Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Commitment Issues?

Commitment issues can keep us from experiencing success, real love and joy in life, but it's possible to overcome them. No matter what our goals are in life we need to be committed to the journey to reach our goals. Career success or a successful romantic relationship doesn't just happen to people by chance, we experience these blessings in life because we are committed to the work required to have these things in our lives. If we throw in the towel every time something gets hard in life we won't get to experience the joy of seeing our dreams come true.

We can't be successful in a romantic relationship without commitment. We can't be successful in our careers without commitment. What it comes down to in the end is this: How important is that relationship or career goal to you? If it's important you will commit, no matter how hard it will get sometimes. Commitment requires good character, self-discipline and passion.

Is There More to Life Than This?

Begin the greatest adventure with us. The Alpha Film Series is an updated, relevant and engaging resource designed to take the audience on an epic journey exploring the basics of the Christian faith. Find an Alpha near you visit:

My Greatest Adventure?

What does it take to live a life of adventure? Watch world-renowned TV adventurer Bear Grylls share the untold story of his greatest adventure.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Slow Weekends

My husband is Jamaican and I'm Finnish-Swedish, we both come from cultures that are pretty good at enjoying life and finding a balance between work and rest. Today we live in North America where life balance is almost extinct. I get the feeling that it's normal to be exhausted, busy and over-worked in this part of the world. We are expected to tire ourselves out from working long days and commuting on weekdays. On weekends we are expected to train for a marathon/triathlon, take our kids to multiple activities/sports and attend some cultural event in the city. No wonder humans are exhausted in 2017. Time for rest is seldom scheduled.

In our house rest and time with family is something that we value highly and therefore we prioritize it. Last weekend we were busier than usual so this past weekend we were extra focused on making time for rest. Different people find different things to be relaxing, for me resting is to spend time with family and friends. I also enjoy spending time in nature or reading a book or magazine.

On Friday evening my husband and I had our weekly Date Night. I was tired and tempted to cancel the whole event but I'm glad I made the effort to get all dressed up because we ended up having a really fun evening out.

On Saturday we decided to leave the busy city-life behind for a day and take a drive to Wasaga Beach.

This view awaited us at Wasaga Beach. Hello September, I like the way you look this year!

When we went to Wasaga Beach on Labor Day weekend a couple of weeks ago I thought that was the last beach trip for the season. Nope. Summer of 2017 was more rainy than usual in Toronto, but September has been warmer than usual instead. God is funny, and awesome! :)

It was +29 degrees Celsius at Wasaga Beach on Saturday so I decided to cool down with an Island soda.

On Sunday morning we went to church and afterwards we had some brunch. In the afternoon I relaxed by taking a long walk in the neighborhood and along some nature trails. I love living in the suburbs where nature is never far away.

Canada, Oh Canada. Every time I see the Canadian flag in the neighborhood I'm reminded of how blessed I am to get to live in this beautiful country. I'm so grateful for the life I get to live.

New Values, New Priorities

When we find God we find peace, joy, meaning, contentment and an everlasting love. When we find God we are forever changed, the more time we spend in His presence the more our values start to change. God softens my heart when I spend time with Him, life becomes less about me and more about loving others. When I think back at how differently I used to view the world fifteen years ago I smile, if God can change me that much he can change anyone. When I see evil in the world it makes me sad but never hopeless, because I know that when God gets a hold of a person’s heart no evil will prevail. God has the power to change even the most self-centred cold-hearted person. I’ve seen many former criminals and gang members tell their story, with tears in their eyes, about how everything changed in their lives when God got a hold of their heart. One of my friends went to prison for ten years, today he is a loving husband and father of three young kids. If you met him you would never guess that this man once was a member in a dangerous gang.

When we develop a personal and real relationship with God himself everything changes. I can not change myself, only God has the power to change me. Wearing a cross around your neck won’t change you. Visiting church a few times a year won’t change you. Being religious and following all the rules won’t change you. Only God himself can change you, and He will. Nobody ever meets God and walks away unchanged. God doesn’t change us over night, but the more time we spend in His presence the more change we will see. Timothy Keller explains how our whole world view changes when we encounter God’s presence. In his book “The Reason for God” Timothy Keller writes:

In this peaceable kingdom there is a reversal of the values of the world with regard to power, recognition, status and wealth. In this new counterculture, Christians look at money as something to give away. They look at power as something to use strictly for service. Racial and class superiority, accrual of money and power at the expense of others, yearning for popularity and recognition, these normal marks of human life, are the opposite of the mindset of those who have understood and experienced the Cross. Christ creates a whole new order of life. Those who are shaped by the great reversal of the Cross no longer need self-justification through money, status, career, or pride of race and class. So the Cross creates a counterculture in which sex, money, and power cease to control us and are used in life-giving and community-building rather than destructive ways.”

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Freedom is being completely happy with my body

In today’s society, there seem to be two major options for how we should view our bodies. We can either be unhappy about our bodies or we can take pride in our bodies and show them off. Our culture teaches us that if we don’t like our bodies we should cover them up and be ashamed of them. We also learn that the solution to getting rid off the shame is to proudly show off what we’ve got. Shame or pride, those are the options. What both options have in common is that they put a huge focus on the body. Our bodies are no longer just a body but either “a showpiece” or something to be ashamed of. The reason our bodies will either give us feelings of shame or pride is simple; we have decided that our bodies define our worth. If I don’t look good that means I’m “less than”. If I look great it means I have great worth. If I look good I also need to show off skin so that others can validate my worth. This is the type of language that our current social media culture is teaching us.

Historically humans have always based a person’s value on things like beauty, power and social status, but do we really want to live according to that standard? I don’t know about you, but I know that this cultural ideal has caused me to develop body image issues over the years. When my own world view finally changed I became aware of the fact that that my worth has nothing to do with how I look, no matter what pop culture says. Today I’m no longer struggling with body image issues, I’m completely happy with my body. I’m grateful and appreciative of my body but I no longer view my body as an object that defines my worth.

Today I view my body as “a home” where my soul lives, not as a show piece that needs to be botoxed and fixed to perfection. I no longer have a need to show off skin because I no longer look for other people to give me validation. I found freedom when I stopped objectifying my own body and started seeing my body for what it is; just a body. Today I’m more interested in spending my time and energy on taking care of my soul rather than spending a huge amount of hours at the gym. My body has scars, cellulite and wrinkles, but I can honestly say that this doesn’t bother me at all. Ten years ago I would not have been happy with the scars, cellulite and wrinkles on my body.

Here’s a fact: a few years from now my body will be dead and eaten by worms in a casket. I’m sorry about giving you that gross image in your head, but I think it’s important to let that sink in. Why should I spend huge amounts of money and time on fixing up my body to look perfect when it’s only a temporary shell? I will only do that if I believe that my worth is connected to my looks. Botox will not make me a more loving person. Perfectly toned muscles will not make me a more loving person. If I take that same energy that I used to spend on obsessing about my looks and spend it on growing my character I will end up becoming a more loving person. In the end it comes down to this: What does our world need more of? Does our world need more love or more perfect bodies?