I’ve spent much of my life in the past, thinking in negative terms; believing that I don’t have the right amount of skills/ tools/ space/ time/ abilities/ confidence……to get on with whatever is on my heart, but as I’ve aged that opinion has gradually changed.

All too often, we choose to live from a misaligned view that relies totally on our inadequate resources instead of trusting in the all-sufficient provision of God.
We bemoan the deficiency we perceive in our lives, instead of making the most of what is in our hands.

So, in keeping with these thoughts,I’ve been looking at the New Testament parable of the talents, and wondering "What's in my hands?"

The Parable of the Talents

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.
But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money...
Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
Matthew 25: 14-30, ESV version

Hands and TalentsHere’s what I’ve been pondering as I stitched the hands of the Master generously gifting the eight denarius to his servants…

We all have access to different things alongside a range of individual skills and talents, but the point is that whatever they might be, we have each been entrusted with something and are expected to be astute to make use of all that we have.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12: 47-49, NLT version

The parable of the talents, at first reading seems harsh, but there are several things to consider in this analogy of God, as the man who goes away entrusting his servants (us) with differing value of gifts.

Each is given according to ability...
One talent doesn’t seem very much on paper, but apparently a talent was worth 6,000 denaraii, and one denarius was the value of a days labour. That means that a single talent alone, was worth 20 years labour! Imagine the value in todays terms to realise the amount of responsibility given to each servant! What would you do with the gift of twenty years wages? Spend it, hide it, invest it…or something else?
What are we each doing now with our generous God-given gifts?

Receive the gifts you’ve been entrusted with...
Nothing we have is ours…all is entrusted to us by God, the Father not just for safekeeping but for utilising to its full potential. As it says in the response after the offering in the Anglican liturgy “Everything we have is yours. We only give you what is yours already.” We are caretakers and stewards of all Gods gifts.

Act swiftly to embrace all you’ve been given...
Embrace and accept all you’ve been given and give thanks. It’s all too easy to resist our own gifting as we look at the perceived better gifts of others, or hesitate so long in acting that our procrastination means we end up with no more than we started with. The astute servants acted “at once”, knowing what to do. We have enough. We are enough, for all that God has set before us. Life is for living, and putting to good use all that we have been given.

It's our Choice...
When we embrace and use what we have, our gifting grows and our spiritual life thrives, as we recognise the abundance we have been given. If we spend our time grieving over what we do not have, we can easily become resentful, living from a place of scarcity rather than abundance.

With opportunity comes responsibility...
We are to steward our gifts responsibly; managing and look after them, not just collecting them like trophies, but sharing them and using them for the good of the community around us and those in need.

Hands Talents Seeds of Growth

Invest in your gifts...
Growing and improving gifts often takes hard graft, and may involve risk of failure or loss, but this does not mean that we should be satisfied with the status quo. Just as an athlete, artisan or entrepreneur works hard to improve and hone their skills, so too are we expected to invest in our God given gifts. We don’t improve our skills by not using them. It takes practice, application, hard work and experience to get better at something. We learn by making mistakes, not by hiding our talents for fear of getting something wrong.

Be faithful and honest in your dealings...
As we work to improve our gifts and talents, we are still expected to be honest and faithful to God, not walking over others to get where we want to be, but enabling others and working alongside them with kindness and humility.

Be accountable...
God will call us to account for how we have utilised our “talents” to further His Kingdom. We are warned that here will be a reckoning, which feels a bit scary….but we can trust in our loving Lord, that if in obedience, we act prayerfully to sow the seeds of our talents, wherever we walk, then he will enable our actions of planting, nurturing, stewarding, and investing to grow into something of great spiritual worth.

We have enough to complete all that we are expected to do; all that God has laid on our hearts.
We are given generous gifts that are to be invested in and stewarded astutely.

We are to live from a place of abundance not with a scarcity mentality, for God has given us all we need. What He has asked us to do may not be easy; it could well be risky but if we believe fully the life we are called to, then we can look forward at the end of our journey for our Lord to welcome us home with the words "Well done, good and faithful servant."

IMG 3786 enhanced 2MP for blogPsalm 23 is a great comfort to so many Christians, but I must admit that it isn’t usually my go-to Psalm, so I’ve been wondering why that is…

Perhaps the fact that it is such a popular Psalm means that I shy away from it, preferring less well known ones…
Maybe, since I’ve always enjoyed being unique and different that I’m reticent at being considered a sheep and part of a flock that follows the herd…
Or, possibly it may have something to do with the fact that I often struggle to “rest”, encouraged from a very early age to always be “doing” something…

After pondering on this for a while, I’m still unsure. No doubt there are a myriad of complex reasons!
However, the fact is that God sees his people as “sheep” and Jesus as the Shepherd, so just perhaps I need to start to “be more sheep” …

I wonder how I might do this and ponder the Psalm for further illumination…

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”

Do I recognise the authority of the Lord as my personal shepherd, one who provides all that I need at various stages of my life?
Do I live my life open- handed, fully accepting and offering to others all the Lord provides- from a place of plenty or a feeling of lack?


“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”

Can I surrender to God’s directing rather than insist on going my own busy way?
Do I miss the quiet pastures of refreshment and time spent with the Shepherd when head down, I allow my weary body and soul to bypass much needed rest, thinking I know best?

 “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Am I trusting enough to stay close enough to God, allowing him to be my constant guide and lead me through even the most difficult terrain on my life’s journey?
Does my confidence in the Lord as my Compass, Confidante and Comforter, able me to leave my fears with him, knowing he is both Rescuer and Redeemer?

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

Can I accept all the good things that God has prepared for me?

“You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Do I acknowledge that God has accepted, equipped, and lavished me with all that is needed in the specific role he has chosen for me?

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Am I happy to be pursued by God, choosing to not hide from him, but run to him and abide with him wherever he leads?

 IMG 3785 2MP for blog v2

Sheep thrive best when tended, cared for, and pastured well by a Shepherd who knows each sheep individually from birth.
They thrive best when they follow, trusting the Shepherd's leading.

So, I will try to surrender and learn to “be more sheep” maintaining my individuality whilst joining the flock to follow the Master's lead, enjoying the focus and care of the ultimate Good Shepherd.

How about you?

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me…” John 10:14

Begin Intentional Journey for blog smallI’m really good at procrastinating … whether it be in delaying difficult decisions, putting off a task I’m not looking forward to, or postponing a problem I can’t solve.

Yet, avoiding things or putting off something that needs to be completed, in the vain hope that it might not need to be done is, in my experience, simply a way to increase stress levels, as the inevitable deadline looms nearer.

It is only when we turn around to face the fear, look it in the eye, and start on whatever it is we need to begin, that often, our fear loses its power.
We may find that the task we procrastinated over, is not as difficult as we built it up to be, after all.
For, in beginning a task that is unachievable in our minds, we start to dismantle its enormity by tackling it one small step at a time.

We may find that, yes, that decision, that problem, is indeed hard to tackle, but in facing it, starting the processes that will see it completed, we diffuse some of the difficulty, and begin to see the issue for what it really is, rather than the momentous task we have invented in our anxious minds.

When I think of beginning things, I always recall this fabulous quotation (often attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but actually written by William Hutchinson Murray, from his 1951 book entitled The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.)

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

So, as we begin Lent this year, consider:

What are you avoiding facing or confronting?

What do you need to begin?

Whatever this might be, as Christians, we do well to recall 4 things:

So, whatever it is that you are putting off, why not today, place the whole situation before God and ask for help from the One who is always with us? Let us each...

Step Out cropped for Journey med



Step out...


                         Begin … 

                                               One small step at a time…


…and before we know it, whatever we have been putting off, will no longer be looming in front of us blocking the way, but be dismantled behind us, duly completed in His strength, not our own.

spiritual fitness Feb 2022 Facebook PostSetting the Pace
At the start of last month, I took an extra week of rest and refocusing with the intention to “offer myself, this New Year, the gift of kindness…” It worked well, and I came out feeling purposeful, positive, ready, and equipped…

However, only four weeks on, and I find myself, breathless from the breadth of my well-intentioned planning for the year, struggling to keep up with both my business and personal goals.
I have started the year with a sprint, forgetting (yet again) that the year is a marathon…

Sprints are for covering short distances, expending energy quickly that will need replenishing before the next race.

With marathons, energy needs to be conserved, controlling output so that a good pace can be maintained throughout…

I find that I’ve been trying to sprint through January (which is fine if I’m going to rest in February- but I’m not able to do that!) so I think I need to slow down, pacing the journey, to maintain energy and focus throughout the year.

Scripture tells us this:

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith...” Hebrews 12:1

Pace and perseverance are needed to endure the length of any race, but equally we are to throw off all that hinders our travelling, only carrying what is necessary for our journey.
We are also urged to keep our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, our own personal coach, looking only ahead to where He leads us.

So, I wonder, what do I need to let go of to pace my spiritual journey and ministry this year?

If I’m struggling already to keep up with all that seems to need to be done, might this be because I am looking to my own ways rather than the Lord’s leading?

I’m not sure… what I do know is that all this talk of running makes me feel weary. Is there a better analogy for my own journey this year?

Travelling a Different Way
How would I love to travel through this year?

Personally, what immediately comes to mind is that I think I would rather dance, than sprint or run a marathon, so perhaps I will keep this in mind throughout 2022… it sounds lighter, less exhausting, and much more fun.

DANCE IMG 2025 resized for blogDance, explains Encyclopaedia Britannica, "is the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself."

This sounds a perfect way of moving through the year, I think!

I wonder what your analogy might be for this year?

I’d love to know…








Dancing my Days

I’m sure Jesus did run,
But in Scripture,
Mostly he
Walks willingly
with purposeful paces,
meandering missionally
Aware of and at one with his surroundings
Responding in wise words
with practical kindness-
love left lingering in limbs
and hearts healed.

Perhaps, we too are to walk this way through the world.

There will be a time for running, likely
at the end as Jesus steps out, hand held out
inviting me home,
but until then, Lord,
As your emissary,
may I stroll

Slowly enough to
savour small shoots of spring sprouting in people’s lives

Slowly enough to
see the faces behind the facade

Slowly enough to care about the
cracks in lives that cry out
to be filled
with the wholeness of your ways,
welcoming all encountered
extending Kingdom care and kindness
To all.

May I weep with the wounded
Join with the joyful
Dancing my days
With your hand in mine

IMG 3285The New Year comes inexorably, whether we are ready or not...
I have relished the extended space between Christmas and New Year, but this year I’m not sure that I’m ready for embracing 2022 with any great fervour.

Indeed, last night, whilst many waited without, prepared and ready to celebrate with family and fireworks, from within I greeted it grumpily having been roused from my warm, cosy slumber.

New Year is synonimous with new resolutions, new starts, a resolve to embrace whatever the infant year brings, yet the reality for many is very different.
The truth for me this year, is that I simply don’t feel ready to return to what was before; unprepared for the work that has been left undone, the unfinished tasks that await my return, not ready to create enthusiasm for the new things I have planned. I'm not ready to leave the cosy nest of rest; not yet ready to fly again...
It's not that I want to journey a different way. I'm just not ready to return.
I haven’t yet completed my usual post-Christmas sort out and life-laundry that helps bring me clarity, focus and resolve at this time of year.
Everything still feels cluttered, unclear, clouded…            girl under duvet picture resized

In fact, I recognise I’m still weary. I’m still hesitant and apprehensive about the immediate COVID-encased future that seems to be increasingly and insidiously rooted around every encounter and excursion; every daily decision that might minimise risk.

I’m an over-thinker at the best of times, so in the worst of times, after many previous years of living in a body that has been constantly alert for the next crisis, the long term effects on my body seem simply exhausting!                  

The last two weeks of living a slower pace has made me realise how spent I feel; energy-sapped and exhausted. Perhaps the solution is to offer myself, this New Year, the gift of kindness, simply extending the space I have had, taking time out over another week or so to continue reseting my body and soul. Perhaps this is enough….to greet the New Year, not with party and excited expectation but with quiet thoughtfulness, wrapped in a cosy blanket.

"He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:30-31, NIV

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