Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunshine and integrity

Summer has come and I’m loving it (my arms are red and sore to prove it)! London is like a different place with people crowding the parks, bright coloured, flowery dresses, sunglasses, sweaty armpits and big smiles.
Yesterday I went out to the park for an hour to lie in the grass and ponder on the word integrity. Integrity is one of the coolest words I know! It easily gets forgotten and overshadowed by words like charisma, talent and passion but they wouldn’t be worth much without integrity at the foundation. Looking it up in the dictionary, (ok I googled it), I found that the word means wholeness, steadfast, being honest and undivided. A person of integrity can be trusted because what you see is what you get. They are the same person at home as on stage, on a good day as on a bad day. Their thoughts, words and actions line up. You know where they stand and won’t get any nasty surprises. A person of integrity can fail and mess up but keep people’s respect because they are honest about it and quick to own up.
Passion, talent, charisma, big dreams, exciting words, great plans and goals are all good but without integrity they fall through. Character on the other hand, cannot be taken away from you and is what will keep you on track.
Skimming through the awesome book of Proverbs, integrity, honesty and character kept popping up, like in these cool verses:
“God can’t stand deceivers but oh how he relishes integrity.” Prov 11:20
“Love and truth form a good leader; sound leadership is founded on loving integrity.”  Prov 20:28
Love and truth are the essence of God. I went back feeling challenged to build integrity into my everyday life, not trying to be what I’m not but being real to the core, full of love and truth.
Later that day, we took the children to an outdoor pool and spent the afternoon splashing around and enjoying the sunshine. You just have to love summer!
Today has been another glorious day! I started by going out for a short jog. It wasn’t far but I’m proud of myself for actually getting out there despite all my lame excuses. Then I was off to Borough market to pick up a great baguette, piece of cheese and latte and enjoy it with a good friend. Markets are simply great - the smell of food, the bustle of people and all the free tasters! I can’t help but thinking that just maybe the meaning of life is this simple. Maybe we are here on Earth simply to live in relationship with God, love and do life with the people around us and simply enjoy living. It works for me!
We had some awesome conversations, sharing the things we are learning in life right now. I know that life isn’t always sunshine, good friends and food and that it can feel impossible to enjoy at times but somehow God works through that as well and brings us through wiser and closer to Him if we let Him. He is enough for us and the one thing in life that we can count on.
A big group of us spent the afternoon in Hyde Park, having a picnic, soaking up the sun and playing football. Great fun but the football got just a bit too violent and I took the game a little too seriously…
Anyway, tomorrow is church day and the best day of the week. If you’re around in London then you should come to one of Hillsong’s sevices. Even if you don’t believe in anything spoken from the stage, all the lovely people you can connect with make it well worth your time. I’m getting ready tonight by drinking loads of water and nursing my sun burns. When will I learn to use sun cream?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Smile everyone, its monday!
Its been a different, spontanious and pretty cool weekend, doing things I don't usually do and hanging out with some people I don't usually hang out with. Variety keeps life fresh!

On Friday night thousands of people from different churches in London came together for an amazing Pentecost service in Earls court. The three hosting churches have different styles and ways of doing things but we could all come together and be united because we are all serving the same God. Church isn't a competition, we are all on the same team with the same goal. Seeing how many we are when we come together was really exciting!

Saturday started off with a great cup of coffee with a great girl from my connect group at a great café (Grind) in Putney. I ended up going with her for lunch at a friend's place. This turned out to be a top class, eight course dinner made by a super cook who did an amazing job of hosting! Eating delicious food and hanging out with cool people - whats not to love?
Next stop was Louis Vuitton on New Bond Street for a pair of men's shoes. I was on an errand for a friend and felt so out of place in the shop but it was a pretty amusing experince being treated like a super rich woman who shops men shoes at Loius Vuitton. Clenching the bag tightly I went for a drink with my inspiring and wise norwegian friend before heading to a pub for the football final. I wasn't able to see the screen but watching the people who were watching the game was just as fun. So much focus, excitement and frustration in their faces! Thankfully Chelsea won so most of them were in a good mood for dancing all night. Good times!

Despite not getting much sleep, I really enjoyed Sunday at Church! Its surprising how many awesome people there are in the world and how each one you meet brings something unique. One of the things that was said from the stage was about not worrying but trusting God to provide. I love that! Don't worry, be happy. I'm pretty sure it's a choice we make and something that really honours God.

Anyway, I need to sleep right now. Live loving - love living

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Hey soul sister...
You know when you hear a song you used to listen to alot but haven't heard for ages and its such a joy to hear it again even though you were so tired of it last time you heard it? At a childrens birthday party this week they played Train's "hey soul sister" and I almost started singing along in front of all the children and parents. I managed to contain myself though and am listening to it now instead. What am I trying to say with this? Absolutely no idea...

Any way, talking about love songs, Rich Wilkersson came to Hillsong's Young adults night last friday and shared a great message for all us single people. Being in a relationship has become such a big thing today and its as if most of us are waiting for that perfect partner to come so we can start living life for real. We tend to think that person will somehow show us who we are, complete us and open the doors to endless happiness and good times. Thankfully Rich burst that bubble for us...

Rich spoke about watering our own grass instead of thinking how green everyone elses is. Go for your dreams! Live your life now, enjoying this season whatever its like, learning and being faithful with what you have. Its so cool how God works things out for the best when we do the best with what he's already given us. He knows us, what we desire and what we need better than we do. We can basically chill out and enjoy each step of the way, trusting God to show us the next step when we need it (at least thats what I think and its worked for me so far). I don't mean that we should be lazy and not plan ahead but that we can relax in just doing our bit and trusting God to do the rest.

Rich challenged us to keep on the right path doing the right thing even when the crowd is going in a complete different direction. Its not always easy but its right and even if noone else sees, God does.
Its beautiful to see how God brings people together to complement and build each other up but only Jesus can complete us, make us whole and give us a purpose for living. If all else was to fail, He will still be more than enough for us.

By the way, I quickly grew tired of "Hey soul sister" again, maybe I'll try listening to it in another year or so...

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

back from Malmö

This weekend I've been back to Malmö, my home town, to visit. Technically its a city but, coming from London, it suddenly seems like a small town. Either way, its where the people who know me best live and it was great to be back.
Not much has changed there these past 5 months but I saw Malmö with different eyes this time. I was surprised by the empty underground station, the wide cycle paths, the great amount of trees and the calmness of Friday night in the centre. My parents came to meet me from the train with my lovely bike that I've really missed travelling around on. It was so nice to spend time with them and my sister, telling them everything I could think of telling them about these past 5 months, my everyday life, the awesome people I know and all the things I love about London.
Over the weekend I cycled everywhere admiring the decorative buildings, the diversity of cultures and people and my favourite market. Has Malmö always been this beautiful? I met some of my closest friends over chilled out coffees, ice-cream in the sunshine, waffles and a picnic by the docks. Of all the things to be admired about Malmö, its the people that make it the most special. Each one is different and makes my life richer and more blessed in a different way. I loved not having any obligations but just time to enjoy company and catching up.

Sunday afternoon was spent at my church, United, with great worship, teaching and friendly faces (most familiar but plenty of new ones too). I love the party atmosphere there that is all about celebrating and enjoying life together in all its seasons but also reaching out to the world around.

On Monday morning after my family had left for work and school, I packed my bag and cycled into town for the last time for now. I met a lovely friend from church at one of my favourite cafés and tried to convince her to move to London with me. After that I met Baloo, my leader, mentor, role model and close friend. She's been there for me the past few years encouraging me, challenging me and helping me make sense of my life.

I spent the last hours having a picnic with Mum, Dad and my little sis out on the grass before taking the train to Denmark and then flying to London. Sitting on the tube for the last bit of the journey I felt happy to be back in the big city. This is where I want to be right now and I'm excited to see what God has in store for me here. Each season is different but he is always the same and his love for us will never change.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Colour your world

I was blessed with time off work this thursday and friday to go to Hillsong's annual Colour conference, just for ladies. Wemberly arena, powerful speakers, the presence of God and about 6000 women all standing together. It was awesome, loud and lots of fun! What I loved about the conference is that I didn't leave feeling sad that it was over but equipped and inspired to get back into everyday life again, together with God and the people around me. Here are some of the messages that really spoke to me:

Flourish, baby, flourish! We can so easily get overwhelmed by all the suffering in the world and all that needs to be done that we get bogged down and discouraged or worn out trying to make everything right in our own strength. Bobbie Houston encouraged us to go home, learn to take responsibility for our own lives and flourish where we are planted right now, letting God take care of the rest. When we flourish we help others flourish too. Love that!

A revolution of peace. This world is a mess but Jesus is our peace. We are here to bring his peace with us to a world that desperately needs it, because no matter what is going on around us, we are safe in Him.

God wants to go home with us. Its not just about spending time with God at a Conference or at church on a Sunday but God actually wants to be a part of our everyday lives, move into our neighbourhood and invade all that we are. Priscilla Shirer was saying that its when we invite Jesus to become really close to us that he reveals things to us and life gets exciting.

Sisterhood - she is one, she is many. There were so many of us women, gathering together with the same desire to be the change in this world. I find myself wanting to be the one to make a difference by myself but if we all instead go in the same direction, supporting something great together we can accomplish so much more than all of us by ourselves. I was challenged to grow up, quit being selfish and start being a great support to what is already happening.

There is only one love language - DIE. Christine Caine said it straight out like she always does. The kingdom of God is not all about me and how I best can shine and use my talents. Its about God. We don't need to promote ourselves, God knows exactly where we are and what we are good at. Sometimes we just need to a gap fillers and do whatever is needed for the big picture.

It was amazing to see all thats going on in the world and hear stories about everything God is doing! Even more amazing is that God is the same everywhere and that he actually lives in us and has the same power to work things out for the best in our everyday lives! Don't forget to include him because he is a gentleman (like all the guys serving at colour, walking with umbrellas, opening doors, welcoming us girls...) and doesn't just barge in on us.

Have an awesome day!