Tag Archive: encouragement


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It is the start of a brand new week.

With it come opportunities to reflect on what has been, to consider what might be, to wipe slates clean and start again, to get freshly excited for old relationships and new causes, to lift up your head once more and believe in everything that is possible, to seek forgiveness where relationships might be frayed, to entertain the ‘What If?’ of the seemingly impossible and to consider how each one of us might be a part of changing our world for the better. Both on the smallest scale as well as in a family, provincial, national and perhaps even global way.

So i wanted to share a prayer with you that i was reminded of again this last week.

When tbV and i were in Philly, we got to spend a few days at a Benedictine monastery connected to a university and our short time hearing some of how they operate with such a much bigger life picture [600 year plans as opposed to 60 year plans, 60 years of seeing transition happen as opposed to viewing it in one year increments] affected and hopefully infected some of how we see and do life. This is a Benedictine prayer and may each line move you to your very core…

My prayer for you this week:

Prayer of Discomfort

“May God bless you with a restless discomfort
about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships,
so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for
justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer
from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may
reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that
you really CAN make a difference in this world, so that you are able,
with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.”

How about you print this out or make it a screensaver or something so that you can start each day this week by reading and praying and meaning those words, and let’s see just how incredible a week we can all have together.?

DAY 33

Easter is arriving at a pace of knots and so really be mindful in the next ten days or more to create spaces to slow down, to meditate, to just be, to look back and remember, to ingest some scripture, to speak some prayers, to love on those around you… slow it down…

Task: In the next 24 hours, buy or make someone a gift, just because.

Maybe there is someone in your life who is having a rough day… maybe it’s a person on the side of the road who looks hungry and you choose to buy them a meal and eat it with them [don’t you DARE do all that and then leave without knowing their name]… maybe it’s just an encouragement to someone who works really hard in some area and maybe remains largely unappreciated.

Something made or put together [or even baked – go on, i dare you!] is often appreciated that little bit more than something bought, but if your time is short that may be the way to go.

The idea is to demonstrate some love, or understanding, appreciation or gratitude. All of these are things that will in some way be tied up in the story of the cross as we head closer and closer towards it.

gift

Enjoy putting a smile on someone’s face.

[For the next Lent Observance post for day 34, click here]

real hockey

on Friday i got to play a pick-up [social] game of field hockey at a club in Berkeley that a friend of mine from the internetweb [Thankx, Tamela!] told me about. and it was a most excellent time.

with my team in SA, there were some players who wouldn’t pass to me all that often because they didn’t think i was so good. because of this, it upped the pressure the few times someone did pass to me [messing up twice from eight attempts looks a lot less bad than messing up twice from two] which would often cause me to mess up [largely brought about by the fear of messing up] and so it was a spiralling cycle.

hockeyrun

back to friday’s game where no-one knew me and so they didn’t know how crap i was supposed to be and so this weird thing happened – people started passing to me – and because they passed to me my confidence grew and so i played well – and got passed to more. in fact i would say it was the best i have played hockey in years and the most fun – scored a few goals and even ran some dribbles round some of their players… the highlight must have been when the one guy on the field asked if i could play for his match team and, not realising that he from a different team from the guy i’d been mailing i said “Sure!” and the guy from the email team called out, “Hey, no we’ve got him already!” and then basically started a bidding war on the field for my hockey services. that was classic.

the point being that it was a whole lot of fun, but more than that just being able to see the difference it can make to someone when you believe in them and take a chance on them. my whole game was lifted simply by the fact that people passed to me and so i played better and so people passed to me more. even my energy and fitness levels were affected as i was more encouraged to be right there in the action and choosing to run and push more than normal.

good lesson for those of us who are part of teams of different types to look out for people to encourage and maybe affect their performance in similar ways? anyone else got a story of being on the receiving end of this kind of encouragement and affirmation and the effect it had on you?

so the next step in the brett fish & the beautiful Val next americaland journey has taken place… after three great official times [as well as many unofficial times comprising many drinks of coffee, milkshake and tea or variants thereof] of sitting down with people we love [and vice versa] and talking through some of what Relational Tithe/Common Change is about we put together an invitation email to gather a group of friends and family who want to be some part of our journey – from simply receiving our newsletter to committing to keep us in regular prayer to offering financial support through either a once off donation or else to be part of the roughly $1000 we need for monthly living costs for the eighteen months we have committed to being there [starting March]

we had an incredible gift from a friend which has enabled us to purchase the air tickets – where we are on that is trying to get Val’s in the next 24 hours so that she can leave on the 18th and make it to the Justice Conference that is happening in Philadelphia which looks to be incredible – and then she will stay in Philly for a few days, doing some scholarship stuff she is still working on for the Simple Way and then fly to Oakland, California and look into finding us a place to stay and starting to settle in it…

i will be holding off on buying my ticket til about ten days later and then we will assess the support we have had come in and, if close enough to what we are looking at needing, will buy my ticket and leave to get there around the beginning of March, flying straight to Oakland, California where we will be living and working.

we sent the email to those who have expressed interest and attended the meetings but if you are interested in receiving the initial one and deciding if you want to be in one of those areas of support of us then please email me at brettfish@hotmail.com and i can send it to you.

where we currently stand is close to 20% of the needed support and so a bit of a way to go but excited by the people who are showing interest and support in a variety of ways. we have been completely spoilt by so many people in terms of place to stay [Duncan and Megan Houston] and car [Duffields] and many meals and drinks and even tickets to the cricket [Muscle of John] and so incredibly thankful for the communities and networks we are part of. and for everyone we have got to connect with and catch up with… there are a lot of pretty amazing people in and around our lives and we appreciate you so much.

onwards and kingdomwards…

brett fish and tbV

i am continuing this series which i feel has gone so much further than the initial email that got it started and has provided some valuable insights which needed a springboard to launch from. so am daily becoming more grateful for it as it has helped me share what i feel have been some helpful ideas about living life to the full.

what i am wanting to look at today is something that i have found immensely helpful in my relationship with tbV [altho still definitely have a long way to go] and in some of the conflicts i have been involved in in recent times [who, me argue?] and i imagine that the more i get this right, the more effective i am going to be in terms of challenge and even rebuke…

the concept is very simple: receive the rebuke/challenge/word of wisdom you are about to give… so using the email i received, let me for a moment assume that i had written it – i am ready to send it, but before i do, let me put myself in the place of the person hearing it and see what they receive…

rebuke

Brett, let’s be honest: your youtube videos suck. Big time. And I don’t even see the purpose in it.

hm, okay if i am receiving that particular sentence, is it going to make me open to hearing the message, or is it likely to make me angry or sad or antagonistic and make me react rather than respond to the heart of what i was trying to say?

i think it becomes quite easy once you make the time and effort to do that. that line is an easy one but sometimes we do need to deliver tough Truth to people we Love and it is not going to be an easy one to hear. by becoming that person hearing the message i will more than likely find a better way to deliver the message.

how would i receive a message that my videos are a waste of time? the word ‘suck’ followed by ‘big time’ is probably not going to be the best way, right? and as i mentioned yesterday, by changing a strong statement into a question, maybe i can ease towards a time when i am able to share that, ‘well honestly, i don’t think they’re a great use of your time.’ i know that as a person who regularly has to do a stock take on how i use my time [cos i do tend towards getting caught up in addictive things altho often very silly and time-wasting ones] i am aware that that can become an issue and so i am likely to listen to the message and take it to heart if it is presented well.

on the other hand i don’t want to water down the message so much [if it is a strong message that really does need to be heard] that the point of it is lost completely. but i think this is where relationship comes in – i try to be accountable to everyone – as someone with an audience, as a Christian leader in different areas, i am aware that that is a crucial thing to do. but at the same time it is the people who i have specifically invited to speak into my life – people like Regan Didloff, Rob Lloyd and Bruce Collins, people like Mike dreadlock Strauss and Mandy Hunt and of course my wife Valerie [and a bunch of others] who get a much stronger invitation to speak more directly and harshly where necessary. Val will be able to tell you i don’t often take it well in the moment [does anyone like to be told they are wrong?] but that i will take the criticism to heart and more often than not think about it for a while and then make a response to it later.

a clue i can share with you is that accusations such as “you always” or “you never” don’t go down well in arguments or even received emails – questions are good as well as “i feel that…” or “i think…” statements which allow space for you to be possibly wrong instead of just loading something on to the person you are speaking to…

so i encourage you next time you are about to write an email or have a conversation with someone that requires you to share a tough Truth [in Love] to take a moment and try and receive it in the way you are about to give it, and see how you would respond and whether it is worth taking another minute or two to figure out a way that you would receive that particular message well. i believe this will help give your message a much needed boost and possibility of getting through to the person you are engaging with.

let me know how it goes…

[to continue to part V: a glimpse into the why, click here]

this is the third in my series of Taboo Topics that I am tackling and the topic this time around is INFERTILITY

the idea of Taboo Topics is to take a topic that is very real [and often raw and painful, perhaps embarrassing or just difficult to speak about] but which no one, for various reasons, is speaking a lot about and to invite people who have had experience in that area to share their stories and perhaps offer some encouragement or advice to others who have experienced or are currently dealing with the same thing.

a lot of people suffer or struggle in silence and because no-one is speaking/writing about these things it can feel like you are along in it and are the only one and that no-one else can even begin to understand or appreciate what you are going through. and while each situation is different i think that often someone who has gone through the same type of situation is a lot more able to speak life, truth and encouragement or else able to simply cry/scream/wail in a language you completely understand.

so these are real stories of real people and for the most part people who have been brave enough to share their names and contact details [or are largely open to you being linked to them via me]

for people desperately wanting to start a family, the topic of INFERTILITY can be a huge and difficult one – some of the people who shared stories in the ADOPTION topic spoke about this already, and here are some other stories of brave people who have decided to speak up in the hope that their struggles, frustrations, questions, pain and hope can speak into the lives of others.

i really hope this blog series will be a light at the end of that dark tunnel for a lot of you. if you know of someone who you think will benefit from hearing the stories that follow, please feel free to cut and paste/tweet/share/link/email, whatever it takes to let them know that these stories are here.

you are not alone. there is a light. and there are many people who have walked this road and are walking it and will offer you support where you are on it.

to read some helpful words from Steve Wiens who really seems to get it, click here

to read Wendy and Richard’s story, click here

to read Bettina’s story, click here

to read Melanie and Willem’s story, click here

stumbled upon these video clips of spoken word from a guy called David Bowden which i thort were too powerful not to share…

this is the first one…

and this second one on scripture i think is even more powerful

Take ten minutes and enjoy and be inspired and challenged.

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