#LentVoices – Releasing

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If someone asked you to describe your essence – how would you begin to reply?

What things about your personality are non-negotiable?

Jesus once said that those who would follow him would need to deny themselves and that those trying to save their lives might instead lose them… It’s a hard teaching, and one that many (understandably) struggle with.

But what if this losing – this releasing of things we think are important, vital – is actually freedom?

In the coaching world, we often help clients explore their self-limiting beliefs or behaviours – the things we think or do that stop us from being our truest self. 

These things are often rooted in our past – a decision we made or an action that we took, or even something that someone else did or said to us. They can come from a place of self-protection, perhaps trying to rationalise the unknowable, or someone else projecting their fears or own limitations on us.

They ultimately stop us growing, keeping us safely in a place where we think we know who we are – at the cost of finding out who we can be.

Maybe – just maybe – part of what Jesus is saying this: it is time for us to stop pretending we have it sussed, and instead be prepared to shed some of our old skin and start looking for the adventure that exploring potential can bring.

Phoenix rising

This post is part of a collaborative project called #LentVoices. For more details of both the project and contributors, see here.

#LentVoices Leaving (together)

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Credit: Photo by Jeremy Liew on Unsplash

Over Lent this year (2021) a motley but dedicated collection of freelancers, all of whom have a Christian Faith, decided to collaborate on a project we called Lent Voices. Each week we decided on a theme, loosely connected to a bible passage/story.

Below I have linked the contributions for week one (which also included a bonus item written for Ash Wednesday) – the theme was Leaving and we used the story of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, immediately following his baptism, as our launch. That story can be found in Mark 1:9-15.

Ash Wednesday – by Mark Berry

A year ago Nathan and I spent a long weekend in Rome. We arrived in Italy blown by a storm and were met in the airport by the first signs of what was to come. We stood in a line waiting to be filmed by a thermal camera, COVID 19 had arrived in Europe and the strangest year of most of our lifetimes had begun. Plans and hopes for the year ahead were quickly cast aside as the “new normal’ set in, for many this meant loss of employment, loss of community and even the loss of loved ones… (read more)

Leaving for the wildernessby Sally Nash

I never expected to leave for the wilderness, other people’s decisions, not mine. The wilderness is a stark place, beautiful in a way, but it can be a little scary too. The picture is from the Joshua Tree National Park and there were lots of signs about not going off the path and getting lost, with no phone signal you wondered when and if you would be found if you did get lost… (read more)

Leaving – by Mark Berry

We have stepped into the season of lent, planted a foot in another place.

A new time in the deepest desert begins.

Away from the pushing and shoving of life,

Away from the noise that clamours around us,

Away from the demands that compete for our attention… (read more)

Leaving and Wild Things – by Lucie Hutson

I wonder where your wild places are? Often biblically the wilderness is a place of wandering, the hard, barren places. For Hagar, within her wilderness escape the question was “where are you coming from and where are you going” (Genesis 16:7-11), the same may be imagined for the Israelites in their Exodus pilgrimage. The in-between spaces that were so important to the story… (read more)

Leaving – by Andy Campbell

The gospel stories say Jesus was ‘driven’ into the wilderness for those 40 days. There were wild animals there, but also angels.

I’m struck by the parallels of our collective existence, especially this past year. We’ve been forced out of our routines, comforts and assumptions and into a new territory that is confusing, frightening and holds significant dangers. Our wild beasts might come in the shape of a virus, loneliness or anxiety – and some of them have teeth and claws that will leave scars… (read more)

Theo-Drama: Leaving – by Hasna Khatun

Setting the scene for Theo-Drama. There’s drama, and then there’s theo-drama… What does theo-drama look like?

(Click here to see [and hear] Hasna’s reflection on YouTube)

Leaving’ a lentern exploration – by James Fox-Robinson

My heart detests, reviles, denounces, loathes your absence with a passion like a furnace

(Click here to see [and hear] James’ reflection – playing with words from Sonata by Gjertrud Schnackenberg – on YouTube).

#LentVoices – Leaving

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The gospel stories say Jesus was ‘driven’ into the wilderness for those 40 days. There were wild animals there, but also angels.

I’m struck by the parallels of our collective existence, especially this past year. We’ve been forced out of our routines, comforts and assumptions and into a new territory that is confusing, frightening and holds significant dangers. Our wild beasts might come in the shape of a virus, loneliness or anxiety – and some of them have teeth and claws that will leave scars.

But there are also angels. Individuals and communities that have helped those around them to stand, walk, function, even thrive where possible.

As a Coach, I often speak to people who are in a place of transition – perhaps paralysed by real or perceived dangers that surround them. I try my best to help them see where they have control or influence, what they need to stop fighting or put down, to practice self care, reflect on the resources they have, and consider who might help guide them to the next stage.

It can be really tempting to return to old ways of being and doing – even if we know they no longer work. But growth *always* means leaving something behind – a habit, a belief, a story we told ourselves… and having the bravery to take the next step and see what is over that next dune.

(c) Andy Campbell 2021

This post is part of a collaborative project called #LentVoices. For more details of both the project and contributors, see here.

#LentVoices

Credit: Ahna Ziegler

We are a diverse group of Christian freelancers (see below) who have collaborated to curate daily reflections during Lent. Each week will have a theme, explored 6 different ways on 6 days (nothing on most Sundays).

The project will start on Ash Wednesday (Feb 17th) – and we will also post on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Search for #LentVoices on Facebook and LinkedIn, content may also be posted to other social media sites. 

Contributors

Mark Berry – Pioneer, Teacher, Speaker and Poet. Mark helps groups and individuals break boundaries, engage with culture and grow community.

Andy Campbell – Coach, Trainer, Artist, Poet and occasional square peg. Andy helps people work out who they are, and what their next step might be.

James Fox Robinson – Creative, 3rd Order Franciscan, Dreamer, Professional Nuisance. James is passionate about curating spaces for people to engage with God’s story, physically and digitally. (See also James’ youtube).

Lucie Hutson – teacher and learner, created and creator, speaker and pioneer. Lucie is passionate about helping people to wander and wonder in the world around us.

Hasna Khatun – Ordained Pioneer Minister in the C of E. Teacher and Professional Actor/Presenter/Voiceover. Hasna lives to eat and laugh sparingly… She’d like to write an alternative script for Barbie, Ken and Cindy and adores the people who don’t fit in.

Sally Nash – Author, Researcher, Educator, Priest, Mentor, Spiritual Accompanier. Sally is passionate about helping people fulfil their potential and make a bigger difference in their world.