Thursday, 20 March 2014

My Face

Ok, so here's my twopenn'orth on the no-make-up-selfie debate.
Some people feel that it has nothing to do with cancer or cancer awareness and is therefore pointless. As far as that goes, I think it makes as much sense as the thing about the colour of your underwear a few years ago. And to be fair, it does at least seem to have got people talking about the subject of cancer. Many people are donating to cancer charities and posting useful cancer information as well.
Apparently, the thing actually started as a campaign for women to be sponsored to go out in public without make-up. It's certainly easier to see the sense of that - although, as I say, I can see that good things have come from the facebook trend as well.
So my general verdict is that it's something that is doing some good, both in raising awareness and in raising funds to help finally beat cancer.
* * * *
But you know what strikes me most about the actual phenomenon as it appears on Facebook?
We are seeing women's faces. Their actual, real faces. And I think that that in itself is a very positive thing.
Practically every single ad break on TV contains at least one advert telling women that they need to change something about their appearance - often several of the beastly things. The world has sold us the lie that we need to cover our faces with paint in order to be acceptable. It has stolen our self respect, and sold it back to us at the price of cosmetics. And hair products. And anti-wrinkle creams. And goodness knows what else!
But now, we are seeing women's faces. Real, human faces. And I love it. 
What troubles me is that in almost all the ones I've seen, the lady in question has felt it necessary to apologise for her face in some way. Or to add a derogatory description of herself in the picture - some kind of put-down against herself.
I can understand this - it has taken me 41 years to learn to love my own face. But now, finally, I do. I love my own face, because it IS my face. 
MY face. 
It doesn't have to conform to any of the bizarre and unrealistic expectations placed upon it by the world. It is MY FACE, and I have decided that I like it.
Ladies - you do NOT have to apologise for your face! It is NOT "hideous". It will NOT "break anybody's computer". It will NOT "traumatise" anybody.
It is YOUR FACE. A real, human face. It does not need to be covered up with paint in order to be acceptable. It does not need to look like anybody else's face, and it certainly doesn't need to look like the photoshopped pictures in magazines and on adverts!
It does not need anything added or taken away. It is YOUR FACE.
We are all on a journey about these things, and I hope anyone who reads this will understand that I respect wherever you may be on that journey. As I say, it's taken me 41 years to get this far! And I'm not all the way there yet.
But I do urge you all to think about this stuff - about why you felt the need to apologise for your face (if you did so). About why you feel that your own face, just as it is, is not something the world should see.
I would also urge you to turn the sound off and go make a cup of tea when the ad breaks come on.
And thank you - each and every one of you - for 
letting us see your real, human face!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Of Prisoners and the Flight of Birds

Photo credit:

I love to watch the sparrows outside my window. They hop around in the overgrown hedge at the front of the house, and in the overgrown elderberry tree at the back, pecking at the seeds and berries, chirruping and chattering to one another - soaring, squabbling, singing, living. Their song is rather like their flight path - graceful little swoops of joy.

I never really noticed the beauty of a sparrow's flight before last spring. You see, because of my health problems, it's now been about a year and a half since I managed to get outside the house; but being stuck indoors all the time has given me a greater appreciation for the small bits of the world that I can see - like the garden, and the bit of riverbank that's visible between the other houses. And I'm always grateful that one of my windows faces the sunset.

In some ways, these glimpses of freedom can be painful. I long to go out on that riverbank, like I used to. I long to be able actually to see how big the sky is! At times, my heart physically aches with these longings for things that seem so close - yet for me, they might as well be a world away.

But still, I can watch the sparrows. I can watch the sunsets. I can watch those little bits of the world that I can see - those little bits of life.

I suppose that Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest are similar things for me. Blogs, too. I can see what my friends are up to. The part of their lives that they choose to share provides another window on the world for me.

As I read about their adventures, big and small - their challenges and joys and problems and successes - it lets me see beyond my own, enclosed little life. And yes, I wish that I could do some of the things that they're doing. And sometimes there's an ache in that. But at the same time, it helps me to see beyond that ache - beyond the things that I currently cannot do.

It helps me to see beyond myself.

So thank you, everyone who shares on social media! Thank you, everyone who blogs! You may not realise that you make a difference to anyone, but you do. You may not think that your little flight is anything exceptional, but I promise you, there's a beauty in it that others can see.

Thank you all for sharing your lives. Thank you for letting me watch you live. :)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Butterfly Effects

For some time now, I've felt that God has been speaking to me through the metaphor of a butterfly. In fact, so far it's become three distinct metaphors. Allow me to explain.


I was first introduced to the idea when a very good friend said she felt that a song about a butterfly was meant for me. She even sent me a recording of the song. Here are the lyrics, which I believe to be the work of a lady called Laila Bevan:

Feels like I'm flying like a butterfly
Over the oceans and across the sky
Feels like I'm flying like a butterfly

No mountain is too high
No valley is too deep
My Jesus gave me wings
So I could fly

Now, I admit that to be begin with I didn't quite 'get' this. I mean, the image of an eagle soaring - that I can understand: an image of purpose and destiny. But a butterfly? It seemed to me that all butterflies do is muck about. They flit hither and yon, with no apparent navigational skills whatsoever, pausing from time to time to drink from a flower or two. 

And then I thought: maybe that's the point. Maybe I'm supposed to relax and enjoy the scenery. It's good to enjoy the journey, and from time to time, to stop on a flower and drink in the blessings.


The image was next brought to me through a prophecy. It was a prophecy given to me personally, during my time away last August. The person who gave it had no idea of my circumstances, and certainly no idea that God had spoken to me through butterflies in the past.

As this person was praying for me, he had a mental picture of a butterfly, which he said had beautiful iridescent wings. He said that I may feel sometimes that I'm a caterpillar, but that beauty is inside me - that I have within me the potential of a butterfly.

Now, a caterpillar's transformation into a butterfly is not an easy thing for the caterpillar. Inside its pupa, it gets melted down, and is then remade as the butterfly. And I certainly feel that I have been in state of meltdown recently, but I think I'm just starting to solidify again.

Then, the new butterfly has to fight its way out of the pupa. And no one can do that for the butterfly, because it needs that struggle to strengthen its wings. If it doesn't go through that struggle, it won't be able to fly afterwards.

Another good friend pointed out this last part to me when I told her about it. She even gave me a beautiful necklace: a butterfly with iridescent wings.


This third metaphor only came to me recently, while I was reading "Interesting Times" by Terry Pratchett. In his wonderful creation the Discworld, there exists a creature called the Quantum Weather Butterfly (or 'Papilio Tempestae'). Its most outstanding feature, he tells us, is its ability to create weather.

This is, of course, a joke on the famous 'butterfly effect' of Chaos Theory. The image is used to illustrate how tiny and apparently insignificant things can end up being significant after all, because they influence other things, which then influence more things, and so on. For example: a butterfly flapping its wings in Africa could theoretically cause a tornado in Texas, because it moved some air particles, which then moved some other air particles, which moved some more air particles... you get the idea. And who knows where it will all end?

The point is this: small actions can have a knock-on effect that leads to large consequences. Small actions matter. 

And I may be only a tiny butterfly, but when I flap my wings, I can begin to change things. When I reach out to people, when I try to help, when I spread hope - I'm moving some air around. And the people I helped can help others, who can help more people, and so on. Like the ripples when a stone is thrown into a pool, the circle of consequence grows far beyond the original event. It's about paying it forward. 

A small act of love has more power to change the world than we can possibly imagine.


Be a Butterfly of Fun! 
- Relax, enjoy the ride, drink in the blessings.

Be a Butterfly of Change! 
- Allow God to transform you, strengthen those iridescent wings and fly!

Be a Butterfly of Storms! 
- Flap those beautiful wings and spread currents of hope.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Make It Matter

This weekend, I went to a women's conference with a very good friend. It was a bit of a blur at the time, especially as I was rather unwell, but I think the dust is beginning to settle now, and as I read through my notes, I find a few things standing out to me.

One biggie is the theme of change - of God initiating a 'new thing', a new season in life. This fitted in with other stuff I believe God has been saying to me lately, much of which I've written about in this blog.

Then there was the concept of the difficult times and the pain bearing fruit and helping others. Again, this followed hard on the heels of what I believe God has already spoken to me, and served as an encouragement and a confirmation. One of the speakers even mentioned 'spiritual children' and helping those who would come after us: in other words, leaving a legacy that can go on helping people even after we're dead.

There were several mentions of recurring problems - of seeming to go round in circles, feeling we'll never reach the point of breakthrough that others around us reach. This may not sound very positive, but it spoke to me strongly. And the points they made in relation to it were very positive: 
  • That we need to work through things in order to become the person God created us to be and do the things He has for us to do; 
  • That God does have a plan that He's working out, even when we can't see what He's doing; 
  • That He is working on our behalf 'beneath the surface' of our lives to bring that plan about, even when we can't see any indication of change.

The main concrete thing that I've brought away from all this is a renewed sense of purpose about writing my self-help book. (I've mentioned this project a few times in this blog.) I feel encouraged that this really is something that God wants me to do, and that it really will help people in their individual lives - and thus contribute to building the Kingdom. Even if I can only do a small thing, God can use that thing to make a difference in the world. 

Thursday, 17 February 2011

And Can It Be?

When things are tough, it's easy to lose sight of the basics of our faith. What Jesus went through to make us His own is our grounding for everything else in life. It's because of this that we can settle in our hearts, once and for all, that God is good, and that His love will never let us go. 

'Tis mercy all! Immense and free! :')

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

40 Things I Have Come to Realise

This is doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment. You're supposed to put it in your notes and tag people you think might like to fill one out as well. Anyway, thought I'd share my life wisdom a bit farther abroad! :D
  1. I have come to realise that life is complicated, and often messy. REALLY messy.
  2. I have come to realise that God is bigger than my pain.
  3. I have come to realise that life has times and seasons.
  4. I have come to realise that Jesus is always with me, whatever season I am in.
  5. I have come to realise that Grace is bigger than we can really take in.
  6. I have come to realise that there is always more to learn, and you can learn something from everyone.
  7. I have come to realise that God has a Purpose for my life - and everyone else's! - and the joy of that Purpose is greater than anything else. :')
  8. I have come to realise that Pizza makes all things good. :)
  9. I have come to realise that tea offers a moment of transcendence. Tea is a gift from our Creator! :D
  10. I have come to realise that the darkness will pass. Always.
  11. I have come to realise that it's good to be an Aunty! :)
  12. I have come to realise that it's ok to be single. :) And I'm happy to stay that way for the foreseeable future. :)
  13. I have come to realise that heroes are... shall we say, rarer in real life than in fiction? :S
  14. I have come to realise that I have a pastoral and teaching gift.
  15. I have come to realise that you can do the work of a pastor without having a title - or a salary! :D
  16. I have come to realise that I have gained a certain amount of skill as a writer over the years.
  17. I have come to realise that I can actually ACHIEVE stuff!
  18. I have come to realise that my health will probably always be a problem to some extent.
  19. I have come to realise that I would very much like to live in Cornwall. :)
  20. I have come to realise that I'm the kind of person who needs to plan in order to get things done.
  21. I have come to realise that I like to wear my hair short. :)
  22. I have come to realise that I am a very odd person. And that works for me! :)
  23. I have come to realise that it is good to be yourself, and that I don't want to be anybody else. :)
  24. I have come to realise that there are very few places where I really feel that I belong.
  25. I have come to realise that hormones are a pain in the butt. >P
  26. I have come to realise that life is a journey.
  27. I have come to realise that Literature is wonderful thing. :)
  28. I have come to realise that I love writing. Seriously, love it.
  29. I have come to realise that music, trees and the ocean feed my soul.
  30. I have come to realise that Evony will eat your life if you let it! :D
  31. I have come to realise that sometimes life is not fair. It ought to be, but it is not.
  32. I have come to realise that not all Christians have well thought out ethics.
  33. I have come to realise that on most subjects, disagreement is absolutely fine. :)
  34. I have come to realise that I don't have to be good at everything.
  35. I have come to realise that I should not allow myself to be used.
  36. I have come to realise that gender equality is a Biblical concept.
  37. I have come to realise that healing takes time. And lots of it.
  38. I have come to realise that I should cut myself the same slack that I cut for others.
  39. I have come to realise that even with all the times of pain and darkness, it's still a beautiful world. :')
  40. I have come to realise that weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. It really does! :')

Monday, 24 January 2011


At the Keswick Convention 2009, I attended a seminar which gave me a new take on Psalm 23 - that the psalm shows the seasons of life, and that understanding what season you're in helps you to get the most out of life. I have found this line of thought very helpful, and it forms the basis for this blog post.

'He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters;
He restores my soul.' (vv. 2-3a)

If you're wondering what happened to verse one - bear with me, all will be revealed!

Anyway, these are the times when we get built up, healed and restored; the times of rest and refreshing. It's interesting that this is the season that comes first. This may be the same principle as that of Genesis 1, when God created humans on the last day of the week and then gave them a day off! We are to work from rest, rather than rest from work.

(Some people teach that this is the only season we should expect. In my last post, I explained why I don't agree with that view.)

It occurs to me that this 'season' equates quite well to summer - a time when everything is lush and green - a time of 'holiday'.

'He guides me in paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.' (v. 3b)

The seminar suggested that these are the seasons when we give out, in service and ministry. These are times of fruitfulness, breakthrough and fulfilment; the times when we are really moving in our giftings, and perhaps discovering new ones. Notice that the shepherd is still with us, guiding us into the paths He wants us to take.

This season, then, would be autumn - a time labour and of fruitfulness. This is a time when we can truly bring glory to God.

'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.' v. 4

These are the dark times, when it's hard to see ahead. These are the times when we have more questions than answers, and it can be difficult to see what God is doing; the times when we may feel that God is distant, or has forgotten about us altogether - perhaps even that He is punishing us in some way. (He is not, incidentally! There are times when He needs to discipline us, but punishment is a different thing, altogether.)

Obviously, this is the worst season to be in, and no one looks forward to it. The fact that God allows such seasons means that they are necessary, and in my last post, I talked about some of the things that He may be accomplishing through these times.

And again, I have to say that the key to surviving these seasons is that He is with us! We may feel that He is distant, but He is not; He is closer than ever, feeling every second of our pain with us, suffering with us. The care of the Shepherd - His 'rod and staff' - are still there for us, right in the middle of the dark valley. That is why we do not need to fear, even at the worst of times. 

As I understand it, the 'staff' would be the shepherd's crook, to guide the sheep; but the 'rod' is the shepherd's weapon, to protect the sheep. He will guide us, even when we cannot see in the darkness; and even when things are at their darkest, He is warding off worse things from coming near us.

Clearly, this one is winter - it's dark, cold and apparently barren - but the trees are not really dead, they are simply dormant; and when the leaves are stripped away by the storms, you see where their true strength lies.

'You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.' (v. 5)

The seminar didn't cover this, but it seems to me that the psalm shows a fourth season: a time of vindication and honour. There are still enemies present (unlike in the 'rest' season, where none are in sight) - but they can't touch you in this season. It seems to be a time of blessing, abundance and protection. 

I think these are the times when God shows others that you truly are His servant, and under His care. If the other seasons occur in this life, I think it's fair to expect a few of these seasons as well.

This must be spring - not quite the full rest and plenty of summer, but the promise of new beginnings and blessing to come after the ordeal of winter. 

'The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want' (v. 1)

'Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.' (v. 6)

It seems to me that verses 1 and 6 bookend the psalm with the sense of God as our provider. The Shepherd is always with us, throughout all the seasons - leading us into peaceful places and causing us to rest; guiding us into fruitfulness; protecting, guiding and comforting us in darkness; protecting, providing and honouring after the darkness passes. The recurring themes are His guidance, provision and protection.

Last year was truly a 'valley of death' season for me. There were times when I wanted to die just so that the pain would stop. In the words of the Apostle Paul, I was 'under great pressure, far beyond my ability to endure, so that I despaired of life itself' (2 Cor. 1:8). (Incidentally, this blog is the only place I have publicly acknowledged a part of how bad things were - only my closest friends and family know the full truth.) There were times when I couldn't see how I was going to get through, but God never failed to guide me into the next step forward, even when it was too dark in my life to see where that step would land me.

And now, the darkness is passing - far more quickly than I had dared to hope it might! I seem to be moving into the next season. I am very, very grateful to be in a time of protection, though my 'enemy' is still lurking on the borders, and as yet, public vindication has not come - but that lies in the hands of my Shepherd.

I am grateful that times of blessing and fruitfulness lie ahead - but at the same time, I am aware that other seasons of darkness will come. They are necessary. And to be honest, that scares me quite a lot. But my Shepherd got me through this dark valley - even through the times when I didn't believe that there was a way through! - and I know that He will guide and protect me through any other valleys that lie before me.

Whatever season you may be in, gentle reader, I hope and pray that you will know and feel the comfort, guidance and protection of your Shepherd, who never, ever leaves you.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For...

When we say that we want to know Jesus better, or that we want to be more like Him, I wonder if we really understand what we're saying.

People who rely heavily on Proverbs and the like tend to say that if you live a life of obedience, you will be blessed. And that is part of the truth - God does bless us, wonderfully. But it is not the whole truth, and to believe that it is, you will need to rip out large swathes of your Bible. Job is one book that springs to mind, and some of the Psalms, and parts of Ecclesiastes - not to mention a lot of the prophet books! The prophets were faithful to God when no one else was, yet often suffered horrendously.

And then, there's the New Testament. Look at the lives - and deaths! - of the Apostles. Did that happen because they were unfaithful to God? Of course not! Quite the reverse, in fact. The New Testament teaches that suffering can happen as a direct result of righteousness.

Jesus warned the Apostle Paul that he would suffer for the His name (Acts 9:16) - and boy, did he! (2 Cor. 4:8-12). Jesus warned His disciples that they would have tribulation/persecution in the world (John 16:1-4, 33). Paul warned that everyone who wants to live a godly life should expect persecution (2 Tim. 10-12).

In fact, the New Testament is littered with references to suffering for righteousness. I won't attempt an exhaustive list, but here are a few: Rom. 8:35-39; 2 Cor. 1:3-11; 2 Cor. 11:23-29; Phil. 3:7-16; 1 Thess. 1:6-2:8; 2 Thess 1: 5-7; 2 Tim. 2:3-15; Heb. 10:32-36; Heb. 11:35b-38; James 5:10-11; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 1 Pet. 2:20-25; 1 Pet. 3:14, 17-19; 1 Pet. 4:12-14... enough to be going on with?

Why does God allow this to happen to us? I don't want to be glib about this; I know that the things I personally have suffered are nothing compared to what other people suffer, even amongst people I know. But I want to share some of the stuff that has helped me, in the hope that other people may perhaps find it helpful, too.

Last year, things got so bad at one point that I actually did wonder if God was a sadist; and when I was in that place of uncertainty, life did not seem worth living.

What clinched it for me, and brought me back to a place of hope - or at least of hoping that hope would come - was the Cross. What Jesus went through for me and you - not just physically, but carrying the weight of guilt for all human wrong doing - I can't even imagine the suffering involved in that. You don't go through all that for someone just so that you can torment them. You just don't. Where would be the sense?

So if the answer is not that God wants us to suffer, there must be another explanation.

One of the most helpful things for me was the idea that my suffering could help others. This idea is mentioned in a number of the passages above, perhaps most notably 2 Cor. 1:4. So if I suffer, and I then help, say, 10, 20, 30 people in similar situations - if my suffering bears fruit, so that others suffer less - then that makes what I went through worthwhile. It has to.

Another idea that helped me a lot was that of entering into the sufferings of Christ. This is also mentioned in several of the references already given. That famous passage in Philippians 3 about 'counting everything as loss for the sake of Christ' and 'pressing on towards the goal' - it all hinges, I believe on verse 10: "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings by becoming like Him in His death..." (emphasis mine).

Do you see that there is a connection between the suffering and the becoming like Him? And there's a connection between the becoming like Him and the knowing - how are we to know the power of His resurrection unless we first experience being like Him in His death?

Which is where we came in. That's what I mean when I say that we pray to know Jesus better and to be more like Him, perhaps without understanding quite what we are asking.

Being Prepared
The early Church was taught to expect these things. We, very often, are not. We are told that if we do right, everything will be lovely and nothing bad will happen to us. And we pray to know Jesus better and to be more like Him - and then, when He does what we asked, our world turns upside down and we become confused, because we were not taught what to expect! 

Is it any wonder that new Christians fall away? We have not been fair to them or done right by them. We have converted them, but we have not taught them what it means to be a disciple. Being a disciple means being prepared to follow your Master wherever He goes, and to be treated as He was (John 15:18-20). It means entering into His life, and being prepared to enter into His death (Mark 8:34-37). Jesus laid that down, right at the very founding of the Christian faith.

Well, firstly, this life is not all there is
That is not always the most comforting thought when you're right in the middle of something very painful, because heaven and the 'Age to Come' seem a long way away, and you have to live through this now. And I don't mean to belittle anyone's suffering even a tiny bit - not for a second; but the fact is that there is a lot more of eternity than there is of this life! And when we get there, we will know that it was worth it. We may not understand it all now, but one day we will. And then the pain will stop forever, and all tears will be wiped away.

Secondly, there are times and seasons.
I wanted to say more about this, but I've already gone on longer than I meant to, so I'll do that as a separate post tomorrow. For now, suffice to say that even in this life, it's not all suffering! There are good times, too. I know some people who are due some good times, and I'm praying that those seasons will open up for them.

Thirdly, and by no means least - knowing Jesus is the best thing in the world.
I am absolutely convinced of this. Even now in this life, with all the sufferings and pain, there is nothing that compares with knowing Jesus. There is comfort, peace and joy in knowing Him that cannot be had any other way. And those things are available to us, even at the worst of the bad times. I'm not saying that they're always easy to tap into, and I know I haven't always managed it - so please believe me that I don't mean look down on anyone who isn't in that place right now. But the great hope we have is knowing that they are there and available to us. And He will help us to find them if we let Him.

Finally, we are never alone.
Whatever we are going through, Jesus never, ever asks us to do it alone. I posted a little while ago about Jesus enduring our suffering with us (see post: 'God WITH Us'). That's the flip-side of us entering His sufferings - He also enters into ours. He lives through it all with us. First He suffered for us, to make us His own; now He suffers with us, because we are His own. That is why nothing can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:35-39) - because He chooses to go through it all with us!

All of this is why I love my Jesus! There is no one in the universe like Him. There is no love in the universe like His love. And I could not do without Him.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Sun is Shining

Well folks, the New Year is going pretty well for me! Hope it is for you, too. :)

To be begin with, I don't believe it would be true to say that I am depressed any longer. I'm aware that I'm still convalescing from that, so to speak, and I know that I'm still a little emotionally fragile. But the time of constant pain and inner turmoil is firmly in the past now. I aim to keep it there.

As for the business that triggered it - I know that I am not fully over that yet, simply because it still comes to mind quite frequently when my thoughts are not otherwise engaged; but I have made a good deal of progress with that, too. I suppose I'm 'convalescing' from that as well! But again, the time of constant pain and turmoil is in the past. I still have twinges, but the wound is healing cleanly.

Looking back, I'm amazed to see how far God has brought me in such a short time. I know that it's Him who has sustained me through this; I've felt His comfort and peace time and time again, and He has given me a strength far beyond my own. His grace and faithfulness are staggering. After 2000 years, He's still in the business of binding up broken hearts.

I think the New Year has been a helpful mental watershed. Not that there's anything mystic about the date or anything, but it makes it easier to put all that baggage in a box marked 'yesterday', to step away from it into a new 'today', and to look towards 'tomorrow' with hope.

In my 'today', I'm happy with how my novel is coming together. It's so good to feel that I am finally achieving something! I have made a plan for the work, and if I stick to it, the book should be finished by the end of the year. I'm feeling very positive and enthusiastic about it all. :)

And in my 'tomorrow' - I have tickets to see David Tennant in 'Much Ado About Nothing'! Words cannot express how chuffed I am about this, especially as it looks like I'll be able to combine it with my annual visit with my best friend and we can go and see it together.

So yes, the sun is shining for me again! The sorrow lasted through the night, but the joy came with the morning. :)

P.S. - I really have no clue what the foreign (Portuguese?) words at the end of the video mean, so I hope it's something sound! :D

Tuesday, 4 January 2011


A little while ago, a friend and I had a discussion on Facebook about heroes. She said that women want heroes, and I immediately envisioned a scenario in which all I got to do was twiddle my thumbs in a tower somewhere until rescued. This is not my idea of a good time.

But recently I have been looking into and thinking about the role of heroes in fiction, and I have reached a conclusion: if I am ever to marry - yes, I do want a hero.

In fiction, a hero is someone who may well have faults, issues and short comings - even 'inner demons' - but who addresses these issues over the course of the story. They face the fact that they have these problems, gradually get a handle on them, and then use this new strength to deal with whatever problem they are faced with. This is what makes them a hero. It's called 'character arc'.

In real life, we fall in love with someone, and then we find that he has faults, issues, short comings - perhaps even 'inner demons'. And we wait for him to begin to address these problems. If he does this - though of course it won't be as neat and perfect as in a story - he not only retains our respect, but gains more of our respect than he had before. He becomes a hero in our eyes.

In the past, I seem to have often (though not always) fallen for guys who had no apparent wish to become heroes. I shall be on my guard for this in future. That's one of the things that has clarified for me through this line of thought.

But more important even than that - it has strengthened my resolve to be the hero of my own story.

Let's face it - for Christians, this 'character arc' stuff is where we live; or should be. There will always be things in our lives that need to be dealt with. It is the Holy Spirit who changes us; who causes fruit to grow in our lives (Gal. 5:22-26). But we have to co-operate with Him. We need to address the issues, and be willing to change. We must make the decision to 'crucify' the sinful nature, and to go with the new nature instead.

We should expect this of ourselves. We should also (single people, I mean!) expect it of anyone to whom we feel romantically drawn. We should not expect perfection, either of them or of ourselves; but we should expect a willingness to be made more like Jesus. Of both.

In conclusion, then - gentlemen: Please man up! Be willing to become a hero.

And ladies: Let's woman up! We can be heroes, too. :)

The video below is mostly included just for a laugh (and for the presence of David Tennant!) but I guess the lyrics, if taken figuratively, are broadly true. :)