It’s weird how after a summer break, you have all intentions of just starting where you left off. Although I worked for most of the break, there was a more relaxed, less chaotic atmosphere in our household. I left in the morning before anyone was awake, and by the time I got home, in many cases, it looked like nothing had actually happened - my family had literally hibernated or lived in our pool for a month. Occasionally I would shout “ice-cream” and the whole house would come to life - so that’s kind of a safe word for us to know that everyone is still with us. This week school started, and so do most other things. Sudden requests to catch up, church starting on a new adventure of onwards and upwards and of course the good old routines. Routines - a word that if you say out loud too many times, start to sounds like a luxury French dish. Routines are really like a two edged sword. On one hand, they are absolutely great - I am a planner by nature and by trade, so lists that make up the lists that I have are my happy place (cue Mrs Gush rolling her eyes) and it is good with the world. You have an agreed expectation with family, work, friends and church, and as long as you do your bit, things tick over smoothly. However, that’s where it can also become problematic. Sometimes I feel like my life is a bit of a walking to-do list. Eat, sleep, repeat. Eat, sleep, repeat. Eat, sleep, repeat. A routine does that to you. Make sure you tick through this checklist to get through the day. Don’t get me wrong, for many people that is the only way to get through a day, but what I struggle with so often, is that surely there is more - more than just surviving, paying your way, the occasional treat if you can and being able to flop on your bed, only to start again. Thankfully and by God's grace, there is a different way. Galatians 5:1 says that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” for a long time I believed that was great if you were being persecuted and your life was in danger - but living in London, in let’s face it, one of the safest countries on the earth, we feel we have our civil liberties and our freedom. But I don’t think this is what the author Paul was getting at. ‘Freedom’ - what does that mean to you? Unconsciously Captured: Personally I have struggled, and often continue to struggle with anxiety, anger, frustration and hopelessness. All of which by themselves can be debilitating, but combine even just two of them, and it’s just impossible to get out of bed. “But no" (I hear you say) "surely a pastor has some sort of magical comfort Holy Spirit blanket that keeps them safe at all times." Nope. Not even close. It took me a long time to realise that I need to be freed from just the stuff of everyday happenings, and we all do. We are captured to something, whether we like it or not. Our pursuit of peace and happiness, or purpose and meaning, it captures us. So am I really free? And where does this leave me? Consciously Aware: Where does this leave you? With grace. The knowledge and belief that only by the grace and mercy of God, can we be free. Free to be all that He has created us to be. Free to be at peace in our souls - as the Psalmist says (and this is definitely a paraphrase) Everything around me might be failing and falling, my job could be hell, my family might be falling apart, my health is slipping as I get older, my friends move on and my money doesn’t go as far as it used too, but I know 2 things - that is all inevitable one day, HOWEVER, God is the strength and all I will ever need, forever. (Psalm 73:6) If you keen to find out more, pop along and join us on Sunday, or give me a call through our website.