Monthly Archives: February 2013



Nope. This is not a message on giving. It’s a turn of phrase that I use when I know I need to take my own advice… I recently spoke at the unflappable, always beautiful Jenny Gilpin’s conference in the UK. I was asked to speak on a subject that I have some experience in – being single. Married at 47, no sense that it would ever happen, yes, I can speak to this phenomenon with passion. My main message: live the life you want to have NOW. Don’t wait for your significant other because you already have a number one man. He’s right there, ladies. And he loves you. But this blog entry isn’t about living a great single life, either. It’s about the concept that there is always great opposition before a breakthrough. I used this phrase in my talk to the incredible ladies at the conference, and I meant it. Interestingly, I too am sitting on the other side of breakthrough for something in my life, and I too need this message. So here’s what I’m telling myself today:


  • When you feel disappointed or let down, no matter what, hope is always standing right beside you. Trouble is, you can’t see it, but hope is there. Remember: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  • When Daniel prayed the angel Michael took some time getting to him – not because he wasn’t coming, he responded immediately to Daniel’s prayer. But even angels meet opposition. He did make it through though, just in time!
  • Don’t be religious about it, but probably best to keep negativity out of your mouth. Find a scripture that really speaks to you and meditate on it. Let it take the place of your words of disappointment, despair, anger or fear. And if you do slip into negative talk, don’t give yourself a hard time, just speak hope and keep on moving.
  • Keep God BIG, where he belongs. We all need a big God. We need to know in our heart that we are connected, committed and confirmed to spend eternity with the One who created all things. When you’re in trouble lift your eyes up from your fear, like David, and look to the mountain – your help comes from the maker of heaven, the creator of the earth. It’s big and it’s real.


If you’re struggling with something and you feel like giving up, HOLD ON. Hold onto your hope. Hold onto the promises of God. Put God’s words in your mouth. Breakthrough is on the way!

Valerie McIntyre.



Happiness or Joy? – I’ll take both!


I don’t want to be happy.  I want to be joyful.


Happy to be happy, but I prefer to be filled with joy.  Do I have to make a choice, and is there any difference between the two?


Happiness has become a goal that allows all sorts of fouls into the back of the net – no red cards, no penalties ensuing.  On the contrary.  We vigorously applaud the goal of happiness (as an aside, if you flip the ‘a’ and ‘o’ you have gaol), and we insist that it is a fundamental human right, or should be enshrined as one.


The difference is that happiness isn’t, nor ever should be, our goal.  Aside from being completely illusive it is an outcome, a result of, a serendipity.  And when we make goals of outcomes we have made gods of chance, and ‘gods’ always turn into demons.


One man who knows more about the futility of happiness being the reason for ‘being’ is Victor Frankl.  He survived the concentration camps of World War Two, that saw off almost his entire family, his wife included.  He soon discovered, if he didn’t already know it, that happiness was a commodity of great rarity in those brutal camps, and hardly something that you could hope for much less work towards.  Simple pleasures were no longer simple much less pleasurably.  Eating and drinking became purely pragmatic, hardly a daily delight.  All the things we take for granted and derive some pleasure from were taken from them, eventually life itself, for most of them.


He maintained that happiness is something that ‘ensues from’ circumstances, circumstances they soon were deprived of, utterly.  To search for happiness was futile but to search for meaning could lead to happiness.


Joy on the other hand has as little to do with circumstance as happiness is entirely dependant on it.  It was at the worst of times that Jesus started talking about joy to his disciples.  He told them he was leaving them with his joy and peace, and in the next breathe told them that as long as they lived in this world they would have tribulations.


The clear message, lived out by him, and those who believe in him, is that joy isn’t reliant upon external stimulation.  It is a gift of the Spirit of God and both goes with us and is a promise to us.  “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising its shame.”


It is deep in that it springs up from within but not so deep as to remain stubbornly subterranean.  It expresses itself when our circumstances are favourable and losses no zest when they aren’t.

It has sustaining power, unlike happiness, which is as fickle as an English summer.


Now that is what I would like.  And I’m sure you would to?  Not  the summer, the joy.  Although a summer would be nice, as well.


I don’t want to be happy – I want to be joyful.


(Don’t I want happiness?  Don’t be daft, of course I do)

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