Shadow Of Victory

Monday, 17 August 2009

August 17th Working through Willow

Chris and the pooch are home and we actually got 3 hours together before he has now gone to meeting...ho hum...still gives me a couple of hours to continue blog.I have been thinking through some of the main points raised by the speakers and thought I would just work my way through them over next week or so.

One of the most memorable one liners was from Gary Hamil...
"when you are down in the trenches it is easy to mistake the edge of your rut for the horizon"..
I may not have written down the exact wording but you get the gist of it. Everyone said how that impacted them as well...Simon mentions it in his blog and Ben D talked about it when he preached Sunday and I know that Chris says this spoke to him very clearly. Gary's session will be shown at the Summit in October so book in to hear it in context...have I mentioned it would be a good thing for you to come along?? I have been reflecting over the days since getting back I have been asking myself what "ruts" have I got so entrenched in that I prefer to stay down than get up and moving..lets see if I can make an honest inventory and will begin tonight with a couple of ruts.

*Leadership.....this is a big rut for me ...I still struggle to think of myself as a leader despite having led major ministries in the past and leading one nowadays. When we became Christians almost 25 years ago there were few women leaders around and certainly in our church the emphasis was on male leadership....altho I had initiated the deaf ministry it was Chris who would be invited to attend the leaders training meetings every month and once a term there would be a social arranged for "leaders and their wives" with the wives being the "add-on"....Over the years this changed and by the time I was leading the special needs ministry I would be a part of the training group but even 12 years ago when I became the first woman to lead a housegroup it still caused a couple of comments at a leaders meeting when one person remarked rather loudly "why are you here then Chris ill ?"...when I replied he wasn't the leader this guy didn't quite know what to say !! and when I took over leading the car parking ministry one of the first comments I had from within the teams was "whats a woman doing in a mans job ?" I have been confined to the "rut " of this thinking for many years and have decided that I am going to climb out of the rut and make for the horizon.

I hope you will sense my spirit in this next bit as I am not boasting in myself but in what God has put in me...I am almost hesitant to type this next paragraph but wanted to be as honest as I can... but this whole issue of leadership is so much at the forefront of my thinking due to being at Willow. One of the ways in which I could sense God confirming this gift in me was that the speakers at Willow were all gifted leaders mostly talking about leadership principles and as I listened to each of them I found myself stimulated..challenged..encouraged and could identify with many of the points made and examples given.After the fisrt session I knew I was supposed to be there and didnt feel as if I was a fraud .You will all know through experience that when attending anything that isn't relevant to you that your mind wonders..your concentration goes and you find yourself nodding off or tired out...well for me ..every session was new..fresh..exciting...I found myself expectant and ready with notebook and pen and those who know me will know I rarely take notes but I knew there was going to be some incredible stuff coming my way and didn't want to miss any of it.I transposed a lot of what I heard into the ministry I am involved in and have already made some decisions on how to implement them into the folk I lead and the community I serve.

The upshot of this particular "rut" is that I am admitting to myself that I AM A LEADER.....No longer will I hide down in the trenches but strike out for the horizon and take ownership of the leadership gifts that God has put into me and I plan to lead and serve to the very best of my ability and to look always for ways in which God can use me to build His church .

*Technology....again this is a huge rut for me ...almost too deep for me to even contemplate climbing out of but I know that God has spoken to me very clearly about this and that I must begin to edge myself over the top . For many years I have avoided learning new things eg I only learned to text on my mobile about a year ago !! This stems from several areas and they are rooted in a fear of failure...being thought stupid...and stress at the thought that once I begin to learn I need to open myself up to others to teach me. I am Miss Independent and would rather not ask for any kind of this would mean being vulnerable..I realise that the world is changing and technology is moving fast and I am definitely a dinosaur within my peer group.Even the wee lad I care for seems to know more about mobile phones than I do !! I have popped my head up over this rut several times over the last year but the "crossfire" got too much for me and I just ducked back down again. Way too risky.....

Let me explain what I mean by "cross fire" and I can use a completely fresh example...Iris and Fiona ..this isn't meant as any kind of dig at you ....honest..I love you guys so much and at times I feel as if you are my Aaron and Hur...
Exodus ch 17 v 12...
just holding me up when life gets too much but this example happened today and seemed a good way of explaining it. I mentioned I had got a new phone but hadn't even taken it out of the box as it was just too complicated for me to even begin to think about using it.I said perhaps I could get one of them to help me sort it out...there was a group of us chatting about it and having a laugh and comments were like "but its easy" or "all you need to do" and everyone was asking me questions such as .." what kind of phone is it?" "have you charged it " and altho this only lasted a few minutes I could feel actual terror wash over me as the "trench" beckoned me back down again.This actually manifests itself in a sort of "duck and run away" feeling ..I feel as if I have to get away and hide and I could feel tears threatening to fall....One of my biggest fears is being thought stupid and silly though it may be ..whenever I hear the phrase "but its so easy " or similar I immediately translate that into "then I must be stupid if I cant do it " No-one has EVER actually said that to me but when you are down in the trench it is hard to hear clearly.

God impressed upon me very clearly that it was time to get out of this "rut" and head to the horizon and this week I have set myself some long term goals to work through over the next few months learn how to upload photos onto FB and into the learn how to use my new phone and to believe in myself that
"all things are possible". Matthew ch 19 v 26
So if I happen to mention to you that I am trying a new thing please don't say
"but that's easy " try saying.."wow that's great Irene ...can I help with it at all?" I can just see Iris and Fiona watching me take the phone out the box and saying " did good Irene great box action there."" Hee you guys. xx

Finally ....two of the speakers were young entrepreneurs...(you can hear them at the Summit in October) and altho they didn't have a direct impact on me personally I couldn't help but be amazed at what they were involved with.I mention them only to share a comment they both made which struck a chord with me . Both of them mentioned their parents as being one of the most crucial influences in their lives...I think they said something like
" My parents believed in me..they encouraged me..they told me I could do anything...they put positive things into me "
and I once again felt pangs about the lack of such input into my childhood and can easily understand why I have so many "ruts" and fears of failure and being thought stupid. No-one really believed in me or encouraged me or spoke positively and therefor I have grown up never believing I could do anything ..becoming a Christian and beginning the journey of faith has been hard work for me in that I have had to
re-align my thought patterns and ingrained behaviour....and to believe in myself when no-one else had done so.

And finally ..finally (!)relating to the above of my other main areas of gifting is encouragement and I make a daily choice to encourage at least one person as I know that without encouragement peoples spirits can wither and die.This can take the form of a it or not I have a monthly budget to send flowers from Marks and Spencers to different people on so today organised it for a friend whose hubby is very ill.) and the children and young people I see daily will always have encouragement spoken to them and words such as "you did well with that scooter " or..." I love your hair " knowing these words of encouragement are all building unseen and as yet unknown esteem into their young spirits and letting them know that they are great !!If you are a parent can I strongly encourage you to believe in your children and let them know it as often as you can ..make a daily decision to speak into their spirits good and positive words. last words to you today ...think about your "rut" and make a decision to climb out and make for the horizon .Email me or talk to me so I can encourage you too..lets journey towards the horizons together.


Ruthie said...

A couple of things stick out for me from this entry.

The first is 'a woman in a man's role'...being a woman in what is considered a man's role is not easy (I'm in one) and the pressure of that can be so very heavy. But, WE ARE BREAKING THE MOULD! God raises up & women...for 'such a time as this' and when He calls us to a role then we are to grasp it with both hands and do our absolute best despite those with backward thinking. You go girl! :0)

The other thing is the whole 'being a leader' despite not feeling like one. I've battled this for a long time and it's taken getting to rock bottom to realise that I am a leader and I do have influence and it is my choice whether that influence is good or bad. I'm still learning.

The last thing is that I would love to help you learn how to use some technology. I can sit with you as you open the box and switch on the phone, or in front of the laptop and take you through step by step how to upload photos. Just yell in my direction if you would like some help. I will encourage you and encourage you and keep on encouraging you because I know you can do it and one day it will be you teaching others about technology.

Love you lots! xx

Sue said...

I never knew that went on while you were leading the deaf ministry! Glad things have changed! I'm not good at technology either, I try not to ask for help as Malc expects to only tell me something once and gets cross if I have to ask again so I can spend hours getting frustrated to the point of tears trying to do something getting sermons onto my ipod has been one of them! The things I can do have been learnt by trial and error but if I can pass any of it on to you I am happy to do that, I certainly won't get cross because I know how that feels!

You certainly have the gift of encouragement and have encouraged me a lot over the many years we've known each other.

Geri said...

When we had the women's conference a few years ago, on the Friday we were invited to go to some seminars led by the women from Mosaic. I don't know why, but I found myself in a leadership seminar, and if it weren't for a good, encouraging friend, I would have walked out. I did not consider myself a leader. And when asked to co lead a life group last year, the only reason I agreed to it in the end was because I wasn't the sole leader. I have never considered it my gifting, but I know that God has used the past year to stretch me and show me that my view of myself is too limiting. There is another issue I'm dealing with along the same lines that I would love to chat through with you sometime, tho not for all the world to see!
PS - if you can learn all this 'techie' stuff, then maybe I can as well!! 8-)

Caroline said...

1. What century do some folks (MEN) live in that they make life even a little hard for a woman who is probably a better 'leader' than they'll ever be?!
2. Being 'technical' is all relative. I'm a veritable super-tech compared to my sister who I'll be showing a few things when I visit P'borough in September... but James about laughs himself of his chair when I tell him so :) And HE'S about as techy as my dog is, compared to folks I used to work with (software engineers and scientists etc.). So don't you be put off with it all because you don't know about it! Why would you? How could you?! Example... I needed more memory in my computer lately (knew this as it was all so slow). I paid the bloke in the shop to put it in my laptop for me but I SOOO annoyed at myself when I saw exactly what he did! It was embarrassingly simple, and yes, lots of things are if you just KNOW. I do feel they ripped me off by doing it for me, they could have just said how, but I suppose that's how they make their money... on a silly woman's ignorance of something really, really easy!! grrr.
What I'm trying to say is... just don't be put off by it all. Having said that... I have no idea how my satelite tuner works, and don't ask me to fix our DVD player hahaha.