equilibrium: where our best soul peace comes from #thedailyhaiku 25

 

It doesn’t take much to rock our world or spoil our day, does it? With 24 hour news reports, lives that are increasingly fractured and eminently distracted by pinging phones and tablets, we can quickly sway from delight to despair, from joy to sadness, from feeling carefree to being consumed with fear.

And that doesn’t include our own internal make up and body chemistry, plus our propensity for self-preoccupation and concern, which can play havoc with our feelings on the best of days.

So how do we find and maintain a state of measured calm in all of this? How do we avoid being at the mercy of our feelings and subject to change because of shifts in the world around? Where is the equilibrium we all seek?

What works may vary from person to person, but the major stabilising thing in my life is my faith in Christ. Not that my faith doesn’t shake or falter at times. The vital part is what and who we place our faith in, not how great our faith might be in and of itself.

Trusting in Christ is how I achieve a measure of balance, composure and calm, despite what might be happening in my life. It’s not a state of switched off bliss, ignoring the things that disturb my soul while I meditate or something. It starts with a conscious awareness of my need.

It’s a willing surrender to God as loving Father. He cares deeply about what hurts us, and has the ability to keep us stable instead of falling apart, to give us wisdom, equilibrium and strength whenever we need it, and remind us that He is in charge of everything.

Though I may come to God in a state of turmoil to begin with, once I have stilled and rested myself in His presence, prayed and handed over my worries and concerns, He fills me with His supernatural peace, calm and contentment.

It’s a gift. Pure grace, in fact. Freely available to us all. And the best thing? We have access to it as often as we need. There are no limits to God’s willingness to meet with us and calm our fretful hearts.

equilibrium

equilibrium

we become happy and calm

focusing on God

©joylenton

let: when wishes become a way of life #thedaikyhaiku 24

 

As I reach the tail end of this October writing marathon, I must confess that my reserves are very depleted. No surprises there. 😏 But I don’t want to allow discouragement in or let myself become derailed by fatigue. Those things can so easily define my days.

Here’s the thing. I want to go out on a cloud of grace. Same way as I came in, in fact. God carries me each day, holds me close to His chest and whispers words of reassurance whenever I feel defeated by life.

If I am wanting to let anything affect me during these oh so weary days, then let it be joy. Let it be love. Let it be peace. Because I’m done with yielding to my SAD feelings and allowing my body’s state to dictate how my days are shaped. I want to surrender to God most of all, hard as it can be sometimes.

Will you join me? if your health or life is less than tickety-boo, then give it over to God instead of giving yourself a hard time, or wallowing in hurts and slights. Yes, they are a pain, quite literally. Yet what God is willing to give to His children far exceeds those things.

Whatever is troubling your soul, let it be, my friend, and let God be who He wants to be in your life: a rock-steady Hope, a force for Good, an Anchor to hold you firm, a sea of Grace, a river of Peace, a Saviour and your closest Friend, and so much more than we can ever imagine.

let it be

let joy permeate
let love be my calling card
peace be my heart’s state
©joylenton

If my words are insufficient, then why not let the Beatles song above persuade you to let go of your cares? PS: John Lennon was my favourite!  🙂

moon: developing daily gratitude toward created things #thedailyhaiku 23

 

As I watch silvery traces of moonlight (or golden splashes sometimes), I marvel over God’s provision of sun by day and moon by night to light the way for sojourning earthly pilgrims.

It’s a great reminder of the Pillar of Cloud, as Holy presence hovering close to guide during daylight hours, and the Pillar of Fire to light the way for the children of Israel when darkness of night closed in on them.

God led and guided them in this way for 40 long years in the wilderness. Years, decades even, when their clothes and footwear didn’t wear out. Now that’s a miracle all by itself!

So why do we become fretful when we fail to see or sense God’s hand at work? Are we forgetful of His faithfulness and trustworthiness toward us in the past, perhaps? Can we not believe in miracles when God whispers to the sun each morning to do it again, to shine for His glory?

We are apt to go through life with blinkers on, failing to truly see the glory markers God strews in our pathway, or appreciate the daily marvel of life continuing on day after day.

But each time I do remember to stop and look, become rapt with wonder over the sheer loveliness and beauty of a flower or plant, maybe, delighting in cloud patterns travelling across the sky or the flame of sunset setting my heart alight, it feeds my soul with gratitude and a deeper awareness of God’s immanence with us.

Shall we try to be those who notice? Not dwelling heavily on the badness that exists but focusing most on developing holy wonder in connection with those everyday things we can easily take for granted.

moon

a golden-faced orb

hangs low in inky-dark sky

waiting for sun’s sigh

©joylenton

superfluous: clearing out soul clutter #thedailyhaiku 22

 

During recent weeks of attempting to clear out the tangled mess of accumulated clutter in my home, it soon became clear that it was only a fraction of what is superfluous in my life.

I also carry a lot of internal baggage, heavy weights I have assimilated over the years, almost without thinking. They’ve made their presence known in various ways but tend to get pushed into a corner, left to gather dust.

Just as our homes differ from one another, so do our hearts and minds and those things we allow house room to. My excess stuff may not match yours, and that’s okay. Sometimes we are unaware we are carrying extraneous luggage in our souls.

Allow me to name (in no particular order) some of my unwanted stuff that needs shifting. The list is by no means conclusive. There is always more to be found if we ask God to search our hearts. You might even spot a familiar item here….

My personal 7 deadliest sins list…. gulp!

  • Perfectionism  –  definitely a work in progress
  • Insecurity  –  writers are prone to attacks of this
  • Impatience  –  not proud of this one… moving on…
  • Selfishness –  aided and abetted by needing (expecting?) help from others
  • Envy –  that horrible pang inside when you feel left out of this or that
  • Pride –  insidious, often masks as self-preoccupation/introspection
  • Anger –  usually self-directed, but not always

Once our excess, soul-burdening baggage has been identified, we require time for contrite confession and honesty before God, plus asking Holy Spirit for help and grace to act and react differently, while we learn to release this clutter compassionately into His hands.

 

superfluous

it’s superfluous

this excess internal stuff

still weighing me down

©joylenton

shadow: hope for when your past clings on today #thedailyhaiku 21

 

Try as we might, we cannot erase our past. Only God can give us a clean slate, fresh start and a new heart. We soon discover that the worst of events tend to continue to haunt us in the present like a ghostly presence. They cling like an unwanted second skin, clammy and cold to our souls.

I’ve had to learn to relinquish my past to God, mainly because some of it is just too heavy and painful to carry alone. This doesn’t mean that it never enters my thoughts. Far from it. The enemy is always whispering venom to our hearts and minds. He loves to remind us just what we were, where we came from and how we’ve been wronged.

And when that happens we can get drawn back into the feelings we had back then, sucked into the swirling vortex of pain, while our minds relive it all over again like a never ending cinema reel.

But we have a powerful weapon against the enemy’s  wiles. As we read God’s Word it not only reminds us just who we are in Christ, it saturates us with beautiful, holy Truth and Light that drives out the dark and ugly lies we’ve bought into.

 

The more we believe the Bible over what our fearful hearts have clung to, and allow the Lord access to all areas, the better prepared we are to fight with spiritual weapons instead of caving in to pain, and accept we are redeemed and washed clean, a new creation in Jesus Christ.

It’s what gives us the resources and strength we need to move on, dwell on God’s mercy, forgiveness and grace instead of on our guilt-ridden and shame-filled past, while learning to live more joyfully in the present day.

a vanished shadow

a vanished shadow
yesterday clings ghost-like, grey
while we live today
©joylenton

duality: how life’s duality draws our hearts toward God #thedailyhaiku 20

 

As I sit typing this post in advance, the sky is heavily blanketed by a golden smog of dust from the Sahara, driven by stormy winds. It shouldn’t be dark quite yet, because dusk and sunset are still a way ahead, but we’re needing to put lights on in order to see clearly. The eventual sunset (pictured above) was pretty stunning though.  🙂

So attuned do we become to the rhythmic, diurnal changes that exist, especially as one season segues into another, that our bodies and minds expect light and dark to keep to their respective places in the world around us.

God has ordained it as such that light will always overcome the darkness. It has to yield and give way. Likewise, sorrow surrenders to joy, and healing and recovery follow injury and pain. There is a duality, where seeming opposites appear to coexist, as I describe in the poem below…

coexistence

how can there be joy

at the heart of sorrow

and sadness coexist

where there is bliss?

yet somehow

they are mixed

and inextricably

linked as one

expression of life

and love and faith

and deep mystery

part of all our tomorrows

in all the annals

of human history

©joylenton

 

Our steadiness, in the midst of this coexistence mystery, is to place our hope and faith in Christ the solid Rock. Jesus is the ballast we need in a world where shifting sands literally invade our days, and where we can witness worldwide grief and pain on a daily basis.

Life’s duality and uncertainty are intended to encourage us to seek after God, to look for His Light, pursue the Peace only He can provide and anticipate the Joy beyond our dark and painful circumstances.

 

life’s duality

life is a strange thing

sorrow cuts us sharp as knives

joy makes our soul sing

 

such duality

exists to make us reach out

and accept God’s grace

 

while the heat builds up

emotions rage inside us

requiring God’s touch

 

a holy healing

begins to flood our hard hearts

bathed in peace and love

©joylenton

our aching heart void that only God can fill #thedailyhaiku 19

 

Hearts are such fragile things, easily hurt and wounded, broken and crushed. Our brokenness means we all have an aching heart, whether we sense it or not. Life’s flotsam and jetsam twists us up inside and we crave an elusive peace.

Nothing we try to do can quite assuage the void within that fills with unshed tears and pain. I wrote something about this in my poetic memoir, especially in the poem below. It’s not a haiku but it addresses this topic well…

Broken

In every pew

sits a broken heart

In every church

we’re falling apart

We’re the haunted

by memories and shame

We’re the wounded

by sickness and pain

In need of

God’s mercy and grace

In hope of

change taking place

We reach out

with yearning tears

We sing out

broken hallelujahs

©joylenton

There is an answer to our weariness, weakness and pain, our guilt and shame, our wounded state. His Name is Jesus and He is the Son of God, broken for us on the Cross so that we might experience true rest, freedom, peace and joy through knowing Him.

Father,

I pray that every thirsting soul and every aching heart will find their heart’s true Home in relationship with you. May you assuage the pain that comes from living in a fallen world, bring us peace beyond all earthly understanding and a joy which surpasses our wildest expectations.

Saturate our hearts with your Love, your goodness and grace, your immeasurable, awe-inspiring Holy presence. And grant us deep soul rest as we learn to trust in you above our own desires and anxious thoughts.

Heal our brokenness and give us Hope to start again, no matter where we are situated or what life has thrown at us. May we receive your mercy and forgiveness, let go of guilt, shame and disgrace and be able to lift our heads high, knowing we are your own Beloved ones.

Amen

aching heart

our hearts are aching
there’s an emptiness inside
Jesus alone fills
©joylenton

**PS: you can access my book, ‘Seeking Solace: Discovering grace in life’s hard places’, in the sidebar here or on Amazon**  🙂