Walking the Shoreline

The journey of someone just like you, on a journey just like you

Category: Faith (page 1 of 5)

When Everything Changes – 2018 In Review

Engagement, marriage, new work, drastically different commitments, and a set up for a big future – 2018 was really a picture of life when everything changes.

2018 - when everything changes
Soooo much happened this year

I am writing this blog in week 51 out of 52 weeks in the year. Can you believe it’s already been another year? It can seem at times when all you have to do is blink and bam, you’re having to remember which number you’re supposed to write down in those date boxes again. A new year brings the hope of something new, whilst the end of the old year tails out on a somewhat sombre, reflective tone, as you remember the year that was.

For me, this year brought so many different new things and significant shifts, it was hard to keep up. It really was a year summed up by, “When Everything Changes”, or at least it will be when Universal approaches me for the working title of the movie they’re doing on my year this year.

Not really.

But yes really to all the changes that took place in my life in 2018. I pretty much ticked off all the big milestones you’d ever want to do at the same time, and then some. This year:

  • I got engaged
  • I got married
  • I turned 30
  • I got a new job
  • I had my responsibility and role increase at the same job
  • I traveled to a country I’d never been to before
  • I finished up at a church I had been going to and leading at for 15 years
  • I made and deepened a whole bunch of new friendships this year
  • I got more involved in my new church
  • I got a hot new roomie (see #2)
  • I became a dog owner
  • My site is now approaching 500,000 visitors

…and that’s just a few of the things that happened this year.

Just for the record, this year has been an absolutely great year. It’s a far cry from the year I had last year. My wife is a wonderful woman, my dog is a crazy ball of happiness, my new job has been working out very well, New Zealand is gorgeous, and I feel like I’ve been set up for a lot of great things in the future.

I know I could easily sit here and tell you how much better my life is than yours at the moment, but really, there’s some serious work, effort, thought, and unfamiliarity that comes along when everything changes. It’s been great, but it’s been a real twisting journey with multiple things to consider at every turn.

And saying goodbye to some old commitments and ways of life wasn’t necessarily easily. My old normal is gone, and my new normal looks completely different. Whilst exciting and definitely the right step, everything looks new, and it really is uncharted water what happens from here. It was sad to say goodbye to a few of my past commitments in order to make room for some greater ones ahead.

It’s been a year of prominence. Things coming to fruition. Old things being replaced. And really, for anything new, old things do have to be replaced. As good as things were, as influential as the opportunities I have had in the past, as valid and rewarding as my previous work has been, as free and open as I maybe once was in certain ways, there really is much more I am now poised to be able to achieve in 2019 and onwards.

30 is a pretty prominent age. It sucks that so many people still feel like they’re a child by the time they hit 30 – still directionless, still wondering who they are, still trying to find regular routine and a place to call home – if you’ve done your 20s well, it really is a time of pronounced influence and to really ramp up the contribution to society. I look forward to being able to share my life in a more targeted and established manner based on all the experiences I’ve gone through, and to continue on addressing my Big 4 in everything I do (relationships, people finding purpose, Western poverty, and Christian leaders).

I think what’s really amazing about change, any change really, good or bad, certain or uncertain, happy or not sure about being happy, is that it takes a lot of it to make anything happen in life. One thing I really didn’t enjoy about change this year was that I needed to buy a new engine for my car. In my time of being sick, I had failed to look after my car properly, and it really was a process of trying to get it going. Man, if you’ve had car or any sort of maintenance issue, you’d know exactly how many moving parts those things have, and all it takes is one of them to be out of line to throw everything into jeopardy. And then once you’ve fixed one, you find the next little thing along. And the next. And the next. When you consider an engine is made of 30,000 little parts, you really get an appreciation for just how big a “little part” really is.

The human body is the same. Marriage is the same. Relationships are the same. My life is the same. It really was a year of remembering how many little changes need to happen for anything significant to ever take place.

And really, it’s amazing that anything of note ever happens at all. I wonder if you’ve thought about or appreciated just how many little things need to happen, how many tiny things needed to have taken place, for you to be the person you are today. If that person had said yes instead of no, if you hadn’t watched episode 13 on Tuesday of that week when you were 14 years old, if you hadn’t bumped into that person at the shop, if you hadn’t stopped for petrol last Friday, if you hadn’t been born into that family, if you hadn’t have made those friends, if you hadn’t have studied that course. Even your daily commute to work is multiple thousand people making multiple thousand little decisions based on multiple thousand little factors, and all of you still make it to work on time. Imagine all the factors that play into your life.

And what if you hadn’t made the choices that you did?

That’s a scary one. That’s a real two-edged sword that is your greatest source of happiness and the greatest source of despair in your life – the choices you make. I might be excited and happy with the choices I’ve made this year, but by the same token, when you think about your year, you may look back with utter regret and uncertainty. What on earth were you thinking? You knew better. Or maybe you didn’t. But if you had…

People talk a lot about change. Fortunately for me, 2018 was a year where everything changing meant things got a lot better. But I also had to make a lot of the right choices, and also choose to have the right perspective. There were a huge amount of changes this year that I could have perceived as a step backwards in life. Or a step over from where I could have been. But instead I have been able to understand that there is great strength in getting established in new seasons to be even more established as the seasons go on. I have seen that I couldn’t be the man I need to be without the people in my life who are in my life right now. I couldn’t reach the fulfillment I could without the commitments and the partnerships I’ve made. 

I wonder if you can see your own life in the same way? That you can see how many little things have had to take place to get you to where you are now. And how many more little things it will take to get you to the place you want to go? That you could see the little choices that you’ve made along the way. And I think more humbling, that you can see the little things that took place in your life that were the hand of God preparing you to be the person you need to be.

A lot of people write in to me about how they’ve read something on one of my blogs about some paradigm changing piece of advice that’s changed their whole marriage or outlook on life. I think that’s absolutely brilliant. And yet the real truth is that the things that I reflect on and try to share aren’t my own idea. I am unashamedly a Christian, I unashamedly share the great wisdom that can only come from Scripture that consistently prove to epitomize the best way to live, and I can unashamedly say that this year, and the 30 that I’ve been alive for, prove and demonstrate the faithfulness of God.

When I look back on my life at the age of 30 and at the end of 2018, I could see how many horrible things have happened. I could be paralyzed and weighed down by things in my life you would possibly shudder at. And yet I can look at those things and say, it was good for me that I was afflicted.

I could look back on the good in my life and say that I wish it was even better. I could complain about my lot in life and wish that I got the income of Mr Zuckerberg or the fame of Mr Sinek or the good looks of Mr Jackman or have gotten married at a younger age or blah blah blah blah. And yet to do so would be to tarnish the brilliant gifts that have been given to me that I alone get to enjoy in the way they’ve been crafted for me. 

And so I look back on my life and my year blown away by a verse I read during my birthday weekend when my wife took me away to Lake Baroon, one of my favourite places on earth, and these words spelled out exactly my story:

Be glad then, you children of Zion,
And rejoice in the Lord your God;
For He has given you the former rain faithfully,
And He will cause the rain to come down for you—
The former rain,
And the latter rain in the first month.
The threshing floors shall be full of wheat,
And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

And indeed, all I can see and say about when everything changes, is that God will always stay faithful. I can see in the times in my life when it wasn’t great, that He was faithful in being there for me. I can see at the end of a year of great achievements and love and wonder like this one that He has indeed been faithful in being kind to me. I can see that the places I am and the opportunities I have set me up for something even greater than I ever thought. And I can see that the new year ahead is indeed a year of new wheat, new wine, and new oil, symbolic of all those great things I could never achieve on my own.

I’m not sure where you find yourself at the end of this year, or whatever point in time you’re reading this. I’m not sure if you actually enjoy it when everything changes, or if you’re still waiting for things to get better. I’m not sure if you’re happy with or unhappy with the decisions you’ve made this year. All I can say is that it’s going to take a lot of little things, and indeed it already has, to get you to where you are today, and it’s going to take billions more to get you where you need to be.

And so I hope that you can look at your life, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, and really see the little significant things that are taking place and that you’re having the opportunity to respond to. In the same way that a great structure is built brick by brick, pipe by pipe, cable by cable, level by level, layer on layer, so is the way your life is being built.

And what has been built so far is already a great foundation. A foundation for what? I’m not sure. God knows. I’m sure if you had enough of a look at your life so far you’d be able to work it out. Why not go on the adventure of finding out what the purposes of heaven have in mind for you, and make the decision to build something greater than you’ve ever been before?


So, how about you? How was your year this 2018? How do you deal with life when everything changes around you?

Why Hasn’t God Healed Me Yet?

Heartache, sickness, that longstanding condition that just won’t leave you alone, or the unanswered prayer that constantly breaks your heart. Why hasn’t God healed me yet?

Why Hasn't God Healed Me Yet?

People go through all sorts of afflictions and setbacks in life. Some are minor, like learning your favourite barista has moved shops and you have to put up with the new one’s definition of cappuccino, missing the 10% off sale, or not being able to find where all your left socks are going. There are others in the moderate range, like being turned down for a date after you’ve met someone you seem to click with, or being passed over for a promotion you thought you might like.

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Have You Missed “The One”? In Search Of The Soulmate

Have you already missed the best person for your life? Have you missed ‘the one”? Or is your soulmate still out there?

Have you missed "The One"?

Source: Disney

If you know me, you know I always take note when someone mentions a greater struggle taking place in their lives. I seem to have some sort of a fascination with the bigger reasons behind why people do things, and some people have learned not to mention certain things around me because I’m likely to ask a lot about it. I’m also interested in why people don’t do things. I really find it hard at times to shake certain comments people make long after I’ve finished conversing with them. I tend to feel people’s thoughts, their fears, their regrets deep within my heart.

Case and point, today I was reminded of a few people who had talked to me on the topic of whether or not they had already missed “The One”. No, not that Jet Li movie (although I still really enjoy that one) – the ever elusive soulmate. Does such a perfect person exist for each person in the world, and if so, is it possible that I may have already missed my chances with them?

I remember such a conversation where one of my friends was looking visually distraught. “What’s wrong?”, I asked. “Well”, she said, “my ex is getting married today, and I’m finding it really hard”. I was trying to be comforting and was saying how hard it is when you have to watch someone who broke things off with you enter into a new relationship. She said, “No, I was the one who broke it off with him, and now I’m sad he’s getting married to someone else”. Continue reading

Why Christians Who Don’t Go To Church Are Missing The Point

“I love God, but I don’t go to church”. Is it really possible for these two viewpoints to co-exist in someone who professes to be a Christian?

Christians who don't go to church are missing the point

Have you ever sat down with someone you went to high school, university, or some social gathering with, and had that little conversation of “Where Are They Now?”. Oh yeah, Billy, I remember that dude, he married that girl who looked like a model. Ah yeah, Jen, she was the school dux, now she’s a software engineer at Google.

I was doing that over the last few weeks with a few different people (they brought it up in every case) and instead of it being a happy moment, it was actually quite sad. Whilst we could recount a number of people who were doing extremely well, there kept coming up a list of different people who we are actually sorrowful about talking about where they are in life and what they’ve been doing.

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Everyone Is Religious

Is God dead? Is organised religion a farce? Whatever your answer, I would subscribe to you that everyone is religious, not just those who say they are.

Everyone Is Religious

Photo by automnenoble bogomolov from Pexels

A comment that I hear with ever increasing regularity is “I’m not religious”. People usually say this when they either have no belief in a higher power, or they do have a belief, but don’t see themselves as actively exhibiting the behaviours associated with said belief. Owners of the statement would usually describe themselves as somewhere between atheists and deists. Some people would even describe themselves as non-practicing Catholics, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists. There’s an awareness and a semblance of respect there, but they’re either completely resistant, or not “all in” on what these beliefs suggest. Continue reading

Is It Harder To Date In Church?

It’s an issue plaguing many of the young adults in our faith communities, but not one we’re always willing to talk about directly. Is it harder to date in church?

Is It Harder To Date In Church?

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

In recent months I’ve met a number more people across some different churches. My travels have taken me to churches and non-denominational events of a variety of different kinds. As a person who has been actively involved in the young adults community in a few churches, I notice and regularly hear about a common thread of frustration and difficulty in many a Christian’s walk.

And that’s in the area of dating and relationships. Continue reading

It’s The Most Difficult Time Of The Year

The song says it should be the most wonderful time, but for many, Christmas is the most difficult time of the year.

The most difficult time of the year

Source: Universal

Can you believe the year is almost over? How amazing is that. If you’ve already read my Year in Review, you’ll already know that I felt like I lived a whole lifetime in this year. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but I’m glad I am where I am finishing this year.

Here comes Christmas. It’s a time of lots of presents, increased financial pressure, a few extra days off from work (or a few weeks if you’ve taken more time or work in education), and the worst drivers on the road all out there at the same time. Seriously, every day this week on the way into the office I have been behind multiple people who have been drifting between lanes on the highway or at dangerous merging locations. Must be on the nog a bit too early. Continue reading

Days In The Sun – 2017 In Review

2017. I feel like I lived a whole lifetime in this year. From many dark days yearning for the return of the days in the sun, to the eventual dawning of new days, join me in taking a look back at the year that was.

Days In The Sun

I can’t believe it’s been only a year since this time last year I was writing my review of 2016. In truth, it feels like it has been much longer since then.  I’m not sure what your year has looked like, but something I like to do here is write a review of every year. I’m sure some of the posts from previous years will pop up in the related links section at the bottom of the page. But for now, take a walk with me as I try to somehow navigate and spell out everything that happened across 2017 in my life, and hopefully find something in here to help you as you reflect on your own year.

To be honest, this one has been rather difficult to write, but I’ve never been one to really hide anything about anything that’s gone on. If you’ve been reading my writing for a while, you’ll know I tend to be fairly open and honest about things. But I’m warning you now – a lot happened this year. The content is about to get rather dark rather quickly, so if you’re looking for one of those happier jovial reflections on the year, skip to maybe the halfway point here, or look at someone else’s review.

Alright… here we go. Continue reading

My Problem With “Don’t Judge Me”

Everyone wants justice, but not everyone wants to be judged… here’s my problem with one of the most frequently used sentences in the entire world: “don’t judge me”.

Don't Judge Me

Judgmental frog is judging you…

Never before in history have the terms Nazi, racist, bigot, or “X”-ophobe (insert your phobia of choice here) been more prevalent in the common lexicon of our society. Well, perhaps maybe during World War 2 where those terms really did apply and some would wear those with a badge of true honour, but I digress. We live in a world that is very much up in arms about standards towards morality, legality and acceptance.

In truth, these issues have always been present throughout history. Recently I went on a big history binge on the history of the Ottomans, the origins of Russia from 2000BC, the history of China, and all the different wars and conflicts that have broken out over the last few thousand years. Ideals and a common set of standards have been heatedly contested to the point of bloodshed for millenia. So I guess the relative (and I use “relative” very loosely) lack of global scale conflict is quite welcome given how many millions of people have lost their lives in the larger scale conquests and conflicts (although many lives are still lost).

As individuals, we strive for harmony and acceptance in our way of life. Rightly so. Who enjoys living their lives in fear or being ruled by some tyrant who suppresses their people?

But on a micro-relational scale, we strive even moreso to have the love and acceptance of people in our circles. Continue reading

The Gender Ghetto of the Christian Faith

While we speak of the power of unity, we can be incredibly guilty of creating a divide between men and women, enforcing a gender ghetto within the Christian faith.

The Gender Ghetto of the Christian Faith

Before I start, I would like to confess my absolute love for the Christian church. As a believer who has been involved in church life for a number of decades, I sincerely hold it with such high esteem. Most nights of the week, you’ll find me helping out at or spending time with people I know from church. Not only have I seen my own life dramatically changed there, but I have seen the lives of hundreds if not thousands first hand transformed and integrated by the power of believers doing life together.

And I’ve already even used the old Christian cliche expression of “doing life together”. Continue reading

My Problem With “Covenant vs. Contract”

Are all commitments unconditional? Are all promises kept regardless of what the other person does? Or are we grossly oversimplifying the truth? Here’s my problem with “Covenant vs. Contract”.

Covenant vs. Contract

In the 80s and 90s, people of faith were swept by the phrase, “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship”. The term religion had been broadly used to describe the Christian worldview, from its customs to its outworking in daily life. If you regularly went to church or the tabernacle, you upheld certain traditions and lived your life a certain way, you were said to be religious. One day, somebody woke up and found two words starting with R, and in a memorable fashion, summarised a particular view of the Christian faith, highlighting the relationship aspect of its belief over its religious connotations to that point. Continue reading

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