Complacent Christian – Part 3 – To this day

Fast forward many years and many ups and downs that I will cover another time, we get to the present day. I am very much walking with Christ. Sometimes I’m vigorously sprinting, sometimes I’m reluctantly crawling. Sometimes I’m so hungry for the Word of God, sometimes I’m merely peckish, sometimes I feel like I am full. This is what this three part blog series is actually about. Feeling full. The truth is I can never be too full with God. When God is in it, there is no limit – ever. That’s even for those who know the Bible back to front and can quote scripture faster than I can quote Drake lyrics. I’m definitely nowhere even near to being that kind of person in my journey with Christ yet. I’ve fallen into laziness, relying on the fact that I have years of church experience and years of being in a church environment to get me through this Christian life. And it is not enough.

Here I speak with complete honesty. I have met someone who is an example of being absolutely hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. Someone who has not had the same positive life and church experiences as me. I love this person very much. I can honestly say that in the beginning, when I started sharing my journey to faith with him, and he shared his journey to faith with me, I thought it was me that had the passion and hunger for Christ all the time. Plot twist, it most certainly wasn’t!!!!

God has humbled me so much and allowed me to realise that me intensely studying the Bible, praying, fasting and living according to grace and the Word of God in one breath whilst relying on my upbringing and prior experience in another breath, when I perhaps feel down and deflated spiritually is not enough. This is not the way I’m suppose to live! Maybe this is perhaps where I fall into temptation?

I want to understand Christ more, I want to live in the truth of the gospel day by day, to glorify His Name and to live a life according the purpose that He has given to me, but the battle between spirit and flesh is ongoing and rather intense. This is not an excuse, but a reality. Fellow Christians, can you relate? Of course you can. This battle is written about in the Bible so many times – read Paul’s letters in the New Testament, it is a battle that is not and will not be hidden from us because it is so real to our very existence. But Christians are also called not to be of the flesh, but of the Spirit. In fact, we are told that we are not of the flesh, but of the Spirit (Romans 8:9). This indicates to me that is a choice, a choice that I will live to make everyday of my life, everyday of my life. I refuse to define myself as being a complacent Christian as I seek everyday to be more like Jesus.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NIV)

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Complacent Christian – Part 2 – Back to Christ

Growing up as a teen was difficult. I won’t lie, I can’t lie but during a lot of secondary school I didn’t connect with God, I was too concerned with friends – who weren’t actually friends, cute boys *eye roll*, my appearance, popularity, gossip and all the other things teen me indulged in. I used to be the kind of person to mumble something that mildly resembled a prayer before I went to bed each night, as some sort of recognition of God’s presence but during the day, it was all about me. I thought all the excitement of school and teenage life would be all I needed to live a cosy life. I’d keep going to church on side, because mum and dad wouldn’t just leave us home alone every Sunday, but I wasn’t really exercising my faith. My Bible had collected more dust particles than an old doll in an antique shop and I was pretty sure my prayers were as genuine as some reality TV shows I watched. I watched the relationship I had with God crumble right before my eyes, because I was too concerned with what everyone on the outside thought of me. I became so distant with my parents and my older brother because of my selfishness, my self-absorption and outright denial of having an issue in the first place. By the grace of God alone have those relationships now been fully restored to above and beyond what I could have imagined.

Around about the age of 14, I experienced the lowest point in my life so far. Call it a teenage meltdown, hormones, teen anxiety or whatever you like, I was low, and I was very unhappy. I’m not going to go into details about it, maybe another day, in another blog, but just know, I was in a very dark place. I didn’t call out to God in this time, I didn’t think He was there, and if He was, that He would be interested or that He could change my situation. I looked for healing in people and their approval, which could have never in a million years fill the void that was in the middle of my being. I went to a church festival at the age of 15 with the church my family had recently relocated to. It was not long after I had the complete breakdown, I think it may have been 2 or 3 days after it, but I went anyways, feeling broken and completely helpless.

I’m confident in the fact that I did not leave that place in the state that I had come. I felt the Spirit of God moving in me, literally, I didn’t know what it was then, but looking back in hindsight, I can confirm it was God. I was led to speak to this lady, to this day I cannot remember her name, but she led me into a prayer that allowed me to allow God in to change my life. I remember I was shaking heavily, I had never asked for prayer over my situation, I hardly spoke about it in full with anyone to be completely honest. Apparently I didn’t need to tell her everything either. She asked me straight away whether I had anxiety and whether I wanted prayer. I told her yes and yes please. So she prayed and I responded. From that moment, I stopped shaking and felt this inner peace that I only remember feeling at the age of seven when I came to Christ and was baptised. I felt like a child again, His child again.

I went back to school a different person, a new creation as the apostle Paul refers to it in 2 Corinthians 5:17. People noticed the change in me, some rejoiced with me, some weren’t too keen on it, which did discourage me and some were open to understanding why and how everything had happened. I had highs and lows throughout my journey as a re-committed Christian, lots of highs and lows. I still don’t always make the right choices – I have often made very wrong ones, to say the least. But I can honestly say that since that day, I never felt completely separated from God like I once had.

Part 3 is out now!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Complacent Christian: Part 1 – Growing up “Christian”

These two words shouldn’t really co-exist. A Christian really shouldn’t be complacent. However, I can be very complacent….. and I’m a Christian. I grew up in the church, different church assemblies, but I was always in church. I know that doesn’t equate to me being a Christian. It doesn’t matter if I spent every spare minute I had in church. Standing in a church doesn’t equate to my salvation, nor does spending time in church equate to me actually being the person that God has called me. The fact that I was brought up in church does, however, add to the reason why I, personally, have become quite complacent. Here’s why:

Being in the church environment literally from my first days even breathing independently from my mother meant that I was always surrounded by the Word of God. As in always. My parents are both committed Christians with incredible testimonies of their own. Without a doubt this became the foundation for my understanding of the Bible and of God himself. Thankfully, being a Christian was never forced on me, or my three siblings. In contrary to many claims about kids raised in church being “brainwashed”, I can wholeheartedly confirm, that we were not! We were always taught that we were to make our own decisions regarding our faith as in the end it was going to be our choice. Believe me, we all have our own personal journeys and all four of us has made both a personal declaration and public declaration (through baptism) of our faith in Jesus.

I chose, as in actually chose to be baptised at the age of seven. Yes, I was young, I’ve been told that so many times, but I vividly remember when I first believed in God. I asked my parents if I could get baptised, assuming they’d say no, because I was young and inexperienced (my older brother was actually younger than me when he chose to get baptised!), but they didn’t say no. Instead they ensured that I knew what I was declaring and understood my personal reason for becoming a Christian. I was a bright kid, some would say I was years above my age, so I could honestly say I was ready.

Part 2 is published now – didn’t want to make the blog too long!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Late Night Shenanigans: Rated Cringe Worthy

I’m not entirely sure who this is aimed at or why I am writing it but here it goes. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

I’ve finally found a platform that I can share what I love doing with other people. A lot of people who have known me on a surface level in real life, such as peers and acquaintances, probably see me as the girl who gets decent enough grades and is friendly to people without actually knowing too much about me. There is so much more to me and my life than my grades and my people’s persona. I have a story – a short one – but still a story, I have a life outside of education contrary to popular belief (shock horror), experiences, both good and bad, my own opinion, beliefs – strong ones and I finally have a medium to share it on.

This may come as a shock to people who know me properly but I feel like I have spent my life living in the lie of the perception that I think others have of me. Let me break it down. Anything that anyone has said to me, whether good or bad has formed the way I perceive myself. It’s been that way from ever since I could remember. From primary school when I used to be called “goody-two shoes” to secondary school when I would be called “not black enough” to sixth form where I’d simply just be called “different to the rest”. Now, the goody-two shoes thing was true, mostly in year six when I suddenly became quite shy and introverted for reasons I honestly cannot remember. I definitely lost the goody-two shoes label over the years though, not that I’m complaining. The “not black enough” label has sort have stuck in my conscience but I’m old enough now to know it’s absolute nonsense. But during secondary school it consumed me. My post titled “melanin” explains a bit more what I mean by that – so definitely check it out! What matters now is I know that my race is my race and I will never let anyone, including myself define me based solely on the colour of my skin. I’ve learnt to be me, simply because I’m me. But it still gets me down sometimes. I don’t want to be confined to the racial stereotypes that modern society has created – I wasn’t made to be put into a box. At the same time I want to embrace my race, my roots, my heritage freely and encourage others to do the same. It’s something that I’m honestly still figuring out.

The whole “different from the rest” perception is the honest reason why I’m up writing so late. I have always known I was a bit different. Not in a cool edgy, American teen rebel movie sort of way, not even in being extremely good at something or creating something incredible. I was just different. I felt distant from most of my peers in every stage of school life. As if they were experiencing a different world to them, that’s how it felt like. I wasn’t heavily restricted from doing anything, my parents were protective but I had freedom, maybe more than a lot of my peers did. But I never felt like I was in the group, nor did I feel particularly left out, but rather on the circumference of the circle (#GCSE maths). I spoke to everyone, got along with mostly everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I had great friends, no one purposefully or intentionally did anything to me but I felt this way pretty much all the time. I wasn’t happy being me because I felt people would judge the real me. I felt so pressured to conform to a standard that no one even expected of me while they were simply busy just being themselves. I put myself on the outside, I discluded myself because of fear of not being loved no matter how many compliments people showered me with. And even if I felt I wasn’t loved by the crowds I often ignored and disregarded my first love, Jesus.

I put the views and opinions of others above God’s view of me. And that is without a doubt what kept me in that dark place. If I had dwelled on my identity in Christ than on my identity in the eyes of the world my teenage years would have been different. I’ve obviously finished beating myself up about it now, and I know I have been forgiven for that 100 times over but sometimes I do look back and think what if. What if I spent my time resting in his presence than I did resting in other people’s satisfaction. What if I listened to His voice rather than the world’s voice. What if I spent my time in worship rather than drowning in sorrow. But then I remember, if it wasn’t for my mistake, I couldn’t be sitting here right now, writing this for you guys to read. I know everything I write and say won’t be relatable to everyone. After all, this is my story, not a projection of the whole world’s story. You may not believe what I believe or you may not be passionate about what I’m passionate about. But if I could ease the stress off of one area of one person’s life then I would write this blog one thousand times over (do you get the reason for my title yet?). You have to forgive me though, ahaha, it’s 3:38am on a Saturday and I am quite possibly in need of my bed right about now. So I’m going to wrap this up here with this:

I think I’m finally fine with being a bit different 🙂

Sweet Dreams and Love Always,

Shadz xo

The Greatest Day in History

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.”
Matthew 28:5‭-‬6

Happy Easter you lovely people!!! Resurrection Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar. This is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of our saviour Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for what Jesus did for me on the cross – he defeated sin and rose up up from the grave so that I can live in freedom. Tens of thousands of Christians across the UK and millions of Christians around the world use this day to remember what Jesus has done for them, not only in their personal lives but for the whole entire world!

I will never be ashamed of the gospel and I will never be ashamed to declare my faith both here, on my blog, and in my daily life. My blog, of course is not merely faith based posts, I post a bit of everything, from education to relationships to lifestyle but my faith is very central in my life and I would believe I would be hiding a huge, crucial part of myself if I did not share it.

Whatever you’re doing today or however you’re choosing to celebrate this bank holiday weekend I hope you are all keeping safe and staying happy – even in quarantine!

Love Always,

Shadz xo

Know Your Worth

In many aspects of our everyday life, we do not give ourselves enough credit for who we are; a lot of us do not know our worth or sometimes fail to recognise it. If we treat ourselves as if we are worth less than we are, we leave room for self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence which can lead us down some tricky paths.

You were created for a purpose, regardless of what others believe about why we as humans are here. You are not an accident and your life isn’t just happening for no particulat reason. You find your purpose within your worth, so to know your purpose, you have to first know your worth.

No matter how much your friends, family and loved ones tell you how much your worth, in the end you have to know it for yourself. I personally find my worth accoring to who God says I am. I am chosen, loved, cared for, free, wonderfully made, saved, rescued, ransomed and redeemed.

In what or whom do you find your worth?

Love Always,

Shadz xo

My faith and me: What do I believe?

The connatations of Christianity in the Western world does not euqate to it’s meaning or value to those who actually believe. Being born and raised in church I have seen so many variations and ideas regarding being a Christian. Living in a secular society, where faith and belief is seen as an outdated concept, it’s sometimes difficult to convey and declare my faith without being met with a bunch of complicated questions.

I can stand and say that now at the age of 19 that I am a firm believer in Jesus. He is my God, my saviour, my helper, my healer, my peace, my joy, my strength and He calls me His friend. I am who I am because of my faith, and I will never be ashamed of it.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16 (NIV)

I love all people, that’s the main value of Christianty, and one of the most important commandments. I aim through my life and through my blog to spread the love that God has given to me.

Love Always,

Shadz xo

When things don’t quite go to plan..

Throughout my A-levels I tried extremely hard. Choosing three subjects that had little relevance to each other and without having a clear career plan it was destined to be quite a bumpy road. And that it was just that. I chose English Literature, Maths, Psychology and Biology when I started sixth form and the first term was the hardest. I thought I wanted to be a psychologist before changing my mind and doing an English Literature degree. I thought those subjects would be best. After a tiresome struggle with Biology I chose to drop it after one term.

The rest of first year was pretty good. In our end of year mocks I got the grades I needed to pass onto year 13 so I was thrilled. Halfway through year 13, juggling being head girl, having a part time tutoring job and just trying to navigate becoming a legal adult (with all the emotions that come with it) I took a bit of a mental dip. At this point I had stopped writing, even journalling, and this blog came to a bit of stand still. I wasn’t very happy with how life was going. I wasn’t necessarily in a low mood or particularly anxious, I was just a bit blank. Despite putting in as much effort as possible, I didn’t get into my firm choice of university.

After many tears, many cuddles and a very over-dramatic phone call with my dad I finally gathered my brain cells and rung my insurance university. They immediately offered me a place. My insurance univeristy was my original first choice but I wanted to push myself in picking a different one, with higher grade requirements. I was of course absolutely gutted that I didn’t get in but I eventually realised that God had me and still has me right where He wants me. After a lot of self-doubt and a big knock of confidence I realised and understood that God was going to use my once perceived failure and turn it into something better.

Looking back in hindsight, I wish I didn’t get so upset. I’m so happy where I am. I have zero regrets and I don’t even think about the absolute disgrace of results day. When it seems as if things aren’t quite going your way, there is always a bigger plan. Don’t worry about the future too much and keep up the faith!

Love Always,

Shadz xo