And a Happy New Blog

Guys, there isn’t a good way to intro my first blog back after a horribly long break.
I missed this. I miss you (probably). More to come (probably).
There is nothing like longevity to back up commitments so I decided to post my first blog back on 2 January instead of the 1st, because that seemed too eager.

In my last blog I announced I’d be starting degree in January – Well life has a way of happening and due to getting a visa sorted and settled I will actually be taking this semester off of studies to work and save and keep my track record of debt free education. I was bummed at first and really didn’t want to admit it to myself that it was a wiser decision to take some time off, but since then have realized just how good this will be for me and the people in my life. So, I’ll begin in July for another 1.5 years of study. It will still be a Bachelors of Theology with a focus of Biblical Studies. With that said, my intention is to publish a blog fortnightly. As always, these are downloads of what I am learning, thoughts, inspirational posts, honestly posts. They are hopefully the cheeky amount of me that you needed for your day and full of all the love I can give – that prayerfully points to something much bigger than myself.

I also announced that I was getting married.
That didn’t change 🙂
Laina Davey at your service.

This semester I hope to figure out how to prioritise being a consistent writer and to trust my content, not because it’s the best in the world, but because you get to read my content with the lens of your life. In my brain that makes the perfect melody of community for you to get the most out of my thoughts. They’re worth more when you add to them. Please feel free to respond to my thoughts, leave a comment, leave a disagreement or a different way to see something. I’m here to learn. For the love, correct my grammar… I know I need it.

I feel like that’s what I’ve learnt most this year is that I just need people. I’m so thankful for my confronting friends that I’m surrounded with, just them living their life makes me work harder at mine. We sat with half of my connect group (small group or family group) and chatted about our “New Years Thoughts”, they’re kind of like resolutions but they’re more lax than “I will run every day” or “I will start going to bed at 9pm”. One of the sweet ones in the group simply said she wanted to love people more.

I was a little bit wrecked. My goals were all about…me. Developing myself while I’m not in school, reading, listening to podcasts, writing, reading more. She just wanted to meet more people and take care of them.

Eeek.

This is why I love connecting with VERY different people.

As if her comment wasn’t enough, our connect is also walking through the 19 Mercies retreat in the back of Brennan Manning’s “The Ragamuffin Gospel” (HIGHLY recommend) and I’m on day 8: The God who is love.

“Do you really believe that God is unchangeably, unalterably loving?”
– 19 Mercies

I’m still sitting with this question – I’d love to jump in and say yes! but sometimes the way I act towards God would admit otherwise. I want to have no separation from an ideal and true belief and what I live out as my beliefs.

1 John 4:7-20 (NIV, Emphasis added) “Dear friends, let us love ONE ANOTHER, for love comes FROM GOD. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.

Eeek.

Do I believe that God is love? Do I believe that He loves me? Is His love seen in me by loving others? If no – Do I REALLY believe that God is love?

I’m committed this year to love people with my strengths – I will love by giving myself and my learning to God and others. I LOVE to give to others, I love hospitality and feel that gift is straight from God because it isn’t natural for my personality to love people 🙂 Jesus sometimes has to remind me. But I am committed to loving people the way I know how. By learning, giving my heart and soul into understanding things and sharing them in conversations and writings. Over tea or sitting by the beach. Or both.

I’m also committed to loving people the way they understand love. Do you need a hug? I’ll get over myself long enough to show you care in the way you receive it. Are gifts your thing? Please allow me to be the thoughtful friend who remembers your birthday – or even remembers that it is a Tuesday and you are alive and deserve to be celebrated. Love unlocks things that are bound and I’m praying that this semester/year I learn what it is to give until I see people changed. NOT because of me… but because I can love because I know what it is to be loved… even with my faults.

 

I do love you much.

I pray blessing over your today, I pray the sunshine reminds you of the faithfulness we see in God. He is SO kind and SO loving and SO in love with you. 

Quality, Quantity: Both and Neither

*Downtown Tulsa – Shades of Brown. Hot and fresh chai tea lattes in hand – you know, the ones that taste like Christmas if Christmas was a marshmallow. The background music is even farther away with the sounds of the kitchen staff yelling through the teatime rush and I am staring out the window trying to collect my thoughts*

Thing 1: “Whats going on Laina?”

Thing 2: “… I think sometimes my standard for myself is too high, or maybe that it’s just high enough and I don’t forgive myself well enough.” 

I’m sure from this point they break out into High School Musical-type song but I’m not songwriting today.

I was reminded again this week of my passion, which is funny enough because I continue to do what I love even when I don’t love it. I made a commitment to write every week (or every day and post once a week) and for the most part I’ve loved what it has taught me. It taught me that I CAN.

I missed two weeks ago and was frustrated with myself until last night. We had a masterclass for the Writers Guild in our creative community where Kylie Beach read to us her Letter To The Poets. Please do take a read, it’s beautiful.

As she read this letter I thought of my daily/weekly commitment and how sometimes I actually miss the mark. Sometimes I write a blog that I hate or feel isn’t my best work and I don’t want to publish it. Sometimes I post on Saturdays even though my goal is Fridays. Sometimes I post at midnight even though my goal is noon. Sometimes (only once in over a year) I actually don’t set the time out to post at all.

Occasionally though, I write a blog that I actually tell my friends in person about (with my real words) because I feel like G-d just might have put His seal of approval over it. But set aside all the good blogs, the bad ones and the ones I haven’t written to be judged yet and I still have a need inside of me to write my heart out.

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.
What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.
We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.
We are terrified, and we are brave.
Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.
Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything.
So please calm down now and get back to work, okay?
The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert

What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. I could never post again and what G-d wants to accomplish though my writing will still happen if I continue to seek Him. But, I could continue to post every week and grow, learn discipline and correct my sometimes terrible grammar. I can read articles on what makes a great blog, how to edit, study literature and use all the tags on WordPress… But at the end of the day my prayer is that if any of what I write is what you need to read – that it finds you timely. And if anything I need to learn is something that you’re creating, that you’d be brave enough to create, share and discipline yourself in your craft. I promise – you can make anything.

*I’ve never read Big Magic before but this quote was shared last night as well…
I’ve attached a link to the book on Amazon for some birthday ideas, or some random gift ideas, or some
“Happy Friday” ideas. So. That’s that.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread (and peanut butter and bananas and honey)

I was very recently asked my opinion on the “10 year plan” which at this point in my life is comical because my plans always change. Always. But they asked me, so now I’ll share my thoughts.

I’ve always been a ‘planner’ type and loved carving out those 5 and 10 year plans when I was younger. I’m sure if I remember correctly my 7th grade year would have looked something like this:

·      I want to be a Junior High Pastor (Grade 6-8)

·      I want to be a Christian Music Artist

·      I want to be an assistant to a youth pastor

·      I want a puppy

·      Be a racecar driver

  ((All Of The THINGS))

Contemporary music artist… this is fun, lets fast forward a bit to my 5-10 year plan at around 17 years old:

·      I want a Bachelors Degree in Business Management

·      I want to write a book

·      I want to be a worship leader/in a band 

·      I want to work at a church

·      Be a racecar driver

 

Now, have any of these ended the way I thought they would?

Absolutely not.

My “Junior High Pastor” experience was formed into 7 years of leading WIRED (The Monday after school fellowship/message/game event for 6, 7 and 8th graders between me being 15-21 years old. My “Christian Music” experience was lived out in writing songs and helping to lead at youth, college ministry and various house churches; and continues here in Aussie. I ended up being Assistant to the Youth Pastor and got a puppy so I did that right!                                                                

((madpropsLaina))

            My “Bachelors in Business Management” was learned at Chili’s in Broken Arrow and Pryor, Oklahoma by actually BEING a manager. My writing and publishing has increased to a consistent weekly process for the last 12ish weeks and I have a goal set to outline my book soon. My racecar driving ended up looking like more speeding tickets than I can count or care to remember. 

            My last 10 year plan started with my management position at Chili’s – I had every intention of working management for 5ish years (between 21-26) then move to Ireland and be able to pay for three years of theology school AND travel a year on top of that (I was going to save a LOT of money in those 5 years). I honestly was never expecting to end up cutting that short by 3 ½ years to move to Australia –

 Like, flip. What?! I live in Australia.

What is incredible is that all these dreams I’ve been given and desires I have had were lived out in such a way that they were all far greater that I could have imagined. They WEREN’T what I was expecting but as I’m living through my planned out days realizing how foolish black ink can really be I see that 5/10 year plans kind of suck.

            I function better in “I like this, I enjoy doing this, I’m going to take the open doors that are in line with this thought and direction” I think it’s good to set achievable goals and things you’d like to accomplish and give timelines and due dates, but to say “I’m going to be living here with this job and this much responsibility on my plate and this much free time and this much income” well, that (for me) isn’t practical.

            It doesn’t make sense. Maybe it works for some people but I pretty much have an agreement with G-d whenever I fill out a week of my planner than whatever He wants and whenever He wants to interrupt with whatever He wants me to do or say or path to take – He has permission to alter my schedule. I’ve just had far too many plans fail because they weren’t big enough.

            You see, I was raised in a culture of abundance and G-d has done entirely too much for me. The potential fall here is to see the abundance and somehow assume it’s deserved. At this point we pervert it and it becomes EXCESS. This has been one of the more difficult mindsets to break in my life if we are being totally honest. I am learning and training myself to realize that I have been given enough for today. My blessings and abilities are there to be used in my waking and before I go to sleep. I have EVERYTHING that I NEED so why would I let ANYTHING that is sitting in my hands to use – just sit.

I was given today my daily bread but what happens when I see the bread and think, “Yeah, naturally there is bread because I need it, I’ve earned this bread… so on top of this bread I think I should have some peanut butter and bananas as well. After all if I could have provided the bread than somehow I can make these delicious toppings happen as well” But you see, this is where we start to view our gifts and talents as excess… we see it as something earned and more than we need. What if we believed that G-d answered our prayers for daily bread and then we looked at our blessings and counted them as that instead of looking at all we have and seeing the ‘cherry on top’ mentality?

Your ice cream is sweet enough.

Recently in a pout-fest with my housemate via texting I was wondering what on earth I was doing here. She graciously reminded me,

“You prayed for this, you paid for this and now you are here. Isn’t that enough? Even if you never know isn’t this answered prayer enough?”

I’ve gotten to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do it just hasn’t always looked the same. I got here by doing well with what I was handed; and it is my daily prayer that I continue to see everything I have as daily bread. As something to be used today because tomorrow I’m going to need more and it might not look the same.

Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

So, do what you will… but good luck with that.

I hope I live in a way that sees my blessings as abundance and something to be used, I’ve been given a lot and my heart has had loads of fulfillment in the seasons I’ve walked through. But, it was only there to build upon and not to see as “Oh check out my awesome toast that I bought”. Get over yourself.

but also, I love you all.