I came across a story yesterday that has resonated loudly in the silence of my heart and I don’t know how I missed it! I discovered it on searching through Child Prodigy Akiane Kramarik’s paintings. For a long time now I’ve not been able to articulate the thousand musings of different topics that have constantly raged through my thoughts; and have dominated my moods of expression on paper for fear of being judged by those very feelings and thoughts, and the people that read them. Thia is why this story means so much. In fact, reading this story on one of Akiane’s paintings stunned me and vibrated a deep truth yet simple illustrated in the best way I know how in the form of storytelling which has started to open me up again and prepare my tongue as ‘a pen of a ready writer’. Storytelling is a most beloved childhood favourite. Therefore, I thought it only best to share this story with you. I just couldn’t keep it to myself and let facebook have it alone!
Let it bless you as it has me! Oh and a…Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!
Akiane Kramarik shares the story as follows…:
“Once upon a time, in an island there lived six feelings and emotions: Happiness, Knowledge, Love, Sadness, Richness and Vanity. One day they discovered that the island began sinking! So all of them built boats and canoes and left, one by one. Except for Love. Love wanted to delay abandoning her beloved island as long as possible.
When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.
Richness was passing by Love in a boat. Love asked, “Richness, can you take me with you?”
Richness answered, “Sorry, Love, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat, so there is no place here for you. With both of us in here we will sink for sure.”
Love next asked Vanity who was also sailing by, but Vanity offered the same answer. “I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.
Sadness was close by, so Love asked, “Sadness, take me along with you.” “Oh . . . Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”, sadness said in a gloomy voice.
Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so preoccupied with her happiness that she did not even hear when Love called her.
Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come, Love, I will take you.”
It was an elder with a tattered head scarf. An overjoyed Love jumped into the boat. When they arrived at a dry land, the elder went her own way. Love looked around and saw the Knowledge who was the first to have landed there a while ago.
“Who Helped me?” Love asked. “It was Time,” Knowledge answered. “Time? Why time?” Love was surprised.
“Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love is.” The Knowledge smiled. “
So its becoming the same generic Where I start momentum to write yet slip into a season of writer’s block (which by the way feels like I’m still currently in) and not write anything for a long while. When oh when will I ever fully discipline myself to write more regularly? All I know is that I guess I’m someone who tends to write under inspiration and when I do it’s usually more poetic and in such circumstances, you cannot rush inspiration and you cannot rush creativity.
But, its not that time for the self-admonishing but rather a time to say, thank you to all those who have been reading, and commenting and liking my posts as its really encouraging and it gives me great pleasure knowing what you’re thinking and knowing how in some way my posts help. It is a blessing to have you guys listen to what I have to say…
This week, a young person asked me during Choir practice why I love Mission or going on Missions so much? I realise life’s journey itself is a mission. It’s about purpose. It’s what we’ve been created for. It’s that purpose that drives people to either write, sing, be creative, be academic, and come out with books like “The Purpose Driven Life” (Rick Warren) and articles like “The Spirit Driven Life”. (Just a quick side-note here: we are to be Spirit Led not Purpose Driven…being driven puts enormous pressure on one’s self but we ought to have purpose and be led by our Spirit for direction to fulfill that purpose.)
Purpose is Mission. You’ve been sent here for a task, a purpose, a mission. Whichever way we put it, we were born to do something or to be someone who we are and who we’ve been created to be. So for me, I love Mission. I love purpose. I love the idea and the reality of knowing I am here for something. I am here to contribute and display the beauty and the character of the One who created me and share my experiences and life.
As a person, I am very expressive emotionally and physically, which others may sometimes perceive as a weakness but its rather a strength. It takes strength to admit when your weak. It takes strength to explore areas of emotion that usually one fears because of the consequences of experiencing such emotions. It’s all a part of Becoming who we are and Becoming who we’ve been created to be.
Why do I do mission? I do mission because Mission is a way of life. And to narrow it’s context, what is my mission? My Mission is to do the Will of Him that sent me and to Finish it. That’s my mission. So whichever vehicle or form that takes to complete and fulfill my mission I will take it.
It’s why I can’t be put in a box. It’s why I have to be versatile. Fluid. Spirit-Led. Why do I do Mission? It’s because we’ve been Commissioned to Mission. I have a role and have a hand in the Great Commission of Life to Share the good news about the One who loved and Loves me and paid that Price for me, and I want others to encounter that Love I’ve experienced. That LOVE that I’m so passionate about. Yes. That LOVE. IT’S WHO HE IS.
So Where am I going? I don’t know but as I’ve always said from the beginning, this Life is a Marathon, not a Sprint and its a journey so my ultimate goal and journey is back to the One I love. The One I adore. The one who Hears. The One who Sees. That’s where I’m going and I’m taking others with me, as I enjoy the roller-coaster ride. As I let go of the reins and let Him Reign. Be Obedient. That’s my cry. So it’s what I’m doing. I am going to France and Germany on Mission this year working with young people because I love it. And with people in general. I love to travel. I wanted to be in Lebanon this year, but my Spiritual Satnav didn’t direct me there this year due to many different factors and I needed to remain here in the UK.
It turned out that it was very worthwhile that I didn’t go, although I miss Lebanon terribly and crazily. One of my young people died brutally last week. Was hit by a train. When I heard it, it felt like a punch to the stomach. I thought, “If this is what it feels like to me and he’s not even my blood or direct child, I’d hate to think and wonder what his mother must be going through!”
This kid, Charlie, was 16. He had purpose. He wanted to be a Civil engineer. It hit me hard. I realised that I needed to be there for the young people who were affected. And I realised that this was my newest Mission. This is my mission for the time being until the Lord says Switch. For those of you who’ve been following my facebook posts and Twitter posts, you’ll find that we’ve been doing anything we can in remembrance of this wonderful guy. Through being there and connecting with these young people, they have been open to receiving love and having encounters of their own and those who don’t want to know are also okay. It’s not my place to force them. But, It’s mine to Love them. However, I’ve had to work as a wounded soldier helping his other wounded comrades.
I feel I’ve taken bullets since this season called February began, where one mission ended and it felt like I lost a job and my heart to be frank, and then side-tracked mission which put me in danger, but the Lord rescued me miraculously. Yes. sound familiar?
Sounds like a Soldier. Sounds like an Ambassador. Sounds like each and every single one of us who are facing challenges and facing circumstances with a choice without no choice. Yes. Sounds like Mission. Sounds like life.
So Why do Mission? Again: We’ve been Commissioned to Mission.
I prithee please forgive but I must warn you now. This isn’t one of those “short expression” moments that I’ve recently adjusted to so if you don’t have the time to listen then I must advise you to overlook now or find the time when you’re ready to read/listen because today, I’ve a lot to bleed today and pour out in this journey called LIFE. (Yes I know I haven’t been on this Earth that long but my goodness! I’ve seen enough to let one’s skin crawl, and had enough adventures to fill a library…well maybe not that exaggerated but at least you get the point!)
‘Ever feel like you’ve come across moments in your life where you have been challenged to give up the things that mean most to you and to your heart? Or have you ever felt moments where you were challenged to relent and give up your hearts’ desires in order to possess something greater, knowing that it would kill or hurt you in the process? Well, to me right now that’s where I am and it feels like a knife circumcision to the heart. Let me explain…
On Thursday Night I had finished Choir Practice at 9pm and headed to Mojos (youth/young people’s club at New River Church). I walked in the bitter cold night and crossed the clear road whilst observing the green-cross code “Stop! Look and Listen!“, and marched towards the bus stop in an attempt to keep myself warm then waited for bus W8 to arrive. En route to Lea Valley Leisure Centre, I stopped in Edmonton Green.
As I arrived at New River, I heard the sound of music coming from the venue (as with any youth group) and I perceived that they must be worshipping. So I entered into the building and after finding a suitable place to put my bags and coat, I positioned myself to enter into worship. Enter in, My FOOT!
Initially, when I started to worship (i.e. singing, praying, praising, telling-God-how-good-he-is) it was all good and I had felt a wave of intense love wash over me especially as we sung Hillsong’s “The Stand”. Suddenly, the familiar flicker of fear that indicates when “something-aint-right” crept on my vulnerable heart. I couldn’t understand why. I puzzled and thought, and thought, and puzzled; then I tried to figure out as usual what the reasons were when BANG! Complete Disconnection.The crawling sensation of anxiety gripped me in a moment and I began to fight it and struggled to regain that emotional and spiritual connection. That moment of emotional distraction left me feeling somewhat odd.
So I paced around the space in the room and eventually settled for sitting on the floor. This time I felt tired and simply entered the “can’t-be-bovvered” attitude whilst trying still to connect vainly. Didn’t work to be honest. It was in that instance when my friend sat with me when I realised that I had needed to be open and honest about what I was experiencing. After a bit of small talk, I told her about what happened and tbh I was genuinely seeking answers at this point. I just wanted to be freefrom this sickly feeling and something she said struck a chord with me.
She paused then expressed how when she felt that way sometimes, there was usually an underlying blockage that needed dealing with and she advised me as anyone would- “ASK GOD!” I did. I had. I had asked already but wasn’t getting or hearing anything or response which fueled the anxiety that much more. But this time I decided to wait andask again. (When you’ve asked once and life throws you curve balls as NO ANSWERS, ASK AGAIN!)
This time, because I was actually READY TO RECEIVE an answer, it came very quickly. A scene in an episode of Friendswhere Rachel says goodbye to Ross came quickly into view. This scene for me had been so intense that it hit a part of me that I never thought would be impacted in such a significant way. I realised the scene confronted my emotions about a person I really really like and my feelings for this person had dominated my thought life for a long time that it was undermining even my relationship with my Maker. And it didn’t only undermine my relationship, but it started to dominate my songs, prayers and my life to a very small degree (but a degree nonetheless).
I know! it sounds silly and stupid. Ah well, what am I like?! It just seems that when I fall for someone I fall hard. like, really hard. Some of you understand. It was at this point that I knew what needed to be done and it was as if I heard the words clear “Lay down you Isaac“. (Look, for the theologians among you, I don’t pretend to know how theologically correct it is but all I know is this is what He said and I obeyed. Simple. We can argue later…)
But for the others who don;t understand the context this command refers to, it is the story of Abraham and Isaac and you can read it in Genesis chapter 22 (don’t worry I didn’t have to kill anyone but I understood the metaphorical context). In retreat, I knew that I had to let go and give it over to God, and so let go, I did. In obedience and in tears. And this time, there was a grace and an ease to do it. The song “Cry me a River” – the Justin Timberlake version, not Buble (though I love him so) springs to mind. It was silent, but the sodium chloride liquid coursed through my body and released streams down my face and into my palms. Strangely, it felt like a huge weight had lifted at the same time but it hurt. It hurt a lot. And I don’t pretend to feel great about it. I’m fine and I’m okay, but yea, it hurt.
You know, sometimes it feels so hard to let go. However, there is always hope. You see, when God or life requires you to give up your best, He often has in mind an even greater purpose and blessing in store for you. So count it all joy. As Maria from the sound of music said it best, “When God closes a door, somehow he opens a window…”
pffhtt! IT BEST BE A BIG WINDOW that’s all am Saying!!! coz for me to climb through that? Lawd have mercy!!
So, what have I learned today?
1- Well the keys to my Heart are in Big Daddy’s hands and when the time is right, they shall be released and it will be full of matured Joy. And Secondly, there is always a Ram climbing as I am, to be that substitute sacrifice. I don’t know…These are just my thoughts today. Making any sense? feel free to express but in the meantime let me leave you with a couple of songs!
The sayings of a transparent heart…God this is difficult!
Maya Angelou ~ “There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”
Ernest Hemingway ~ “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Before I start, I must say thank you to my friend the Valiant Sheep because a phrase he said to me this evening has helped me write tonight. So here goes…!
Maya Angelou is one of my favourite book writers and has been able to capture my heart many a times in her books and he writings. And like her, there are many other writers, like Malorie Blackman, Alan Gibbons and Jane Austen, and Jesus… I find most inspirational, especially those who have trudged through life, pain and glory to experience in every sense of the word “LIFE”, and have lived to tell the tale in dancing letters on the pages of books that we read. And Maya Angelou summed it up best in her quote that “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you…” For Real! These are true words and right now I’m experiencing that. And sometimes its felt like there’s nothing to write so as Ernest Hemingway said it best, I’m gonna bleed…
So today, I know it’s been a while since my last post and there have been a million and one things buzzing through my brain and my head that every-time I’ve come to write, I’ve had writers block and the blank page that sat before me became my intimidating mountain suddenly – Huh, how can it happen to a talkative like me? 😉 well, in addition to other things it has been a growing frustration as there have been so many ideas and so many things I’d love to do and write and the endless possibilities of doing many things have been endless but between me and my dream just appears to be this wall and road block. It’s frustrating.
I’m growing, yes. Like many of us are. Yet I feel stagnant like still life. Recently, I completed a course and since then it’s been a “now what?” situation. I also completed a bible reading marathon with my young people successfully in less than 72 hours (which was awesome and beautiful by the way! So many people came to help out and for that I am eternally grateful! There are amazing testimonials surrounding it… maybe that will be another post) and after that it was a “now what?” situation.
I went to many other events that were amazing and was set on fire in my heart with a passion for life and people and souls and to keep going and then I met another “Now what?” situation. By the end of all this, though I had been filled and was left to a degree, satisfied, it was only temporary as I met a huge challenge. My health – again! And also, I tried and have been trying to figure out where I was headed next. Money was and probably still is an issue and although I’m not worried and the Lord has amazingly provided for me week to week, I’ve been fighting feelings of being stuck, trapped, or just waltzing along feeling lazy and then condemned, then fighting back, then keeping positive and fighting to remain focused and “fighting the good fight of faith” then, struggling with physical pain and false accusations… the list goes on and on etc., it’s brought me to my knees in prayer to question what is it? And what do I need to do to just break out on the next level or chapter of my life? Because I’m neither in the last season and not properly landed in the new…
Which way to go God?
Even with writing or music or with the many other talents I have, what the heaven does Heaven want me to do with all the talents at this time? And what does he want me to use? And why do I feel so average? Why so distant? And yet You (God) talk to me every day?! Yup. This is just a glimpse of the thousand and one questions buffeting my thoughts but I fight them by pressing and forging ahead and taking each day as it comes, just believing and working hard. But guess what? Aside from the blood, sweat and tears, I’m exhausted. I’m tired. Yes, I sound like a moaner but I know that I’m strong and my Maker is my strength , but I got to let this out and when the battle is constant, and it feels like you’re not getting anywhere, you start to quiver or shake (I’m not shaking I’m just tired…just to clarify)
Then I feel the word, “Wait”. Well, what does that mean for me in this instance? Then the imagery of a waiter in a restaurant comes to me. I understand. While I’m waiting for answers and breakthroughs, I should serve even if it’s giving me peanuts. And whilst I’m serving, “Wait” on the Lord and serve others. But right now, everything has been at a bit of a standstill because I’ve been recovering from a bout of health challenges…
Ah well, the Lord is my strength! As you know by now, I keeps it real!
What else happened today? Oh yes! Also, the Lord kept bringing by friend’s article to me today so I decided to re-ready his post again today and two phrases this time jumped off the page at me (not literally but you get what I mean and every time I read this article I always find something new…it’s good to re-read stuff) which obviously I’d seen before but not like the way the Lord kept ministering (showing and using it to speak) to me on them today… the phrases “Fit for Him” (which he highlighted btw) and “at last” (highlighted also)… (you should check it out ‘cause the article is amazing! I recommend it: http://wwwvaliantsheep.com/2012/10/she-will-come.html )
“Fit for him…This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;” ~Gen 2:18-24
What hit me about the phrases was the sense of satisfaction that came with them that I hadn’t read or felt before when reading this particular verse. Then in addition to this, it felt really strange because today, all he’s been doing other than that verse and the article is he’s been bringing old skool love songs and memories and thoughts to me that I haven’t even thought or heard of for a very long time. I was laughing, crying, and singing along loudly (yes I is proud!) and even just at one point, just quiet and in daydream land, aside from sleeping and pain management (thank God for morphine tablets…hate them but they working…)! I really recommend you read the article so you understand what I’m talking about…and there are others! (Oh yes my dear friend, shout out to the Valiant Sheep!)
Here’s a like to one of the songs that have been in my head all day…
Look…here’s the deal. There’s been this building and growing frustration for a manifestation of something that writing, or working doesn’t seem to be hitting the mark and it just seems like a block…so I decided to just rest in Him (especially during these last two weeks of palaver…) – The Lord that is- just thinking about him, praying, reading (well not much of that but more listening) and just letting him love me. Obviously. But the more I rest, the more this growing frustration keeps kicking… a just-want-to-break-out-and-breakthrough kinda thing? Like, you know something’s coming but you don’t know how to position yourself or what you need to do exactly to connect or access what it is and you feel it’s something big and every time it’s like…Gosh why am I still here??
And as I write, I’m reminded of what the Lord said to me last week using a famous quote from one writer who wrote in James 1:2-4 “count it all Joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance and patience. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…” Then I understood, and this time this word has been rather comforting to me rather than a rebuke or a telling off for those who don’t understand what rebuke means. So therefore, whilst I wait, I being transformed from the Caterpillar I once was, to the cocoon I’m now in where the growing pains and growing frustrations of life will lead me to the point, where like an eagle in a chicken’s pen I break out and fly like the butterfly I was born and supposed to be. Till then, I will wait and when the time to tell my story arrives, it will be told in all its fullness, purity lacking nothing so that he that has an ear can hear what my Spirit is saying…
Thanks for watching me bleed…now to mop up the mess! Now, where is that mop? Oh and where to start…? Cinderella…
Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)