my friendships. I maintained friendships but didn’t give myself to any of them. I shared little, expected people to come to me, make the effort with me, to seek me out. I was also so caught up in my mess that I rarely stopped to ask friends what was going on with them. If I did, I rarely asked any follow up questions.

I was so fortunate that friendships stuck with people I met along the way who were similar to me, where it was easy and, in hindsight where I could coast. I have spent too long in one-sided friendships, expecting all the effort to come from the other side because I’ve believed I haven’t had anything to bring and I am grateful now to be in a position where I am repairing some of the hurts and addressing those missed opportunities for deeper relationships.

If any of this rings a bell with you please believe you are worth the effort. I believe God created us to live in community and relationship with each other, not just our families but our friends, neighbours, work colleagues and fellow humans. We weren’t created to be isolated self-sufficient people.

It can be so scary and uncomfortable putting yourself out there in friendships if you haven’t before but take it from an extremely rambling and awkward first-step-taker, it is so so worth it.

Whether you believe in God or not, He loves you and He wants you to be surrounded by fun, life-giving, trusting and supportive relationships.

Some key things to think about:
– Do you believe you are worth the effort?
– Do you believe people might want a deeper friendship with you?
– Is there anyone in your life that you wish you had a better relationship with?
– What’s currently getting in the way of that? (Time? Location? Effort on one side?)
– What one thing could you do today to move that friendship forwards?

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Lent Update

You guys… Lent got hard.

And, when things get hard I stop trying which also tends to mean stopping writing. 

Often, I am a fair weather fighter, I’m in the battle and challenge but for as long it feels like I’m in control, as soon as it seems that it might be out of my control, I tend to give up. I allow myself to get overwhelmed and find not fighting feels easier than fighting. 

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my discipline around food has been chaotic and something I’ve wanted to work on for some time. I knew Lent this year would be a time to make some significant progress but it’s not looked anything like I’d expect. 
It’s been up and down, learning about my identity in God and doing a lot of thinking about life and faith prompted by the podcasts I listen to.

I’ve also got involved in a Facebook group discussing the tension between grace and holiness – something I’d not ever considered before but it’s incredibly interesting and challenging. It’s also informed my current position on my eating. I wrote the below whilst I was walking along the other day and have only edited to make some actual sentences!

God’s grace isn’t a get out of jail free card. It doesn’t let us off from our sin or mean it’s ok to be disobedient but it does mean guilt and shame have no place and if we are striving for holiness then we have a responsibility to continue the fight to choose to change and not do it again. In my experience, more often than not God has already given us the tools we need to change, more often than not we have the power to choose whether we give in to temptation or not. 

Friendship

Friendship (n): A state of mutual trust and support… [Oxford dictionaries]

Until recently, if asked to list my skills, strengths or just ‘things I’m good at’, friendship wouldn’t have been one of the things that topped or even featured on the list.

I don’t say this as a way to draw out encouragement or even really for you to pass comment on. Hear me say this though – I do have a lot of wonderful friends from school, uni, church, work. It does however remain a fact, I didn’t give myself fully to a lot of my friendships for a long time and consequently missed the opportunity to create the deep friendships we all crave, something I’ve been working to repair for some time.

This Lent, from my unqualified position as someone who’s learnt some lessons, I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learnt about friendships, what I’m continuing to learn and to encourage  you to invest deeply in your friendships.

I hope you’ll join me for the ride, do share your thoughts, lessons learned and be encouraged.

Lent 2017

I know when it comes to times of the year people are more likely to say ‘I love Christmas’ but for me, it’s Lent that really makes my heart sing.

Right or wrong, I think it sits more easily with my personality. I’ve not yet found myself able to settle in and enjoy the lead up to Christmas for what it is as I find myself stressed about the presents, expectations and, try as I might, the busyness of the time of the year. But with Lent I love being able to slow down, remind myself to be more intentional and pay attention to the Easter story.

I’ve given something up for Lent for probably about 14 years and for years before I started to explore what Lent was really about, it has always been the one time of year I’ve found myself able to better commit to a discipline. 

This year I am committing to the following things:

  • Fast on 1 March – our church has been fasting on the first of the month for many years as a spiritual discipline and a way to prepare for the month. I’ve not committed to it before now for a number of reasons but, as I’ve been exploring my relationship with food again recently and the first day of Lent coincided with the first of the month I wanted to commit to it on this occasion 
  • For the rest of Lent fast between meals – this is essentially not snacking but I refer to as fasting for the sake of my mentality towards it
  • No TV when home with Mike – we’ve found ourselves passing our evenings together watching tv then feeling we haven’t spent any time together!
  • Follow The She Reads Truth Lent reading plan – follow me on Instagram @beccamacd for my highlights 
  • Blog more – I’ve been prompted regularly to write more and am going to try blog once a week during Lent, to keep up on how I’m finding Lent and another series I have in mind 

Ten Things


This is my new kitchen. 

This is also a strange way to make a return to blogging after eight months. But, I show you my new kitchen not because I love it (although I really really do, those handles, the colours!!) but, as a challenge.
Lately I have found myself getting too comfortable, finding my identity in our new house, my busyness or the amount of projects/relationships/commitments I’m trying to juggle and to be honest none of it has sat right. I find myself on edge, stressed and grumpy.

Please know I am not saying that having nice things is wrong (I’m not) or that I am not grateful and so so pleased with our new kitchen (all of the heart eyes 😍) but when you look at the picture consider your heart and what value you are giving things. Our new kitchen is beautiful and exactly as we hoped it would be and I’m so so grateful that we are in a position to be able to do this. But this kitchen is not my identity, it does not define me, my marriage or the way I am able to be hospitable in my home. It is a blessing whose legacy I pray will be through the numbers of late night chats, dinners and lengthy, relationship deepening conversations it enabled rather than its monetary worth or its beauty.

To refer back to the title of the post, I am learning that I like things to be done, completed. But not so keen on the process or things that take a long time. So, I’m going to try a new thing. Ten things. Ten small things that I will aim to do each day to see progress in my life. I hope you will pray for me as I try this out over the next few weeks and perhaps consider thinking of your own: 

1. Prayer walk during my commute

2. Make at least ten minutes to read the Bible

3. Read or chat on the train

4. Be challenged by greed and over consumption in my daily life

5. Have at least 1 intentional conversation with Mike (I.e. More than conversations about our day or life practicalities)

6. Text people when I think of it (rather than think ‘that’s a good idea and never do it’)

7. Consider 1 task in the house and do that

8. Be thankful

9. Rest well

10. Take each opportunity to serve others

Not there yet

Yesterday. I heard inspiring and deeply challenging words from dear friends spoken over our church during the morning service. 
Today. It’s been a tough one, I’ve been tired after a busy but fun weekend but also feeling pretty negative about myself, about how I am often challenged by prophetic words and sermons I hear but how I often fail to move forward in those things. However, in amongst the negativity today, I heard the gentle, kind voice. ‘You’re not there yet.’

Sometimes I feel so unqualified to pass opinion on faith and who and what God calls us to be. I haven’t read nearly as many books on theology as many people I know and I certainly don’t spend enough time learning from and studying the Bible but, I bring what I know of myself to what I know of God.

I know God is not in the business of comparing his children to each other and there is no ‘should’ or grade system with God that ranks your age and length of time as a Christian against where you ‘should’ be in life, faith and relationship with God.

I’ve been beating myself up today about not making the difference in my work place that others I know are and about that challenge just seeming so big that I briefly pondered whether I was really a Christian at all.

God is not looking for perfect before He can use you but, what if I’m not quite ready for that step yet. What if I’m not quite there and, more radically – what if that’s ok?

God says, don’t run before you can walk. How can you love others in the way I love them, in the way I love YOU, if you don’t truly know that yet. How can you encourage others in areas that you are still holding on to hurt in. Come back onto the path we were walking together, at the pace we were taking it.

A Pep Talk

Last weekend M and I went to collect his Mum’s car which we are in the process of selling. As this meant we now had 2 cars the weekend involved a return journey by myself. I would consider myself a good driver but somewhat lacking in confidence where adverse weather conditions are concerned.. Bad light + rain and spray everywhere + losing M at a set of traffic lights = me nearly having a toddler-esque melt down somewhere between Halifax and the M62. However, after allowing myself to indulge in some shouting and grumpiness for a few minutes, I gave myself a talking to. I am a grown up, no one can make this better, having a strop will not help anything, both cars need to get home and the only way that will happen is by me driving one them.

This pep talk didn’t make me any less scared of the roads that evening but pointed me in the right direction. Reminded to pray and trust God rather than looking to others to fix things.

Similarly, today at church I was challenged about how little time I spend with God. Over and again I make excuses about my work, commitments and juggling life pressures as well citing no day to day example as a young Christian of what a relationship with God looks like as an excuse.

But, I am a grown up, this does not mean I am not allowed to need help or that I am supposed to have everything perfect but, it does mean that I need to do more than stand still. That, if my faith means to me what I say it does on Sunday then that needs to be reflected in my priorities, my Monday-Saturday and the way I spend my time. Time with God needs to come first and noone else can fix that for me however much I wish they could.

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