The Tabernacle

Creating 'spaces' to experience the presence of God

How to Win Your Life – Higher Thinking

October 2nd, 2019

God thinks glorious thoughts about you continuously! 

Just stop and let that sink in. Lean into that thought! 

God thinks glorious thoughts about you continuously! 

God is good. This is His nature. He cannot move outside of His nature. So it’s gloriously good thoughts he is CONTINUALLY thinking about you!

Psalm 139:6 says about God, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high”

He thinks high. And He thinks highly of you. 

Doesn’t that make you feel good? You may even find yourself sitting up a bit straighter as you lean into that thought right now. 

But if after a minute there comes a little nagging thought of “Who do you think you are to beleive this?”, that’s shame!

This is what the emotion of shames says. It also says, “I’m bad. I’m not enough.” This is why being shamed and shaming others hurts us so much. It makes us feel low. 

And when this is multiplied on a community level, organisational level, church level or family level, that is a powerful and crippling narrative that will destroy these cultures if not addressed. 

Such I beleive is the moment in time we are living in. Shame culture has found us. 

There is a big difference between who we are and what we do. God never confuses our identity with our choices and actions. 

He’s very jealous over how we think and what level our thinking is. His thinking is high. It’s going to stretch us. 

Thinking on the glorious thoughts God has of us is not a proud and arrogant thing to do. It is actually one of the pieces of armour God gives us to survive life, it is our belt of truth. (Eph 6:14)

God’s higher thinking actually requires of us humility, learners heart and the very powerful way of freedom, forgiveness. 

We are human. He knows we are but dust (Ecc 3:20 ) and He doesn’t shame us for that. Neither can we of ourselves or others!

There is no more powerful way of moving through both shame and life, than dwelling on the fact that God thinks glorious thoughts about you!

Get practical and ask Him right now, “God would you share with me, what is one of your glorious thoughts you are having about me today?”

What do you think about you? About others?

It matters.

 

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Boundaries, Vulnerability and Hate – The rumble with identity

September 11th, 2019

Funny how our boundaries are rarely celebrated.
Gosh they can be hard, sometimes messy work. I’m not a specialist on them, just a traveller who loves learning! 

The thing about boundaries is that we can experience push back, consequence and even that 2nd most avoided emotion we all dread, grief. 

Growth is a costly business. Doesn’t matter what is the nature of growth. It costs. Anyone is business knows that!

I’ve been pondering lately how in society it is common and somewhat “ok” to punish and shame when boundaries especially new boundaries are communicated. It confronts our entitlement and some other dysfunctions. 

When the love level in us is low, the Bible says we reach for punishment. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, so the one who is afraid is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].”

Many social scientists, civil authorities and Christian leaders have been growing more noisy in their concern around the wave of hatred crashing across the nation’s. Many saying it has increased alarmingly the last 12months. 

It’s a fearful thing to be around hate. Hate drains out love. Punishment is a management tool and it has an array of overt and subtle options from rolling the eyes to outright displays of harm. 

So what’s the blessing for a new boundary? It reveals our need for an upgrade in God’s love! 

Boundaries can define us. They are vulnerable because it shows what is really important to us. They reveal what we care about in our heart, and what we value. 

It takes courage to show up. But that is the kindest thing we can do. Clear is kind says Brene Brown. 

Being clear with our boundaries, is where I see some of our greatest challenges and growth points are currently in the Western World. And I wonder how much of that is because really we are in one huge rumble with identity?

Our boundaries are not walls we hit people with but a statement of what’s ok and what’s not around what we treasure, what we identify with. 

I have just completed uploading a training series online around living courageously. It’s ok for people to show the work to their family, colleagues, connect groups. But it’s not ok to not pay for it or take my name and website off it. 

This is a boundary. They are more than what’s not ok, they are a communication of what’s ok too! Boundaries keep value on us and on what we are doing. That’s our responsibility.

But it’s vulnerable to do that. And here is a lesson I keep learning over and over, vulnerability and learning how to do that, walk with that is so much of the story of our lives! 

So next time you see your teenager, spouse or work colleague trying to practice boundaries, celebrate their courage and get curious about who they are trying to define themselves as. 

Let’s be honest with our need for more of God’s love and turn the tide of hate. It’s not who we really are. It’s not what we want in the world we are building for our children. 

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Time to Rebel – no more, not enough!

September 4th, 2019

Over the years I have struggled with scarcity. Its a rotten mindset. Scarcity says “not enough”. Not enough time, not enough money, not enough happening, not enough house, not enough holidays, NOT ENOUGH!! We can “not enough” God, our faith communities, our leaders, our children’s opportunities and schools, our spouse’s input in the home or marriage. We can ‘not enough’ anything. And we do. 

About 10 years ago I experienced something that began to kill this plague of scarcity. It was a culture of honor. I encountered the God who honors us because He never looses sight of who we really are. I experienced honor for what was, for who I was, for who and what others were and it joyfully shook me to my foundations.

In the most pleasant good way, the Lord began to show me errors in my thinking and therefore way of living. He was readdressing the truth that HE is a GOOD shepherd and I shall NOT LACK! (Ps 23:1) Lack! what a cursed mindset! It cripples our faith in God, our courage and our relationships. Yet we are discipled so well in this by the consume and produce to justify our worth world we live in.

Not enough began to be dismantled in me though honor. As an Australian this is such a nothing word. It holds no meaning, no usage in our everyday life. If anything, its all a bit of a joke really. Honor! Hah! We scoff at it while knowing no experience or understanding of it.

And yet I was drawn by this honor I was experiencing and stirred by Biblical instructions like “Honor ALL people.” (1 Peter 2:17) All people! What?!!! Isn’t Honor something you earn?

But I didn’t earn my honor. My self-righteousness was getting a loving kick in the teeth. It was HIS honorable way with me, that realized my value, my worth. And we all have some measure of that.

Perfection, pride, rejection, shame, religious spirit was under the hammer, and thank God! Experiencing honor as one who has value, not because of my productivity or association or success, confronted that scarcity mindset. 

Honor taught me to celebrate what was, not stumble as scarcity leads us to, over what is not. Honor Taught me that I am honorable and it has nothing to do with what others do or not, it has to do with me. Honor taught me gratitude and the power of gratefulness in the endless little things.

Not buying into Scarcity is still a journey I’m on. But boy life is way more fun and I am way more fun to be with as a result of this journey away from the desert lands of ‘not enough.”

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The Power of Grace on our Words

August 30th, 2019

Our words are powerful! Our words not only release insight, information, definition and identity but ‘grace’.

This is true for good or for bad. Tell someone they are an idiot and it releases a ‘grace’ for that. 

Tell someone they are beautiful (which is to edify), and it imparts a grace to be that!

Because the word ‘charis’ used here for grace, means ‘influence on the heart’.

Our words impart an ‘influence’ on the hearts of others.

Words of prophecy, of encouragement, speak what heaven sees and with them a grace to be them.

Our words in prayer and intercession stir up and partner with heaven’s culture to move on earth. Heavens heart is influenced and imparted with grace as we pray!

God spoke into creation everything that surrounds you as you read these words. There was a grace for what was spoken to become.

Jesus, called the ‘Word’ that became flesh in John 1. Our words become substance, flesh as it were as did His. 

Our words engage the natural realm and the supernatural, the spirit realm. John 4 says, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John? ?4:23-24? ?

What grace do you want to release today? It will be through your words.

“And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them.” Ephesians? ?4:29

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Shaming Others doesn’t bring change

August 1st, 2019

I was reversing out from my parking spot. 

We all know how precious those things have become in our world of 7 billion people. 

I reversed out onto the middle of an empty road. As I did I noticed a car was already waiting for my parking spot. 

Just as I put my car into drive and began inching forward, the waiting car drove in front of me and pulled into the spot. 

Slamming on my brakes, I was shocked. 

As the driver pulled in, a jogger ran past them and yelled “You d____!” Shaking her fist and pointing at the driver as she did so.

Stunned at the 1,2,3 of unexpected events. I continued my turn of the steering wheel, clearing the middle of the road and drove off. 

Fear and shaming had just run that moment. If you ever doubt that much of life isn’t a emotional discourse, consider this event. 

Happens more than we like to admit. Our parking lots have become shaming fields. Our cars weapons. And driving an experience in dehumanisation. 

When did we ever get the idea that shame can drive the kind of change we all really want in our society? 

Shaming others never has produced change that is positive, because shame attacks our identity. 

When we confuse behaviour with identity we are on dangerous grounds. 

And this was the power of Jesus. He never lost sight of who we are despite our vulnerability and our behaviour. 

He knew to be human is to be vulnerable. He valued vulnerability not shamed it. 

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How to turn a nation?

June 19th, 2019

Sometimes to turn a nation we have to rebuild an altar to God. 

1 Kings 18 records a defining moment in the history of Israel. This moment was not just about a family, a community, a organisation being turned, but an entire nation!

What turned it? A person rebuilding of an altar to God. This was the great powwow between Elijah and the Prophets of Baal. 

Both built altars. Only one saw the presence of God fall on it.

Altars are places that house anything you consult with before acting. Anything you check in with to get your identity, your values, your direction, your power from.

It has always been about altars, because our entire physiology was wired for worship. In that space, we draw meaning of life and for life. We are meaning making machines.

Turning a nation, turning the narrative of what gives us meaning, is found at the altar of what we worship.

In fact, future generations are depending upon us to come face to face right now with what we worship. 

How can we create a space for worship to God? What does building an altar look like? Is it really that big a deal for my nation?

These are key questions that over the years I have wrestled with.

Many years ago, when I first started to create a space for God in my life, I would wrestle, toss, think about all kinds of things, get up, sit down, walk around. Wrestless. 

Had no idea of what I was waiting for or doing. All I knew was that I had been pulled. Pulled to a space, a time and to Him.

I had no idea what that meant or would mean now nearly 20 years on.

So I learned to ask. I learned to ask what he wanted, what he saw, what he was thinking about, what was on his heart. I began the learning of connection, of worship, of building an altar to him in presence of other altars.

And I’m still learning today

During one of these such times, he took me to Isa 40:31. “Those that wait upon the Lord, will renew their strength. They will raise on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

My eyes fell to the word, wait. What an uncool word for one who loves immediacy, action, adventure and decision making!

Wait!

I hate waiting. I hate waiting in Doctors waiting room. I hate waiting for the light to change on the road. Loathed it as a kid! Still mostly do.

But now, the word “wait” was beaming at me. 

“Wait on the Lord.” 

Hmm. Those words, but what on earth does that look like??

I flipped to the Hebrew Dictionary for this verse. “Wait” is the word qavah, And then my jaw dropped.

Means to “bind together by twisting.” Yep that’s exactly how it felt. Loads of twisting.. tossing.. moving around… 

And this began my journey of building a space, a worship to God. It was a tossing, turning, twisting thing. It was tangible. It was physical. His presence when it encountered me, caused a physical response of qavah!

We experience that all the time as we get build connection with friends and community. We sit in conversation and experience a twisting, turning, dancing as it where of subjects, nuances, themes. As words are exchanged, hearts are moving, twisting together

or not.

And this is the rhythm of relationship, of connecting, of building a space where I worship. 

And this is the turning. The turning of an individual heart, a family, a nation. It begins at the altar.

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How to respond to being shamed or mocked?

June 19th, 2019

Philip arrived ecstatically excited. Before he could talk about anything else, he burst out with the news of all news.

The news he had waited for his entire life. Infact the news his community and nation had waited for, for over 400 years.

He met his friend Nathanael with the sensational announcement, “We have found him… Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph!”  (John 1:45)

Nathanael met Philip’s uncontained excitement with, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

What a wet blanket moment. Ever had one of those moments? 

Super excited at an idea for your business, the results of a test, a life changing revelation just had as you encountered God, a brilliant discovery in the hardware shop to solve a problem you’d been working on for a week… 

and it’s met with indifference, rejection, or even argument.

We’ve all had them and dare I say, all responded like this too. They provoke all kinds of emotions in us from shame to defensiveness to curiosity.

What do we do when we are shamed or mocked about something we’re excited about, convinced of and believe in?

We live in a culture that has changed. It’s a culture that most social scientists would agree is now a shamed based culture. Meaning that the behaviours and belief that people are living and wrestling with are around shame.

Shame is anything that says we are less than, that we are not … enough in.” Shame is an emotion and experience that re identifies us. It rumbles with our identity.

Philip’s response gives us a key, a way home through such moments.

He replied, “Come and see.” (John 1:46) What!!! What kind of response is that? What about being right and putting Nathanael in his place?!!

Philip chose to not stumble over Nathanael’s response. He chose not to be offended or shame Nathanael. 

Instead Philip chose curiosity. 

Curiosity is powerful! It invites us away from what we think or believe may be going on, into a space to learn more. 

Curiosity is about connection and choosing connection over and above opinion. 

This is also the power of honor. Philip honored Nathanael’s position and journey. He could see the person above the behaviour. 

When Nathanael did encounter Jesus, Jesus continued his encounter with honour. He called out the gold in him, “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit.” (John 1:47) 

No shame can stand when honor comes.

Jesus saw the person, and spoke to Nathanael’s identity. It changed the game, changed the narrative and changed Nathanael’s destiny.

Next time try curiosity. Try honouring the person above the behaviour. Gosh it can be hard but we can do hard things! This is really Living Courage! 

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How to break out of discouraging, negative atmospheres

May 24th, 2019
Discouragement, negativity and slander has been around and very present in the atmosphere these past few weeks.

 

The devil has no problem slandering us and God! He loves to yank on lies like you are not important after all who do you think you are, what you are doing with God is not important.

Disrespect has always been a key signature of his ways.

Earlier this week I was getting annoyed with this stinky atmosphere. It is an atmosphere that does not reflect heaven’s.

So I sat down with Father God and asked him for the key to shut this up.

He immediately took me to Nehemiah.
“When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that there were no more breaks in it—even though I hadn’t yet installed the gates—Sanballat and Geshem sent this message: “Come and meet with us at Kephirim in the valley of Ono.” I knew they were scheming to hurt me so I sent messengers back with this: “I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?” Nehemiah? ?6:2-3? ?MSG??

When the enemy talks to us he definitely wants to draw us into the valley of O No!! O no valley is a negative, foreboding place.

Negativity shuts down heaven and God’s truth!

I love Nehemiah response! It was sassy and full of authority. “I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?”

His knew his authority and used it to stay in truth and hold value on God, himself and the work God has given to him to steward.

Discouragement, negativity and slander targets our authority. It will always ask us to come down. Come down in our thinking, our honor, our behaviours, our choices.

Remember your authority. God always asks us to come up, lift our eyes up, keep our eyes on Jesus.

We sit as CO-HEIRs with Jesus Christ whose name every knee will bow, who is the mighty glorious powerful son of the Most High God.

Our position is high, it’s next to Jesus!

Hebrews? ?10:35 says? “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.”

Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall to stop the enemies coming into Jerusalem. For too long they had torn Jerusalem apart.

Nehemiah was building a new normal! We are on the same mission!

Use your authority and reply to the Devil’s slander, discouragement, and negativity, “I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?”

God bless you with the sassy authorative anointing of Nehemiah! 

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The Courage Of Vulnerability – 4 Helpful And Powerful Ways

October 11th, 2018

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We have all been there. Someone says something or shares something and it surprises us. We didn’t quite expect that level of vulnerability. It’s especially surprising when it comes from a leader, a boss or someone we have pedestalled.

What happens next is what this moment in history is all about right now.

How do we respond to vulnerability? How do we respond when a work colleague, a spouse, a friend offer a level of vulnerability that catches us off guard?

Our response in such moments reveals our level of understanding about connection and relationship. These moments are not to shame us, but to grow our value for connection.

I believe that the greater conversation is not about the vulnerability that was offered by another but do we see an opportunity to own our capacity to cope with that vulnerability and love unconditionally, especially if we demand it from our leaders?

WHAT VULNERABILITY IS NOT..

You see what we believe around vulnerability shows up in such moments. Most often these experiences confronted us with the biggest myth out there, that vulnerability is weakness. 

We see the struggle in another.  Vulnerability might offer to us human imperfection and weakness in another.  We might see fault or failure in another.  And then what?

The ‘pattern’ of our world is this, expose and shame. Sadly a lot of parenting is this. Ironically research shows that parenting is a common shame experience we all share. When we are submerged in a culture of shame it is so easy to get on us. 

Never confuse shame for justice or accountability. Shame never drives positive behaviours or change. What it does drive is rage, blame and rationalisation.

The ironic thing is that when we shame others, it hurts us.  

If we live by the praise of men, we will die by their criticism.

Vulnerability is not about oversharing either.  Vulnerability is not outworking our offence, discomfort or rudeness on others. That is hurt speaking, attention seeking.

Vulnerability is safe because vulnerability has boundaries and is actually a way we can honor the relationship we have with another by showing them the genuineness of ourselves and journey.

A friend is someone who values what’s in the heart of another.  When we see people as friends and not objects or targets to shoot down because we are uncomfortable, we have an opportunity for connection.

Coddling people isn’t the answer either.  The most compassionate people are the most clear in who they are and what is ok and what is not ok in relationship with them. Compassion is not afraid of struggle. The cross of Jesus showed us this.

SO HOW DO WE RESPOND TO VULNERABILITY?

1.See it as a bid for connection. For connection to happen, vulnerability has to happen. Someone, including leaders, are choosing connection. They are reaching out.

2.Listen. Shakespeare said that ‘The rarest form of love is listening.’ Love doesn’t fix people. Love loves people. Love is sitting with people and not being afraid.  When I am afraid, I have infected love. I have chosen something that is inferior.   

This is the power of vulnerability, it gives our hearts a voice. It’s ok to say “I don’t know what to say right now, but I am glad to just be here with you.”

3.See vulnerability for what it is, courage. Research is conclusive on this. The most accurate measure of courage is vulnerability. The most courageous thing we can ever do, is own our vulnerability. Whether its in our personal or professional world, to own our vulnerability is the way actually to success. People are looking for real. Are we courageous enough to hold this value for vulnerability in our work culture, our eduction system, our homes?

Courage is contagious.

4.Encourage. Encouragement is a way we put courage into others. Every culture has ideas around encouragement. I have lived in cultures where encouragement is the norm and as a result I have seen people grow, shine and become the best versions of themselves and this is celebrated.

I have been in other cultures where to genuinely encourage someone has been called flattery and met with cynicism.  In other cultures the shame mindset is so thick that positive encouragement is totally rejected and ridiculed.

Yet encouragement is what feeds a starved soul ravaged by the harsh ‘i am not enough’ narrative we all encounter. This negativity is hard to flourish in. Dr Caroline Leaf a NeuroScientist says that negativity and unforgiveness literally causes brain damage! 

No wonder God has been all over his kids getting out of a negativity mindset! He doesn’t want us to suffer brain damage! He renews our minds because it is the ‘way, the truth, the life’. John 14:6

Encouragement speaks to the greatness in us and reminds us of who we are. This is healing and health! Encouragement gives us a way home to choose better options that are really us. 

Finally encouragement kills the number growing social disease of loneliness. It says you are not alone, I SEE YOU!

I remember a time when I was rumbling thru a tough tough moment, and over a period of a year, a spiritual Father who I highly respect, kept saying to me every time he saw me, “I see you.” There was love behind his words. These 3 words created a world that powerfully helped me through.

This is the power of vulnerability, it lets love into the places we need love. But we must be willing to risk being seen!

HOW TO ENCOURAGE?

It begins with the words “I appreciate..”  and continues with something specific. The power of encouragement comes in the specific. Being told you are amazing is great, but being told specifically what is great is even more powerful.

Write it in a sms, note, email, paint it, say it and watch their world and confidence light up!

We were made for encouragement because it is where courage comes from! This is the powerful thing about New Testament prophecy. 1 Corinthains 14:3 says “But when someone prophesies, he speaks to encourage people, to build them up and to bring them comfort.”

Wouldn’t this be amazing when courageously we leap out and practice vulnerability, we nourished with encouragement?

Hebrews 3:13 says “But encourage one another DAILY, as long as it is called ‘Today’, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s decietfulness.”  Encouragement is a skill. We need to practice it, DAILY.  Don’t give up! Keep practicing and be vulnerable, don’t be embarrassed to tell people you are practical encouragement! 

The power of encouragement is that I know someone is in my corner and together we can succeed. 

So next time someone offers vulnerability out of left field or you see it offered by a person in authority, watch what YOU do with it. Connection is its prize! Listening and encouragement are its opportunities for you! Above all, remember courage just showed up. So can yours!

 

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The Pain of Blame – What to do with it!

September 12th, 2018

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It had been a stressful evening. Late afternoon meetings, dinner, a phone call, kid shower and a bedtime session that went longer than I expected. I flopped down exhausted.

As I began to decompress from the compact ending to the day, out come a son who needed a bit more time with his parents to chat through some stuff on his mind. I reacted. I was done, done, done and ready to rest.

Communicating with that forced frustrated sigh, I spat back “Bedtime was 8:30, it is well past that, and this consistently happens because of my husband.” I ended my little outburst with that classic eye roll look that wives have such a unique way of perfecting.

Ouch! As soon as the words leapt out, I knew I had just been done in by blame! Oh my gosh we all know that emotion and go to behaviour. Connection was dead in the water. The shame storm kicked into its next level brewing!

Blame.

News, Internet, Social Media, Politics, Business dealings, School interactions, Church cultures are saturated in it and sadly it shows up in our very own homes! Who’s to blame? Who’s at fault?

It seems we have lost our capacity for discomfort, vulnerability, and a simple life reality that somethings just take time. When we loose our capacity to ‘sit in the mess’ as one spiritual mama used to say, and feel the process, we become powerless and played by it.

Blame is the mindset of powerlessness. Blame is when we target others with our pain. Blame has been defined as “a way to offload discomfort and pain”.

When blame is running the show, accountability goes out the window. It is adverse to it and so slowly but dramatically, decline moves in and settles into our once civilised and well defined cultures.

The great casualties are connection, creativity and a capacity for positive change. Entire civilisations and nations have been the victims of this little nasty piece of human emotion and behaviour. World wars have been started on it.

At the heart of blame is really a story of not enough. This was the lie that got Eve and then Adam. Is what God said, enough? Is what God is, enough? And so human connection with its Creator turned on a dime in one fateful moment.

Painfully and sadly I owned and addressed my story of blame and the not ‘enough’s’ that ran with it. All week I had been combatting the myth of vulnerability is weakness and now again another opportunity to bat that out of my ball park.

I sucked it up and vulnerability showed up with a wincing utterance of ownership, quick flush of a red face and a brave heart in the mouth apology.

To my relief, it was courageously met with grace and forgiveness. This is the power of these two architects of connection. They love to put blame in their sights and target it with their full weight.

Needless to say, our son got his much needed space to chat. My shame storm quickly fizzled away and I sunk into that awkward but necessary space of self forgiveness. My story of ‘not enough’ finally arrived tumbling onto the shores of His enough, Jesus the Champion.

 

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How to overcome the ticked off culture

August 23rd, 2018

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I was out riding the other morning. As I rode home, I rode past a group of three council men picking up an enormous amount of rubbish around a building site. The rubbish had blown into the park and down the road. 

With their long pick up sticks and plastic bags in hand, they were busy at work making a beautiful difference. As I rode up to them, I was so grateful for what they were doing but also felt for them in the job they were needing to do. 

So as I cycled past them, I caught their eyes and said thank you for what they were doing. The first guy whipped his head around with a cautious defending look on his face. The second looked up and seeing the smile on my face relaxed and smiled back.

It hit me again riding off, how much I appreciated their activity and how it nourishes us towards honor, dignity and respect.

But I was also intrigued at how we are becoming conditioned to public interaction being the default place of expecting angry, ticked off people. 

We are in one the most dramatic moments of human history, where the weightiness of our words has a far reaching impact like none other of previous generations. There is such a war on our words right now. 

Social manners, social discourse is up for grabs, but even more serious than quality of living with one another, is the serious attack on our identities.

In an interview earlier this year, Dr Brene Brown said that from her research, “Participants expressed a growing concern that the only thing that binds us together now is shared fear and disdain, not common humanity, shared trust, respect, or love. People report feeling more afraid to disagree or debate with friends, colleagues and family because of the lack of civility and tolerance.”

Psalm 57:4 quotes Brene in this way, “My soul is among lions: I lie among the sons of men who are set on fire, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.” 

Interestingly in Ephesians 6 one of the weapons we are given is the ‘sword of the Spirit’.  This sword was an 18” dagger in 61AD when Paul wrote this letter to the people of Ephesus. This dagger was specifically used not only for close combat but for the soldier to dig out arrows that had hit him.

Ever had a sudden pang out of no where felt in your body, especially your back? It can be word arrows hitting you.

And so the words of Proverbs 23:7 echo and play out in our everyday lives, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”

As sons and daughters of God, our words create worlds. Because we are made in the image of God, when we speak our words, something is created. We see this in Genesis. “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

Our entire existence, the world and galaxies around us were spoken into existence. This is the both the nature of God and our nature of whom we are made in.

This is the exciting power of prophecy. It is a spoken word from God, that just birthed something into the realm of men that did not previously exist.

Coupled with this reality, is the reality that our words also carry resurrection power. Romans 8:11 says “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

When we give the Holy Spirit permission in our lives, we are receiving the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. We have resurrection power flowing in our DNA that gives life to us. Our words will resurrect things.

Robin Williams said it well in ‘Dead Poets Society’, “No matter what anyone tells you, words and ideas can change the word.” 

Some of the most powerful words that are changing the world, are coming from  what I call a movement of honor. Pastor Bill Johnson defines honor as celebrating who a person is without stumbling over who they are not.

But honor is also about owning our stories, being willing to live alive to recognise the words which are building these stories and receiving their truth with compassion, not off loading our pain, discomfort and made up stories.

Honor is what big people do. Honor is what free people do. Honor says “we are better than this.” Honor is who we are, not the narratives that shame the ‘master emotion’ as Sociologists call it, speak.

There is a higher standard and invitation being asked of us in this moment of history with all the freedoms of speech and connection at our disposal. 

That standard is honor. This standard will stop the war on words and create a new default place, one marked by civility, gratitude, truth, love and above all connection.

The standard begins with us. It begins with us as parents teaching our children, and being this in our workplaces and sporting clubs.

We are honorable because it is who we are. We are honourable not because we base our honor on the actions and behaviours of others. Because we are honourable, we speak words knowing they create worlds.

And by the way, if the sharp pain felt was a word arrow. Pull it out by forgiving the speaker(s) and declare blessing over them in Jesus name.

 

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Living Free  –  Practicing Generosity so I Stay Who I Really Am

August 7th, 2018

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What do you do when suddenly you are ushered into the room of unexpected change? What do you do when change becomes messy and seems to evoke the ugly in people, including yourself?

What happens when you boldly set out a course and it attracts unwanted judgement and criticism?

What do you do with the cranky driver who waves their judgement at you or the out of sorts teenager who offers a mouthy assessment of your instructions?

These common and not so common moments land on all of us. We are in a season right now we where are being given a multitude of opportunities to practice something other than negativity and judgement. 

Judgement paints others with our values. Our values are what shows up when there is conflict, tension and change.

Generosity is something else we can reach for when these moments happen upon us.

Generosity says “At any given moment people really are trying to do the best they can with what they have. Our bests are all different!”

Generosity looks at the situation and the individual and says “What is the most generous interpretation of what another is saying, intending and doing?”

Practicing generosity allows us to operate from the place of compassion and grace. It is jail breaking out of judgement. Socrates stated, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Pain and discomfort will always make itself known. Is that for us to judge or it that for us to bring the courage of compassion and healthy boundaries to? 

Courage extends generosity to other people and extends generosity to ourselves. When change, out of sort teenagers and cranky drivers walk over our boundaries, compassion or judgement will show up.

I remember years ago reading in the Old Testament the description of the Temple, the place God chose on earth to dwell in.. His home. Amidst grand descriptions of gold censors, candle stands, altars, huge winged cherubim’s, was a item called the ‘Mercy Seat’. It seemed humble, easy to overlook in the eye distracting dazzle of everything else that made up the most important real estate on earth. 

Mercy. What God, the King of the Universe, sits on. The surprising centre piece of His house. This layout and choice of furniture in God’s house screamed the reflection of His heart, mercy triumphs in this house over judgement.

The minute someone’s behaviour or words hurt us or puts us down, the arm wrestle is on! It is hard to be generous! It is hard to slide into that space of saying “They are trying the best they can with what they have.”

It is much easier to reach for judgement. While we do not know that they are in fact trying the best they can with what they have, it is way more fun to assume that. And way more responsible of us.

The alternative to generosity leaves us in self judgement that says, “I don’t want to accept that this person is doing the best they can because it would make me look like a very unkind person the way I have been treating them.”

What will we own? Ourselves or be more distracted at what others are not doing.

The harder thing to do is practice generosity, but it is what courage does. Courage is not afraid of doing hard things because courage will not give itself away to the behaviours and opinions of others. Courage owns itself.

Generosity is what love Himself has always done. God practices perfect generosity!  “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

I love the definition of repentance as doing a u turn to return to higher thinking. In the word repent, we see ‘pent’.  Pent is attached to the word penthouse and this is a confined space on the roof or top floor of a building.

When we fall from thinking higher thoughts, generous thoughts, the Bible says our minds become “debased.” (Romans 1:29) Debased means to lower in status, esteem, quality and character. It is to reduce the intrinsic value of something or someone.

This is the scary thing about judgement. We decide what is valued and not, and sentence accordingly. When our judgements are around what is wrong with a person, organisation or situation rather than on what God has given them, we reduce them in our mind. Our thinking lowers the status, esteem, quality and character of another and  suffering and negativity results.

We end up not only punishing others but ourselves as well, and being unable to receive what God has given them.

The most courageous thing we can ever do is be generous in the face of tempting judgement. For too long Christianity has been defined by what we see as the problem and not who we see as the answer.

In effect we have worshipped sin and all that is wrong with others and the world, rather than the answer to it. We practiced experiencing not the presence of God but the presence of negativity, condemnation and shame.

When we lift Jesus up and our delight is in God, the answer, this will draw all men. (John 12:32) What are we drawing?

Practicing generosity is our way forward. It will break off judgemental thinking and set us free to show up and be, and remain who we really are.

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What stops us from living Courage?

July 24th, 2018

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I was encouraging a friend recently who has been blogging online. Their heart is to encourage and empower others. Their action came because God asked them to rise and shine. A good positive community upbuilding thing to do hey?

But barely into the venture, the social media critics came out blasting. Courage was looking wobbly.

We all know that feeling. It’s nauseating. Debilitating. Its enough for some to pack up and head home and let courage belong to others.

How do we fight thru that emotional nausea and stay the course? How do we do the critics and haters, rather than they do us?

One of the key features of the times we are living in is what I call a judgement culture. There seems to be a focus more on what is wrong with a person, organisation or situation as opposed to what God has given them.

Doug Addison a Christian Prophetic Leader shared recently that an “Angry Wind has been released on the earth because too many people were negative and judging rather than blessing and lifting up.”

Proverbs says “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat the fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” (Proverbs 18:21)

With the spoken word God created the world. (Genesis 1:3) John even introduced Jesus as the “Word” that become flesh and dwelt amongst us. (John 1:14) Just like the God we follow, we also are creators.

Our breathe, our words have created and now we are bearing the fruit of the substance of our words, a culture of Judgement.

Judgement is both an experience and an emotion. Judgement has been defined by Sociological research as “observation with values attached.” In other words, when others express their judgement, they are expressing what they observe of those around them thru the lens of their values. It is putting their values on the actions of others.

Interestingly this same research showed that we judge others in areas where we ourselves are most susceptible to shame. There is nothing like the vulnerability and courage of others, to shake out our shame narratives that we are not enough.

Judgement reveals as much about ourselves as it does those we are judging.

When judgement is in operation within a culture, connection will suffer. It is not just relational connection that suffers. It is connection with our destinies too. In fact judgement has to die for there to be connection.

So how do we be courageous continually in the face of painful and hurtful attacks of judgement? How do we not become what is surrounding us?

As I asked Papa God this, he said to me “Getting curious will shut down judgement and keep you out of it.

Curiosity is what cats do so well. Over and over again I see cats walk up to something that’s a bit different, that’s entered their ‘dominions’ and simply get curious. I notice they have no hesitation, shifting their position, moving around to check out all the angles, all the squeaks, all the movements of what just entered their worlds.

I have never yet experienced judgement from a cat. Conquest yes. Judgement no.

It is impossible to be curious without shifting our position. When I get curious rather than judgmental, I have left my values, what I think is right, or my ego at the door, and I have ventured into the new. This is the way of empathy. I have decided to move towards rather than move away from that which is different or unexpected.

And as I do that, I let go of my need to judge. Henri Nouwen puts it this way, “Once we are free from judging, we will be also free for mercy.” And this is the point. Cultures of Judgement are cultures devoid of mercy and where there is no mercy, there will be no courage. Mercy is a champion of courage!

Ironically as we get curious in the face of experiencing judgement, we are cultivating one of the key qualities that got us to the point of courage in the first place, curiosity.

So get curious, not judgemental. Get curious, not defensive.

Curiosity. Check it out. It will protect you from becoming what is around us and it will keep you in what you really want, courage.

Keep showing up anyway.

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The Power of Curiosity – Defeating Defensiveness

June 27th, 2018

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I was on a call yesterday with a leader and creative. He shared how he is encountering a lot of defensiveness as he works with people.

Part of the shift especially in the western world, is that now we live in cultures that are shame based.

When we are hit by experiences and emotion of shame it yells at us, “You are bad. You are not enough.” The differentiation between a behaviour/action and identity is blurred and lost.

Yet there is a world of difference between my choice being bad and me being bad!

Shame cultures are marked by fear, disconnection and blame. This leaves thin identities and self confidence in people.

One of the leading Social Scientists of our time says, “all too often our so-called strength comes from fear, not love; instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front shielding a weak spine. In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence.” (Dr Brene Brown)

Curiosity is our way home. Curiosity changes our heart. It shifts us to learner where we acknwledge don’t know it all. But that’s a journey! We must fight biology.

Biologically our brains are wired for story. Infact neuroscientists have discovered that our brains only need a few pieces of information and then our brains will make up story using just a few pieces of data.

Getting curious is leaving our stories at the door, and shifts us emotionally from judgement to curiosity. This makes us safe.

All too often we live choosing to be safe theologically/academically but not safe relationally.

Hebrews 3:13 says “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
??
Curiosity makes a way for encouragement, and specific encouragement to happen. Curiosity says your worthy of love, connection and me!

We’re going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations and be more curious than defensive.

The opportunity of this moment is exciting. It offers to us a skill that can change our worlds in an instant, encouragement.

One of the greatest leaders of our faith was a guy name Barnabas. His name meant “son of encouragement.”

Encouragement is what awaits us the other side of curiosity. Try it today and watch it shift your heart and the heart of others!

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The Courage to Show Up and Be Seen

June 20th, 2018

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I have been thinking lots lately about 1 John 4:18. “Love has no fear, because perfect love casts out all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”

When we are courageous we will face off with fear. Courage is not the absence of fear but the choose for something greater than it.

When courage is the choice, we impact the space and narratives of others around us.

How they respond reveals a lot about them, and us. Listen to the differenet voices about the USA President Trump right now. Whatever we think, he is choosing courage over comfort that’s for sure and it is impacting our spaces and narratives!

The thing about fear is that it shows what level of love we have experienced and what level of love we are in need of.

When I connect with fear to others showing up and letting themselves be seen, it is never pretty. Fear never reveals the best of us.

When we reach for punishment as a way of managing our fear or shame, it’s even less pretty. Slander, disconnection, threats, withholding kindness and civility.

The sad thing is that we hurt ourselves the most when we choose punishment as our response.

Sadly most of the cultures we live in daily are cultures of punishment not love nor courage. They are cultures and actions driven by self interest and as a result they become selfish, entitling and narcissistic.

And not safe.

Are we raising our children on a culture of courage or punishment?

Are we nurturing friendships, work or church environments in cultures of fear or courage?

Love is vulnerable. Love is not self seeking. Love covers not exposes. Love speaks truth civilly. Love hurts and it suffers. Love is kind, messy and celebrates the courage of those around them to show up and let themselves be seen.

This is love’s manners and it will always have courage around it.

Maya Angelou says “Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

So will we show up and let ourselves be seen? Will we pursue love or continue with punishing behaviours and fear, when others choose courage over comfort.

Love casts out fear. Fear casts out courage. Own your story. If fear is owning you, take you back.

Choose courage.

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Fear Growing Over Your Fence

June 13th, 2018

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Oh my gosh I just saw now as I looked out the window, the trees we planted a few months ago. They are now reaching higher than the fence we positioned them next to! I can’t believe it! It’s winter and shouldn’t they be slowing down their growing?

As parents we know that feeling with our children. Their continuous growth can be shocking and daunting at times! And notice how it always happens when we don’t expect it!

The suddenlies of growth!

Over the last few weeks there has been something more than just trees growing.

Fear has grown too. I have been seeing it everywhere. Peoples eyes, peoples words, peoples way of driving on the road, laced with fear.

I was at the check out yesterday, glanced down and there embolden in large black font were the words “Terrorist plot foiled!”

Fear! And it was reaching over the fence into my backyard. It wasn’t in the backyard of Ireland or Israel, this time it was in mine!

It is in all of ours.

And we are growing really tired of it.

Everywhere I am going as I train, consultant and speak, people are communicating that they are getting sick and tired of being bombarded with being told who they should be afraid of.

Kids are tired of being scared into not saying ‘hi’ to the neighbour who walks by as they play football in the park. In the work place, people are tired of being scared into performance reviews. On our roads, people are fed up with hate and anger as the prevailing go to emotions to deal with fear.

Fear.

My husband says its overrated!

Yep.

Is it really that powerful that it now seems to be ordering our lives, our values, our relationships???? But what do we do about it? How do we navigate fear?

Isn’t it a basic human need and right to feel safe physically and emotionally? So what are we doing as a society? Do we really understand what we are doing when we teach our kids and ourselves to not say hello??

A few years back I had the amazing privilege of studying under Dr Brene Brown. She is a Social Scientist and Professor at Houston University. From her research, she defined fear as the inability to manage vulnerability.

Because the nature of vulnerability is risk, uncertainty and emotional exposure, this naturally evokes feelings of fear in us. We all experience the fear that vulnerability pulls on in us and for some it pulls on terror.

But fear always comes with a story. And because terror is the more common word now used for fear, the story is more extreme, more life threatening, more debilitating.

Are we aware of the story we are hearing when we feel fear? Our brains are wired for story. NeuroScientists say that our brains only need 1-2 pieces of information in order to make up a story, then it will fill in the rest with emotion, if an individual doesn’t have the skill set to find out the information needed to get the true story.

God has a story too. The bible acknowledges and honours the vulnerability in moments of fear and speaks to that. The freedom offered to us in the Scriptures is that fear is faith in an inferior. It is the by product of a whole bunch of “me” in focus.

This is true. Fear is by its nature a self conscious affect, emotion. It is one of 4 emotions we experience as human beings that makes us intensely aware of ourselves.

Fear is a power emotion. It drives a enormous amount of energy physiologically in us. That energy has to go somewhere.

God says put that energy here. He shows up, draws us out of ourselves and says crazy things like, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you”, “Don’t be afraid, Trust in me”, “Don’t be afraid, for you have found favour with God.”

God loves vulnerability. He calls it faith. He calls it courage. He calls it pleasing! Me on the other hand, can call it crazy, insane!!

Time and time again he reaches out to us and offers us vulnerability, because in vulnerability is connection and that will sustain us in the fear! Here is the bottom line of what God is really on about, connection.

Fear kills connection.

What do I really believe about vulnerability? It is not oversharing, off loading or blaming. It is not weakness. In fact research has shown us that it is the most accurate measure of courage. It is a courageous, honest owning of ourselves before another.

What value do I give to vulnerability? That will determine how I manage fear.

It is vulnerable to grow. But we can’t stop our kids from growing, we can’t stop the trees from growing.. apparently even this winter!

Are we tired enough to give up being scared and reach for vulnerability? Are we sick enough of growing our children on fear and brave enough to say, “Hello!” instead of walking past saying nothing?

Have we had enough of hate and anger as go to emotions for dealing with fear, and ready to try something new like “o that quick turn in front of me frightened me” and  I will own my emotion and actions by taking my time to deep breathe and slow my heartbeat”?

What is going to reach higher than your fence today?

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Do Human not Hustle

May 29th, 2018

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Hustle. Yep there it was, just waiting as Monday began. Hustle was all over the roads driving on them as the sun rose over the late autumn hills. Hustle was there inviting itself into my parenting. Hustle was in the car park. Hustle was at the checkout in the Cafe. Hustle tried to catch a lift back with me to work.

Hustle. We all know it. We all experience it.

Hustle. The outworking of our fear and inadequacy onto others.

We live in cultures that really are having an emotional conversation. The conversation is around our value and dignity as human beings and this conversation has some significant drivers. Inadequacy and fear.

Are we enough… not only for our functions, but for the greater things that really change the world like love and belonging to something bigger than ourselves?

I have watched over the last 12 years fear change us. Change our families, change our communities, change our nations. Before my very eyes, I watched fear dramatically change the USA as we lived there.

Fear is accompanied with other words now. Infact they are more commonly spoken than the word fear. Words like hustle, anxiety… terror. I have seen for the first time in my lifetime not only acts of terrorism, but repeated acts of terrorism in my own city. It is no longer confined to London or Israel or Paris.

Dr Brene Brown defined terrorism as “time-released fear. It embeds fear so deeply in the heart of a community that makes fear become a way of life. This unconscious way of living then fuels so much anger and blame that people start to turn on one another.”1.

Participants in a recent research expressed a growing “concern that the only thing that binds us together now is shared fear and disdain, not common humanity, shared trust, respect, or love. People report feeling more afraid to disagree or debate with friends, colleagues and family because of the lack of civility and tolerance.”2.

Fear has become the dominate emotional driver of so many of our cultures and relationships, and by and large we don’t recognise that!

What we don’t lean into, we can’t move through. When we do this, we become defined by it and it owns us.

Fear intimidates our humanity and our divinity.

So in this atmosphere of heightened fear, we evidence society reaching for anger and hate as the go to emotions. When we reach for anger and hate as way to manage fear, we descend down a very dark path of the destruction of human dignity.

Hustle is a sojourner on this path. Hustle is slippery. Hustle is the clever demise of human worth. But when we refuse to hustle, we begin to disempower fear and inadequacy and we give ourselves permission to be human and others permission to be human.

To be human is to be vulnerable, and I believe that the invitation to us squarely and fairly in this hour is to do human better. Infact, if we don’t do human better, the force and unconsciousness of the fear in our nations will drive us only further into loss of dignity and freedom.

If we don’t value vulnerability, we won’t manage fear.

When we stop hustling, we stop fear and we let in love. Love casts out fear or fear bullies love (1 John 4:18). They are mortal enemies.

God did human. Full human. Philippians 2 says, “He existed in the form of God.. emptied Himself of the OUTER glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man..”

God loves human. He took His image and dignity and made human (Isaiah 60:1). God is not afraid of human, nor is He afraid of fear. He honours our humanity and vulnerability (Psalm 103:14). Love is fearless.

We encounter a sense of worth when we encounter His Presence and this sense of worth is a prerequisite for showing up and living courageously in our lives.

The opposite to love is not hate, it is fear. Fear hustles. Love is patient. Fear is a whole bunch of me in focus. Love is sitting with each other not afraid. Fear argues with our self worth. Love says “You are enough.” Fear demands tidy, perfect lives. Love is messy and vulnerable. Fear keeps us small. Love makes us big.

So let me leave you with this question. Do we really think fear is that powerful that we have to be afraid of it?

We can do human better.

  1. Brene Brown, Speech to the RSA, The Power of Vulnerability, June 2013
  2. Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness, 2017

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“It’s about me!” Turning a Season that is Turning

May 16th, 2018

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This week has had one repeated word. Joy. Everywhere I look, the word joy appears. I am being stalked by the word.

There is a shift in the atmosphere and season. We experienced it pretty quickly at the beginning of the week and along with it was in an invitation to an intense agreement with “it’s all about me”.

I noticed that if we shook hands with that invitation, intensity and hustle were the immediate welcoming committee.

A quick search in the top trending issues in business and society in Australia and USA right now, revealed the word ‘narcissism’. It listed twice in the top 5 current concerns in these spheres. Narcissism’s heart is “it’s all about me!”

Psalm 16:11 says “In His Presence is fullness of Joy”. What invitation do we want to shake hands with? When I invite joy, I invite Him. What does He bring? Fullness of Joy! Suddenly I am more conscious of Him, not myself.

The interesting thing about the emotion of joy is that it is one of the emotions that is additive. In other words it “adds” to us, it gives us energy, strength, hope. Anxiety, disappointment, negativity “take” from us. These emotions consume huge amounts of energy and focus from us.

Joy and anxiety can not coexist. We either choose one or the other. Joy displaces anxiety and actually cures it! Likewise joy and anger or joy and entitlement can’t coexist. When I choose one, I kick out the other.

A Jesuit priest once said, “It’s not joy that makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us joyful.” The pathway to joy is laid one stone of gratitude at a time.

Joy is cultivated by repeated choices to be grateful for what is. Joy doesn’t stumble over what isn’t.

Joy is cultivated by celebrating often little things, and as we celebrate them, we awaken in understanding, in sight, in joy.

So last night I sat down with my journal and wrote across the top, “I am grateful for..” The first thing that popped into my head was God’s provision. He arrested my focus!

As I wrote those words, I began to experience His presence. I saw Him drawing near to me and suddenly a bunch of energy and ideas tumbled out through my pen.

I began writing all the ways I had seen Him provide in this day. I was grateful for His provision of the rain, a warm home as winter makes it decent, the joy on my son’s face as he shared the finish of his first exam of 3 for this week, and on it went.

By the end of this flow of gratitude, I was in awe and worship of a Father God who provides. I was aware, it wasn’t all about me and the heavy yoke that this invitation brings! Me was settled in the focus of joy.

I was in partnership with God and what His goodness is bringing in this season. I celebrate and cultivate the joy of the substance of what He has done. I don’t shame Him or blame Him for what is not yet.

Joy is revelatory experience and this transforms us! This is a key for living and overcoming this current atmosphere and season. It is a very tangible way I can bring heaven and the God of heaven to earth!

His presence is attracted to our joy!

His will for me, for you on this earth as it is in heaven is joy!

How can you invite joy into today? Turn the key and you turn your atmosphere and season!



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You’re Enough is Not Up for Debate

May 8th, 2018

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Always with change, be it a little change or big, our identity gets another work over. The relentless message of “you’re not enough and there is not enough” pounds away at our current identity as we navigate the transition.

It is in facing honestly the conversation we have about ourselves that we find a new encouragement and a new opportunity for growth.

Jesus encouraged us that “The truth sets us free.” (John 8:32) Truth is not for the faint of heart, but truth is for the heart!

He adores our humanity. He is not afraid nor surprised at our narratives of not enough. And it is in that space, his love will upgrade and affirm who we are.

Our enough is not up for debate. Our worthiness is not something we negotiate. If we go through the world looking for proof we are not enough, we will find it!

The truth of who we are, our worthiness, our identity is not an eternally determined thing. It is a truth we have chosen to settle in our hearts. A truth from His affection and honor of us.

That is never up for debate! That is the gift change gives us. In whatever change faces you today, ask him, “who am I to you Papa God?” To receive that is to receive his affirmation for the new that is before you!
 

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Making Friends with Your Humanity

May 2nd, 2018

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“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion for him, and ran and embraced him.” LUKE 15:20 AMP

Wow what a response to disappointment and the humanity of another, especially when that other is familiar, known, family?

Here is a Father. He sees a long way off and connects with the vulnerability of his son. He rans towards. He embraces. He clothes and covers that vulnerability with the finest he has. 

This is so counter-cultural. Culture is so wired right now for rejecting our humanity and our imperfections, preferring to dose up on the myth of perfection and the juice of judgment.

Heaven’s culture is ridiculous and offensive, and will find our religious buttons. It runs towards and makes friends with our humanity and our vulnerability.

Heaven was so ridiculous in its honouring of our humanity, it got really carried away and made Jesus, the Darling of heaven, human. And then not only that, but human son to a virgin teenager betrothed to be married!

What do we do in this toxic shame culture with imperfection?

We are neuro-biologically hard wired to not hurt one another. Did you know that? It goes against our human nature literally. 

Violence, slander, gossip goes against who we are. We are made for connection, for forgiveness, for interdependence. We are made to need each other. Research shows that when we hurt another person, we actually hurt ourselves. 

One of the growing behaviours in the Western World right now is what researchers call ‘common enemy intimacy’. Common Enemy Intimacy is connection around who we should all hate. We relate to each other based on who we hate, rationalising that is where our pain and suffering is coming from.

Social behaviours get actioned out thru so many avenues, social media being a significant one of them, slowly eroding our humanity with words and images that dehumanise.

Meanwhile history is shouting to us showing us that these progressions are the basis of every genocide that has ever happen. 

“In USA right now we are slowly using dehumanising language with people with whom we disagree. No one has the high ground, from leaders to people it’s happening. When we use dehumanising language it says more about us that the people we are dehumanising & I think honestly it chips away at our soul. Dehumanisation is not a social justice tool, it is emotional off loading, it is self indulgent, it is a way to off load our anger, our fear, our rage.” Dr Brene Brown 2017

But this was not what the Father did. The Father did not choke at the vulnerability or imperfection seen in his son, though he had every ‘right’ to feel disappointed.

This Father did what our Father in Heaven does. He was safe. He was honor. He was completely intolerant of shame and it’s tools. The Father’s capacity to receive who and what his son had chosen, was on show here. For you see, our responses say more than perhaps the actions of others.

The Father was moved. He reckoned with emotion and responded with fearless compassion, reckless love and bullet proof honor. He knew he was not judge, he was Father. He mastered his self-righteousness and grief.

His strength was both in spirit and soul, and he ran TOWARDS vulnerability, towards humanity, towards imperfection.

And he still runs towards today. God is a good Father!

And us?

Father God, thank you you are good. You are safe, you are always honouring us and you never dehumanise us. You love our vulnerability. Teach us how to be like wise. Teach us how to be like you and not like that which is around us. In Jesus Name and for Jesus name.



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