Giving up Self idolisation

It’s a harsh title but honest. Softened, it means I need to stop being ‘Mr Fix It’.

In all aspects of my life; my Faith, marriage, parenthood and work, especially, I have been striving. I’ve let my dependance on God slip, my Faith & trust in Him waver and I’ve nurtured the belief that I’m in control of my life.

In short, I’ve made myself an idol – believing that I know better than He does & that I am somehow more powerful.

I’ve been praying & asking him for what (I think) I need. But I have stopped seeking Him for His Will: for what He knows I need and I’ve stopped making the time & space to hear His voice.

God’s still talking to me – I have stopped listening.

How did I realise? Life became too hard. It became devoid of it’s richness, the fruit stopped growing & my stress levels rose. I know that those are not things that God wants me to experience.

But God loves me & so He revealed this to me. He began to reveal it in my heart, He used His people & he spoke through His Word, specifically, these verses:

“… But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord…” Ja 1:6-7

I was doubting God. Doubting His plan for me, His love for me, that He is in charge; looking out & providing for me. It was getting painful, stressful, unhappy, joyless & I wasn’t coping. I cannot live His Way without seeking Him for His guidance and provision.

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” (Pro 16:9)

– That’s been me!

Because he loves me, he not only showed me how I was going wrong, but gave me a hand & is helping me out of my distress too.

I turned towards him & he received me. I shared my problems with Him directly & with couple of close Christian brothers, admitting my lack of faith & trust in Him. (In other words repented & confessed.) My friends prayed for me.

The next day I began in quiet prayer, recommitting myself to Him & giving him some undivided attention, allowing me to hear what he’s saying. And he said this:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (Ja 1:5)

So I’m purposefully trying to step forward again in God’s strength & not my own.

This is what i’m trying to do differently:
1. Give God some undivided attention each day. Without distractions.
2. Stop talking to Him all the the time. Start listening.
3. Read the bible. After all, it’s the clearest way to hear His Word!
4. Stop trying to be in control of everything I’m involved with & trust Him.

Good bye Mr Fix It!

Who are you to be? Or not to be?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

“People who don’t take risks generally make about 2 big mistakes a year, people who do take risks generally make about 2 big mistakes a year” -Peter Drucker

“We are born to shine, as children do.” So don’t hold back, be who you are, a child of God, and accomplish all that He has planned for you. Go for it!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

 

 

 

Advent Reinvented – looking from behind the calendar doors

As the years go by, putting the ‘Christ’ back into Christmas becomes more and more of a crusade for me.

This year, it’s started earlier, only this time I can blame my wife.

From the 1st December, countless doors will be flung open in homes across the western world, doors that reveal pictures, gifts and chocolate. That’s right, it’s Advent (meaning the coming of Christ into the world) and it’s time to break out the Advent calendars.

Advent-Calendar

The tradition of Advent calendars began in Germany, where the Lutherans would count down the days until Christmas, using an Advent Clock (of 24 candles) – each day marking a step closer to the celebration of Jesus’ birthday; the coming of the Messiah.

In the early 20th century, the original Advent Clock transformed into printed calendars with a door for each day, behind which was a picture of a scene or event from the story of Jesus’ birth. As time has passed, gifts began to appear behind the doors, to remind us that Jesus’ is God’s greatest gift to us. By the 1950s this had come to include chocolate and while chocolate is the modern favourite, today’s consumer can find anything from Harrods glass decorations to Star Wars Lego!

Sadly, for many, the original message has been lost. We buy the calendars and receive a gift or a treat from behind each door. But do we remember why?

Thanks to the internet, here’s a couple of online Advent calendars that convey the Christian message (and, of course, a few freebies).

Spring Harvest Advent Calendar

London School of Theology  (LST) Advent Calendar

I think they’re a great modern interpretation of the original thought behind the Advent Calendar, and they are cool gifts in themselves, but Rachel challenged me even more. What if we were behind the doors? What if people we know are looking for something each day this December and we could give it to them?

We could be the gifts. We could give gifts of love and personally deliver the message that God wants us to, the message that He delivered when He gave His son to save us, because He loves us so much.

So we’re reinventing Advent this year and trying to look out from behind the calendar doors. Our prayer each day this Advent is that God will use us to give a gift of love to someone each day, to demonstrate His love, and deliver the Good News of Jesus.

Caring and sharing – real fundraising knowledge

First day of the Institute of Fundraising’s London region conference and again my head is as full as my notebook.

Having previously attended the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention, I had very high expectations of the seminar content and delivery.

I’ve not been disappointed. Rob Woods’ opening plenary, ‘Get more of what you want’ set the tone with a motivational challenge to become great at what we do, by breaking out of old, personal beliefs.

He cited the example of a struggling major donor fundraiser, still believing (as his parents had told him at age six) that it was wrong to talk to strangers and that talking about money was impolite (familiar?). We were encouraged that once-appropriate beliefs could be changed. If we were prepared to be open and believe…

Being open to new beliefs was a great footing to step forward from. In the following Masterclass on Integration, led by Liz Tait (Battersea Dogs and Cats home), Lucy Gower (NSPCC), Nick Burne (Think) and Max du Bois (Spencer du Bois) I was particularly challenged about brand being coherent not consistent (no more brand police), replacing channel thinking with touchpoint thinking (actually I was more affirmed by this) and encouraged by the benefits that integration can bring (however painful getting there may be).

Afternoon seminars covering ‘Giving locally’ and the opportunities presented by community event fundraising continued to fill up pages in my notebook and I could stay up all night expounding upon the ideas I’ve come away with (except I should sleep before Day 2!), so I’ll get to my point.

There’s a big difference between an educational gathering of commercial organisations and the fundraising community – those that care, really share. The @IofLondon conference’s content is high quality and leading edge, delivered by experienced fundraising practitioners who know what they’re talking about. But more than that, it’s honest and non-competitive. People’s agendas aren’t self-serving, so the information that’s shared is real and credible.

And what did I take away from that? The truth. What really works and what doesn’t. Honest stories of real challenges, failures and successes – real information and practical experience that could deliver more successful fundraising in the future.

For charities and their beneficiaries, what gets better than that?

Life saving fundraising for the homeless – The Big Sleep Out

It’s time to put my money where my mouth is.

Ok, it’s actually time to persuade other people to put their money where my mouth is.

Although I’ve been working for, volunteering for and giving to charities for the last six years, I’m ashamed to admit that this is the first time I’ve formally done anything that requires me to personally fundraise. How bad is that?

This year I felt inspired to jump in with both feet and join in a fundraising event for a charity I’ve been involved with for the last four years – Off the Fence, who serve those most at risk in Brighton and Hove. There’s is a ministry of social action and Christian outreach, primarily working with the homeless, vulnerable women and young people.

Off the Fence Homeless

This is Steve. Earlier this year I was involved in producing some promotional material for the charity, including producing publicity photos. We had to use models for some shots, but this guy volunteered to be a face of the charity’s work. He’s for real and so is this image – in fact, this is how he has to spend a lot of his time. Outside, in all weathers, with little more than a sleeping bag, some cardboard, a doorway and a bottle of booze to protect him from the elements.

That’s why I’m helping. Sleeping bags like that one save lives. So, to raise awareness and money (to buy and distribute sleeping bags to guys like Steve) I’m taking part in Off the Fence’s Big Sleep Out on December 16th this year. With my wife, we’re aiming to raise over £1,000 – if we do raise over £1,000, I’ll go through the night without a sleeping bag – after all that’s what many have to do.

If you’d like to know more…

Read more about the Big Sleep Out

Read more about Off the Fence

Sponsor me here – Just £10 can save a life

I’ll let you know how it goes!

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A few little steps

Not of the waywalker’ – I watched my little girl take three steps today. I don’t know if they were her first, but they were the first connected steps I’ve seen her take and to watch them was an absolute delight to me.

” Charlotte, you have such a happy experience of the world, and you’re taking it at your own pace. I love the way you explore your immediate environment, with a measured outlook and an inquiring mind. You’re happy to just investigate things close to you, not stepping too far, but examining those things in depth. You keep doing that – taking life a few little steps at a time.” Love, Dad.

Working out my purpose

‘We spend most of our twenties discovering all of the hundreds of things we can be. But as we mature into our thirties, we begin to discover all of the things we will never be. The challenge for us is to reach our forties and beyond and put it all together – to know our capabilities and recognise our limitations – and become the best we can be.’ Catherine B. Hales

So there’s hope for me yet 😀

(Patience, Andrew, patience.)

Andy Heald

The threads of my life

Some say that a successful blog has a focused subject and that the subject itself is a focus of the author’s (blogger’s) life.

As hard as I try, my life never seems to have one focus, one single point of interest and expertise. I’ve never been the person who knows what they’re going to be when they grow up, never been the person who knows what their purpose or destination is, and only recently discovered that I’m on a journey, a guided tour of life, if you like, earthly destination unknown but with the voice of God directing me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my life doesn’t have focus – because its not supposed to, that’s not me. My life exists as a series of many threads, all woven into a tapestry, rich in colour and varied in texture.

Therefore my blog (as an expression of my lifestory) will be just the same. Hopefully, at some point in the future, the threads of the story will all connect and the overall picture will be clear, I’ll get to find out what lies ahead on my life’s path.

Perhaps all will become clear when, at some point, I step back. Like a dot matrix picture – up close, each individual dot makes no sense, but from a distance the picture is obvious.

I’m looking forward to that day…

Andy Heald

Back to the blog – new beginnings

Been a long time since last post. A lot of steps (& a few leaps ) taken. I’ve let too many barriers get in the way. Time, truth… what can be shared? I’ve let my desire to be too clever in my posting be a blockage…

…so, here’s to my new beginnings and the start of a simpler journey, where my desire is to be real. The Truth.The Way. The Life.

Oh yes. You can read my old blog here