Jan 27, 2019
SATISFIED 5 – Age
Series: Satisfied

A few years ago I fell off my mountain bike and hurt my shoulder. This was not an unusual occurrence but this time my shoulder still felt painful a few days later and I had to go to a doctor to get it checked out. I asked the doctor why I didn’t recover from this injury like I had plenty of times before. His response was brutal, “you’re getting older.” Apparently my body isn’t as flexible as it was. My joints aren’t as smooth, my bones are not as strong, my muscles are not as quick and my eyesight is not as good. This came as quite a shock, getting older was something that happened to other people! This injury, and the doctor's blunt diagnosis, really brought home the truth. Suddenly I found that I could really relate to Terry Pratchett who wrote that inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened. What about you? At what point did you realise that you were actually getting old, or was it something you have always been aware of? How did you feel when the doctor (or whatever) made you realise that you were getting older?

I think it's especially a shock because we live in a culture that celebrates youth. It seems like a vast majority of advertising is aimed at a younger audience, a majority of people featured on radio and television are young and certainly the majority of social media stars are young. Some Youtube and Twitch streaming video stars don't even seem to have finished high school! When we are no longer a part of this celebrated bunch of people it's easy to feel a sense of loss and perhaps even regret. If you had the opportunity what would you say to your younger self? What advice would you offer? What warnings would you give? What encouragement would you bequeath?

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  • Jan 27, 2019SATISFIED 5 – Age
    Jan 27, 2019
    SATISFIED 5 – Age
    Series: Satisfied

    A few years ago I fell off my mountain bike and hurt my shoulder. This was not an unusual occurrence but this time my shoulder still felt painful a few days later and I had to go to a doctor to get it checked out. I asked the doctor why I didn’t recover from this injury like I had plenty of times before. His response was brutal, “you’re getting older.” Apparently my body isn’t as flexible as it was. My joints aren’t as smooth, my bones are not as strong, my muscles are not as quick and my eyesight is not as good. This came as quite a shock, getting older was something that happened to other people! This injury, and the doctor's blunt diagnosis, really brought home the truth. Suddenly I found that I could really relate to Terry Pratchett who wrote that inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened. What about you? At what point did you realise that you were actually getting old, or was it something you have always been aware of? How did you feel when the doctor (or whatever) made you realise that you were getting older?

    I think it's especially a shock because we live in a culture that celebrates youth. It seems like a vast majority of advertising is aimed at a younger audience, a majority of people featured on radio and television are young and certainly the majority of social media stars are young. Some Youtube and Twitch streaming video stars don't even seem to have finished high school! When we are no longer a part of this celebrated bunch of people it's easy to feel a sense of loss and perhaps even regret. If you had the opportunity what would you say to your younger self? What advice would you offer? What warnings would you give? What encouragement would you bequeath?

  • Jan 20, 2019SATISFIED 4 – Approval
    Jan 20, 2019
    SATISFIED 4 – Approval
    Series: Satisfied

    I am most definitely, most unequivocally, a people pleaser. I want people to like me. Not just people I know and like, but everyone. I want people to think and speak well of me. I have fallen into the trap way too many times, of doing or not doing something, saying or not saying something, wearing something or looking a certain way, in order to win the approval of others. This label doesn’t define me as accurately in the last decade of my life as it did for the first three decades. I am, perhaps, what could be called a ‘recovering people pleaser’. Experience has shown me that being a people pleaser isn’t beneficial to my life or ministry. It means I base my value on other people’s perceptions of me. Sometimes I say, “Yes,” when I should yell, “No!” and I don’t always make the best decisions.

    In fact, I think it’s pretty rare to meet a person who hasn’t struggled with people pleasing at some point. It’s a survival tactic. It’s how many of us have learned to thrive in a world that is highly relational and inter-connected. At the same time, you’d be hard pressed to find a people pleaser who hasn’t suffered the consequences of the tendency.

    Focusing too much on what other people think, feel or need, without considering our own thoughts or feelings, can lead to helplessness, depression, frustration and insecurity. The most unfortunate outcome of my desire to please others has been when it reroutes my day from the ultimate goal of pleasing God and obeying him.

    Pleasing those we love is rewarding, and this may not be wrong in and of itself. But pleasing God is a higher calling and much more fulfilling. We are headed for trouble when our desire to please people and gain their approval becomes as important as pleasing God and sensing His approval.

    Solomon warns us in Ecclesiastes 7:21, “Do not pay attention to every word people say.” The phenomenon of seeking approval from the voices of people is clearly not a new thing. Even thousands of years ago, Solomon knew what it was like to live for the opinions of others and he knew that it was as meaningless as chasing after the wind, because it didn’t last.

  • Jan 13, 2019SATISFIED 3 – Envy
    Jan 13, 2019
    SATISFIED 3 – Envy
    Series: Satisfied

    I have long admired my neighbour’s lawn. It is completely free of weeds, it’s lush and it’s very green. I really wanted my lawn to be just as lush and green. One day, a couple of weeks ago, he had connected up his hose to a brand new bottle of liquid lawn food and left it out as he went to get something from Bunnings. Now, our neighbours lawn is just across the driveway from mine, just a couple of metres. It was so tempting to quickly grab his hose and water my not-so-green lawn with his ‘Weed & Feed’. I wouldn’t even have to cross the driveway, I could cover my whole lawn from where he left it. I didn’t steal his lawn food, but reflecting on that moment showed me how subtle and powerful the feeling of envy can be.

    Ever since Shakespeare coined the phrase “green with jealousy,” people have associated the colour green with the feeling of envy. Envy is the desire to acquire what other people have. From ancient times the colour green also indicated sickness. This is why Shakespeare used it to describe the state of jealousy or envy. When we are caught in a storm of envy or jealousy it is as though we are sick. Different parts of our minds and bodies cease to function, other parts over-function and life becomes very, very difficult. Our minds become preoccupied with that thing that we are afraid of losing, or that thing that we desperately want.

    Not surprisingly The Teacher in Ecclesiastes points out that all of this is meaningless. Pointless. Grabbing smoke. Instead, he teaches us a better way.

  • Jan 6, 2019SATISFIED 2 – A Season For Everything
    Jan 6, 2019
    SATISFIED 2 – A Season For Everything
    Series: Satisfied
     I’m not really a fan of winter. I don’t like to be cold. I can’t do so many things I love to do when it’s winter. The beach isn’t as fun in winter, and it’s often dark and rainy and cold. I struggle to feel as happy in winter as I do in summer. I can be a bit sulky as winter approaches because I feel like the best part of the year is over, and I grieve the loss of the warmth. This time last year I left the comforts of lazy days reading my book on the beach to fly to New York. I arrived just before they closed JFK airport for 2 days due to a ‘bomb cyclone’ (a fancy name for an intense winter snow storm) and -17℃ temperatures. I knew New York would be cold, but this was ridiculous. I wanted to be back at the beach, swimming in the ocean and walking along rock pools at sunset. This was so far from my current reality. However, it actually didn’t take me too long to embrace the conditions. I rugged up in so many clothes that it was hard to move. I made my first snow man, my first snow angel, threw snowballs at my friend, went ice-skating in Central Park. I even had fun shovelling snow from the driveway. There was no way I was going to place myself in this type of weather again, so I decided to make the most of the uniqueness of that season.

    Weather patterns generally take the form of four seasons. But in our lives, there are dozens of different seasons, each involving good and bad. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” God can take even the bad things and, in the proper season, turn them around and use them for good in the way He intends. We may be going through a season that is not beautiful. Our finances may look ugly. Our health may look ugly. Our marriage or a friendship look ugly. Our future might even look ugly.

    Just as God determines the weather, He also controls the seasons in our lives. Do we resist those seasons and complain about the ‘snowy’ conditions on the horizon? Or do we trust God and thank Him for whatever He has planned for us? Ecclesiastes reminds us that if we’re following God’s will, if we’re trying to live life the way God wants us to live, we’ll eventually see that these experiences can have purpose and value. There’s a time and season for everything.

  • Dec 30, 2018SATISFIED 1 – The Wisdom Of The Teacher
    Dec 30, 2018
    SATISFIED 1 – The Wisdom Of The Teacher
    Series: Satisfied
    As 2018 draws to a close it’s natural for you to look back and reflect on the year that has been. As you do, ask yourself about your level of satisfaction. On a scale of one to ten how satisfied are you with your family, your job, your age or your social life? How can you increase your level of satisfaction in the year to come? Satisfaction is the focus of the wisdom of ‘the Teacher’ contained in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. Following years of trial and error the Teacher has a lot to say about finding real satisfaction. He finds that a satisfying life comes from sinking yourself into things that really matter. Our level of satisfaction takes a nose-dive when we are distracted from what really matters. It’s good practice to regularly stop and assess our level of satisfaction and adjust our goals and plans accordingly.

    Join us at 10am on Sunday mornings at Wollongong Salvos as we build the wisdom of the Teacher into our lives in preparation for a satisfying 2019. #welovesundays #satisfaction #wollongongsalvos