How does that make me real? Part II


On holiday some years ago in Turkey, we were sitting at the (open air) bar socialising, chatting, idling the day away in great company. Someone must have had tea or coffee, because I remember a sugar bowl. It had attracted a bunch of ants. And to my English sense of hygiene this was not good. Where had the ants’ feet been before tramping across our sugar?

In England, I probably would have flicked the ants and sugar and removed any chance of catching some deadly disease, along with reducing the ant population by five or ten. But the thing I remember is this

The Turkish chap simply moved the sugar bowl so that the sun shone directly onto it. As he did, he commented that ants do not like direct sunshine. And kept gently moving the bowl so that the sun shone directly onto the ants. Within a short time the ants had vacated our desirable real estate sugar bowl. There was no ant carnage, no sugar grains sprayed everywhere. Nothing dramatic or traumatic – for either us nor the ants.


I used to watch a programme called “30 Seconds To Disaster” – the analysis and objective sequencing of millimetres of time – sometimes stretching back months. Cataloguing all the decisions and indecisions, actions and inactions, leading up to the thirty seconds before a disaster.

It fascinates how – usually – it is a series of very small things that build and build. Tiny details forgotten or overlooked. Something not quite done as it should be. Having a cumulative effect on something that triggers something that triggers something else.

Always it seemed to begin with something innocuous, so irrelevant, so meaningless. At the beginning it was impossible to even imagine a catastrophe as the conclusion to that one little detail – nor the next, or even the one after that, or after that one. Individually not one of the actions or inactions was meaningful. It was the sequence of “stuff” that brought disaster to bear.

And then the final thirty seconds when all hope is lost and there is no turning back – disaster and the conclusion of the entire sequence over time.


How many times do I see adverts promising to hold back time. How often do I read of others’ dreams of being young again. Turning back the clock. Beating time itself. Regaining my youth. My freshness. My vim and vigour (obviously with the benefit of hindsight and financial stability and the benefits of growing older).

It is always the physical side of things. More va-va-voom, more staying power, more energy, less wrinkles, more six-pack less face-pack!

A whole industry has grown around creams and potions, regimes and routines, nips and tucks, dreams and bloody hard work!! Just to retain the perception of youth. Of health. Of beating the clock of time itself.


The second hand on every clock must be obeyed. Every second a physical thing that comes. And goes. Never to return. Ever. We are on a production line. Ever moving forwards one second at a time. That relentless progression.

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock …

A relentless progression for each of us. And then we die.

But we have no control of that clock. And it never stops. Even when we each die. It never does. Time never stops. Not for anyone of anything.

Not for anyone.


“LOL!! ROFL!! Smiley face. Cute icons. Xxx

Another of my loved ones struggling with the clock! How I so enjoy this “second of time” my creations hold and examine with such finite confusion! Always – always – each one reaches a stage where that tick tick tick becomes a “what if …” What if “I was God” – what if I wasn’t ruled by the clock – what if there was no clock – what if eternity was a second and a second a millennium – a millennium being a fraction of a moment – and a fraction of a moment being all of time – all of time a thought – and a thought merely the beginning and the end … I do so love this conundrum. This finity. And cracking it will never happen. Ever. Because that is not my purpose. Not my gift.

My gift is time itself.

Not a present they all want to receive. For so many a cage. A cage with only one exit door. Yet each search. Each looks for the alternative door. Never realising there is no cage. There is no door. There are no walls. Other than of their own creation. Their own gift to themselves.

My gift is time. Such a beautiful way to find truth. Such a loving thing to watch. As each works through what is important. What is meaningful. As each finds for themselves the essence of living as they must. As each finds the essence of Love. How else would they. How else could they. If there was not time how could each know love. How else would each find their own way back.”

And I sit and wonder …

If I am that ant. Would I feel my desire to move back into the shade was “pre ordained” and I had no control? Or me simply responding to changing conditions. Me still in control.

And if I am any one of the people involved in the thirty seconds from disaster. If I knew the outcome. Would I really choose to do the same? And if not – would I really feel I had no control or free will?

So if I broke free from time would I choose to “never age”? If I had that ability, would I want to look “forever young” – because wouldn’t that concept be as meaningless as time itself?

And I ponder quietly here.

If I was not ruled by each second. If time was meaningless.

How then would I define Free Will?


12 thoughts on “How does that make me real? Part II

    • Someone made the comment that delving into this stuff would zap every grey cell in my head and still provide now answers. I trust Him to know what he is doing with my grey cells! And, without doubt, to make it a journey worth making 🙂


    • Oh yes!!

      Yet it is the “fighting” mainly with myself that I think this is about. Sinking the foundations stone of relationship ever deeper. Taking away the fighting, the ologies, the division – and the need to cling to any of that when the going gets tough. When I hit a patch of questioning why.

      Only because He always invites me to begin a journey out of love and relationship – thus far never ever to “prove a point”


    • Paul, I have just seen the piece below – and have spent some time “doing a Paula” – I got halfway through, jumped to the end and worked backwards up through the writing! 🙂

      That “other commandment” springs to mind from your words here: “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

      Love. Enjoy love.


  1. Started to email you this, but couldn’t find your address. Here’s something I copied this morning from Graham Cooke’s book Prophetic Wisdom. I think it relates. Just had to send it to you even though it is a bit long for a comment.

    Jesus restores us to glory.

    When God speaks, He does so with purpose, to create life, hope, faith, and an awareness of Himself in the lives of His people. He wants to bring change, adjustment, correction, direction, renewal, restoration, redemption, and encouragement. His words are always strategic and contain real purpose. They reveal His heart and plans to us. All He asks for in return is for us to respond to Him.

    As human beings we are very linear in the way we think. This is part of the natural mind that thinks in straight lines and fixed points. We want the shortest route between here and there. When we receive a prophetic word, we want the outcome above all else. This is normal . . .God, however, is a Spirit who lives on a different plane of perception. In our thinking prophecy is mostly functional and therefore only about the end result. In His thinking, a prophetic word is primarily relational and mostly about the journey we undertake on the road to fulfillment. Both are concerned about becoming what God intends . . . Our focus is destination. The goal of the Holy Spirit is transformation . . . God has work He wants to accomplish in us before releasing us into any fulfilled prophecy; the only way He can do this is by spending time with us. The Father controls the pace that we walk with Him. He will not allow us to gloss over issues . . .

    When we are learning about faith and patience for example, our circumstances will slow down . . . . we simply cannot learn patience through acceleration . . . our perseverance must also be joyful (Col 1:11), otherwise we will not learn true endurance. Persistence cannot be properly achieved if we are downcast or melancholic. Persistence is waiting on the Lord with joyful expectation. It is not engaged with timing, but with Presence.

    Prophecy takes us on a journey of transformation by guaranteeing us the outcome as we travel the road . . . The Holy Spirit will bring us to a place where we can trust God for everything, and to where God can trust us with what He wants to give us.

    Therefore the LORD [a]longs to be gracious to you,
    And therefore He [b]waits on high to have compassion on you.
    For the LORD is a God of justice;
    How blessed are all those who [c]long for Him.
    19 [d]O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.20 Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. 21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “[e]This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.
    God works cyclically and seasonally in our lives because of the things He wants to accomplish . . . on every step of that journey we are supposed to discover who God wants to be for us. . . when God commits a prophetic word to us, He also provides a time of change . . . mostly the times of change need last only as long as it takes for us to make the upgrade. If we are unresponsive, the season can be extended until we make the adjustment. Every response is tested so it can be established. It is one thing to get free and another thing to stay free. The test is designed to establish freedom. (The it talks about how God is faithful to continue the cycles until freedom is established)

    When you are in a cycle, enjoy it. Love the learning. Enjoy your discovery of Jesus. Enjoy losing things you did not want to keep concerning your sin habit or old nature. Enjoy the process of putting off the old and putting on the new. It is usually only painful if you resist it.

    Do not think in straight lines and fixed points. Enjoy the season you are in with Jesus . . . if you are locked in a season without change, repent . . .response is everything. Cycles are about times and seasons (I’ll bullet point to save time)
    • primary season: God cuts back ministry to intimacy
    • planting season: prophetic promise opens us to new life and possibilities
    • hiddenness season: nothing seems to be happening but seed is growing
    • manifestation season: new growth appear/life is different

    Prophecy is mostly an act of conception.. . connects us with the next stage of our identity and intention. We must make the necessary adjustment in lifestyle in order to accommodate the new life that is present. Prophecy makes us pregnant.

    Renewing our minds means we must learn the Holy Spirit’s pleasure and enthusiasm in cancelling out our old belief about ourselves.

    David . . . behaved like a king before he was crowned. We develop our true identity in the secret place of our heart before God. Later, what is hidden becomes manifested. What is established in the secret place can never be disturbed by circumstances, people, or events. The external must always succumb to the internal place of God’s Presence.

    Mediocre people are always disturbed by the exterior world. An undeveloped inner life leaves us at the mercy of doubt, fear, and anxiety. We lack drive, passion, and initiative. Maturity is derived from the inner man of the spirit, never the outer man of the soul

    We must unlock the potential of the promise. To do that effectively, we must release our God-give imagination. This is not a time for earth-bound logic. Reason cannot call up faithfulness. We can talk our way into responding but still not set outside of the boat.

    We must internalize the place of promise in the same way that a woman would rejoice over the news that she had conceived. In the process that follows, she begins to make decisions and adjustments that are in line with her new found condition. She works in partnership with the new life that is forming. It is possible . . .to abort the word before it has taken hold. Not responding to God’s word will always kill life. Unbelief is easier than faith because it only demands denial. When we receive a word we must . . . act in line with its purpose. We have to take that internal development full term and see something birthed in actuality.

    Prophecy establishes the burden of the Lord for our life and destiny. We must carry it all the way to fulfillment. We labor to bring forth our calling, anointing, and ministry. It is necessarily hard . . . not for the faint of heart . . .we need a powerful inner life if we are to walk as heroes of the faith . . .being pregnant with promise allows us to enter the dynamic place of alignment with purpose.


    • Thank you! The words here are too full to punch a punchy reply and move on. So this is simply Thank You for taking the time and trouble to add this. I scanned this and found myself nodding and bristling and nodding and bristling! Some digestion time needed, but as Arnie says … “I’ll be back!” after letting “the whole” settle – thank you again!
      And no worries about “long” – I see only relationship in each and every comment – and am touched and connected – each and every time.


      • I bristled a few times too. Most of mine were out of conviction, a few because I am always looking for that works/performance mentality that I am being healed from. But all in all it really encouraged me. You may have other reasons for the bristling! I was not raised in Charismatic circles where the word prophecy is used with more regularity. I like to read these passages replacing the word prophecy with promise (not that the idea of calling it prophecy bothers me anymore. I just find it helpful sometimes). I’ve heard God’s promise many times. In my own prayers, the prayers of other, Scripture that leaps off the page. I think the title of this work is unfortunate because it tends to put this book most in the world of a certain sect of Christians. I’m find the book to really validate my journey, to help me be patient as the Lord is faithful to heal and change me no matter how long it takes, to always put relationship before the doing of the things I know He has for me to do. I’m so glad He is committed to my becoming so that I will be safe with Him no matter the future or the task. His time and mine are so different. But my heart is more at peace when I seek His more cyclical perspective . . . . so much He has promised is taking so long in my limited view, but I like to think about that ant you wrote about, how long a journey is for an ant compared to a human and how much HE loves to journey with me, being friends, being Lovers, being family, even as He is still God.


      • Paula, I love being alongside your walk. I love sharing the gifts you unwrap and offer so freely. I ponder the pain you feel. I cheer the strides you run! And I value so much being given words and pictures and questions outside of my fuzzy vision.

        Your book is important. I have books I drool over. Your drooling is infectious! Drooling is enthusiasm and enthusiasm is love. And love is where it’s at baby! Yeah!! (I love that film – whose name I cannot remember!!) 🙂

        And guess what – as I googled away and found all these words and labels I hear and never really “get” – prophetic, charismatic, et al – I ended up in 1 Corinthians 13 (can’t even remember how that happened).

        That “wedding” reading (it was – at a wedding I shared in this past weekend): “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” And then I walked backwards to the beginning of the book. And was wowed by the wedding bit coming after so much stern stuff. Wow!

        So I am none the wiser regarding prophecy or free will or time or counting. But you gave me the most gorgeous evening of romping through The Word as I would through a meadow! I think that is why I bristled a little at the words of Mr Cooke. I have the gift of romping through meadows. His is a different gift.

        Yet Mr Paul laboured the point to the Corinthians and me: the body of Christ is the body of Christ. Dinna knock it cos ye canna all be rompers, or prophets, or ever “not be of it” unless you leave it.

        I love how Graham Cooke works for you – and I love how your words work for me! Thank you!



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