stop being comfortable

Once I graduated from high school, I stepped outside of that Christian bubble that I had been sheltered by all of my life. I started meeting people at Uni and work who didn’t know God and I was often the only one who did.  It took me a while to understand that this difference facilitated a space for powerful opportunities to take place.

I have realised over the last few years that knowing Jesus and having a relationship with Him is important, but keeping it to yourself has very little impact. I have decided that this year, this is something that I want to change. I am a firm believer that neither your presence nor your absence within the church defines your relationship with God. Rather than solely focus on building and maintaining my current relationships, I want to actively and intentionally seek opportunities to create relationships with people that may not know God yet, so they too can find Jesus.

Personally, I find it easier to talk to strangers about my faith than to my close family or friends who do not share my beliefs. We tend to not only receive more judgement from those who we surround ourselves with on a regular basis, but we also value their opinions so much more. We have always been taught that ‘sharing is caring’, but how come we are so hesitant when it comes to sharing our faith?

I want to challenge myself this year to stop being satisfied with my current position; stop being comfortable. I want to challenge myself to reach beyond my comfort zone. It takes courage and a whole lot of faith, but if I can conquer that fear, then I am sure that amazing things can and will happen.

Keep smiling. x

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blink and it’s over.

You just have to turn on the news to realise how messed up and corrupted this world has become. This can’t be it. Why would we live to work, work to make money, make money to pay bills, pay bills to live comfortably and survive, then one day we never take another breath? There HAS to be something, someone, greater than all of this ‘temporary’ stuff.

I have always respected people who are open-minded and are willing to listen and be challenged – in general, but particularly in regards to religion. For me, my faith is my rock. The stability and strength that I find in believing in something greater than I could ever imagine provides solace when I am drowning in the waves that life is throwing.

“I would rather live my life as if there was a god and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is” – Albert Camus.

After a lot of back-and-forth contemplating and excuse-making, my boyfriend and I decided to meet at our local park and attempt to do some exercise. For me, ‘exercise’ isn’t even in my vocabulary, so needless to say, getting my lazy butt off the couch this afternoon to walk further than just to the fridge or my bed, proved difficult. Despite the heavy breathing that I experienced while developing a stitch after my first lap of the oval (I know what you’re thinking, tragic), one thing happened as we walked back to our cars an hour later that made those (poor-excuses for) push-ups completely worth it. I turned around and the sky was painted with strokes of bright colours. Sunsets are 100% my weakness and God wasn’t playing any games tonight!

Of course, I had to take a photo. By ‘a photo’, I mean multiple. And in typical Jess fashion, I drove home thinking that perhaps life is like one huge sunset; breathtakingly beautiful, but blink and it’s over. We are blessed in countless ways and the most obvious blessing is life itself. I think we too often take that special gift for granted. Make sure your sunset is worth watching.

Keep smiling. x

presence.

It has taken me a while to acknowledge the fact that it is actually Christmas again. Like what just happened? Did I not wake up from my food coma of Christmas 2014 and just skip all of this year or something? Please tell me I’m not the only one. 
Even with all of the Christmas carols, the candy canes, the tinsel, the corny Bon Bon jokes (which I really appreciate, mind you), the fake snow, the lights and the omnipresent Santa Clause that can magically be at every single shopping centre AT THE SAME TIME – childhood ruined; even with all of these things surrounding me, I just couldn’t convince myself that it was Christmas.
But this morning, in the spirit of Christmas Eve, my sister and I decided to sit down and finally watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas for the first time (cue eye rolling, gasping and an exaggerated chorus of ‘whaaaat!’), yesssss I know, first time, pathetic right? Needless to say, it was so worth the wait. And also, sidenote: how did parents show their children that movie? That big, hairy, green thing is pretty scary. However, amid all the wonderful puns, the hilarious innuendos and the cringe-worthy noses on those Who’s in Whoville, the underlying meaning is so, so much more.
Working at a supermarket, it is so clear how commercialised Christmas has become. It is all about those things I listed above – the commodities and the superficial things – you know, the things that don’t last; those things you like this year, but are “sooo 2015” when you are writing your new list the following year.
Presents are great, don’t get me wrong. It’s fun giving and receiving gifts, but we need to recognise and acknowledge the reason behind why we are celebrating. This world is a broken place; it’s not difficult to see that, because unfortunately it is everywhere we turn. Yet if we turn to Jesus, he sees through all of that. He came into our broken world in an attempt to create a beautiful mosaic of all our shattered pieces. That’s the best gift of all.
So this Christmas, I encourage you to remember the reason why we celebrate and for me, the Grinch has reminded me that rather than focusing on the presents under the tree this year, I am going to focus on being present in the lives of those I love instead. Spending this time with family is something so special and we often take it for granted. It is through connecting with the people closest to us that we have the potential to share the love of God with others. Trust me, you’ll find a lot more joy in relationships than you will in any materialistic thing. Presents. Presence. You choose.
Keep smiling. x