Welcome to the Book of Joshua! As the name suggests, this book is all about….Joshua. You probably know a few. The name Joshua is number 8 in the Babycentre Top Baby Boy Names 2014. But you probably don’t know a lot about this one.
Nor do I to be honest. I look forward to travelling with you through this book this month.
The name Joshua means ‘The Lord Saves!’. Given all that God has done for the Israelites already and will continue to do, this name is totally appropriate. It continues to be vitally important that this chosen nation does not forget who their God is and what their God has done and can do. Joshua is the same name as ‘Jesus’ in the New Testament. I wonder how many parents of Joshuas realised that (does that fact make the name Joshua equivalent to the name Muhammed – which is incidentally number 1 in that list of baby names – in the Islamic tradition?).
Our Joshua has a difficult task ahead. He is the successor to the legend that is Moses. How will he ever be able to lead the Israelites as successfully as Moses did (and to be honest, Moses’leadership has its ups and downs….)? The people of God are to enter and claim the Promised Land – and this is to be less about military strength than strength of faith. In our journey with the Israelites so far, we have observed the importance of trust and obedience and this continues on…..in The Bible Guide by Andrew Knowles, there is a paragraph entitled The Importance of Obedience in the introduction to the Book of Joshua. Joshua himself has to obey the commands of God, like following a straight path from which it is dangerous to stray. Our journey of trust and obedience continues.
The challenges that Joshua will face will reveal his true colours – his commitment to His God and His people and his courage and determination.
On a lesser scale, I have started the new year with a series of challenges. I want to prove myself to myself. I want to test myself. I want to challenge my commitment and courage and determination. I want to know who I am and what I am capable of.
Of course, this blog continues to be a challenge. Getting up early, writing pretty much everyday…..although the rewards have outweighed the inconveniences so don’t pity me or admire me….I have enjoyed this journey so much so far and learnt so much to help me in my daily life.
In January, I sort of fell accidentally into doing what proved to be a big physical challenge. We had a display exercise bike at work, so why not do a 5 hour exercise bike ride at the front of the store? I didn’t really think it through – if I had, I might not have done it. But I did and I proved I could and alongside completing the Great North Run, it showed me that I have physical resilience and determination that actually accompanies me in my everyday life and gives me confidence in my body’s ability to have a go at anything! On 28 February, I will complete another physical challenge – running backwards and forwards from the store to the Stroke Association office 25 times (a total of over 18 miles!) Challenges like this make me feel fully alive!
Every month this year, I am giving up something to prove that I can do without pretty much anything if I have to. In January, it was coffee. In February, it is to be chocolate. I never want to be one of those people who say ‘I couldn’t live without ……..’ I want to show myself that I can.
I’ve also set myself the challenge of not buying any new clothes for a year. Hopefully to prove that I can look OK without depending on new clothes. I have enough clothes in my wardrobe that I hardly ever wear. This will be a challenge, because clothes shopping is part of being a woman. I intend to end the year really appreciating what I have and more able to make wiser choices about clothes.
And then in March, there is the Zip Wire challenge. I am part of a team of 14 Asda Living colleagues. I have no idea how I will feel, how any of us will react….it could be far more of a challenge than I realise. The challenge at the moment is simply distributing the sponsor forms (and replacing a lost one already!).
I’m not suggesting my small challenges are anything like what Joshua had to face. And of course, I do face other emotional and stressful challenges that arise out of nowhere to reveal my true colours!
But I do believe challenges are good for all of us. It is good to really stretch yourself and test yourself. The confidence that comes from achieving something or completing a challenge is life-giving.
I’m addicted to challenges, some would say. I make life harder for myself than it needs to be.
Maybe. But it’s worth it.
What challenges are you facing? How can these reveal something about you? Is there a challenge you want to set for yourself at the beginning of this new month? GO FOR IT!