Being a foreigner in Japan, can mean it’s very easy to get sucked into the negative complaining about it – the everyday nit picks that just drive us nuts!
Being surrounded by other foreigners who are in the same boat – the ‘Gaijin’s boat’ sometimes, only accentuates this!
Yes, it can be tough living so far away from here, sometimes just plain frustrating – there’s the language barrier, the cultural barrier and sometimes just the everyday mishaps that we can find ourselves in the middle of!
But besides that Japan is an amazing country – different from any other, full of beautiful scenery, fantastic people, an intricate language full of different dialects, a definitive culture, incredible food – of uncountable varieties, the home of Anpanman and AKB48, Full of onsens and shinkansens, soba and udon, maple leaves and Sakura, everything that comes in green tea flavour! There’s temples and mountains, okonomiyaki and takoyaki, tatamis and futons the list could go on!
Japan is describable and totally
indescribable at the same time – I love it! And even when it drives me nuts, I still love it!
They thing is I didn’t always love it, there were times when I did let all those little things get to me! Others were complaining, so I did too! But complaining about where I was didn’t leave me satisfied, it didn’t get anything off my chest, it just made me want to run away from Japan!
As soon as I decided to change my attitude – looking towards the good things, the things I liked about this country, I started to love the place I’m in!
It doesn’t matter where we are, what our situations are – we are placed here for a reason, God has an amazing plan for us here!
So instead of trying to run away – or wishing we could be somewhere else, a sunny beach in Hawaii maybe? Why don’t we try and enjoy where we are now! Find things to love about the place we are in now!
Rather than counting down the days till we can move on, we can count the number of amazing things we can find in the place we are in!
Chances are if I had just run away from Japan when things got tough, or when I found myself lost on a wave of negativity about the country I would only have ended up somewhere else – maybe in a different boat, but sailing in the same pattern of negative, dirty, complaining, towards a life of un-enjoyment and unfulfilled wishes!
Loving the place we are in now means we can live with more joy for life,
experience more things and accomplish more! We can live up to our potential in the place we are now, we don’t need to keep running off to different places!
God has a great plan for you where you are right now, he put you there for a reason!
Yes, maybe we will move on in the future, maybe we won’t be in this place forever – all the more reason to enjoy it now!
So rather than thinking of all the bad things that could happen to us in this place, let’s start living the plan God has for us in the place he put us – you don’t know what it is? Well it can all start from loving the place we are in!
Category Archives: God’s plan
“This is your life, are you who you want to be?”
There are times when we question, what are we doing? Are we living how we dreamed we would? When we look in the mirror do we like what we see?
I listened to this song today by Switchfoot, and it made me realize that we all need to be reminded to really live sometimes. Part of the lyrics go like this, “This is your life, are you who you want to be? This is your life, is it everything you dreamed it would be?”. We can easily get lost in the in’s and out’s of life, sometimes so lost we never really recover! But we need to climb out of the cocoon of life and start living!
So many people say “Today is all you have…” and “Tomorrow may never come” and many people take that as, let’s live it up now! No regrets!
Take that bungee jump, move to America, go home with that girl/guy! You may not get the chance again!
In some cases this seems like sound advice, what are you waiting for, start living kind of advice! But Whilst that might get people up off their couches it’s no use if people are just going to party, have fun and live like there is no tomorrow.. Because if tomorrow comes, we may not be feeling so great… Maybe even a little hung-over!
However we can look at ‘today’, another way, rather than saying ‘ if today is all we have, what haven’t we done on our list of things to do that needs to be attained to?’ We can say ‘ if today is all we have, are we who we want to be? ‘
Are we living in truth, or are we hiding behind the worlds mask? If we haven’t accomplished our dreams yet, are we living with them in mind or have we already given up on them? And if we aren’t who we want to be, why?
Sometimes we think it’s too late to change, to start living, to be the person we want to be! We have come this far as we are, maybe that’s all we are…but is that true?
It is if you believe it!
Before I came to
Jesus Lifehouse I thought the old me was all I could be, but I was wrong, when I met Jesus I realized I had so much more potential to become a better me! I started living like there was no tomorrow not because i thought there was no tomorrow but because I wanted to suck in everything that there was now! I wanted to become a better me, now! Why because I loved life again! I love living with Jesus, with Jesus guiding me and loving me, I have more freedom than I could ever give myself, freedom and potential to be more than myself! Who wouldn’t want that?
Jesus gave me life again! So for me living everyday like there is no tomorrow isn’t about cramming in a load of things I want to do before I die, it isn’t about living it up, or living a care free life, it’s not about parties or boys or experiencing everything I possibly can but it’s about loving life, loving people, loving Jesus – with everything I’ve got! This life we have is amazing! So let’s live it!
Yes, there are always sucky things that may happen! My life didn’t suddenly become perfect with nothing going wrong because I met Jesus, but my attitude changed – your life can only ever be as good as the attitude you label it!
While I knew this before I met Jesus, it was practically impossible for me to always remain positive in life on my own merit! I couldn’t do it by myself! No sooner had I challenged myself to stay positive and enjoy life, then something bad happened and I felt ten times worse than i did before!
But now I have Jesus to guide me, lift those heavy weights off my shoulders, show me a better way to do things and fill my life with blessings (what are they? Things I couldn’t even imagine for myself a year ago!)
While I may not be who I want to be, I am well on the right road – living towards my dreams with the person I want to be sharing my life with! Jesus.
We only get one shot at life! But with Jesus we can have another chance to live – really live! It doesn’t matter whether we have messed up, whether we are going in a totally wrong direction in life there is never a better time to turn to him than today!
Because this is not a video game, it’s not a movie, it’s not some reality TV show, this is your life!
The question is: are you who you want to be?
“I need to find myself!”
Have you ever found yourself saying that? I know I often have “I want to find myself” “I’m going to university to find my direction in life “
I’m going to travel around Europe and see what it is I want to do with my life”
“I’m going to Japan to find the real me!” Those words have come out of my mouth a lot! I spent a lot of time running around chasing myself!
Where did I think I had gone?
Well I wasn’t literally trying to find myself, but more along the lines of, I wanted to define who I was!
I looked in so many places, to so many people, even to material things, to try and work out who it was that was inside of me, to put a label on myself and finally realize where I was going, what I was doing with my life and who I was!
I went to university thinking I could become me, develop into the adult Laura, instead I found parties and alcohol and ended up letting others define me as ‘Party Laura’ – what else could I do but live up to that name, I thought, maybe that’s who I am!
But that wasn’t who I was and it wasn’t who I wanted to be, no where close!
So then I went to Japan, in the hope that I could expand my horizons, broaden my views – create an adventure for myself that would define me! Instead I entered into the world of relationships and boys, and I let them define me, I couldn’t find me – so I clung onto things around me to make me seem more intriguing and interesting, to give me character!
But instead people ended up calling me fickle, because in my exploit to find the real me, I flitted from one thing to the other!
So in the end I never did find myself!
Looking for myself, through myself and by myself wasn’t going to get me anywhere! Looking for things in the world to boost me up and make me, me wasn’t going to help either!
There was only one place I could look to define me and that was Jesus – he showed me the best person I could be, he showed me where i was going in life and the intricate plan he has for my life. Now I no longer need to be disappointed when I can’t find who I am in the things going on around me, because I know who I am in him!
When we spend our lives searching for who we really are and what we are really doing, we just end up running in circles and getting lost!
There are usually a few questions we ask, I came up with a few that I had been asking. Now I realize I can answer then through Jesus!
1. What defines me – what makes me, ME?
I struggled a lot with trying to find my character, I always thought I wasn’t good enough, i wasn’t interesting enough, that I needed more concrete things in my life to build my character on!
But no matter how many books I read to deepen my mind, no matter how many people I turned to, or activities I took up to make me seem like I had a more interesting character – I didn’t feel satisfied with who I was, let alone knew what it was that made me who I was!
What I didn’t realize was I didn’t need worldly things to define me! A load of books on Buddhist philosophy or self help books weren’t going to make me, ME!
We can easily define ourselves by the world’s terms, I’m a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, an astrophysicist, I’m into dance or I’m in a band, i follow house music, indie music, j-pop, electric, any kind of sound!
But that’s not who we are, that’s what we like, what we do!
“Don’t become so well–adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well–formed maturity in you.”
-Romans 12:2 (MSG)
We are God’s chosen children, all of us, He wants the best for us, not the world’s best, and he can give it us, if we just turn to him and follow him!
But we often find ourselves running in the opposite direction; hoping there’s another corner we haven’t turned yet, a corner that will give us exactly what we are looking for – but why does it always seem that there never is?!
2. Where are we going in life? What can we do?
If we are not asking what defines us we are often asking where are we going?
It can be easy in life to get bored and restless and feel we are not reaching our potential, just going about our everyday lifestyle. We want to be something, do something but we don’t know what!
When I felt like this, I often ended up taking up a new hobby, sign language, acting classes, volunteering at the local shelter, yoga, trekking, I even had a go at cheerleadering! But I never fell upon my niche in life, what I really felt I could be.
The thing was I never trusted God, I didn’t believe that he had a plan for me, I thought I had to make it, I was in control and that if I didn’t press all the right buttons I wasn’t going to end up on the right floor!
But the thing is God does have a great plan for me! Not just me but you too!
“For I know the plans I have for you, ” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. “
-Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
His plan is not just great, it’s amazing, 100% flawless! And all yours!
All that means is that we have to trust him, sometimes that means jumping in water that looks cold and deep and completely uninviting. Maybe we don’t want to go in the direction God wants us to but if we just give it a go, it can often lead us to new waters and exotic bays we could never even imagined going too!
3. Which door to open?
We don’t have all the answers and we are often facing minor and major dilemmas in life as to where to go, which direction and which door to open! Especially in this day and age, our choices are limitless! There is too much to choose from, but we don’t need to waste time opening “x” amount of doors to see if what’s behind it is exactly what we want. No, there is one person who does have the answers! Jesus.
I have opened so many doors in my life that have lead me to dead ends, the wrong parties, the wrong countries, in situations I would have rather not found myself in! But now I know if I am following Jesus I don’t need to worry about finding myself in sticky situations or opening the wrong door, because he is leading me every step of the way!
Ok so if you have read this far and your thinking what if i do want God to define me, if I do want to live in his great plan what can I do? Which door should I open?
Well it’s simple!
“In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. I will be found by you, ” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.””
-Jeremiah 29:12-14 (NLT)
We need to start looking towards a life with growth and a strong foundation- rather than an exciting adventure life that can fall apart when you face a big hurdle.
With God everything is an exciting adventure, I didn’t believe this until I started running with him! I thought following Jesus was just a boring life of rules and regulations of things I couldn’t do, but it’s the exact opposite!
With him I can face anything because I know I have a foundation in him!
So open his door, turn to him. It’s better than any gap year, better than any university lifestyle!
If you want to know more about Jesus, if you want to open a door that leads to him, I encourage you to come to Jesus Lifehouse Osaka! Not only is it fun, you will make loads of friends, and it’s one step closer to finding Jesus amazing plan for you!
What is it?
When you hear that word, what do you think?
I know a lot of people cringe at the thought of it. Let alone going to it. Why would I want to go to church, be judged, be put in my place, have a load of old people tell me I messed up big time. Why would I want to spend my day off going to a place like that.
Other people are anti-church maybe they think, it’s just a place full of religious phonies, who are out to exploit you and take your money.
Then there are those who don’t really have any opinion of the church, they just imagine it’s a bit of a boring place, where loads of old people gather and sing a few songs, it’s nice for Christmas and Easter but I wouldn’t want to go there every week.
Or maybe it’s just this… a nice building.
There are so many different opinions of church and what it is, what it’s about. A lot of our opinions can be swayed by other’s opinions or bad stories we have heard, or bad experiences we have had.
But I want to encourage you to just take the time to really think what do you feel when you hear the word ‘church’?
This weekend I had a long chat with my mum about church. She reminded me that not so long ago I had a very negative attitude towards church.
I believed that the church was full of people who judged you, a place where people took you at face value and didn’t want to open their mind to who you could be. I believed it to be full of fakes, who weren’t genuinely welcoming and would judge me for who I am.
Ok so I had, had a few bad experiences at university. I had tried to go to a new church with some of my non-Christian friends but instead of being welcomed I had been ignored at the back of the room, everyone was too busy to take any notice of us, and no one tried to be our friend or make us feel welcome.
After that other Christians from the church that went to my university started questioning my Christianity, making me feel unworthy of the right to be a Christian. I had never met such confrontation and for someone who was finding that life not being a Christian was just as much fun, it was the push over the cliff, so I resolved that I didn’t need church.
Instead when I saw those people around campus I created stories in my head, I imagined they were judging my lifestyle and spreading rumours about me to exclude me further from the church. My whole image of the church was as a secluded club where only the really good people where welcome, only the ones who lived lives like Jesus.
I didn’t need to go to a church to believe in Jesus. I believed inside that was all I needed. Even my friends agreed with me, “You believe, no one can take that away from you, you don’t need to join a load of snobs at church to make you a Christian.”
I believed this for many years. My friends, tried to invite me to church but I refused. My mother, tried to encourage me to go to church and find ‘a nice man’. I still refused. I was stubborn and rather than choosing to spread love, I chose to spread my obstinate opinions around.
When my mother reminded me of this, I laughed. I can’t imagine ever holding that opinion now. Granted not all churches are the same, they don’t all fall into one category. But my whole view of ‘church’ has changed. I no longer have to cringe in guilt when I hear that name.
So what made me change?
Well first of all, I gave in and decided to open my mind and try going to a church, that church turned out to be Jesus Lifehouse Osaka. But before I go there, let me explain, the real reason is my whole view of the church has changed.
This isn’t just because of Jesus Lifehouse but my whole idea of what a church should be has changed.
A church isn’t just a building, it isn’t just a place for people to hang out, sing songs and get preached at… it’s a whole lot more than that.
At the conference Pastor Steven Kaylor spoke about three components that make a church – GREAT!
The first one is key – it’s what it is all about! Without it, you just have a group of people. It’s what the church should be centred around, we can’t forget this vital ingredient.
The wonderful, powerful, loving, caring, awesome, close, relevant, original Jesus.
In the middle of the church needs to be Jesus.
The answer to everything is Jesus.
It’s through Jesus that we can be the best person we were designed to be. With Jesus there is hope, with Jesus there is light.
Our focus needs to be on Jesus, not on each other, not on our own mess or each others mess, but on Him.
The second thing about church, is life. It needs to breathe life into all its members. It needs to live and speak life.
From Jesus comes life.
Psalm 16 v 11 “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
In the bible there are many stories where Jesus healed people and gave them life.
Jesus gave us life, but it’s how we use it that matters – the church can help us out with that.
Pastor Joel, compared life to a car, we drive it wherever we want it to go, but living life, driving places, going somewhere always means gas is going to get eaten up, we are going to run out of fuel and energy, time and love. But Jesus has given us a great gasoline stand; he can fill us up with gas, give us love, peace, joy, passion and more vitality to live life!
The church is like the gas station, it can do two things – change our life and equip it. We can have fun at church but it can also teach us how to live a great life, how to have great relationships, how to be successful in our careers, how to manage our money.
Instead of getting dating tips from magazines, it can show us how to have a strong foundation in marriage.
In church we can really grow and become the person we always wanted to be!
The third thing Pastor Joel pointed out is that it’s a place for us to belong; it’s our house, our family. It’s not a substitute for the family we already have but it’s an extended family that can help us grow strong.
A place where we are accepted, not judged, but loved and respected. Through Jesus we can be adopted into his family. This family will want to celebrate with us, help us in life – to create the best relationships, to have success, they will look after us and nourish us.
Psalm 92 v 13 “For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own House. The flourish in the courts of our God.”
Being in the house of God means that everyone cares about everyone!
When I went to church at university I didn’t realise that it was these 3 things I was actually looking for.
Jesus, Life and a House.
There are a lot of churches around that embody these three things, but I didn’t believe that.
When I started going to Jesus Life house, I was amazed, everyone there was interested in me, they wanted to get to know ME! They cared about
Genuinely. Not only that, but they all were so full of love, Jesus love, that they couldn’t stop smiling and sharing their happiness with each other. I didn’t meet an unfriendly face. I had so much fun! I was welcomed into their arms!
The other thing that made me take a step back was that all these people really wanted to grow, they wanted better lives, and they were taking action towards it. They knew the answer, Jesus.
It was contagious to say the least. But from that day my view of church changed.
Now I know that it’s not just a place where people want to make you feel bad or tell you that you’ve messed up. It’s not a place for judging or taking your money.
Instead it really is a great place to make friends, have fun, find Jesus, revitalise your life and be welcomed into a family who accept you for you!
If you don’t believe come down and see for yourself!
Everyone has their own reasons for not going to church, but don’t let a bad experience put you off from trying again.
Maybe you are like I was, you believe in Jesus or a God, but you don’t think you need to go to church to continue believing in Him.
When I was not going to church, the more I refused to go, the further away from Jesus I got. In the end my relationship with him was pretty non-existent. Really I stopped believing all together, I didn’t need Jesus, I thought. Then my life became pretty dire, because the thing was I did need Jesus and I did need people to encourage me in my faith. We can’t do it on our own, but we can do it with Jesus and other people who will spur us on to be more than what we imagine to be, to help us grow and live the best life we can.
Whatever your reasons are for not going, why don’t you put them aside for just a minute and give it a go!
Come to Jesus Lifehouse Osaka! The people are so lovely, the music is awesome and the message will change your life!
We are in Shinsaibashi on Sundays, and in Namba on tuesdays!
Check out our website!
This week there was a big conference in Japan.
By bus, or by Shinkansen, by foot or by bicycle, by aeroplane or by subway – they came. In flocks, In herds, and singly they dispersed, from every different region. To Tokyo.
they filled a room with their voices, with drums, guitars and keyboards they made noises. They listened and they learnt and from them dreams burst forth.
From tiny bubbles, came big bubbles, full of visions and dreams, of things they could never imagine of things they had never ever seen.
Dreams, big dreams, awesome dreams, alive dreams. All rejoicing in one voice that said “How awesome is this place… it is none other than the house of God.”
That conference was the Jesus Lifehouse Conference.
I went by shinkansen up to Tokyo for two days to see what it was all about! And I was blown away…
I learnt so much, laughed, cried, met people from all over, made incredible friends, and fell in love with Japan even more.
Words cannot describe what I received this weekend. My vision for Japan, my vision for Osaka, my dreams – went from one small bubble to this… an endless stream of vision and passion that just wanted to blow up out of me.
Many people I spoke to also say the same, their vision for Japan has heightened, to see Japan change, to see people’s lives built up. It was amazing to see so many people gathered in one place, from all over Japan and from different parts of the world. Well over a 1,000 people were there all with the same vision – to see Japan change.
Many people were challenged this weekend. Challenged to dream large, to not be afraid to dream big, bigger than we can imagine. But I realised, there is only one key to all of this, to all the dreaming, all the visions all the change we can make in Japan.
All of the pastors there spoke about many different things, and spoke about many areas in life, that challenged us. But no matter what they spoke about it could all be drawn back to one thing. The key.
Brendan Brown from hillsong Sydney challenged us to question what are we looking at?
There are so many things that want to get our attention in life. For everyone, even Christians. In the billboards at the train station, the pretty girls in the magazines, the celebrities on TV, the boys at school, or work, or in the clubs. The music, the movies, the drink and the parties. How we should look, how we shouldn’t. Where we should go, where we shouldn’t. What we should do, what we shouldn’t.
It’s all trying to grab our attention, trying to fix our eyes on the next best thing, trying to tell us this will make us happy.
But no matter what we are looking at, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus. He is the only thing that is going to make us truly happy. The only one who can give us an answer.
We are human. Even Christians. We have eyes. And most of us can see. Which means we are always looking for something to make our situations better than they are.
We look around us at others – comparing ourselves to models in magazines, celebrities on TV, or even to our best friend, who is popular and gets all the attention from guys/girls. But we don’t need to be comparing ourselves all the time. The best person we can be is us. YOU.
Then when we are not looking at others we are looking at ourselves. We turn to the horoscope page at the back of the newspaper, or find ourselves wondering in the self-help section at the book store. We read magazine articles on how to make a guy want us, or 10 tips to making ourselves more attractive. Even when we know they aren’t really going to help us, or change our lives we still flick through and wish they could.
The thing is, when we are looking at others, when we are looking at ourselves, we are forgetting one thing, Jesus.
Jesus came to earth and died for us, so we could have a great life, he didn’t die so we could go about finding the best life we can in a horoscope on the back of a cereal box.
When we are getting all bogged down in our problems, the things going wrong in life, the mess, mess, mess, it’s because we have taken our eyes off Jesus!
If we fix our eyes on Jesus, he will make us the best we can be! Why would we want anything less than that?
All those questions we have, all the things we search for in life, everything we are looking at. There is only one answer. Jesus.
John 3.15 “And everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.”
Next time, I will talk more about the challenges I received from the conference, so please continue to read.
But in the meantime, if this has challenged you, if you feel God is calling you to question what you are looking at, or if you have never heard of Jesus and want to know more about him, come to Jesus Lifehouse Osaka.
We can introduce you to Jesus, help you to stop focusing on the mess around you and help you to find the best life through him!
We will also share with you our passion for Japan, and our love for people. So come on down and see!
We are located in Shinsaibashi, near Krispy crème donuts, so you can pick up a donut on your way! What could be better?
Sometimes I need to stop and think about what I’m doing. Life. What are we doing with it? How are we living it? Or are we even living it at all?
Life is a journey, but it all depends on what we do to get there.
When we go on a trip, there are many forms of transportation we choose to get to our destination, some are cheaper than others, some take a lot longer, or some or more environmentally friendly.
But most of the time we always have a choice, we choose the route or which kind of transportation to take. Sometimes we don’t think about it, we just take the easiest option, sometimes we spend hours planning.
Life is the same, there are many options and many ways to get where we want to go, but do we often give enough attention to how we are getting there, or are we more focused on the’ holiday destination’.
When we just go somewhere automatically without giving it enough thought we can often end up where we don’t want to be, exhausted, stressed, lost, or even in the total wrong direction. Maybe we need to realise that the decisions we make to get somewhere is going to affect how we live our lives.
Whether we choose the bus, train, aeroplane, taxi, ferry. We have a choice.
I was thinking about this and I came up with these examples of the choices we make.
When we go on holiday sometimes we choose the CRUISE SHIP!
A cruise ship can be fun at first, you can do whatever you want on it, live life up! The cruise ship lifestyle, is a life led by money, parties, boys and girls, drugs, drink –fun, fun, fun!! But sooner or later our money runs out and when we reach the port and realise we don’t have enough money to ride again, we can end up feeling very lost in a destination unknown to us.
Sometimes we want to take this route to run away from things in our lives, but I want to encourage you, with God we can face anything – he really will help us through it, as cliché as it may seem!
Maybe you’re the opposite and you are living the BICYCLE lifestyle.
It’s simple, cheap and you can be in total control of it!
Being in control of our life seems important. We can get whatever we want, whenever we want it, we don’t need to stop for any one, we don’t need to let people hassle us, or annoy us, we can just get on with our life, how we want. Simple.
But on a bicycle, by yourself, we realise we can’t travel far, there is only SO far we can go by ourselves. The “I can do this by myself” attitude can leave us burnt out, and not getting where we really want to go.
A lifestyle led by ourselves, pedalling away at the things we really can’t do by ourselves, is tough, sometimes we end up feeling very alone, lost and depressed. This isn’t where we wanted to end up. But it doesn’t need to be that way because God is there to help us, to lead us in life, to live a more fruitful, exciting life.
“Self help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but loose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” Matthew 16v 25-26
The next ride on my list of lifestyle choices is the ROLLER COASTER!
The roller coaster, it’s thrilling,
it has its ups and downs,
its twists and turns,
you don’t need to stop and think
you can just go,
How amazing would it be to have a roller coaster lifestyle, always something exciting happening!!
But as thrilling as it may be, it doesn’t go anywhere, there is no driver, it’s an automatic lifestyle, based on the roller coasters theme, not on our life goals. It’s chosen for you and you just end up “going along with the ride”.
Maybe it seems we have a great job, an amazing relationship, but the theme of the ride is only that, we can’t change rides, it just keeps taking us on the same course over and over again. We end up making the same mistakes, again and again. The rollercoaster lifestyle, leaves no room for improvement and no need to learn anything new. But the more we keep going around and around we are eventually going to feel very, very SICK!
Choosing one thing to be the theme of our life can be dangerous, a job, a career, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a business, or anything that we revolve our life around, as a theme of our rollercoaster life, when we lose it and we realise we don’t have anything else great in our life, the roller coaster breaks down, that’s it – ride over!
Then there’s the BUS.
The bus can be great if the driver is God – then we can know we are heading in the right direction. Many Christians choose the Bus route, this isn’t a bad choice, choosing a journey led by God is amazing, but it’s not just about getting on the right form of transport, we have to be careful when we are riding it too!
Many people get on and ride the bus alongside us, just like many people come into our life that we can’t choose, or can’t avoid and they try and influence our decisions. Sometimes they try to change our mind about getting on the bus altogether and convince us to get off!! New Christians may often struggle with this, they find God and accept him in their life, but then later on they get swayed by other people’s opinions and life choices.
Sometimes we get on the total wrong bus and end up going in the wrong direction with the wrong bus driver. Maybe we choose the wrong boyfriend/girlfriend, people tell us that persons great and we should stick with them because we can’t do any better. We stay in the wrong job because others tell us we can’t be more, there’s no chance you can be an actor, or singer, or world famous musician. We even stay in the wrong country or city, because no one believed you could make that jump and go, so we ended up believing that too.
Sometimes we might see a ‘someone’ on a different bus that we like, we want to ride with that person too, so we change buses and end up leading a life not led by God, but by a totally different driver. Or we see a bus that looks like it’s going to a great place, “hey, let’s get on that one!” – Without any real thought as to where it’s going or what the consequences might be.
But my favourite of rides, and the one that will take me exactly where I need to go is the TAXI.
The taxi driven by God is the best way. We are not alone, we don’t end up wasting our life away on fun and games, it’s not going round and round in circles and we don’t have random people jumping in and trying to change our life. It’s just US and GOD in the taxi of life. We can choose who we invite into our ride and who we don’t, better than that we get our own personal chaufferur!!
He can take us anywhere! The sky’s the limit – although not really with God!
It’s a risk, yes. Sometimes we don’t know where He is taking us, we don’t know the route ourselves, we don’t have the map and we can’t tell him to cut a corner if we don’t like that road. But if we trust him we can know he will lead us to a far better place than we could ever imagine.
We don’t need to get out of the taxi in search of a boyfriend, in search of an amazing job, in search of our dream. God is taking us directly there, we just have to trust him! No short cuts!
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3 v 5-6.
Whatever decision you make it’s going to take you somewhere because life is about choices and you have a choice which ride you can take!
“But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin to tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!” Romans 6 v 22
“I want so much for you to open your eyes, because I need you to look into mine.”
Those are the words of a Snow Patrol song.
The words of this song really struck a chord with me. They make me recall the time when I opened my eyes to look into God’s, he made me realise what was actually going on in my life and that I wanted to make a change.
It is so easy in this world to get lost in everything the world wants us to get lost in. Money, parties, our hectic work schedule, the celebrity lifestyle we so want to lead, the model we want to be, are we too fat or too thin? The car we spent all our money on, the drinks we need to drink to help us forget, the boyfriend who wants us to be something we aren’t, or the girls that flit into our day to day lives.
There is certainly plenty to keep us occupied. But are these the things that make us feel GREAT? The things of life that make us want to get up in the morning, to jump out of bed and start living?!
They certainly weren’t for me. I thought the world could bring me, this happiness, that I could get my hope from money and people. But when those people had walked out of my life and I had spent all my money, I quickly realised, that was far from the truth.
When I finally opened my eyes and saw this, I was lost in despair where could I go now? That’s when God turned my eyes towards him.
Galatians 5 v 13 “It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. “
In him I found a new freedom and joy for life, it gave me a passion to be more, than what I am with God and share that love with others. I didn’t need to depend on the media for guidance or the things of the world to make me happy because I had found a freedom in Jesus.
I AM FREE!!
“Get up, get out, get away from these liers, because they don’t get your soul or your fire.” Snow Patrol
We all have a passion inside of us, to make a difference, to be somebody, to live a life worth living not just a life to get by with. There is a fire in each and every one of us, but sometimes we just need to ignite it!
I wondered what the world would think when I decided to turn away from everything I had been consumed by and start living with Jesus in my life, but I soon realised I just couldn’t keep the fire down, the passion inside me wanted to
We don’t need to let other people tell us who we are, or what we need to be. God already has a special plan for us, we are unique to him and he wants to stir up the fire in our hearts to be something more than what we can only do by ourselves.
With him, our potential is huge!
Jeremiah 29 v 11 “I know what I am doing I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
Now Jesus has ignited the fire inside me, I am living a life of real freedom and passion and I know he has a great a plan lined up for me – there is no way I want to go back to all those things I was doing before!!
“We will walk from this dark room for the last time. Every minute from this minute now we can do what we like anywhere.”
These are the last lines of the Snow Patrol song, and they ring true for my life too, I have finally walked away from the dark room I was hiding in and I have left everything that was creating that darkness in my life behind. Now I can go forward with God, anywhere and everywhere and have fun living his plan!
But it’s not just me who can find this freedom and passion, you can too!
For me it all started at Jesus Lifehouse Osaka, where I met other people who had found Gods freedom from the things of this world that had trapped them, all filled with passion, on fire with love for Jesus, their joy for life is contagious!
They introduced me to what Jesus could do in my life and I too found my joy and passion too! Why don’t you come and find yours? God can really open your eyes and help you see your life for the amazing, joyous, passionate life it can be!!