Category Archives: Soul Talk

What is the Gift Your Wound Has Given You?

‘Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me’ is a fallacy.

Words can hurt. They can cut right to the core of your being and can echo around and around in your mind and drive you to despair.

Just think of the abuse of text bullying. A few choice words here and there, and cuts are made to the heart and maybe to the skin. I wonder how many suicides and suicide attempts have a few words as the catalyst of destruction.

A barrage of abuse on a weakened spirit can break the will to go on. Words like nails are hammered into your psyche.

I think of Jesus and the barrage of words rained down upon him in his trial. Matthew 26.

Words can drown out life.

Words can also be the soothing balm needed on a wounded heart.

Little phrases like

Well done
Thank you
You’re going to make it
I’m going to help you

I am with you

Words and gestures from ‘Big people’ in your life. That older person, that person with the street cred, mana, wisdom, grey hair. That one, for reasons unknown to yourself, who just whispers to the heart ‘you’re going to be ok’.

I listen to many words through a range of podcasts.

I discovered Nadia Bolz-Weber on the Podcast Onbeing where she was interviewed by the host Krista Tippet.

In the podcast Nadia states these words.

I have this thing about being a preacher who reveals things about herself, and it’s that I always try to preach from my scars and not my wounds. So, talking about depression is not in any way a wound for me.

When I heard this I felt connected with her journey, her depression, wounds and scars.

Words.

So I created a meme, and now it has been my most repined image on Pinterest.

I only preach from my scars, not my wounds. Nadia Bolz-Weber

Why has this been so incredibly popular?

I think that the image grabs you because it’s a real person, like us. Not some model, superstar or icon, and yes I know they are real too.

The words I think touch down on some core pain points. Our wounds and our scars.

They give us a sense of hope that wounds can, in time, become scars. That we don’t have to be stuck as wounded forever and that out of those battles there can come a gift.

For Nadia Bolz – Weber, as a pastor, the gift is preaching. For others it could writing, singing, teaching, listening etc…

What is your gift?

Today I listened to a an interview with Rob Bell. He was talking about a time where he was speaking in Miami and a women in the audience stood up and asked this question.

What do you say to somebody whose young daughter has just died from a mysterious illness that only a few people get. What do you say to me, because I have just lost my daughter.

I said first off in the ancient wisdom tradition in some suffering there are no words, there’s silence.

So first off I would begin with that any one that does give you nice clear-cut answers for why your daughter died, I don’t know.

Secondly I do know this, that some point down the road your going to meet up with a women who has also lost her young daughter and your going to look at her in the eyes and your going to say ‘me too’ and in that moment that you’ll be standing on some holy ground. Solidarity is divine. When someone stands with you.

Here is what happens. The woman standing next to her starts gushing and says ‘My young daughter is really sick and they have only given her a little bit of time to live and this woman turns to her.  Rob Bell – How to Practice and Understand Faith and Spirituality

Words, solidarity, hope.

 

Barry Pearman

8 Steps To Discovering Wellness Through Knowing Your Early Warning Signs

Often I travel over some sharp twisty roads. One of these roads has a large hill and just on the other side there is a beautiful view with a fence that has been driven through.

There are signs to tell drivers to slow down, but for this driver the signs were ignored, boundaries were crossed and lives put in danger. If you know the signs then you can avoid the catastrophe. Continue reading

5 Overlooked Ingredients for Sunflower Brilliance

They grab your attention don’t they. Big, bright, and tall, they stand out and call for your attention. You come to a sunflower and take in the brilliant freshness of colour.

5 Overlooked Ingredients for Sunflower Brilliance

 

There is something however that is generally over looked. We don’t give it careful attention, yet without it there would be no flower, no glory, and no future.

Its all the other components of the sunflower.

The roots all unseen feeding and anchoring that skyscraper stem against wind and rain. Milllions and millions of microscopically fine hairlike roots all gathering moisture to feed the plant.

The stalk rising fast and strong bearing large sunlight collecting leaves.

No Stalk, No Glorious Flower

No Stalk, No Glorious Flower

A lot of attention is given to that flower, yet underneath there is a system, a chemical pathway, a division of cells.

For all the glory, praise, and brilliance offered in this world there is a undergirding of struggle and growth. Of a laying down of foundations, of working hard, building the habits of growth.

To have the glorious flower there has to be a struggle.

Some of the most beautiful impacting people I have encountered are those that others overlook. They aren’t beautiful in the way they would be on the front cover of the glossy fashion magazine. They haven’t achieved in terms that would place them on any man made honors list.

They are beautiful and honorable because of some inner life changing ‘nose to the grindstone’ experience.

Jesus was one that could see the beauty and honour in those others despised. He ate and partied with the not so ‘rich and famous’.

You see Jesus had a compelling vision for them all. A vision of sunflower glory, but in order to get there some hard realities needed to be faced.

5 Overlooked Ingredients for Sunflower Brilliance

1. Patience. It would be pretty amazing if suddenly the change you wanted miraculously happened. It doesn’t though, you have to be patient and wait. For all the self help gurus, the bling laden hype heroes, you still have to wait for good things to happen. I know, you want it now, now, now, but there are many lessons to be learnt just through the practice of patience.

2. Consistency. The cells of a growing plant consistently, day in day out, keep on laying the foundations of growth. The have a God designed habit of multiplication. Its a consistent habit of showing up and putting in the hard yards.

I have learned one thing. As Woody [Allen] says, ‘Showing up is 80 percent of life.’ Sometimes it’s easier to hide home in bed. I’ve done both. Marshall Brickman

3. An acceptance of the mundane. Its not all razzle dazzle. The mundane boring grind of life is part of the journey. Accepting it and knowing that it has a place will bring secure stability to your life. Jesus walked on water but mostly he walked on dirt.

4. The nurturing of the unseen. The powerful roots of a sunflower need the focus of the gardener. Water, compost, mulch, protection, all for that which is unseen. Much of life is intangible. It can’t be held, measured or grasped. Many of our questions will never be answered. For me the nurturing of the unseen is learning to be quiet and still, to listen and meditate on maybe just a few scriptures then seeing what grows out of this moist rich soil.

5. That life begins with a death. The seed has to die. The seed in its expression of smallness, yet laden with potent power, has to lose its shape, its shell and husk. It surrenders itself to the soil around it. If I want to see change in my life, to heal, recover then something has to die. A stubborn proud self reliance will never reap the harvest the seed was designed for.

Glory without grit is shallow and shabby. 

What does your growth look like?

Its growing a life mini habit by mini habit. Its putting in the hard yards, its the struggle and the strain. Its the daily choices to build our sunflower stalk cell by cell.

What choices are you making today to grow?

Quotes to Consider

The secret of your success is hidden in your daily habits. Mike Murdock

Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy. Ralph Ransom

Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown. Soren Kierkegaard

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson

Perhaps you would like to leave a comment or share this post with others by clicking on one of the buttons below. Thanks

Barry Pearman

New? Find out more about me or subscribe to site updates via RSS feed, or email by clicking on the yellow book to your right and get a free eBook on Depression. Thanks for visiting!

Do your Mottos Serve You or Enslave You?

When I was at school we used to have a crest of arms with a motto. Courage and faith.

 do your mottos serve you or enslave you

 

I also have unspoken mottos and beliefs that I picked up as a children from my parents and my culture. Mostly they are helpful, but some have led me astray.

I have had to review lots of my thinking. Some of the mottos and beliefs that have I unconsciously held on to and have guided me are no longer needed and are actually harmful. I need to replace them with healthier motto’s and beliefs.

Do you have some little motto’s and assumptions that tick along in the background of your thinking?

Perhaps they were drummed into you on a regular basis as a child. These mottos shape your responses, direct your thinking and ultimately can possibly cause you a lot of stress.

Here are a few examples

  • If a jobs worth doing its worth doing well
  • Praise makes proud
  • If its going to be then its up to me
  • Good things are not for us
  • Peace at any price
  • Never trust a female/male
  • Tall poppies need cutting down
  • Don’t rock the boat

These are but some family and parental beliefs and assumptions, spoken and unspoken, that can be handed on to us as children and then reinforced trough experiences as adults.

Not every family motto is negative, but it is the negative ones that need to be reassessed and challenged. Are they creating hope or havoc in you?

There is often a dark side to some of the seemingly good motto’s.

‘If a jobs worth doing its worth doing well’ can lead a to a life of perfectionism. That the job is never quit perfect enough. That others will judge our worth by what we do and so we have to keep to very high standards of performance. If we slip up just a little bit then self loathing can ensue, with depression and anxiety following closely behind.

 Improvement of our lives begins with the renewing of our minds, which is begun in turn by challenging old beliefs and childhood conclusions. David Riddell 

Those family and cultural mottos can keep haunting us like ghosts, shouting at us when we make the slightest mistake. Controlling our every attempt to break out of out current thinking ruts.

  • Never upset mother/father
  • Possessions are more important than people
  • Apologizing equals weakness
  • Sex is a duty
  • It’s us against the world

For a free list of typical family mottos click here 

Do you labour under some heavy family and cultural motto’s? Do you want to come out from under them because they don’t seem to fit anymore.

One day Jesus was talking with people who, just like us, were burdened down by motto’s and rules.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Mathew 11: 28-30 (The Message)

It seems to me that Jesus was offering an alternative way of living. A life where grace was an under girding motto. Jesus was pointing his finger towards heavenly family mottos and beliefs that were supernaturally based and not contrived by humanity. Jesus was one who did not conform to the ‘thinking patterns of this world’.

Paul wrote about it this way

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 12:1,2 (The Message)

How do we come out from the Family cultural motto’s of today and learn to ‘live freely and lightly’?

1. Get away with Jesus. Spend time in prayer, quietly praying for his wisdom and peace.

2. Ask Jesus to reveal the faulty family or cultural beliefs that are ‘heavy or ill-fitting’. We all have them and Jesus wants to give you a new set that are based on grace. Motto’s that will help you to ‘recover your life’.

3. Trace back to where you learnt this faulty way of thinking. When was is that you that you learnt them.

4. Ask your ‘self’ this. Does this belief serve you or enslave you?

5. Prayerfully ask what would be a healthier and balanced alternative motto?

6. Write this new way of thinking down in an insight journal. A little book you can carry around and refer back to time and time again. A book of insights to refresh your thinking.

Family and cultural motto’s don’t have to control your world now. They can replaced by new ways of thinking.

 

Questions to consider and leave a comment. 

  1. What mottos, both good and bad, guide your thinking?
  2. What cultural mottos are harmful to you?
  3. What cultural mottos are helpful?

 

Barry Pearman

p.s. For a free list of typical family mottos click here 

Photo Credit: RedDeadDragon via Compfight cc

Three Gratitude’s

 

Three Gratitude’s

Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.

It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.

Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.

And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,

Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.

Carrie Newcomer

Listen to a podcast interview with Carrie Newcomer by visiting On Being

Connect with Carrie on her Website and follow her on Twitter

I am only a … when it is only ‘I’ that is involved

It is only a hammer, but for me it is very significant because it reminds me of a time when I was entrusted with a huge responsibility.

I am only … when it is only ‘I’ that is involved

 

My Father had become very unwell and was unable to run our farm for a few months. It was a busy time of the year and I was entrusted with managing the farm. I was only 18 years old.

There were fences to be built and repaired and I needed a new hammer so I went and bought a top quality Estwing hammer.

Now whenever I pick up that hammer I think of my Dad and how he believed in me. I suppose in some ways it was a coming of age type of thing. An entry into manhood from being a child. He believed in me and had faith in me that I would manage his farm well while he recovered.

Have you ever been thrown a challenge that takes you

out of your comfort zone?

A vision we give to others of who and what they could become has power when it echoes what the spirit has already spoken into their souls. Larry Crabb

Someone believes in you, sees your potential, throws you a quest that takes your breathe away. You are given a ring to carry to Mordor but you are only a little Hobbit.

Recently I have been working at a school as part of my Gumboot Gardening business (checkout some photos on my facebook page).

The first job was to build a compost bin and so I enlisted some of the children. As I gave them my special hammer I could see some of them wonder if they could hit that nail. As they did the others cheered them on and belief and confidence grew within themselves.

What would it be like to have a belief in someone, express that confidence and then see them doubt and dispute it. You extend a hand, express an invitation, yet fear washes over their face and they withdraw into their shell of self protective push backs.

You wonder what it will take to see them come out of their cave of complacency. More encouragement? Perhaps another invitation? Perhaps a commitment to walk alongside them as they face the fear.

The prophet Jeremiah was such a person. He records his invitation from God here.

“Before I shaped you in the womb,

I knew all about you.

Before you saw the light of day,

I had holy plans for you:

A prophet to the nations—

that’s what I had in mind for you.”

But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me.

I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”

God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’

I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there.

I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.

Don’t be afraid of a soul.

I’ll be right there, looking after you.”

God’s Decree. Jeremiah 1:4-8 (The Message)

 

I may be reading too much into the text but I sense Gods disappointment, hurt, and possibly mild anger at Jeremiahs response. Do you sense this too?

God knows Jeremiah inside out, back to front, freckles and pimples. He knows Jeremiah intimately like no one else. God knows the fears and misgivings Jeremiah will and does have about the plan. So he confirms his commitment to Jeremiah with a connection to his heart.

He promises that Jeremiah will not go it alone.

  • I’ll tell you where to go
  • I’ll tell you what to say
  • I’ll be right there, looking after you

Jeremiah, like all of us, had the

‘I’m only a …’

thinking pattern.

For him it was ‘I’m only a boy’ but for many of us we also have a self talk that I believe disappoints the heart of God

  • ‘I’m only a girl’
  • ‘I’m only a housewife’
  • ‘I’m only a rubbish collector’
  • ‘I’m only a teacher’
  • ‘I’m only a kitchen hand’
  • ‘I’m only a …. (fill in your own little verse)’

I am tired of hearing discounting sentences come out of the mouths of God’s beautiful creation. 

I will always be held back in my turtle shell of ‘I am only a …’ while I believe that it is only  ‘I’  that is involved.

When I have chosen to believe that its all up to me then truly I am only a …

The promise from this passage is that God is with you. God loves you too much to leave you the way you are, stuck inside you turtle shell of ‘I’m only’

Do you discount God and what God could do in you?

God saw some thing very special in young Jeremiah and he sees something as equally awesome in you.

Some final words from Eugene Peterson

There is an enormous gap between what we think we can do and what God calls us to do. Our ideas of what we can do or want to do are trivial; God’s ideas for us are grand. God’s call to Jeremiah to be a prophet parallels his call to us to be a person. The excuses we make are plausible; often they are statements of fact, but they are excuses all the same and are disallowed by our Lord who says: ‘Do not say, I am only a youth’ Eugene Peterson Run with the Horses

Question to Consider and leave a comment.

  • Why do we discount ourselves?
  • Do you think it disappoints God with our ‘I’m only a …’ responses?

Barry Pearman

Unfurling of Hope

Unfurling Fern - Koru

 

Sometimes God just jumps out on your daily path of busyness and whispers ‘Look at me’.

It happened like this for me the other day.

I was working on a farm trying to solve some water reticulation problems. As I was walking to the water pump I happened to look down to the path and I noticed this punga stump with new growth coming out of the top.

I have long held a deep connection with what God does in nature and what he calls us to do with each other. You can read more about it on my page Koru.

The Holy Spirit spoke to me a number of insights from this meeting on the path.

  1. Many people have been cut down, discarded, and overlooked. Seeing nothing of the beauty contained within, the person is considered a commodity to be used and then rubbished.
  2. Inner resilience. Some form of strength lies within all of us. Many times this resilience needs to be encouraged and nurtured by others to break out into
  3. Purpose. There is a purpose for every aspect of God’s creation, including you. Just because its a fern it still has a purpose. You have purpose and meaning.
  4. Deep change requires a slowness, imperceptible to most. The change we so want to see generally doesn’t happen quickly. It is often small and incremental, building slowly.
  5. Change can look ugly if that is all you look for. Look closer with an open heart and you will see beauty. That fern, that moss, it may look ugly, but look closer and in it you will see something of Gods creative presence.

This is what my calling is all about. Helping my readers connect with the God of new growth out of old destruction.

“‘For here’s what I’m going to do:

I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land.

I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean.

I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you.

I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed.

I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. Ezekial 36: 24- 28

IMG_20140925_081139

 

‘here’s what I’m going to do’.

God is doing something. 

So often we strive, we push, worry, and stress out, while all the time God is doing something often unseen by us. Something unfurling, being released, a newness that comes into the world.

Barry Pearman

Like to keep the Pages Turning here? Consider donating financially.
Did you enjoy this post? Consider sharing using the options below.

What I had in mind was you

Today, as you go about your daily business, you will encounter people.

Depending on where you live it could be in the thousands of a busy city or the few of a country town.

Regardless, this planet has billions and billions of people of which you are one.

Often I think about this and the fact that God knows every one of us on a deeply intimate level. We are not a commodity product, a resource to managed, a number on a spreadsheet.

You as an individual are of incredible value to God.

Jesus put it this way

“What’s the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries. Luke 12: 6, 7 (The Message)

Do you have an internal bully that wants to shut down any sense of personal value and significance?

Our mental health can be storm-swept by both internal and external storms. The internal bully of thoughts that want to intimidate you into insignificance. Maybe it is others, literal bullies, who try to define you according to their insecurities.

Into this the God, who loves canaries, steps in and has a conversation with the son of a priest.

“Before I shaped you in the womb,
    I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
    I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
    that’s what I had in mind for you.” Jeremiah 1:5

What God had in mind, even before Jeremiah was conceived, was Jeremiah, was purpose, was significance.

It is impossible to get our human thinking around this concept of God knowing us before conception. We are so limited in our understanding of time.

What God had in mind was you.

Have a look at this slide share from a recent message I gave on this passage.

What i had in mind from Barry Pearman

In one word what does God knowing you before your conception speak to you of? Leave a comment below.

 

Barry Pearman

Photo Credit: meophamman via Compfight cc
Did you find this post helpful? Share with it others by using the options below. Thanks

Do You Have A Soul Believer? 3 Qualities To Look For

When the crisis hits you need someone who believes in you. Someone who will be like a rock of confidence. While you are wobbly and weak they are steady and sure .

 

For that next step in recovery you have to know someone is there, right beside you. Not to tell you off, chastise you or to add weight to your wounds. But someone who believes in you even if you fail for 100th time.

Soul Believers take the step across the threshold of unknowing. They hold hands and whisper words to you that cause your heart to hope.

3 Qualities of Soul Believers

1. Soul Believers accept your past

We all have one. A shadow that follows us around that we would rather not look at. We have a history that may at times haunt and engulf us. We try to repress it and force it down but up it comes, bubbling away. Leaking out at times. So we hide away, but on a mask and join fellow actors on the stage of pretense.

Secrets come in all shapes and sizes. Burdens carried that sculpt our thinking into behavioral patterns of hiddenness. But who will seek out the secrets of one’s soul? Not many as it is a journey into a dark cavern of unknowing and inadequacy. Where we can’t be in control of the outcome.

Soul Believers know that you have a past because they have explored their own past and have learned to sow seeds of grace into it. They have learnt that no one is immune from pain and failure.

They accept you, past and all.

I only preach from my scars, not my wounds. Nadia Bolz-Weber

In various ways they express that nothing you have done or that has been done to you will affect their compassionate love towards you.

This shocks you, could it be true? You take a cautious step forward and discover hope. You discover that they too have also been wounded. The wounds have healed and are now scars, reminders of past skirmishes of the soul.

Soul Believers have scars and are willing for you to touch them and ask questions. Remember how Jesus invited Thomas to place his fingers in his wounds? Soul believers express personal vulnerability.

2. Soul Believers engage with your present

Its not all a ‘pondering over the past’, its also a connecting with your present reality. Food parcels,  housing issues, child care, transport. How can we problem solve these day to day life issues together?

Soul believers know that you face struggles in your everyday life. This present reality of bills to pay and meals to make is an invitation to learn and grow in new skills and wisdom. To discover God midst the washing of pots and pans, just as Brother Lawrence did.

The difficulties of life do not have to be unbearable. It is the way we look at them – through faith or unbelief – that makes them seem so. We must be convinced that our Father is full of love for us and that He only permits trials to come our way for our own good. Brother Lawrence

Soul Believers point us to the presence of Christ midst the trials.

3. Soul Believers envision your future

They not only accept your past and engage with the present, they also have a belief that there is a beautiful ‘God rich’ future ahead of you. Mountains look most formidable at the bottom. Soul believers help you take one step at a time because they see the mountain as moments of transformation.

A vision we give to others of who and what they could become has power when it echoes what the spirit has already spoken into their souls. Larry Crabb

Perhaps they have been this route themselves and now, walking beside you, they hold out a candle into the darkness of the night.

Perhaps they have crafted a vision letter, something that has been stirred up in their soul by the Spirit of God. Not a wish list of dreams, but of what is possible when the heart is fully given over to the Narrow Path experience of walking Gods way.

Is being a Soul Believer easy?

No, and never. It can be torturous and painful at times. Its not for the faint of heart and for those who like simple ‘band-aid’ solutions.

There are times when I gladly walk on past the dehumanized man, beaten and stripped naked in the ditch that Jesus described in the message of the Good Samaritan.

I have to.

Perhaps Christ does not call me to attend to every wounded soul, but to the ones that he knows I and I alone can be a Soul Believer for.

So in this there is a perilous invitation to being attentive to hear his whisper of invitation. ‘This one is for you’

To love is not to wish good for another person, it is to bear another’s burden; that is, to bear what is painful to you and which you do not bear willingly. Dr Larry Crabb

Question to Consider

Who has believed in you? What qualities did they demonstrate?

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: marfis75 via Compfight cc

 

7 Keys To Help You Prevent A Slippery Slope Slide To Destruction.

Slippery slopes can be a lot of fun. As a kid I used to love zooming down water slides, sand dunes and just your normal everyday playground slide. They were safe because there was nothing dangerous at the bottom.

But what if there was, or that you were not too sure about what was down there. Perhaps there could be a quagmire, or a thousand hungry crocodiles.

Perhaps others may have been down that particular slippery slope before and barely made it out alive. Poor moral choices can lead to a ‘Slippery Slope’ experience of destruction. 

The top is always connected to the bottom.

Continue reading