Archives For water

overflow

While praying recently, I saw a picture. I don’t often get pictures and so when I do, I tend to take notice.

The picture was of a person pouring water into a cup. The closer to the top of the cup the water got, the more cautiously the man poured the water. As the water lapped the edge of the cup, the man stopped pouring. As he stepped back, it became clear he was afraid of the cup overflowing.

Despite there being plenty of water left in the container from which he was pouring, and despite the fact his aim seemed to be to empty that container, he stopped short of overflowing.

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So often, I hold back from giving all of myself over to God.

There’s a variety of reasons for this, but one is that I’m afraid of the mess. Because giving ourselves over to Jesus will result in mess.

But the beautiful thing about this mess is that it’s just that – beautiful.

In our world, mess gets a bad rap. Being messy is considered a character flaw. Which I think is a shame, because often out of mess come the most beautiful creations. Out of the rubble that surrounds us can rise the most incredible monuments to hope and love.

It’s also a shame because life with Jesus is beautifully messy. It’s messy because his kingdom is so backward – the first are last, the poor are rich, the weak are strong. It’s messy because he takes us to places the world scoffs at. It’s messy because it takes who we are, completely shakes us up and re-aligns our lives with God’s kingdom.

Sometimes I’m not ready for the mess. I’m not ready for what handing myself over to Jesus will mean. I’m not ready to have my life turned upside down, to be realigned to God’s perspective. But the promises that come with that mess? They are amazing. Life-changing. Culture-shifting.

The challenge I face is to open up to the mess. To embrace the mess. To recognise that in the mess is hope, love and grace.

All resting in that beautiful mess.

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“You are a beautiful mess, you are the melody.” William Paul Young

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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.

Failing (40 Days day eight)

February 21, 2013 — 3 Comments

water

It’s Day Eight of my 40 Days of Water challenge and I have to admit I’ve failed.

Twice.

There are genuine reasons for both slip-ups. The first was to resolve a family argument over a mistakently bought cappucino, and the second was because someone had bought me a drink. For both I’ll double my donation, and I’ll also make this Sunday a fast day. So I’ll make up for it.

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Initially, I was annoyed that I’d so easily slipped up. This is a challenge, but clean water is readily available and it’s not like I need any other drinks to survive.

The reason I think it got to me so much is that I’m starting to realise just how much I take for granted. For some people, getting clean water alone is a daily battle. In my world, I am regularly presented with a selection of dozens of drinks to choose from. So often it feels like these choices are an inconvienience, but when you compare what we have with what others have, a sense of perspective appears.

What these slip-ups have made me realise is how simply we (and for ‘we’, read ‘I’) take for granted how lucky we are, and how much we have. With that in mind, it’s made me even more determined to keep to the challenge over the next 32 days.

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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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Today marks day four of my 40 Days of Water challenge. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. There have been moments when I’ve craved other drinks (orange juice and coffee especially), but on the whole I’ve been OK. Expect for when I tried to ask for a tap water in McDonalds. That resulted in a lot of confusion.

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I am starting to realise it’s not going be that easy to keep this up for another 36 days. It is very tempting to just have a small sip of juice, or a quick cup of coffee. And in a way, it’s worse at home. When I’m out, I have to buy drinks, and so it’s easier to stop myself. At home the drinks feel like they are free (although they aren’t), and so there’s a stronger temptation.

But what I am realising is how much I take water for granted. I’ve started to realise just how many things in my day involve water – not just the obvious, like drinks, but also food I eat and the things I use which require water.

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I think – and hope – one thing this challenge will make me realise is that water is something we have permanent access to, whereas for so many it’s a precious and rare thing to have clean water.

That is something which is not fair, and something which we should all seek to change.

40 Days of Water

February 12, 2013 — Leave a comment

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This year, for Lent, I’ll be taking part in blood:water mission’s 40 Days of Water challenge.

The rules are simple – no drinks other than water for 40 days (excluding Sundays, which are rather enticingly called ‘feast days’). The money which I would spend on other drinks I’ll give to blood:water, who will in turn give the money to communities in Uganda who don’t have access to clean water.

It’s pretty straightforward. I’m also going to be blogging and ‘social media-ing’ my journey for blood:water, which is really exciting.

Because if I’m honest, I’m not really looking forward to it that much.

I’m not addicted to any other drinks, but I am a fan of many. I struggle in the morning without an orange juice hit first thing and a coffee mid-morning. During the 40 days I’ve got my wife’s birthday, a wedding, a trip to the rugby and plenty of occassions where drinking only water will seem a little disappointing.

But then the thing is, this isn’t supposed to be about me. I’m not doing this for health reasons, or because I think it will bring about a change in how I act, although in a way both of those would be welcome.

I’m doing it because there are people out there who don’t have access to something as basic as clean water, and I have a way of making a small but significant difference. Yes, it will probably be annoying. I’m sure there will be times when I want to pack it in (and I’ve decided I’ll fine myself if I do).

Mother Teresa said this: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

The prophet Isaiah says this: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

For 40 days, I am going to try and learn to do right and seek justice.

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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.

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Robert F. Kennedy

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“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa

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“What we’re doing here will send a giant ripple through the universe.” Steve Jobs