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WOJCZUK keeps a diary of her "40 Days of Purpose" experience...
DAY 21: 8th May,
One of the things I want
to be most in my life is a peace-maker.
I've had many opportunities to practise! Sometimes the outcomes
have been great for everyone, sometimes they haven't.
But, equally, I've had many times when, even though I've done my
best - tried to listen and promote listening, looked for the wonderful
'win/win' and encouraged honesty and respect as part of the process
- it's fallen apart. We all are answerable to Father God for the
choices we make in response to others.
I know that the way I deal with conflict or difficulty is not, I
say not, dependent on the other person's treatment of me. I tell
my 11 year old daughter this all the time when she's copping rubbish
from someone. This is the great freedom and grace of Jesus Christ.
I am free to choose to live outside the entrapment of someone else's
sin. I am not slave to their problem.
I'm not saying it's an
easy thing to do. Trust me, I've had many times where I've over-reacted
or come away bruised. I know it's not easy and, for some, the circumstances
that hurt them may not change.
The Lord says 'judge not and you will not be judged', 'forgive and
you will be forgiven', 'treat other people the way you would like
to be treated', 'love one another as I have loved you'. There is
great power in the fact that He has already given us what He asks
us to give. The One who is totally able to see and judge all that
we do has chosen to release us from the trap we have been in and
lead us in a different way. We are not bound to a response based
on another person's attitude, words, actions or the circumstance
we find ourselves in. We are free to be free on the inside.
I want that freedom. I really want to live it as a truth. I have
tasted the way of Jesus in this and I want to do this again and
again until it is part of the flow of who I am. That means, in the
difficulty I am having now, my path is clear: 1. love; 2. forgive;
3. respect; 4. be honest; and, 5. pray for God's help!
We'll see how I go.
DAY 19: 6th May,
Why is it that Almighty
God always tests us?
You know, dear reader, right now I am silently having a real personality
and communication tussle with someone in my Jesus family
and frankly, I want to put down my bat and ball and walk off into
the sunset saying 'thanks for the memories'.
But the other thing that's working in me is the desire to be honest
and love this person. So I keep having these very intense conversations
with God and, in my head, with them, trying to find my way through
I don't want to be a hurter or get hurt myself but at the same time
I know for our sakes and the Lord's I gotta sort it out.
So what am I doing about it? I'm resisting the urge to retreat and
disconnect, although some days that wins. I'm trying to be as honest
with God and myself as I can, and I'm praying that He'll intervene
and lead us through to where He wants us to be. I'm praying for
enough humility and love to accept whatever comes and still bless
God and them. It's hard when you stop looking at the theory and
start living the reality! But...without the theory, I reckon I'd
really stuff up the reality!
DAY 18: 5th May,
I've come to the conclusion
that I need to radically realign my use of time by maximising 'timeless
I think that's why I get so frustrated with the whole love/time/church/family
thing. You know the way it goes - 'Yep Lord I totally get the picture
but how? How? How?
I'm not sure how it's all going to go down with the various groups
of people involved with me but I'm just going to continue to pray
and ask the Holy Spirit to sort it. God definitely gets first pick
of my time.
I have huge amounts of love and respect for so many in my life,
church family and otherwise. I want to have the best time I can
with all of them. There are so many balls being juggled all the
time and I don't think it's working as well as it could. We'll see.
I guess underneath the time pressure I just have such a blessing
for God, that He's healed my heart to the point where generous love
is possible and that He's surrounded me with people to share that
with. I wouldn't want to go back to Godless living for anything.
Life in the River of God is marvellous, even if it sometimes seems
a struggle. Mostly the deep waters do run peacefully. And the rapids?
They're just there, and me and Jesus, we'll handle them together.
DAY 17: 4th May,
Go to church, go directly
I love church. I love our church. I love lots of churches and I
pray for us all too. We need prayer.
It's not easy developing authentic honest relationship under any
circumstance but how much harder when we get together in the weird
environment of Sunday church? Come in, have a chat with a few people,
sit down in rows facing the front where a few individuals lead some
musical worship, corporate prayer and teach on some Biblical subject,
sit down, stand up a few times, disperse to have a cup of something
and catchup with a few more people and go again next week...or something
I love to worship the Lord and have communion and listen to a good
Jesus talk but I find the 'form' of church fairly boring. I know
there a many groups out there experimenting with form, as my own
church is doing and, honestly, I think we really need to.
I'm a sensate person. Colour, sight, sound, touch, taste and smell
are really important to me and impact my experience of worship and
community life very profoundly when they are part of the spiritual
environment. I really dislike the little morsel or fragment of dried
biscuit and the gulp of grape juice for communion - it's a really
thin response to a mighty sacrament and, for me, it's actually working
against the message of the extravagance of Christ's sacrifice for
us. I'd like a good mouthful of a rich port and a chunk of crusty,
fresh bread, some soft lighting and music and an aromatic oil burning
with some candles.
I wish we could incorporate the diversity of our community more
and be more creative in our approach to communicating spiritual
truth and the stories of people's walk with God.
But it requires the kind of group involvement and input that doesn't
come easy in a busy working world.
Hmmm. Faced with the dilemma of time sacrifice and priority again.
Jesus says He will build His church. I'm glad. I hope we'll all
choose to be involved.
DAY 16: 3rd May,
How can I start treating
other believers like members of my own family? Love them to bits
and treat them with tender thoughtful extravagant time...or love
them to bits and treat them with complacent familiarity; speaking
to them less tenderly than I do people on the edges of my life;
giving them morsels of hurried time and finishing the day with a
cuddle and prayer having comforted myself with the knowledge that
a, we love each other, b, I look after their needs, and c, this
pace will eventually slow down. That sucks!
Actually I exaggerate, but it gets like that sometimes, doesn't
I don't even have a paid job. How do people who work full time or
run their own business cope?
What's God's answer for chronic overburden? More time with Him,
more stillness. Some people must get stressed just thinking about
how to do that! I sympathise. It ain't so easy.
I reckon a lot of us 'westerners' are going to be compelled to make
some hard decisions about lifestyle, priorities and affluence (or
should I say effluents) within the decade. The burden of sustaining
our current standard of living, feeding our relationships enough
to stay healthy and life-giving and contributing into the wider
society is heavy now. I personally don't think we can fragment much
more and still stay spiritually, emotionally and socially healthy.
What do you think?
I love my time alone with the Lord, I love real quality time with
my husband and kids and other people too. I know time has to be
found. OK, so where and from what do I take it?
DAY 15: 2nd May,
How do I give my Lord
all that I am? I guess I have to say to Him 'this is what I want
to do' . . . and He takes more of me than I'm ever likely to be
aware of. So be it.
It's never going to be less than a faith transaction is it? One
day I'll sit down with Him and say 'Show me the video Dad, I want
to know how it all works from your perspective'.
Till then I just go with the flow as intentionally, authentically,
intelligently and faithfully as I can! And rely on grace.
DAY 14: 1st May,
Sorry about the silence.
Technical difficulties have silenced my computer again and...I'm
tired. So many little pieces of life are jostling for attention.
My 40 days reading schedule
has slipped a couple of times and I've found myself doing the 'I
have to catch up' thing. I read a chapter, then think about what
I've read and realise I haven't really 'read it' at all. Come on
brain, go with me on this one!
But I have been mulling
over some of the themes. There are serious discipleship issues here.
In my mind's eye, I can see religion falling like old tomb clothes
off a resurrected Lazarus. Obedience, surrender, authenticity, friendship,
lordship. Costly and cutting through anything shallow.
11: 28th April, 2004
love Practising the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
It's a beautiful, timeless, simple, inspiring little jewel. It's
God-breathed through a lovely servant monk.
You know when you read or hear someone speaking about things and
you think ' I really would love to meet them and sit for a while
to talk' - he's one of those for me.
So is Jesus and . . . Madam Guyon (she wrote another jewel like
Lawrence's), C.S Lewis, Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Leonard
Sweet, Ezekiel, John, Paul, Noah, Job, Deborah, Esther, Adam, St
Francis, Augustine, Martin Luther, Tolstoy, Floyd McClung. (Eternity
is looking real good right now, I think I'll need it!).
I love talking with God. The 'talk to' bit's easy for me. It's the
'listen to' bit that challenges - but like I said the other day,
there's a real sense of sweetness, even in the waiting and when
the flow of the Lord's voice is there - aaaah, what a wonder! How
Sometimes there is so much clutter in this mind of mine, it's a
bit like opening 'the plastics cupboard'! You know the cupboard
which is so stuffed full of containers, old ice cream cartons and
lids to things that don't exist that as soon as you open it, there's
a landslide (a plastic slide?). I have to wade through a sea of
little details just to find a quiet spot for me and my father to
talk. Other days we just walk together all day.
Sometimes I sense the Holy Spirit drawing me aside for a longer
time, to hear more, and it's like He teases me with a thought or
a word and I go look it up in a dictionary, concordance or www.blueletterbible.org
and we have a wonderful journey together finding out some stuff.
I go for a drive to a nearby bluff and watch the waves swelling
and crashing one after the other, watching the colours and listening
to the sounds. My spirit gets massaged and relaxed by the bigness
of God and His energy in the forces that drive the waves to the
shore over and over. And I feel steadied and comforted and inspired
and safe in His constancy and sovereignty. My spirit sighs and I
just sit with Him.
Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I blow Him a kiss and say
thank you for saving me and my family and I talk to Him for a while
using the Lord's Prayer as my prayer shape, moving out in widening
circles from me, to my family, to my church, to the churches, to
the community, to the region, to the nation, to the nations, to
Sometimes I lay my head on the pillow at night and realise we've
He loves us you know.
DAY 10: 27th April,
Have you ever played the
trust game where someone stands behind you at the 'right' distance
and you fall backwards, hopefully into their waiting arms? Have
you ever stood on the end of a bed and tried to fall forward without
putting your arms out to break your fall? Simple childish games.
But the urge to 'rescue' yourself is often overpowering. If you
can overwrite that compulsion (instinct?) with a deliberate decision
to let go, and you survive the fall, it's surprisingly exhilarating.
But...if you trust and the 'catcher' lets go or miscalculates, if
you fall and the landing is hard or awkward...experience may counsel
you next time not to take the risk.
How many little life experiences, little life risks leave us with
cuts and bruises where we may have hoped for a soft landing. I don't
know about you but I've had a few. Trust is neither easily won nor
given. It's earned.
I don't easily trust. Never have. It's taken years and years for
me to begin to truthfully trust God and we're still working on it.
I've been married for nearly 20 years and only in the last 5 have
I really begun to trust Peter. I wasn't abused as a child, I was
loved. I haven't been abused as an adult either. Yet I was obviously
very sensitive and this was the path of mistrust that I took, as
far as I understand it anyway...Recipe for a control freak (being
reformed!) - HURT to DISAPPOINTMENT to ANGER to JUDGEMENT to MISTRUST
to INSECURITY to FEAR to INDEPENDENCE to CONTROL. From one step
to the next progressively over time and instantaneously from incident
to incident. Am I one sick puppy? Maybe, but I reckon God has just
shown me a pattern that He wants to rewire and I reckon there're
probably heaps of people out there just like me, who are afraid
to trust because they're really hurt and they don't know where to
start. So, if most of life and the relationships in it can be stitched
up into 'controllable' sequences, outcomes and responses we'll be
safe. And a lot of it is really about safety. Is it safe to trust
this God I can't see?
Hmmm. Safety isn't something that we do all that well, especially
when we can't even predict the response of our own souls!
'I' statements Ann, you must use 'I' statements.
You know what - I do get hurt and I am a bit defensive sometimes
and I have got some scar tissue but I've come to the place where
I really do believe that Jesus can catch me, wants to catch me,
will catch me, does catch me. Is that surrender? When I read in
the gospels about his compassion, his love, his loyalty, his anger
with game playing users and bullies, his generosity and his power
to heal - I reckon he's worth the risk and his arms are strong.
I really want to surrender and I'm choosing each day, in a million
different ways, to let go. God grant me grace to continue.
DAY 8: 25th April,
Worship...it may sound
really basic but for nearly 18 years on my 'Jesus road' I felt insecure
about that word. I love music, particularly soul and blues, heaps
of rock, some jazz, not into metal or thrash or anything that's
really black, some classical I love and some instrumental stuff.
I always equated music and singing with worship...and I'm not much
in the singing department.
I loved talking to God and telling Him what I loved about what He
made, particularly in nature and asking Him questions about stuff
like ' how time works', 'what we'll get to do with Him in heaven'
and so on, but I never realised that a lot of that lovely thankful
conversation was actually worship. I wish I'd read some of this
stuff years ago 'cos I probably would have been free to worship
Him much sooner instead of being disappointed that I wasn't able
to bless Him like other people could. What a duffer!
You know what's really unlocked me to give Him praise and really
spend time listening for Him (and He doesn't always speak, by the
way, but it's GROUSE when He does!)? The thing that has opened me
out to Him is really getting the sense and knowledge of how much
He loves me, like Rick (Warren) says somewhere in the last two chapters
(of the book A Purpose Driven Life). I KNOW He loves me
because the Bible tells me that over and over (Jesus loves me this
I know...) and I FEEL His love when He bails me out of situations,
speaks something wise to me, teaches me about His words or Himself
or opens my senses when I'm concentrating on blessing Him. That
often happens when I'm singing or praying in tongues, sounding out
my feelings and depths to Him or just waiting.
I really like the way this book encourages communication with the
Lord and celebrates the different ways we can do that. Learning
to live with and share with the Holy Spirit is lots of experimenting
for me, based on what I read out of scripture and see other people
doing, but the language we have together is often very individual
and private and I love it. In fact I reckon I'll go out on a limb
and say that one of the very most precious things in my life is
the voice of God and I will continue to seek His conversation desperately
and delightedly for ever, I'm sure. Isn't He wonderful to speak
and act personally with us. I ADORE YOU DAD, I ADORE YOU JESUS,
I ADORE YOU HOLY SPIRIT xxxx
DAYS 6 AND 7:
23rd-24th April, 2004
I love the stuff about eternity; it majorly fires me up. Knowing
that I'm part of His eternal agenda is sometimes the only thing
that motivates me through the crud!
I cannot get over the miracle of Ann Wojczuk being given the gift
When I remember to wake
up in the morning and thank God for being saved, it frames the day
and gives me strength and a perspective through which to filter
some of the mundane aspects and disappointments of life and helps
me to dance on the inside when He leans close to me as I move through
another 24 hours of the time I have here. Thank you Jesus for breathing
DAY 5: 22nd April,
Hmmm. how do I see my life? I'm a 'foodie',
so I'd have to say for me it's a series of meals. A rich and varied
diet where God and I and others all share in the gathering, the
cooking and the eating. Sometimes it's an intimate dinner for two.
Sometimes it's a rambunctious banquet where everyone brings something.
Sometimes it's just meat and three veg!
The more I think about this, the more it makes sense because, for
me, a meal is something that sustains and blesses and enriches.
It's a way for me to give myself to others, as well as receive and
I love to eat in solitude with my own thoughts or share good food,
wine and conversation with others. I love the time after a meal
where you just sit around and laugh or chat. It's very special.
That metaphor most certainly applies to my life in all kinds of
ways and as my vision and values have centred more on Jesus and
people, the centrality of loving and giving has hugely increased.
Strangely, the other metaphor is very different. I tend to be a
fighter, not a runner, and one of the aspects of life is 'the battle'.
I don't like to surrender and so really giving my life to Christ
took a long time. I admit to being a bit of a toughie on the outside.
Of course, inside I was quite sensitive (but you mustn't let anyone
see that must you!) I do see life as a series of battles sometimes,
particularly when world views, personal issues and spiritual dynamics
are stirred up. Obviously the Bible documents the reality of the
seen and unseen conflict we live in. I'm not scared of it, denying
it or obsessed by it but the reality of battle is with me as much
as the rich experience of life. I LOVE TO LIVE. WHAT A GIFT IT IS
TO BE BORN AND GROW AND KNOW GOD!
DAY 4: 21st April,
I'm offline and disconnected
in more ways than one. But I now know what drives me: short-term,
getting in our new house; longer-term, Jesus. So that's good.
As far as today goes,
I'm taking an eternal perspective. I can't write much but chapter
4 (of Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life) was
fantastic. I'd never thought about the connection between the earthly
tent and the heavenly house as a metaphor for my form on earth and
I love the C.S. Lewis
quote (come to think of it, I love C.S. Lewis): "There are
two kinds of people: those who say to God 'Your will be done' and
those to whom God says 'Alright then, have it your way'." Great
way to sum up the choice we have to make.
3: 20th April, 2004
I am not as driven as
I used to be. I am still thinking about what drives me. I'll get
back to you on that.
2: 19th April, 2004
Had our first group night. How good was
it to see 20 people packed into one lounge room!
I really enjoyed the questions, they were thought-provoking and
interesting and the great thing was, there were lots of different
approaches and responses to the material. But the best thing was
sitting in a room with all those people, talking about God stuff,
not just blah, blah, blah. I love that. It's so energising!
I haven't quite got a handle on how the timing's going to work with
reading the book and watching the video but I guess they know how
it comes together.
Chapter 2 of the book (The Purpose Drive Life). Hmmmm.
That's a gnarly one. 'You are not an accident', God planned your
parents, your whereabouts, your circumstances, your specific physical
body and so on. Well I REALLY DO believe He made me deliberately
and He showed Himself to me and got me saved and all that - but
there's some really big issues in this one.
- how much does the physically, spiritually, morally, relationally
and environmentally polluted world affect the details of my life
and formation? Like - is it God's choice that a child is born with
congenital defects, brain damage, or into an horrific abusive environment
or deadly poverty? Like - I KNOW He cherishes our individual lives
and has done everything to make freedom possible for each of us
and is literally working miracles of rescue and rebuilding in people's
lives daily but does He plonk us into outrageous circumstance and
then rescue some of us - or do we exist in the circumstance and
have the potential to discover His rescue? Like - can I ever hope
I don't want to think like that but I do want to think like that.
The people who live a life of suffering deserve that I care about
Right now I know when I read about Jesus, He is the likeness and
personality of God. And I know He is really connected to us, with
particular deep love and healing for the isolated, sick, poor, and
searching. So I can safely say ' it doesn't make sense to me but
I trust His love and what I know of His character'. He's God and
I'm not. I know He loves us and has this beyond this earth rescue
plan that I need to be part of NOW. Maybe I can be part of that
plan for others too.
One more question - how many more days of this???
1: 18th April, 2004
I go, 40 days of purpose. Hopefully there'll be more than that!
I'm not big on 'campaigns' and I've gotta admit I felt a bit jaundiced
about the whole thing - fully packaged deal complete with key ring
(!), and it's American not Australian - eek.
got a big nudge from the Lord the other day, as in - He has His
purpose in this, and it's not 'just a program' to Him because He's
involved and so are people, therefore it will never be 'just a program'.
pull your head in and bless the Lord and the people who put the
whole thing together and released it to the world. Hmmmm. I relent.
I'll stop being patronising and get into it. Sorry.
So...I start the 40 days with THE QUESTION - What on earth am I
here for? I start the 40 days with THE QUESTION - what on earth
am I here for?
Twenty-three years ago I probably would have answered that question
similarly but with a very different focus. I didn't know Jesus or
believe He existed or mattered but I knew there was something. I
would have answered 'I am here to make my mark'.
Now I still believe that,
but I'm not doing that for me. I've given my whole life to Jesus
and the individual mark I make on the world is for His benefit (and
mine I'm sure) and comes through His presence in me. It'll be unique
but it's no longer all about ME and my little kingdom.
I'll be really interested to see where we all end up at the end
of 40 days. I hope there is a LASTING definition and inspiration
for everyone who does it and the people who live around us. I hope
we're all swimming in communion with God and each other. I hope.