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Fridays with Phil

Life, family and unshakeable faith

MOVING FORWARD WITH LOSS AND GRIEF.

If we love then we will not make it through life without experiencing grief.

Strategies for dealing with grief.

       

In my last vlog I said:

Life’s beauty is inseparable from it fragility.

The greatest beauty is found in love.  

With love also comes great grief.

If we love then we will not make it through life without experiencing grief.

Living with arms and hearts that embrace life and love will also bring lose.

This loss can be in the form of the death of a loved one, 

Being made redundant from your work place, 

A diagnosis that threatens your life, 

A business transaction that has been lost,

Lose of business that you have given your life to.

A pandemic that separates, isolates and devastates your security and well being.

BUT WHAT if I could show you a way to processing grief and loss that will lead to a greater depth of joy, a new perspective ON life and new purpose FOR life. 

Some real keys to living with and through grief.

First: When we deal with our grief don’t look at it like its a spiralling downward as much as its a way we move forward through pain and challenge.  It’s what Philippians calls the “forgetting what is behind and straining forward”.  

Sometimes going forward means straining and grief is THAT.

JESUS lived for 33 years on this earth and he lived in a way that not one moment or experience he had was wasted or of no value to him or those who would know him.  

In the Garden of Gethsemane we see him grieving again, weeping over his coming death and wanting the comfort of his friends with him. 

In Matthew,: “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death; remain here and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38 ESV).

And, of course, lamenting to God is praying like Jesus did. Jesus prayed a psalm of lament on the cross, crying out “Father, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Psalm 22:1 ESV).

Jesus grief was seen over the death of His friend Lazarus.

He loved and in His love for Jerusalem, for humanity, for you and I he experienced real grief.

His grief was not wasted neither is our grief.

You may not see any meaning that can be immediately attached to the grief you are going through but the way you go through your grief could in itself attach meaning to it.

This is a world full of brokenness, and grief reveals the truth about that brokenness. 

I think this is a topic again so needed right now more then ever.

It’s a subject that again is 

not negative but positive, 

not destructive but building, 

not disempowering but empowering, 

not weak but strong,

not fearful but courageous.

If we lean into grief the way we should we will bring meaning and purpose to what may seem such meaningless circumstances.

Yes I believe when we see no obvious reason for loss and grief we have the grace and ability to bring meaning to it.

Can I first begin by saying sadness and grief though similar are not the same.

If we think of sadness its not depression and its not grief.

Sadness unlike depression and grief is shorter more temporary emotion we have in lose or disappointment.

When we see that 958 people died in England we are sad but for the loved ones of those who died they will experience deep grief.

Our sadness may only last for a few days or until the next commercial or news report of another tragedy or triumph.

Their grief will stay with them  in some form or another for the rest of their lives.

When I was diagnosed with MND a terminal illness for those who loved me deeply it was a time of grief for others it was sad to hear about Phil.

And thats ok because none of us who love deeply will go through life without grief.

May I also say that grief can have many levels and layers too it.

If your mother was to die at the age of 98 from natural courses your grief will be real but for you to loss a child at a young age to cancer or some other illness or tragedy. May I suggest that grief would be a whole other level and depth so profound that it would impact your life story for ever.

Grief goes deeper, its life changing, its an experience that brings a changed life. 

There is a before and an after this happened when it comes to a life impacted by grief. 

Before this loss and after this loss!

For me it was I was healthy before i was not, with this MND.

I will continue to live, love and enjoy life but life will be different and so will I.

Even if I was healed today my life will never be the same as it was before the diagnosis.

Grief has the ability to make us more loving, patient, compassionate, accepting and gentle.

This will only happen if we face up to grief, truth up to it.

To do this with any sense of truth we have to know that with grief, 

its ok not to be ok, 

until you are ok, 

and you will be OK.

When I lost my sense of self worth and significance after being diagnosed with MND and as a result having to leave a job I not only deeply loved but that I had been called to.  

I loved being who I was and doing what I did so when I lost that ministry as i knew it then my grief was real and tangible.

Grief is not sinful.

It’s  a good and godly response to love and passion lost.

Sometimes we repress grief and try to move through it quickly, or even deny that it is there. 

We might fear that it is a sin to feel this way. 

If we believe it is sin, it follows that we should move away from this negative feeling quickly. 

We fear our grief may cause us to question the presence and work of God in our lives.

What I learned during this time is that it was not the end of me or my life but a continuance of it in ways i never imagined.

I would get up but I would be different.

It was going to be a straining, a stretching,  a reaching but not a breaking.

What i suggest you do in your time of grief is be honest with your feelings and emotions.

Either write them down like no one will read them, so there is no filter by what you should say or be expected to say.

Lament to God as though he is the only one who hears and he knows anyway so your not going to shock Him.

Confide in a wise friend, pastor, counsellor, therapist who you can trust with the truth about how your feeling.

Lamenting to God is a good and holy way to grieve.

Listen to a Lament in Psalm 102:1-2

“GOD, listen! Listen to my prayer, listen to the pain in my cries. Don’t turn your back on me just when I need you so desperately. Pay attention! This is a cry for help! And hurry—this can’t wait!”

 When you write or talk about your grief your showing up to it.

Life is lived when you move forward with your story not by separating yourself from it.  

We become integrated and whole able to move forward in healthy ways.

This week and indeed the months ahead will bring with it sadness for some and grief for others.  

If we are global christians we will not just see the blessing of living in Australia at this time but also feel the pain of what many others in our world are going through especially in 3rd world countries where the news seems to have no concern.

The way we move forward with these real emotions will determine the depth of love, joy and wonder that life is.  

Without grief we would never really fathom the profoundness of love.  

Grief is only possible because we have loved and love is ultimately measured by the depth of our grief.

Grief journeyed rightly, honestly and truthfully will bring new purpose, new direction, new perspective to life.

This new life wont come by ignoring the grief but facing it truthfully and fully until we are change for the better because of it.

So:

 Write it down

Lament and pray to God.

Talk to a friend

Confide in a councillor. 

Remember grief is a stretching, a straining but its a forward movement not a backward one. 

You will be transformed by the experience as you face your grief with grace and truth.

You will find new perspective, new purpose, new love for life and living.

Thanks for listening.  

If your on YouTube why not subscribe to my channel or

 go to my blog at fridayswithphil.com

God bless you all.

One week before Easter. Are you doing good?

If there was ever a time we needed one another to do the right thing, it’s now. By keeping cyber connection and looking out for each other we can get through this better, stronger, more loving, gracious and thankful.

In this video I’m encouraging you to kill “somebody else”. I know!

Sorry about audio. It’s hard to hear on my MacBook but ok on my iPhone and iPad.

 

Being lockdown but not locked up!

What those who are locked-in can teach those of us who are locked-down.

Your ability to adapt to change will determine how quickly we get through this challenge.

Please subscribe to me youtube channel. Search in YouTube for: fridayswithphil

 

Faith from the Fernleigh Track.

Courage in the face of Coronavirus.

This was posted last Friday on other social media but just worked out how to do here.

Hope your encouraged.

On the Couch – Unpacking our journey with MND / ALS

Recently Lenore and I were interviewed “On the Couch” in a heart-to-heart chat about our journey with terminal illness, how we reconcile our journey with our faith, and how we hope our story can help others.

This is a link to the interview at Riviera Christian Centre here:

Here is a full list of questions we answered about our journey of hope with MND / ALS:
  1. Was Shannon (our son-in-law) what we expected for our (eldest) daughter?
  2. Explain what MND is?
  3. So you’ve outlived the prognosis?
  4. How did you process the first time you were given the diagnosis?
  5. At the point of diagnosis, did it change what you believed about God?
  6. How do you keep caring and loving in this journey?
  7. Is there a point when you don’t want to deal with it anymore?
  8. What do you do when fear tries to creep in?
  9. What about the contradiction of living with a God who heals but who hasn’t yet?
  10. What do you do to look after yourself?

 

Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think it could help!

Phil

Leadership in Life & Parenting

As many have followed my journey, you would know that in the last 4 years (in which I was told I would not be alive), I have become a grandfather to three adorable children.

They are adorable, but not always amusing.

Sometimes without a reason or warning they “spit the dummy” so to speak. When and where they choose to do this is anyone’s guess and not any of their concern.

I can clearly remember one of my own children losing it every time we tried to put a seatbelt on her.  She hated it so much she would scream as if we had abducted her.  It was both very annoying and embarrassing as a parent.

So I know that our Instagram children are not the real deal, there are times when it is just crazy.

Let me recall an incident when shopping with my daughter and my grandson (at the time he was three years old).

Shopping at a busy shopping centre, my grandson realised we were heading in the opposite direction to the play area, so he just threw himself on the ground in front of his mother, grandpa and everyone else at the shops.

Grandpa couldn’t pick him up as I was in my wheelchair, all I could do was look and wait.  I saw a shop assistant come running out and offer this screaming child a lollypop.  My daughter kindly and respectfully declined the offer on her child’s behalf.

For me watching on was more than educational, it was one of my proudest moments as a dad as I watched the way my daughter navigated this cyclonic outburst from my grandson.

She first moved him out of the path of other shoppers and placed him in a safe place as he continued to cry and scream. (Doesn’t it always seem louder when strangers are watching on?)

What I saw next was a mother who responded and didn’t react to the anger she was seeing. Her response was, I believe, a manifestation of her core beliefs about her son, herself and their relationship with each other.

She was not concerned about how she may have looked to others who walked past this outburst.  Her total focus was on her child and what he would learn from this outburst.  It was an opportunity to be secure in who she was as a mother, an opportunity to develop the little gentleman her child was becoming.

My daughter allowed him to exhaust himself and then when she had his full attention again, she explained that we were going to the play area after we had finished what mummy needed to do, but that if you have one more outburst we will go straight home. We did end up going straight home where the lesson continued with the help of the little boy’s dad.

Notice my daughter didn’t make unrealistic threats or label him something that he wasn’t. She didn’t say, I’m going to slap you so hard when we get home or call him a little devil.

Also, there is a commitment from his mum and dad to discipline their son, therefore they do not ignore what happens but bring it up again in a more settled and calm environment. This continues his development and restores his relationship with conversation, understanding, kisses and cuddles.

My daughter responded from a place of love, not guilt, and a set of fundamental principles that are core to my own philosophies of parenting and leadership.

I believe these principles are transferable and applicable to all relationships. Parent-child, husband-wife, employer-employee, leader-follower, etc.

So here are some of those relationship principles I have learnt:

1. Determine to see the ‘personal pain’

Most anger is triggered by ‘personal pain’, not a ‘painful personality.’

When we can empathise with the persons’ personal pain, we will see them differently and respond to them accordingly.

When we see a person with anger as something other than their personal pain and disappointment we could make assumptions like:

They are demon possessed.

They are just an evil person.

They have a personality disorder.

Yes, these are all possibilities but are also highly unlikely and should never be our first judgement.

Seeing your child as angry, and not an angry person, is empowering and releasing.

Look for ‘pain disappointment’ not ‘personality disorder’.

My grandchild was behaving like a normal three-year-old. He was acting like a child because he is a child. Hopefully, with good parenting, he will one day NOT act like a child when he is an adult.

When you see them as an angry person you give them no way forward and you disempower your ability as a parent to discipline correctly.

So it is with those we lead. How you see the person will determine how successful you are as a leader in developing and releasing their potential as a person.

2. Determine that your discipline will have ‘restoration’ not ‘retribution’ as the goal.

My daughter had a decision to make. It’s a decision to respond to this with the goal being restoration or retribution.

Restoration has to do with the other as a priority, whereas retribution has self-protection as the priority.

I have seen parents’ responses being retribution: I will punish you for embarrassing ME; people are looking at ME, so I will react in a way that is fuelled by SELF-focus: this child is making ME feel disempowered; I’m embarrassed; I’m out of control; my reputation as a parent is being challenged.

It’s all about how you’re feeling as a parent, not about the child.

When our focus is on the child and about restoration, then we will respond in a calculated, calm and courageous way.  Our goal is to discipline for restoration, not punish for retribution.

Let me add here, all discipline should have as its goal full restoration, not continued retribution. The discipline is about maturing the individual, not manipulating for self-protection.

I have noticed that “time out” has become a go-to disciplinary option. A child is removed from the situation and told to sit by themselves for 2-5 minutes.

I have seen this also in my adult world where people who are in need of discipline are given “time out”. That is, they are removed from the position they held for a period of time.

My concern with “time out” for the child or adult is that time doesn’t change anybody, it’s what is accomplished in the “time out” that counts.

When my grandchildren get “time out” they also have an adult talk to them about the behaviour. They get asked questions about why they behaved the way they did and if the child sees anything wrong with what they did. This is intended to bring them to a place of repentance, sorrow and apology to the one offended by the behaviour.

3. Determine to be a person who is secure in who you are as a parent and leader.

Restorative discipline flows from a place of security, not insecurity.

Parenting cannot be successful if the parent is insecure when it comes to their own value and significance as a parent and a person.

Leadership cannot be successful if the leader is insecure when it comes to their own value and significance as a leader and a person.

Insecurity punishes from a place of embarrassment.

Security restores from a place of confidence.

Insecure children and adults lead by fear, which leads to bullying.

Yes, a lot of bullying we see today is done by insecure, fearful people!

As a parent or leader, your goal is to be restorative and releasing.

Parenting is our greatest opportunity for leadership and leadership is all about parenting.

May our parenting, our lives, our leadership be all about the other because we love, we are secure and we are all about restoration and restitution.

Peace,

Phil.

“Train up a child in the way he/she should go [teaching him/her to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

-PROVERBS 22:6

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

-EPHESIANS 6:4

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

-1 CORINTHIANS 13:11

I didn’t want to keep going!

For the past five years I have become friends with some really amazing people on this journey with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) / ALS.

They are people who I have come to love dearly, people who I have shared the highs and lows (mostly lows) with, as the disease continues to relentlessly ravage their body and eventually take their life.

Recently, I lost three of these friends to this disease, all within two weeks of each other, and all from my hometown of Newcastle. Then, I lost a fourth friend a month after that.

I was emotionally drained. I’m not proud to say, I began to build a wall of resistance around my life.

I built a wall that I believed would protect me from ever again feeling the pain of loss that death and suffering had brought.

My prayers had become prayers of self indulgence and self focus. Prayers like, “God I can’t and won’t do this anymore. I won’t reach out to people who are dying, just to be hurt and disappointed.”

To my shame, I didn’t want to get to know more people who I would come to love, just to lose them.

No sooner did I pray these prayers than I was being introduced to four other people who had just been diagnosed with MND. In fact, today, I am meeting up with two of them for coffee.

However, to tell you the truth, I was really struggling to open up, to again build relationships, only to see my friends suffer at the torture of this disease.

I knew that unless a miracle happens in our lives, we would be separated by a cruel death.

Then something shifted.

In my pain, I began to think about all those who have loved and been hurt.

I thought about others who have loved and lost: the partner who has loved and been abandoned; parents who have buried children; children who have seen the parents they love separate; anyone who has loved and seen that love rejected; the young person who opened their heart to have it crushed by abuse or unfaithfulness.

I came to realise that there were others like me who had built or were building this same wall to protect themselves from further pain.

I could see how easy it would be to build a wall of resistance for self preservation.

Why? Because I was doing it!

How easy it is to believe the lie that it is better to not love than to lose the one you have loved.

Soon after the funerals of my friends and being introduced to others who would soon become friends, I was chatting with God and reading my Bible (something I try to do each morning), in particular Ephesians 5: 1-2 which says:

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents.  Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loved us.  His love was not cautious but extravagant.  He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.  Love like that.

The words, “His love was not cautious but extravagant,” just captured my heart and my mind, they penetrated deep into my soul, challenging and at the same time changing me.

Those words, like a bulldozer, began to smash the walls of my resistance and defense.

This Jesus who loved and yet was hurt, rejected, ridiculed and eventually put to death, continued to love without caution. Jesus loved without a sense of self protection or preservation.

In fact, His love was extravagant.

I again began to understand that a life without love and loss is not a life that we are called to live.

We are meant to live life loving courageously.

I found that when my heart decided to love, the resistance that my mind had built up began to crumble.

I may not fully feel the deepest of pain that you may be feeling today, but I do now understand the resistance you may have to fully loving again.

Can I encourage you to courageously find a way to communicate from your heart to your head that love is worth another go?

To love will have its challenges but to overcome those challenges and to love again means to begin to live again.

To live again means that your love is not cautious but extravagant.

You may have had a broken marriage, but you can love again.

You may have had a friend die, but you can love again.

You may have had a colleague manipulate or bully you, but you can love again.

Your trust may have been smashed into a million pieces, but you can love again.

Will it be easy? Are there guarantees that you won’t be hurt again?

No. It won’t be and there aren’t, but if you don’t learn to love again, then the guarantee is you won’t experience all that life has to offer.

Begin today, at least in your heart, to go where you have feared to go. You don’t know where your next step will take you, but a step takes you forward, and through your built up walls of resistance.

As you allow these walls to come down, watch how your life opens up to new possibilities. You will find that the walls didn’t just keep you locked in, but kept others out who can love you and with their love, help you love again.

As for me, I will continue to meet new friends or as they are affectionately called in the United States, PALS (people with ALS). I will love them and at times lose them, but as Alfred Lord Tennyson once aptly said, “’Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

And it’s true for you too.

Happy Friday,
Phil

Why a property guru climbed Mt Everest and what it can teach us today

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I have had the privilege of becoming friends with Leah Jay in recent years, who is not only a prominent business woman, but who also lost her son Elliot (pictured below) to Motor Neurone Disease / ALS when he was just 19 years old.

Elliot Jay was a talented basketball player and bright University of Newcastle student.

At first, Elliot began to fall over, as his legs would collapse from under him and he struggled to walk up small stairs.  One day when his Dad dropped him off at work, he limped to the stairs, stopped at the base of them for a few moments, then turned, struggled back, eyes filling with tears, removed his tie and said “take me home.”

He was never to return.

In his first semester of university, his friend would joke around with him, because he would take the elevator for only a small flight of stairs.

He was walking with his mate down a popular street lined with cafes when he fell over. Onlookers thought he was drunk.  With the help of his friend and a stranger, he got back up.

Little did they know this weakening of his left calf was the beginning of the Jay family’s tragedy.

Diagnosed in 2007 at just 18 years of age, by January of 2008, Elliot had lost the use of his arms, legs and neck.  He died in April 2008, after a 12 month battle.

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In honour of her son, nine years after her his death, at 4:40am on 22nd May 2017, Leah Jay reached the highest point in the world.

She successfully climbed Mount Everest, becoming one of less than a dozen Australian women to successfully do so.

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Her goal is to climb the seven highest mountains on each of the seven continents in honour of Elliot. This was her sixth and Denali in Alaska will be her last.

 

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There is so much I never knew about the feat that is Everest.

For example, did you know, there is only a window of two weeks per year that you can climb it?

First you have to trek the Himalayas for 10 to 12 days before you even get to base camp, at an altitude of 5, 300m. Yellow tents are home for six (yes, six!) weeks.

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Things I learnt about climbing Everest from Leah’s Pursuit:

  • You climb Everest by completing three multiple rotations going up and down (back and forwards) while your body acclimatises and develops red blood cells.
  • If you could get dropped off on the top of Everest by helicopter, you would die within 10 to 15 minutes. This is why you have to do the rotations.
  • From camp 2 to camp 3 is only 2,000 feet, but it takes 7 hours of treacherous climbing an ice face.
  • Anytime your body is above base camp you can feel it wasting and become weaker.
  • As you climb, you spend about 20,000 -30,000 calories per day.
  • You climb at night, leaving at about 1am.
  • There are 30 ladders, held by ropes, between base camp and camp two.
  • Remember, you do it three times before the summit.
  • It takes six weeks to climb Everest.

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Leah wrote in her journal last year while on Everest, “I’m not super human, I’m just a girl from Newcastle. But I chose to be here.”

She said, you can’t practice the fear you will feel climbing and navigating the ladders.

With so much you can’t control, you just have to keep going and remember the pain is temporary, she said.

She was literally in the death zone.  She slept with two dead bodies outside her tent.  That’s when you start questioning your own ability and reason for being there, Leah said.

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I have learnt so much from Leah’s pursuit.

Leah didn’t just wake up one morning and go and climb the biggest mountain she could find.  She began with high tracks, then small mountains and then Everest.  Once she decided to climb Everest, she lived and breathed it.  Her whole focus was on fitness, diet, sleep, equipment and training.

I believe there is much we can take from Leah when it comes to how we live in the pursuits of our own lives.

Things I learnt about leadership from Leah’s pursuit:

  • There’s no escaping the importance of setting goals.  Those goals need to have incremental victories attached to them.  Leah had a strategic plan in place to conquer Everest.  In fact, she climbed many smaller mountains before Everest, giving her both confidence and credibility.
  • Leah knew she needed a team around her before, during, and after the climb that could make her better than she was on her own.  Her climb was only made possible by the commitment of others in her team.
  • Leah showed commitment and dedication to the team by her personal discipline to her own preparation.  She prepared her mind, body and soul.
  • Leah, to achieve what she needed to achieve, narrowed her focus.  She lived and breathed Everest.  Her eating, sleeping ,and exercise was totally focused towards the climb.  Every activity was attached to the purpose of the climb.
    Activity without a purpose is like a boat with a roaring motor but no rudder for direction. 
    Why not remove the activity in your life that is not producing or moving you towards your purpose and passion?
  • Leah was not just about being prepared, but it became her passion. When Leah shares her passion, her goal and the reason behind why she is doing what she is doing, people rally around that.  People want to attach themselves to things that matter and have meaning.
  • Remember the rotations that Leah did I outlined above?  They involved her climbing for seven hours, returning to base, and climbing another seven hours, then seven more, then again, returning all the way back down to base camp.  This is a test of how your body and mind adjust to the higher levels of altitude.  As her body adjusted, she went a little further.  Leaders note, don’t try too much too early.  Prove yourself in the small things and then you will be ready for the bigger challenges ahead.

Leah will pursue Denali, her final mountain, before returning to Newcastle for the Big Freeze, seeing locals slide into ice water, raising much needed funds for a cure for MND.

For those who want more info on this year’s Big Freeze on June 23rd 2018, you can visit www.newcastlefreeze.com – a worthy cause, I am passionate about and proud to support.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for all those who are fighting or who have lost anyone to MND, you are not alone.  There is an army of friends, family and a community who are behind you to conquer this beast, this mountain, of a disease.  And like any great endeavour, it will be one step at a time. 

Have a blessed day,
Phil

(And sincere thanks to Leah Jay for allowing us to share her amazing images of Everest and of her beloved son, Elliot.)

Peak Performance

Photo of Wanaka, New Zealand by @rachstewart_nz

Have you ever thought about your peak performance?  When have you been, are you, or will you be at your peak?

The idea of a peak suggests that there is a tipping point towards your best and that either side of that point is less than the ultimate state of the peak.

Well, five years ago, I was told, I had reached my “peak.”  I was told, it would only get worse for me.  That each day I would find my body weaker as motor neurones die out and eventually there would be none left, and I would have no ability to move at all.

In some ways, the doctors were right, I have become weaker.  My body is a physical reminder that my “peak” is behind me, as each day I live I am left with less than the day before, closer to that final day.

I have lived each day aware and perhaps more “up close” to the inevitable decline towards death that surrounds me, in my own life and also living with the death of friends with this disease.

That’s physically speaking, but my experience in every other way, suggests otherwise.

Maybe you live aware of your own peak?  Whether it’s performance-based, health, relationship-wise, or even professionally?  Feeling like you’ve reached it and it’s only downhill from here. Or maybe, it’s a place you strive for but never quite attain?

Let this be an encouragement for you today, your peak need not be a point!  What do I mean by that?

While my body has become weaker, but in and of myself, I have become STRONGER.

Every day I live in the present and with the conviction that this is my BEST day, not my worst.

By facing my own death and the death of other’s, I have never been more aware of LIFE.

Acknowledging the possibility of death only ignites a fire to live.  Being present in darkness releases the light.  Just as light becomes brighter when it breaks into the darkness.

How is this possible?

From my own experience, there must be a source greater than the available resource of your own being.

If I’m to experience life in the presence of death, then I need a life flow that comes from the defeat of death.

If I’m to live in the light whilst surrounded by darkness, then I need a light source that has overcome darkness.

It is the infusion of life and light that fills your being, dispelling the fear of death and darkness.

This is truly living at your peak.

Our human nature with its delusions and left to its own devices, wants to preserve and protect us.  It can cause us to deny our own darkness.

In doing so, I think it has actually deprived us of a deeper awareness of life and the presence of light.

And in turn, it has given us a misguided view of our own personal peak.

You see your personal peak may be simply standing in the strength that comes from victory over death.  It may be awaiting your decision to step into the light.

If you are asking again, “but how is this possible?”  Let me put it this way.

What I am talking about is eternal, supernatural, and spiritual.  It’s the eternal, supernatural and spiritual life and light found in the person of Jesus Christ.

I believe that it is only possible to experience this when we are connected to the source, that is Jesus Christ, who overcame death, and created light, for you and me.

You see, at the very beginning of life itself, God spoke and declared “let there be light” and there was light (Genesis 1:3). But it didn’t end there, He kept fighting for us to experience light by defeating death.

Jesus put it this way “”I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life (John 8:12 NLT).”  Jesus made it simple for us, we simply acknowledge the pain, the death and darkness in our lives, and invite Him to be the life and light.

And then, Russell Brand sums it up nicely, saying this in a recent Relevant Magazine feature (yes, that Russell Brand, ex-husband of Katy Perry):

“If Christ consciousness is not accessible to us, then what is the point of the story of Jesus, you know?” he asks rhetorically. “He’s just a sort of a scriptural rock star, just an icon. Unless Christ is right here, right now, in your heart, in your consciousness, then what is Christ?”

[“Russell Brand: Unless Christ is in your heart, then what is Christ?”, sited 5 Jan 18, https://relevantmagazine.com/culture/russell-brand-unless-christ-is-in-your-heart-then-what-is-christ/ ]

Perhaps, while we are still at the beginning of this new year, it would be a good time for us all to look at the reality of our own death and darkness and choose light and life. 

I believe your peak performance is within your reach today, it just may look more like light and life than you expected it to.

Phil

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