Thursday, September 30, 2010

Making ‘It’ the Most

We can achieve just about anything we set our minds to – and certainly those within our direct reach. What stops us is nothing if not a lack of focus.

We’re so commended for being single-minded in our approach to things. Ask anyone who’s lost a significant amount of body weight or given up smoking how they did it and they’ll likely tell you it became the most important thing for them at that point in their lives.

Focus and Passion

The trouble for too many of us, however, is we eventually pile all that weight back on (and then some) or we take up our cigarettes again. And we did this probably because we lost our focus and passion, and it’s these that are most difficult to maintain.

The change must clearly become formed into our identities. It must entrench itself within us and make us different people—people who are able to house and contain the change.

Anything! – Within Reach

Having failed very many times to start habits or end habits, and having learned the hard way, I am convinced.

We can achieve anything we set our minds to achieve, but for a time, then it’s going to be the ongoing maintenance of the thing, and that’s down to us. And we need be prepared—maintaining the resolve is more the problem than producing the energy to begin it.

Another way of looking at this issue of supporting hard change is via the old fashioned ‘bath tub’ curve where we’re more likely to fail at the very beginning or end of our ventures—the middle is simply sustaining whatever inertia we’ve already got running. The ‘end’ in these terms is that time when we back off the pressure and get comfortable again.

For the person who’s reached their goal weight there’s nothing left to achieve. Or is there? It’s harder to stay at the top than make it there in the first place. We clearly need to continue those good dietary and exercise habits for the rest of our lives. It becomes terminal. When we’ve achieved our goals we find that that’s when self-discipline really needs to kick in.

Anything is possible for us provided it’s within our direct control, and there are more things that concern us, which are within our direct control, than we readily reckon most of the time.

It all depends on how important it is for us, and how important we make it for each of the rest of the days of our remaining lives.

Therein lies another ages-old secret; live life one day at a time. That’s an easy concept to understand and just a little harder to execute with consistency day in, day out.

But it is possible.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Racing with Destiny

When all of life hangs in the balance we’re suddenly brought before a truth that we hardly ever contemplate. It all comes down to this, the culmination of it all.

Whether it’s the birth of our babies, the moment we heard tragic news or starting the race of our lives with only the finish line in sight and mind, life for that exact instant has changed and we withdraw into ourselves, primed only to perform.


Bracing the gate,

Turning the stile,

Not a moment late,

Forward the dial.

Focused attention never to abate,

Sight right now saved for the drive,

Ending we’ll know our breath-held fate,

The moment attends and will not deprive.

Fears deceasing capacities enabled,

Reserves found just in time,

Our state’s hardly dishevelled,

Performing we do right down the line.

Beyond the border,

Fires the round,

Time slows to order,

And adrenalin’s found.

Speeding down that runway,

Ears pinned back,

This is our one day,

Our destined track.


It might be a racing metaphor we contemplate here but it has as much relevance to our everyday lives as any image. We’re all in a race called ‘life’ and though it’s not traversed at break-neck speed like a one-hundred metre sprint there are so many parallels to performance it beckons our attention.

The Moment of Decisiveness

Performance in the ‘race of life’ is probably best illustrated in the moment of our decisions; braced are we for whatever the consequences of our decisions are likely to involve.

Our decisions alone will have their part in shaping our immediate and even our longer term destinies. And even if these decisions are simply to accede to the moments themselves as we roll with those punches.

Performance upon decisiveness is as much about reaping the wisdom that the moment requires as anything; most times this is about the inaction of faith as anything, a faith that remains prudent in discretion—the nobility of reservation.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

The article was inspired by Whitney Houston’s One Moment In Time song, one that she sang at the Grammy Awards years ago.

Blessed Are the Curious, for They Shall Reap Knowledge

“We know next to nothing about virtually everything. It is not necessary to know the origin of the universe; it is necessary to want to know. Civilisation depends not on any particular knowledge, but on the disposition to crave knowledge.”

~George F. Will.

Shallowness is the bane of our age. Actually it goes further than that. Shallowness is a very human trait where ignorance is rife and curiosity’s lost for laziness.

Curiosity or Assumption?

Too easily it seems our natures collude over assumption; we think we know more than we do. The sad thing about that reality is once we begin to hold that view our eyes become blinkered and our ears close over.

The curious, however, have the habit of sifting through the data—all the inputs of life, true and false and all between—and they simply sort the wheat from the chaff, re-organising it according to its worth. There is no prejudice to this. Fact wins and falsity loses. No correspondence is entered into. There’s a constant forward-moving energy force behind it.

Two Blessed Traits - Faithfulness and Understanding

The people who go genuinely far in this life seem to have two traits. They are both faithful and trustworthy and they scour the world for knowledge; good knowledge that’s etched in truth. This produces understanding and that leads to the authenticity and cogency of wisdom.

People with these traits are good friends to have. Look for the person who can be trusted and who values good knowledge. A better, more faithful friend—who will edify us—we will not find.

Framed like a beatitude, the person focused to these ends has the eternal favour of God in tow. They remain interested in what they can affect and on the information that matters.

Blessed, indeed, these will be!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Very Personal Science of Hypocrisy

“It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”

~Alfred Adler.

Our own hypocrisy smacks us in the face and we’re apt at feeling guilty and ashamed because of it. Yet, it’s the acknowledged state of all humanity. We often hate ourselves for what we do, and for what we are, when we don’t live up to what we believe in. This is fundamentally why we need God.

Do we find it difficult to comprehend that a person who speaks out vehemently against pornography may actually have problems with their own sexuality and self control to those very same ends? The examples are endless. This, of course, is not saying that every advocate of a good thing struggles with that very same thing; most indeed will not.

We all, however, struggle in some regard to maintain our own lofty standards, living to our innermost values.


I do what I don’t want to do,

And I hate what it makes me,

Wanting to make old into new,

Against the me I’m set to be.

Warrant and concern every last one,

Sins and struggles - everyone’s aghast,

Despite the will to establish it done,

Virtue achieved at last.

But that’s not the lot for each,

This our hearts will know,

For beyond trying we’re cursed to teach,

And this beyond to grow.

Short of direst contemplation,

Each we care to address,

Guilt-racked insanity scarce not mention,

Grace’s made triumph out of mess.

It would be simple to say that everyone battles for control over their flesh. This merely propounds the abundantly generous impact of God’s grace over our lives, that God knows us—how rotten to the core we are at times—and still he accepts us.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

The Power of God Against the Evil You’re Facing

“for [God] has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’

~Hebrews 13:5b-6 (NRSV).

Confidence in life is always important if we wish to live fear-free.

And, yet, I’m wary that whenever I’ve dealt with subjects occurring or occasioning in much evil it’s easy for our minds to work against us and have us thinking thoughts we shouldn’t.

God is beyond the evil we’re perhaps facing. God has it covered like nothing and no one can. The Lord is our confidence and we have no logical reason to be afraid beyond simply doing God’s will.

God is always present with us. He is power to live. He has promised to never leave nor utterly forsake us, and the faithful believe.

Evil will not have its way—not ultimately.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Finding Space for Balance

Our life purpose is to attain and maintain balance – do this and we ameliorate satisfaction. But, we won’t know what this individualised balance means until afterwards. Finding space for balance is the key driver for our lives.

This is not about a selfish sense of satisfaction. It may involve personal blessing but most times personal blessing is received through the interpersonal impartation of blessing to others, i.e. through the giving of ourselves.

Addressing the Mystery – Balance and Eternity

Life, eternity and balance are examples of mystery. We know we’ll never know. As much as eternity is set inside our hearts—ours to grapple with per the subject of death and life (or not) thereafter—balance is accorded easily as much interest.

Balance is to this life as eternity is to death.

Both are mysteries we can but attempt to understand. And even if we are destined never to understand we’ll always still be seeking to know why. It is strange, and indeed fascinating, that we can’t help but claw at the non-definable things in life, desperate as we are to get below the hard veneer.

Without making light of this eternal gap there are some things we can do to improve our situations so far as balance is concerned, but that’ll necessarily involve some tough decisions.

Extracting Space

Balance is a thing of mathematics. So much input dictates so much output.

The problem comes when we compress like a gas more activity than our minds and schedules can readily handle. If only time for us was more like water—incompressible. And indeed it is! It’s us that somehow want to defy this ‘freak’ of nature.

Even though we’re confined to linear space (a.k.a. time), and this at times seems rudely cruel to us when we could do with more, we can be thankful that apart from some flexibility this is a matter of dealing with quite simple logic.

Perhaps the only way many of us will achieve better balance is to create the space for it, and we just as easily extract some of the wasted space in our lives as in the principle of a vacuum. We create void spaces, not for time-empty ventures, but for good activities to meet our wholeness needs.

Wholeness Needs

This life is not just about us and our needs and wants. Most of us understand and actively accept this.

Where we struggle in fitting our lives out in balanced ways, is against the datum of eternity. Without an accurate and awed sense of eternity throbbing away within our minds and hearts we’ll most likely miss the point of life and, hence, fill our lives—at least in part—with silly and pointless activities in that context of eternity.

Our wholeness needs are central to those all around us. We were created to be whole and to live whole lives wherever that is possible for us. Balance is the shortest way of getting us there.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

For the Lonely, Restless and Weary

Maybe you’re tired... physically or spiritually. In your heart of hearts you’re ready to quit. This is something for where you’re at right now. You might’ve just arrived there, or perhaps you’ve been there for some time. No matter; this comes to you.

You somehow know you need something and despite your worse judgment, and the want to give into it, you just can’t; holding on in faith, hope (however dim that is) somehow holds sway.

Inner Circumstances

Sometimes we’re windswept from the chilly corridors deep within ourselves—anxiety for one or depression as another; strange, foreign and inexplicable. The languor is shocking and everything we see right now is tinged with darkness.

The world sort of looks okay. It goes on despite us. At some level deeper, which is something we see dimly—but see we do, we pine to be back there, ‘in the mix,’ so to speak. We long for normality. Just to do the simple things again.

Outer Circumstances

Just as commonly we feel the blitzkrieg form about us due to a work situation or one within family or friends; these that appear irreconcilable. It is tormenting to us that this is occurring—people tearing emotional flesh off each other.

The longer things have worn on the worse this situation’s become. Perhaps it’s blown up so suddenly we’re still reeling from its shockwaves. Whatever, we’re at a loss right now as to what to do.

At times both the inner and outer circumstances collude, one even bringing the other, and most likely the outer influencing the inner.

The Hope Beyond the Cloud that Hovers

Beyond where we’re at right now is a sunny field—a destination enriched in the fundament of hope. Whilst that appears a pipedream right now, we cling to it, and from it solace comes.

Time has come to respond what our heart of hearts is telling us.

Perhaps that’s to withdraw to re-load, to relinquish the reigns of the uncontrollable, to learn to accept. It might be to rest and ponder the next move, to get better again.

Perhaps it’s time to get active, as we’ve heard from Wisdom, and we know the right move to make. We go about finding the last bastions of courage deep within our mental and spiritual sinew. We construct a healthy response.

Whatever we do, we draw solace from the One that’s been there; the One that’s there with us right now in where we’re at.

God’s there, silent perhaps, but ever-empathetic.

“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”

~Galatians 6:9 (NRSV).

Harvest time... it beckons. It’s just over the horizon. We may not yet see it; yet it’s there alright.

Refresh, revive, survive. It will not always be like this.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Other Side of Freedom

Only recently I wrote an article titled TOTAL FREEDOM and, I love this, God told me more of the story; there is another side that counterbalances the ‘total’ side. Of course, we all know there is more to the subject of ‘freedom’ than some pipedream of a reality that works sometimes and not during other times. This is an attempt at shoring up any imbalance.

As a real person is a total person, a real life is also a total life—i.e. warts ‘n’ all. There are a million and more dimensions to both those... good, bad and indifferent.

There’s the ideal reality and then again there’s the less-than-ideal, or abhorrent, reality (and all realities between those vast poles).

Our Lack of Control

Something which we all have—a thing marked in each of us—is that thing (or more likely, things, plural) that we cannot control, no matter how much we try. There are extremes of this which produce crime-worthy acts and then there’s the common garden variety sin that each of us engages in, despite our better consciences.

One of mine is food. That’s a safe one to declare right here. My personality type has weaknesses in the sensate area. That’s just one.

What these weaknesses of ours do is remind us of an unparalleled truth in this life—we will not approach genuine freedom, from our sinful desires, anytime before we reach heaven. Our minds will continually grapple with our sin.

The Importance of the Gospel of Grace

This is where the good news of the gospel is compelling. God never expects us to completely address our sin. If God did expect that, God would provide the power and the means if we asked (as we’ve perhaps indeed asked via our prayers!). Some of our sin we’ll not be ‘healed’ from. Some of our sin we will master and by God’s grace we’ll have the strength of resolve or the wisdom to abstain.

Equally important, however, is the grace that forgives despite our acknowledged and repented from ongoing sin—those things that our minds know to be bad but are, at times, beyond the temptation of the hand.

Of course, the Christian’s job is not to wantonly sin—giving into it as if to say, “Well, that’s me, and everyone’s just going to have to get used to that”—but to bridge the tension between righteousness and sin; to live it out, in faith, the best way we can, however imperfect that ends up being.

God forgives us our transgressions, and even the ongoing ones, according to the function of our honesty, acknowledging the sin, and never quite accepting that as our ultimate reality. We accept that we are both sinners and that we’re saved for righteousness—as much as living that reality is possible.

When we do this, we extrude satisfaction for God’s enormous grace, for we’re forgiven in any event and guilt and shame are not to become us.

The Holy Spirit’s Role

It is really important for us to understand, God simply wants us to be truthful with ourselves, that the war within is something that we were never meant to conquer; that the only way we can have any ongoing satisfaction regarding our inroads to our sin is through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.


Scarcely do we even realise, freedom’s our beckon call. Stifled by very many senses of captivity we don’t see what is right there in front and all around us. Tricked, we don’t live the free life – the life God came to give us, freely.

Freedom is the thing that stands for time in memoriam. It stakes its claim over our hearts, imploring our hearts to take it and to move on in life.

What is holding you back?

Taking this time and this opportunity that God is providing—yes, right now—is but merely a matter of choice. Most times it’s about simply choosing to see... to undertake that great program of vision that God’s called us to... to hear God’s still, silent and Spiritual voice as it is speaking through our lives.

Breaking Past Those Mind Limits

Our minds either liberate us or bond us—and it’s a spiritual means to both of those ends. Either method or destination is ours simply at our choosing. It almost sounds too simple, doesn’t it? But it’s amazingly true.

Choosing a mind that will serve us instead of a mind that will lord it over us is easier than we think. It takes courage, persistence and resilience. Courage to make the move, be its master, and keep going; persistence to not give up altogether when we get tired; and, resilience to not get despondent when we fall into our old habits, which we’re destined to do from time to time.

It’s Your Life – Take It!

I recall a vision for my own life... Jesus standing there perplexed at how I was then living my life—saved but bonded at the same time—and just as if to say, “Just take this freedom I’m giving you—it’s yours to take!”

At any moment of our choosing—and despite any of our colluding circumstances—we can take this freedom to the very limits of our imaginations.

This must surely cause us to be thankful to God for the ever-abundant riches of grace.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

If I Was Not Here

One minute to live and abruptly an outpouring arrives – the important things are laid out upon the table. Suddenly nothing else matters.

The concept of eternity enshrines all things. When all of life pales into insignificance eternity shines ever brightly. At some point it will be appropriate for us to consider:

If I was not here,

My family would survive,

And though they’d miss me dearly,

At acceptance they’d at last arrive.

If I was not here,

My job would still exist,

A replacement they’d find near,

Time only gaps found to persist.

If I was not here the world would still spin,

Chugging along despite anxious thought,

For I’ll have had my time – my chance to grin,

Calling again now at my eternal port.

If I was not here the world would be short,

Of contributions mine they’d already had,

Especially from me and my type of sort,

Hopefully it is they’ll feel glad.


For some it’s an unattractive subject. But it beckons all the same. Gone we’ll be at some point and leave we will this world; everything we see now, for us, gone forever.

It’s not a depressing subject when we consider no one cheats death. All travel its dark and dusty road, into the beaming light that sits destined on eternity’s horizon.

Contending with this idea is good.

It centralises us to why we’re here, and but for a time; our time.

Whilst it subsists we live—cast in the guise of a death that sits just over us—excited to live its entire length, and hopefully determined to make the most we can from each moment, but from the context of the living the longer term objective.

There too involves balance... to live full-on—with passion and purpose—but with a harmonious poise; enough for the longevity of the journey.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Biggest Difference

It is nothing unusual in life to find a distance between one’s desires and one’s reality. Even when we’ve found God we still won’t reconcile that enormous chasm—not ultimately.

This has a big correlation with our life purpose: our search and our purpose. They’re incredibly congruent with each other. Making the biggest difference we can is actually going to not only help others’ lives it’s fundamentally shifting ours in the right direction too.

Waking one day with that weight on my heart,

Times as they are had come,

Now it has fallen straight to my part,

Good deeds their time to be done.

Failure upon failure stood me in good stead,

Considering the background and muse,

Known it’s time come – believe instead,

No longer seeing the ruse.

As I look back not halfway there,

Daring to contest and grapple,

Finding resolve and none to spare,

Appreciate the value of struggle.

The biggest difference I can make in life,

To be afforded a place to make,

Upon others the opportunity’s rife,

A time to ply my God-felt stake.


The biggest difference we can make is found when we come faithfully to the end of ourselves.

We will all struggle to get to this point; to find peace in it, and to go onto that biggest difference any of us can make, however small that might be.

We need to lose ourselves in love; to that thing or things that are meant for us, whatever these are.

Finding our place in the world is as complete a task as any of us will ever find. Finally we’re home, truly. Then we learn it’s an ongoing task, one to work out in joy.

Our search and our purpose... these two stand before us to be both discovered and conquered. Our task is to always present faithfully for duty to those two great ends.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Irony of Expectation

Expectations are cruel things. Even though we’re told to “expect great things from God” we somehow feel that’s a betrayal when we consider reality doesn’t often return to us what we’ve perceived as fair.

There is such a paradox operant in life so far as expectations are concerned.

Sure, we’re to expect God to break through—as God promises to do—but the trouble is God’s not often breaking through miraculously so far as we’re personally concerned. God’s usually got a bigger agenda.

But we’re not insignificant—not in God’s sight.

The biblical James talks about the person in humble circumstances taking pride in their high position (James 1:9). Surely this is another paradox. It is a ‘high position’ the person in humble circumstances has in God’s sight, not the world’s.

Could it just be that we’re to expect great things from God, i.e. in our world, yet have low expectations for ourselves, personally—regarding what we’re to receive?

When we receive much we’re overjoyed but when we receive little we’re not disappointed. This is because our expectations are grounded and realistic; our imaginations haven’t held sway.

The location of our expectations is central to our felt joy.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different

Whether things get too much or there’s just the need for a change of scenery, we just as easily make the snap decision to depart. And, if we wish, go we can and go we do – it’s really as simple as that.

Ancient history. That’s what our pasts are, even a day ago. This is not, however, about denying who we are; it’s more about denying—in a victory-immersed faith—the power of our pasts to control our futures.

Our time starts now. What we have, in these terms—life—is not really a continuation of anything beyond that which we accept. If change must come and it doesn’t come—and we’re propagating madness in that—we’re obeying a continuation of things instead of the power to call an end to one reality for the release of another.

Releasing Another Destiny

The risen power of God is the victory that all other syncretistic faiths claim is theirs. Any power that looks like God or smells like God, is God, however veiled.

This power is not only mighty to save, it’s mighty for change as well.

It’s the mind in cohesion with God; the heart submitting to the mind—all in unison for the project at hand.

Releasing another destiny is taking hold of that vision-of-truth and showering vast portions of reconciled belief—which is from the power of the Spirit—all over it. It can know no end; but it’s up to us and our fortitude of reason, resilience and temperance—in sum, staying power.

It might even seem that weights of effort are required, but that’s hardly the point at all. Once the decision’s made in wisdom, caring to divert as necessary, wisdom joins with courage to continue until the course is charted, secured and traversed.

Not only do we inspire others by way of our newfound commitment, our own inspiration powers us onto even greater heights.

Not Tomorrow, Today

Planning is a key but so is execution. We can easily do it now provided the rudiments of change are in order.

And though we fail—like the battle conceded—we will not ultimately give up; we will have our victory because we believe, like the phoenix, in rising from the ashes.

God is with us today. God blesses the diligence with which we strike. Blows come and blows they’ll be, but in the midst of it we’ll stand. This day—this very day—God will help us know that yesterday is ancient history.

Today we have time for something completely different if we want it bad enough.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.