Archives For Sacrifice

Well this is it. I’m nearly there. Only two days of my 40 Days of Water challenge remain. Two more days until I can drink what I like, when I like. Freedom.

Except.

Part of me is sad it’s going to finish. I know once it is over and I can resort to morning coffees I will feel differently, but I genuinely feel it’s been quite an impactful journey to have been on.

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I don’t want to use the classic cliches that could be applied here – “It’s changed my life”, “Now I realise whow much I take for granted”, “I’ll never look at a glass of water the same way again” – because that would be, well, cliche.

But the truth is, I think the last few weeks have changed me. They’ve made me realise how fortunate I am to live in a corner of the world where water is available at the turn of a tap. I’ve come to be grateful and thankful for the water I use – particularly to drink – rather than going through the motions. Above all, hopefully the money I’ve raised can make a difference for communities who don’t have clean water.

As far as sacrifices go, it’s not been the most difficult. I’ve not gone without anything I need, just without some things I’ve wanted. But the shift in my perspective has been significant, and something which I don’t think I’ll forget in a hurry.

Blood:water Mission are an amazing organisation who do amazing things, and I’m proud to support them and have been part of the 40 Days of Water blogging team. One community at a time, they are spreading God’s love and showing compassion to God’s people.

Whether it’s Lent or not, that is a challenge which we should all rise to and be inspired by.

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To learn more about blood:water mission visit their website, and to learn more about 40 Days of Water visit the campaign page. You can also follow #40days on Twitter.

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It’s been a while since I blogged about how my Forty Days of Water challenge has been going. Things at work have been very busy – which is partly why the last few weeks have been so hard.

No conference is complete without copious amounts of coffee at every turn. So the fact the last couple of weeks have revolved around conferences has meant there’s been coffee galore. More than that, because I’ve been helping to run the conferences I’ve had early starts, late nights and lots of times when coffee would honestly have been incredible.

But I’ve made it though unscathed and decaffeinated. I haven’t had anything but water – despite my tiredness, despite my desperate desire for coffee.

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At the back of my mind every time I’ve craved a coffee has been the knowledge that I’m so lucky it’s even an option for me. For so many, clean water is a day’s walk away. For communities around the world, clean water is something people dream of.

That knowledge puts my desires for coffee (and other drinks) into perspective. Yes, it’s difficult having only water. Yes, it’s frustrating and yes, there have been times when I’d give a lot for a coffee. But each time I’ve thought that, I’ve remembered why I’m doing this.

And if that’s how I change during these weeks, that’s fine by me.

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To learn more about blood:water mission visit their website, and to learn more about 40 Days of Water visit the campaign page. You can also follow #40days on Twitter.

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I got an email from a coffee shop chain today saying they were “missing me”. The message went on to say that they’d noticed I hadn’t been buying their coffee for a while, and wouldn’t it be nice if I changed that.

It’s a strange world we live in where coffee companies email us to encourage us to buy their drinks. Let’s be honest, they haven’t really missed my custom. In many communities, the idea of emailing people to encourage them to drink coffee would be, quite frankly, bizzare. Yet for us it’s a normal thing. It’s almost expected.

The last few days have been pleasantly easy drinks wise. I’m slipping into a pattern of going automatically for water first, not coffee or anything else. What’s more, each time I grab some water, it makes me think of how fortunate I am and how simple it is to help those who don’t have access to clean water.

Long may that continue.

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Day 13. I’m nearly two weeks into my 40 Days of Water challenge. Since the slips of last week, I’ve had only water.

Strangely, it’s been easier since.

In that time I’ve been to a wedding, been to the opera and been out for drinks and managed to enjoy all those occassions on water alone. There’s no denying it – I would have liked a non-water drink for sure. But I’m finding there’s something quite powerful in the simplicity of water alone.

By my reckoning, I’ve so far raised around $75 (£50-ish) for Blood:water, which might not sound a lot, but when you think how far it will go in poor communities – it’s thought $1 is enough to provide clean water for one person for a year – it’s quite encouraging.

And all that by simply sacrificing drink money.

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To learn more about blood:water mission visit their website, and to learn more about 40 Days of Water visit the campaign page. You can also follow #40days on Twitter.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the following line in the Lord’s Prayer:

‘Your will be done’

There’s no way of telling how many times I must have said those words. For people who have been in the church for years, these words have a tendency to become stale and we just read them or recite them without really thinking about what it would mean to let God’s will be done in our lives.

How would our lives be different if we truly surrendered to God? So often in church, we sing songs or recite lines or prayers that speak of us surrendering our all to God. We request that God takes all we have, that we abandon ourselves to Him completely and become totally His.

If you are like me, however, there is more often than not a catch. God, have Your way with me…but. Don’t send me there. Don’t make me talk to that person. Don’t make me give up on this thing I love. Don’t push me too much out of my comfort zone.

It seems that we’re happy to ask God to do His will with us, but as long as we can control it. We’re happy to be submitted to God, as long as it doesn’t require us doing the things we don’t want to, or giving up the things we love like money, relationships, gadgets or our time. The thought of giving up our popularity and status – even within our church communities – is something that scares us.

Philippians 3:10-11 says, ‘I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.’

There’s bits of that verse I can fully get behind – knowing Christ, attaining resurrection from the dead. These things I will run after and fight for and follow forever. But sharing in His suffering, becoming like Jesus in His death? Can’t I just omit that part? Well, no. Surrendering to God’s will means opening up to the possibility that we will share in His suffering, that we will become like Christ in His death. That, however, is truly following Jesus, truly giving all we have to Him.

Stop for a minute, and think what your life would look like if you really, absolutely and completely abandoned yourself to God. Where would you be? Where would you go? Who would you spend your time with? Would you have the latest phones and computers, the big house and the nice car? Or would you be living on the kindness of others, on the grace and provision of God? Would you be uncertain of where you were going to be day in day out, unsure of how to even make ends meet?

Submitting to God’s will is something that it’s easy to want to do, but hard to actually do. It’s the desire of every follower of Christ, but gets pushed aside by our desire for things of the world.

But if we simply pay lip-service to God, then we aren’t fully living for Him. In fact, I sometimes think God must get a little annoyed at us claiming to be surrendered to His will but not really giving ourselves to Him.

Next time we read the Lord’s Prayer, or sing a song of surrender, or pray for God to take our lives, stop and think about whether you really mean it. Then think of the love God has poured out for us, and how He loves us and desires us to be fully devoted to Him. Make a conscious effort to will for God’s will in your life.