My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for August, 2010

Deliver us from want — Prosperity and the christian church

“What could she possibly have to be thankful for…?” My question caught me by surprise, but as it lingered I realized I needed an answer. I was reading a snippet of the story of a missionary on a short-term mission trip who had been on a now abandoned island in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, ministering to lepers. On the final day, he was leading worship in a leper colony and asked if anyone had a favorite song. At his request, a woman turned and he saw the most disfigured face he’d ever seen—she had no ears, no nose and her lips were gone. But she raised her hand, it was fingerless, and asked, “Could we sing, ‘Count Your Many Blessings’?”

What would be on her list? I wanted to know. What blessings would SHE be thanking God for? How would her list compare to mine…, or yours.

Blessing defined as having good fortune or having tangible things for which we are thankful is very popular in our churches today. As a matter of fact, the idea of prosperity is one of the most popular guarenteed triggers to generate a shout in many places of worship. But I believe the noble goal of helping believers grasp the awesome heritage we have as a result of our relationship with God—that we need not live dejected, depressed, hopeless lives have turned us on to a desire to be delivered from “want”. Lack, it seems, has become the new evil —- and not necessarily the lack of a thing, but the lack of the thing being bigger and better. It seems everywhere we turn the word prosperity is being brandished and we seem to think we can praise our way into a life of abundance without developing characteristics of  discipline, self-control or excellent work ethics. We want stuff and we want it now.

I remember years ago a friend purchased a house, he was so excited about this milestone, but as we talked, his girlfriend’s response was, “It’s ok, for a starter home”. On another occasion I heard someone express dissatisfaction because the new car they had been able to afford was not a “luxury” vehicle. We appear to be at this very challenging juncture where what we have is never sufficient, where we can never be in the moment because of our anxiety for the next bigger thing. We seem to have this misguided concept that God is more interested in showering us with stuff than He is in making us after his own heart.

Would our churches want to take credit for this “renewed” mindset? For instead of developing disciples who are hungry for God, whose passion is serving for kingdom building, who remember our hallmark is in the way we love one another, and who can rest in the privileged state of learned contentment; we’ve produced many dissatisfied, selfish people, who have an insatiable appetite for more stuff, whose religious mantra is to name and claim, and who seem to think our hallmark is in the abundance of what we possess.

Lest some may think I’m opposed to disciples of Christ prospering in the material as well as the spiritual, let me say such thinking would be unwise and unscriptural. But the challenge to maintain right prospective is evident as we try to balance the pursuit of both. For though we may loose the things we touch, or even the things we touch with, like the leper on Chacachacare Island, assured, we’ll know that we still possess the cross-endorsed sacrificial gifts of Christ that nothing can destroy.

This is Dona Halliday challenging you to feed those things that have eternal value as your mind is being renewed

Take a listen. I love the message in this song – “Empty Me”

Whispering, heart two heart

My heart whispers, “Hope — stay true, hold tight,”
My heart whispers, “Peace — don’t give in, the end’s in sight,”
My heart whispers, “Trust — be still, you’re secure,”
and when all is silent,

YOUR heart whispers….

Child, remember hope in me will not cause shame,
Persevere! My peace will outlast all pain,
I will save you, you will not fall,
You are safe when you trust in me.

Then my heart sings, hope in place of despair,
Peace, though chaos hovers near,
Trust, I hold it so dear
It’s my confidence,

that you are my hope….

Learning the Faith Walk – Stepping on your fear

Leave fear behind and do the faith walk

"Join the faith walk, it dispels fear"

I hate saying this out loud, so I’m just going  to whisper — “I can’t swim”. Just imagine, an island girl who has loved and spent so much time at the beach never learning to swim. I love the ocean and when I think of vacation I think about heading to the beach. Refreshing means cool water against my body, waves massaging me, causing me to relax and unwind, lounging on the beach enjoying nature, and for some reason swimming was never a part of that. It was time to make a change, however, so I decided to use the pool at the “Y” to rectify this situation and almost a year later I’m just having a breakthrough.

I’ve always known that the thing that has hindered me most from learning to swim is that though I love the water I’m also terrified of it. My comfort level has always been where my feet can still feel solid ground beneath me and if I can’t feel it, fear sets it. FEAR — that paralyzing, limiting, stagnating force that keeps us stuck, casts doubts on our efforts and if not challenged robs us of our courage to try, move, learn, change, grow, leave, achieve and conquer.

I had to deal with that fear because I was determine to make a change — I needed a breakthrough. But this breakthrough actually came as a result of seeing other people trying and learning more so than having someone teach me. I happened to be at the pool when a class showed up for a make-up session. I watched fearful, timid, uncertain grown ups as they followed their instructor’s directives—splash around, sink, gasp and fail but kept right on trying. I had not paid to take this class but I decided to observe, try and learn as much as I could.

I listened and joined in the splashing, much sinking and gasping, then a light came on. Instead of allowing fear to cause me to reach for the comfort of firm footing when I felt I was sinking, I realized I became buoyant when I relaxed, and moving my arms and legs lifted me and caused me rise to the surface. It was amazing! The more I experienced positive buoyancy and was able to move in the water, the more I wanted to try. Soon I forgot about fear and afterward wondered why I had allowed fear to hold me captive for so long.

This seemingly simple lesson has re-enforced my journey to ensure that fear is not controlling any area of my life. I’ve been learning the faith walk, that is recognizing my fear triggers and in faith stepping on and over those things that otherwise would hold me captive. I’m developing confidence in the One who reminds me to “Fear not,” that is allowing me to trust and relax, enabling me to not sweat the small or large stuff as I journey. I’ve learned to keep moving and if I fail to get up and try again. As I grow and change there is this hunger for more growth and a new voice of faith is replacing that old voice of fear.

Is it fear that’s keeping you where you are? Is it fear that’s making it impossible for you to stay put? Is it fear that’s causing you to conform, to feed that desire to fit in? This is Dona Halliday challenging you to face your fears and experience the transforming power of the “faith walk”.

Take a listen to my favorite worshiper, Pastor Donnie McClurkin’s, I]l trust you Lord

Relationships—An invitation to love

There he was after almost 14 years, a more mature version of his former self but I’d know him anywhere. What would you do if someone you’d been in relationship with, someone you’d thought at the time was essential  to your life, the person you’d wanted to hold on to, spend your life with—was there in the same grocery store about an arm’s length from you?

And what would you do if you found out that he had been thinking about you, wishing to see you again with the hope that as the years had changed and matured him (into a finer version of his fine self) and life had molded him so that his values were more in-tuned with yours and he’d said just the very process of living had brought about changes in his life and made him a more ardent seeker of God? What would you do?

Would you like Marcus Wiley’s Bishop Secular, throw up your hands shouting, “THANK YA!!”

Do you remember my previous post? Well, this was him, HIM! The him I had written about. I had not seen or spoken to him for almost 14 years and now four days after my “I thank God for unanswered prayers” post, there he was. He wanted to see me, spend time, catch up, cook for me, for us to get to know each again, rediscover if we still enjoyed each other’s company.

The fact that I was so tempted took me by surprise. As I continue to I think about relationships I realize there is something very seductive about the idea of being loved. The idea of being loved and loving someone, sharing time, space, laughter, good memories, life. And there are those who hold tightly to bad relationships with dreams of such experiences. Someone once told me she had never not been in a relationship since her teen years. She had kept moving from one relationship to another.

I’ve spent most of my life not dating, not for lack of opportunity but by choice. I have the advantage of not growing up in a “dating culture” and that makes it easier for me to refuse to spend time with people I really don’t want to be with. But over the years I’ve come to understand this need, why we make some of the choices we do, for not yielding to something we don’t really want is easy, but saying no when something in us longs to yes is much more difficult.

For you see two days before my previous post, six days before I ran into HIM I had given voice to a conviction as I talked with a close friend, “I’m not dating anyone for a while” I’d said to her as she talked about someone who was interested in me. She had laughed out loud saying, “Girl I really don’t understand you, it’s not as if you really date anyway.”

But I realize as I sit outside writing this post, enjoying life, nature, music—alone, but for that conviction I can’t really say that I would not have accepted the invitation to catch up, spend time, enjoy his cooking and just see…

This is Dona Halliday encouraging you to “honour your convictions as you move closer to your transformation.”

This is an invitation to love you’d not to miss, take a listen!

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