Sunday, 2 February 2014

Zip lock bags are very useful

I have just spent the week at the Vineyard Churches National Leaders Conference in Nottingham. What a week! It is equally exhausting and exhilarating. The week is filled with early mornings, worship, incredible teaching and then late nights! It is a life changing, gear shifting time where God whispers in your ear all week. But I am not good at sitting still for long periods of time, no matter how good the speaker is (if God himself did suddenly appear on stage I would certainly wake up!). So I have a few strategies to keep myself awake- the last thing I want to do is fall asleep and drool down my shirt when all the top leaders of Vineyard UK are in the same room! Yes, we should always stay true to ourselves but there are some things best kept for the sofa at home.

One fool proof way of keeping myself awake is to move around in my seat, bouncing my legs, folding and unfolding my arms but I have found that my fellow conference goers don’t appreciate me wriggling around all day long. My sister fidgets with her pens and this week accidentally threw the blue one (she has a set of many colours) at an unsuspecting person trying to listen! Dangerous!

In an attempt to stop my legs from bouncing around and from flinging things at people, I use sweets and gum. It really works when you have to concentrate, chewing gum may make me look like a cow but a cow that seems to be listening at least! But here in lies the problem. I have an enormous, beautiful handbag that I got as a gift in SA. Leather with the feel of Africa about it and big enough for my note books, multi-coloured pens, water and a large selection of sweets, mints and gum. This year I was clever. Any girl with a big hand bag will tell you that if you want to find a small pack for gum at the bottom, you need to unpack everything- it will always be the last thing you find. How was I clever? I put all the sweets and gum into a clear zip lock bag so it was all in one easy to find place. But oh how I was teased by my church family! They kept asking me if I was expecting to be going through airport security! They are such comedians…

My very lovely friend, has a bible that she got as a gift a few years ago. It holds sentimental value to her and through all the reading and traveling has begun to fall apart. She has used glue and tape but now she uses a zip lock bag to keep the bible together. Zip lock bags are very useful, not always pretty but useful!

It made me think about how we all have ‘zip lock bags’ in our lives. We use all sorts of things to hold us together when life gets tough, things we use to stop us from falling apart at the seams. We use friends but they often let us down, we use food or booze but they will eventually kill us if we eat and drink too much, our careers, always looking for the next promotion but that is not always secure, our children but they will move out one day (I certainly hope so anyway), our husbands but they are only human and mess up, our looks but they fade…. What is yours?

Let me tell you my friend, there is truly only one thing that can hold your life together. There is only one thing that will keep you from falling apart and getting lost like my gum in my huge bag. It is not yourself, or your family or friends. No amount of therapy will help you find it. It is only the living God who can give you peace and security, friendship and love without any conditions. The bible in my friends zip lock bag holds the key- Jesus….

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