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Poema 018 | Identity & Moral Injury with Dr Kate Hendricks Thomas & Dr Karl Hamner

Today I’m joined by by returning guest Dr Kate Hendricks Thomas, and new guest Dr Karl Hamner, to discuss the issues of identity and moral injury. We discuss how to handle transitional periods of our lives, big shifts away from something familiar, which might have defined us, into a new season of life – and potentially a new identity.

Karl and Kate share how these concepts work in practice, in their own work and research in the military, transitioning former soldiers out of military service into civilian life, and the challenges and conflicts this brings for them – and what that might look like for the rest of us.

This is a fascinating examination of identity, where we ground ourselves, and how we confront those necessary and inevitable transitional periods of our lives. It’s about the grief of leaving one season behind and how we move forward into a new one.

Poema 017 | Putting Ego In The Back Seat

On today’s episode I share some reflections on the most reason season of my life, a book launch, confronting difficult truths – and why I’m taking a short sabbath from writing. I talk about how ego can be a good thing but how when we let it dictate our lives, when we let our ego define our value, then we can come to an unhealthy place.

I reflect on why, sometimes, the best thing we can do for our vocation, passion and calling is to lay it down for a season, why practicing sabbath, and good self-care is so important. Then, finally, why it’s important to remember how who we are is more valuable than what we do.

Poema 016 | Sarah Heath on Seeing Your Story Through God’s Eyes

Today my friend Rev Sarah Heath returns to the podcast, to discuss her new book ‘Whats Your Story – Seeing Your Life Through God’s Eyes’, a book about seeing our lives through the concept of story, using the Biblical story of Joseph as a lens to examine our own stories.

Sarah talks about how she discovered the power of story in her own life and how it’s impacted her story, and we discuss together how conflict and suffering are realities whichever path we take, but how God can use them to shape our lives for the better. Sarah shares how through scripture, and in our own lives, we can see that darkness and death isn’t the end of the story, and there is hope and resurrection.

Finally we talk about examples of the power of story in scripture, including both Joseph and Jesus, and how we can see our own stories in the lens of Christ, and how that can lead us to a deeper, more intimate relationship with the divine.

Sarah is always such fun to talk to and has such wisdom and insight – her book, and her thoughts on the concept of story and scripture, had a profound impact on my life, I’m sure it will do for you. Take a listen!

Poema 015 | Wendy H Jones on the Spirituality of Crime Writing & Marketing With Integrity

Today on the podcast I’m joined by my friend Wendy H Jones. Wendy is a hugely successful crime writer, and international speaker. She’s authored the Shona Mackenzie adult crime series which has sold tens of thousands of copies internationally, ‘Power Packed Book Marketing’, a book on how to successfully market your books with integrity, and is on the committee of the Association of Christian Writers.

Wendy shares her story, and the background to how she got into writing adult crime fiction and how her Christian faith has influenced those books. And we talk about engaging with our dark sides, and where creative inspiration truly comes from.

Finally we discuss the realities of book marketing in the age of social media, and again how Christians in particular can market our work with integrity and keeping to the values of our faith.

Wendy is smart, fun, inspiring and has a lot of wisdom to share, this is well worth a listen!

Poema 014 | Alexander Shaia & The Good Friday Resurrection

Alexander Shaia returns to Poema today to share about the Quadratos journey through the Easter story. Alexander takes us back to an understanding of the story older, and wider than the traditional ‘Holy Week’ we all know and takes us into the story of the Christ and how we can identify with Jesus as He walks His passion.

Together we examine in brief the difference between the gospel interpretations of the story, and what these different interpretations mean for our own journey, and take a deeper look into Gethsemane. There we find a Jesus who names the betrayer, but then calls him friend, and a Jesus whose struggles with obedience mirror our own.

Finally we focus on Jesus’ cry ‘My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?’, and discuss how this is not a moment of despair, but a victory cry, not a moment of doubt, but supreme faith. And we see why every day of the Easter Story, from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, is a story of resurrection.

This will blow your mind and expand and deepen your understanding of the Easter story, and the scriptures, and bring the passion of Christ alive in a fresh way, as it has done for me.

I’d encourage you to listen to this and engage with it over the Easter season, I certainly will be – and I believe it will make our Easters richer, deeper, more honest and more joyful. Have a happy and blessed Easter everyone.

How Being Vulnerable With Your Art Can Be A Path To Freedom

Dear Fellow Writer,

I know you’re afraid.

I know you’re wondering whether its worth even beginning.

Maybe you’re thinking others have written this before and better.

You could be confident you’re going to get rejected.

It might be you believe your story sucks and no one will be interested.

Or you’re wondering if you can really do justice to the message desperately want to share.

Are you a writer and ever experienced one or more of these, or something similar? I’m guessing so. And how do I know this? Because I’ve been there. Many times. read more…

Poema 013 | Jessica Aguilar-Christy on Yoga & Christian Spirituality

Today I’m joined by my friend Jessica Aguilar-Christy. Jessica is a yoga instructor, and teaches yoga through the lens of Christianity with Soul Stretch Christian Yoga and at Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Today Jessica shares about the history of yoga, dispels myths many Christians believe about yoga and the truth behind the science of yoga. She also talks about the spiritual discipline of yoga and the impact it can have on one’s Christian faith, and the impact it’s had on her own spiritual journey.

This was such an eye-opening, inspiring and refreshing conversation which opened my eyes up to a new way of experiencing the divine, Jessica speaks with such wisdom and honesty, and is one of the most centred people I know. I was privileged to meet her and her husband last year on my trip to America. Jessica truly practices what she preaches, and there’s no doubt yoga has had a big impact on deepening and centering her relationship with Jesus. This is well worth a listen.

Also feel free to check out Jessica’s work at https://www.jesuyogini.com/

Why You’re Not Alone If You’re An Anxious Writer #AnxiousWriters

 

I’ve been writing for about 15 years now. I’ve written 4 e-books and just had my first trade book published, in print. I’ve got a blog which has around 1000 subscribers.

And I still have major anxiety about writing. I mean, is there any writer who doesn’t have anxiety?

I began the #AnxiousWriters hashtag yesterday to be honest about my fears about writing, and to provide a safe space for others to share theirs, and know they aren’t alone.

I knew other writers struggled with anxiety about writing. But the response has overwhelmed even me. And now I don’t feel so alone. (more…)

How I Found Church Can Be A Safe Space For Mental Illness

It’s fair to say when you hear the two terms, ‘church’ and ‘mental illness’, the image which comes to mind often isn’t of bedfellows, but of people at war.

Much of the Christian church today struggles to deal with matters of mental health. Either they brush them under the carpet and leave them unspoken, or, even worse, they deny the problems of mental health altogether.

Recently, on Twitter a Christian tweeted that PTSD was from God. A Christian actually tweeted that.

I’m a writer, I’ve had books out. I’m rarely lost for words. But even I was dumbstruck at that.

I’ve never actually had a mental health condition diagnosed. But many of those close to me, those who know the mental health world, who’ve heard my story, have all said I show classic symptoms of some kind of condition.

Some have said my symptoms resemble PTSD, others have said I may be at the very thin edge of the autistic spectrum. And many of the symptoms are there. So whilst I’ve never had anything officially diagnosed, it’s pretty clear I struggle with some kind of mental illness. read more…