Grace Is For Other People

By July 16, 2011 Blog

One of the worst things about sin and suffering are how they isolate you. Your struggles are bad enough, but the real killer isn’t the issue itself, it’s trying to cover it up. You feel ashamed or weird and so you back off from other people.  Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, you feel like you’ve got something to hide.  You act like you’re revolting and then you start to believe  it. You become a self-fulfilling shame prophecy. Like …Read More

Meltdown Aversion

By July 14, 2011 Blog

So you’ve had one of those catsickonthekitchenfloor/toddler meltdown/bumped into the ex wearing curry-stained trackies/missed deadline/I’m a piece of crap days.  You’re trying not to cry. Whatever your fix, what’s going to stop you self-harming and turning to destructive patterns of behaviour? Number One.  A prayer flare.  Like literally, ‘help Lord’. Number Two, A phone call to a friend. Talk about how you’re feeling. Number Three. A cup of tea. Preferably with sugar. Number Four: some self-talk. Here’s some starters; Am …Read More

On Reading

By July 13, 2011 Blog

I love books.  Always have.  I love the way they smell, they way they look (this is sounding like a dodgy country song), the way they transport you into someone else’s world and brain.  I’m scared of flying.  But with paperbacks, there’s no need! Instead I can experience a completely different culture, from the comfort of my front room. Books are also markers.  Some people measure out life in songs or meals or jobs.  But for me, life began with …Read More

I’m a Driver, I’m a Winner

By July 12, 2011 Blog

It’s not just women who struggle with perfectionism – and mental illness.  (Yes, I’m putting ’em in the same category). I was reminded of this whilst reading about Marcus Trescothick, the highest scoring batsman in county cricket.  Despite his talent, he’ll never play for England again.  A few years ago, whilst waiting to board a plane for India, he found himself in an airport branch of Dixons, rocking backwards and forwards and overcome by a paralysing anxiety. Here’s how he …Read More

I Vant To Be Alone..

By July 11, 2011 Blog

Been reading an interesting article by Emily White on the topic of loneliness.  White has just written a book entitled ‘Lonely: Learning to Live With Solitude’.  In it, she argues that talking about and admitting to loneliness, is one of our great remaining taboos. Instead we avoid the topic, lie about being busy or try to fill our time with tasks and noise to disguise what’s underneath. She writes; I saw myself as alone in my aloneness.  I figured that, …Read More

Beyond The Scales

By July 9, 2011 Blog

Eating disorders are about  more than just weight. They’re  about control, perfectionism, boundaries, families and emotions.  They  represent a way of thinking and relating, both to yourself and to others. Recovery therefore, isn’t just a matter of BMI. It means challenging long-held beliefs – e.g; that life can be seen in terms of black and white. That emotions are bad and sharing them makes you a ‘burden’.  That control means safety. Anorexics for example, are often far more focused on making …Read More

Father Hunger

By July 8, 2011 Blog, identity

I’ve been listening to a fascinating talk by Tim Keller on Genesis 27.  This deals with the story of Esau and Jacob.  Esau is the older son and as such is the rightful inheritor of his father’s blessing. But Jacob, his brother, deceives his father into blessing him instead. Keller argues that all of us are shaped by the same desire for blessing.  We are hungry for someone who knows us, to look into our lives and speak words of …Read More

Poisonous Gospel

By July 7, 2011 Blog

Spurgeon once said that ‘most Christians have just enough Christianity to make them miserable’.  They get all of the rules but none of the grace. And a  gospel without grace is worse than no gospel at all. The Christian, condemned by sin and guilt, is a million times unhappier than the unbeliever who is untroubled by either. Sure, in our heads we know this.  But in practice, how often do we preach that salvation is by grace, but sanctification is our …Read More

Market Value

By July 6, 2011 Blog

I’ve just come back from a youth conference where I gave a seminar on “Self-Esteem.”  The venue?  A Cattle Market.  No, not kidding.  The conference was held in a big showground in Belfast and this was one of the seminar venues: A genuine cattle market, saw-dust on the floor, massive scales to weigh the live-stock and big stadium-seating where all the farmers sit and shout their bids.  But on this occasion it was teenagers who sat in judgement.  And there …Read More

Can’t Stop – Can’t Cope (Addiction seminar)

By July 4, 2011 Blog

An Addiction Seminar for Teens Powerpoint Slides Here What does an addict look like? A drug addled rock star?  A pill-popping housewife?  A heroin-chic model? Look in the mirror!  Anything can be an addictive substance and everyone has an addictive personality. . What makes it something we should worry about? In 1 Corinthians Paul talks about the incredible freedom we have as believers.  Three times he says: “Everything is permissible.” “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything …Read More