After my posts and thinking about discipline last week, on Sunday I decided to order Habits of Grace by David Mathis. It arrived yesterday and the study guide that goes with it is set to arrive either tomorrow or Friday.
It’s a book that’s been on my radar for a while both for it’s subject matter, and if I’m being honest, it’s design. I’ve resisted buying it in the past because I’m aware I already have a large pile of books to I’ve yet to read, but having spent some time in prayer, reading, and thinking around this subject I decided it was time to get my finger out and order it.
I’m looking forward to diving in over the next month, all to often it’s easy to start grinding things like discipline in terms of hobbies and passions. As a Christian grounding the desire for discipline and self control in God and my faith is of far greater importance. Doing that is far easier to say than it is to do, and so I’m hoping that this book, along with building momentum by writing here on my blog will help that muscle of discipline grow into more areas of my life.
There’s been a lot of talk on the internet circles I follow about focus and deep work. They’re thought provoking and often resonate with me, but there’s one thing I’ve been struggling to reconcile in it all. The focus of all these discussions is usually aimed at putting your individual desires first, which doesn’t really jive with my Christian beliefs.
Chris Bowler, in his excellently considered article Deep Prayer > Deep Work, seems to demonstrate I’m not alone. In doing so he seems to capture exactly how this kind of thinking should be influencing my approach to my faith.
But over and over, I come back to the fact that while Newport’s concept of increasing our ability to focus is crucial to a successful career, it’s even more crucial to a successful Christian life. One that is lived attuned to the Spirit. One that is carefully watching to see where God is working, then ready and willing to join him in it.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Chris Bowler speaks some wise words in a subject I’ve been wrestling with for some time. Productivity and focus are a hot topic and something which I enjoy thinking about, but I’ve always questioned how these things should work in relation to my Christian faith.
Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.
10 Resolutions for Mental Health by John Piper
I never thought this would happen, but God has his plans. My second ever sermon and the first in my church is now online.
There are some posts you dream about writing, posts you’d love to write but never think you actually will. This is one of those posts.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about change. Changing the way I approached something has lead to exciting guidance and a big change in my career.
It started with a conversation with two very good friends of mine. One asked how work was, then followed it up with a query about what I really wanted to do. The other laughed, asked me a question, set me a challenge and then held me to it. That question lead me to writing the last post about a change of approach, a change which, thanks to Gods guidance is leading to a leap of faith.
What’s the leap?
On Friday 3rd August I worked my last day in full time employment and spent my last day living in sunny (!?) Slough. The following day I moved to Cheltenham, again. A place I attended university and a place that I love being in.
With that move came a change of employment. I am no longer a rat running a race, but instead a man working as a business owner. I’ve finally taken the leap into self employment. Relying on the Lord to supply me with enough work to put food in my stomach and to pay the bills.
For a long time it’s been my ambition to work for myself, even while I was studying at Uni I knew ultimately I wanted to have my own design studio. It nearly happened straight after Uni after a little encouragement from my tutor, but I knew it wasn’t really the right time. There was a lot I still had to learn, well let’s face it there still is. I’ve now been in full time employment for 5 years. I’ve grown a lot, I’ve changed a lot and I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve experienced working for a small company and I’ve experienced working for a larger company. Both were good experiences that taught me many different things, but underneath there was always this desire to have my own company bubbling away.
I’m delighted to say that has now happened. I’ve had a little holiday, moved to a new (old) place and am at the end of my first week of self employment. It’s exciting, a little daunting but feels like the best decision I’ve made. Except that I didn’t make it, God showed me the door and I pushed it. Now I’ve got to continue pushing doors, keep faithful to Him, and work as hard as I can.
In the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to introduce you to a new name and a new website. Of course this place will still exist and I hope to increase the level of writing, and hopefully build on some friendships that I’ve established through my blog over the years. It’s an exciting adventure, I hope you’ll join me on it!
For the last few years I’ve been praying about something. I’m sure many of you have as well, but this particular thing has occupied my prayers for several years. I’ve been praying about it in the same way for pretty much the entire time, asking for guidance and direction in relation to the thing. During that time the urge to do that thing has grown. One could say its developed into something close to a permanent longing, something that left me unsettled because I’m not doing it and I’ve never really known why.
A recent conversation with a very good friend left me feeling challenged. He asked me a question and laughed at my response because it’s been the same response I’ve given him for the last few years.
My response of course was to question why he was laughing at me, I guess feeling like he wasn’t taking me serious. His response was one which caught me off guard. Instead of answering why he was laughing, he simply asked me how I had been praying about this thing. I told him and after a moments pause he responded with a challenge. Why don’t you pray about it in a different way?
He commented how that as I have been praying for guidance this thing had grown in to a passion and longing, that is to say something more than momentary desire, then maybe I’d had that guidance and it was time to challenge it.
So for the last month I’ve been praying more earnestly and in a different manner. Instead of requesting guidance about the thing, I’ve been praying: Lord, I think you want me to do this, please show me if I’m wrong.
The results have been breath taking, surprising and exciting all at once. A change of events has begun that, I believe, God is using to lead me into doing this thing I’ve been praying about for the last few years. I’m a little apprehensive, but the over riding feeling is one of excitement. This post is not an announcement, yet, but maybe more of a watch this space…
And keep in mind that having a daily “quiet time” or “devotions,” without communing with Jesus, won’t keep your soul alive. Mere reading and studying won’t do it. By itself, new information about God—glorious as it is—won’t keep our hearts soft and our souls breathing. We need the person of Jesus himself whom we find in and through the Scriptures. Our souls long for a living connection with the living God-man. We were made for this.
David Mathis in Study the Word for More Than Words.