Shifting Perspectives: Faith, Work and Life

Lucy Jennings led our summer City Women lunchtime meeting, exploring perspective. How does God see me? How does God see my work – and how do I see it? How does this fit in with other aspects of life? How can we regulate and nourish mental, emotional and spiritual health? And how can we be curious about what God is stirring.

Lucy moved to Birmingham just over 10 years ago for university and is still here! She works in healthcare management; she enjoys connecting with people and across organisations and is drawn to living on the boundaries. Lucy’s spare time often consists of adventuring in the outdoors, listening to music, contemplating life and spending time with friends. Lucy shared her personal experience of stepping into the world of work and ‘adult’ life – remaining curious and contemplating.

Lucy introduced herself in three words – “Meanderer, Perseverer, Connector”: if you had to do the same, which three words would you choose? Lucy recognises that God is bigger than any of our pictures of God: “ I believe that He wants to break the boxes that we put Him in” (North Point Worship song). Lucy realises that sometimes our lives can be constrained by fear – and she recognises that God calls us to live into the bigger dimension of love. It’s helpful to recognise this in the whole of life – whether wild camping or opening an email.

Rewatch Lucy’s talk below:

Events highlight significant things, so when something touches us deeply, it’s helpful to step back, be curious and contemplate. Take a moment to notice.

And be curious, asking, “What is going on?”. Lucy shared various possibilities to explore, as we notice what’s happening:
● How does God see me?
● Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? (HALT)
● Am I reacting rather than responding? Be still
● Is there something going on with the other person?
● Is there a spiritual level to consider? Day by day, Lucy turns to Ephesians 6, putting on the armour of God: “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith… Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
● Am I looking at this through a lens of love or fear?
● Is there a hook, gathering hoops?
● Whose voice is the strongest?
● How does God see my situation? Is God doing something? Can I catch a glimpse of the everlasting/eternal life perspective?

When we’ve noticed, Lucy shared “some contemplations”, as we decide on our response, to answer the question, “How can I approach this?”
● Lean not on my own understanding – Proverbs 3:5 reminds us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.
● Is there anything I can change imminently to support getting into the space to respond?
● What is in my circle of influence and circle of control?
● Are there any practices I can adopt for the longer term?
● Can I dig deeper into who God has made me/who I am?
● Who is speaking into my life?
● Being Curious, about calling.
● Guidance ladder
● Is it honouring to God, myself and others?
● How can I have compassion?
● Remember I will make mistakes, but being thankful that God is bigger and forgiving

Recognising that mistakes and hurt and imperfection are part of life, Lucy recognised that we are all “work in progress”. She mentioned “kintsugi”, the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. So we can learn and grow, through the challenges of life, as we trust ourselves into God’s hands – and our perspectives will shift as we see with God’s eyes.

There was much that City Women valued about the event:
“The event being in person. The speaker sharing her personal faith journey.”
“There was lots to take away including tools to use for prayer and reflection.”
“The opportunity to speak with other women of faith and realise that I am not alone. We all have struggles and we can meet and support each other.”
“I enjoyed listening to and speaking with Sarah and Lucy as well at the end. It was so worth coming to.”
“Thank you for making it hybrid.”
“Time to gather, learn and reflect.”
“I was made to feel very welcome for my first time attending.”
“Practical tips and real honesty about difficulties. Please thank Lucy for sharing her thoughts – really helpful.”

If you would like to have a conversation about shifting perspectives in your own work and life, or anything raised by this article, you are welcome to get in touch with Sarah Thorpe or 0798 224 8949.

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