Being Formed as a Little Child

Being Formed as a Little Child

Being formed like a little child is something Jesus wants us to do, but how are we to do this as adults? Perhaps it’s by surrender to the potter’s hand.

Probably the most joyous gift to our family over recent years has been the addition of a new family member. Twenty-two months ago – in May 2019, my daughter gave birth to a beautiful little girl called Eliza.

We have so delighted to see her grow and develop as a beautiful little child.

She is being formed.  Continue reading “Being Formed as a Little Child”

Change Always Asks You to Walk on Water

Change Always Asks You to Walk on Water

When there is an invite to change, there is always that question of ‘Can I walk on water?’. But with repeated experiences, we can learn confidence and literally change the way our brain works.

I wanted to say ‘hi’ and introduce myself to her, but the ‘what if’s’ were started to hold me back inside my boat. What if she rejects me, ignores me, dismisses me?

I stepped out of the boat, walked on water, said ‘Hi’ and we have been married now for 34 years.

Walking on water is a brain change moment.

Continue reading “Change Always Asks You to Walk on Water”

Mental Health is … Learning to Listen for the Whispers

Mental Health is ... Learning to Listen for the Whispers

The noise of our world will never fully satisfy, but when we learn how to listen for whispers, we find a safe place for the soul.

I wonder when the first sound was made? Was it a big bang or the quietest of whispers. As the sound waves vibrated out, what was heard? Who heard it?

Here in New Zealand, it is believed that the earliest of migrants would have heard the lands existence before seeing it. Such was the abundance of birdlife. Much of that life force is gone now, but even as I write this on a sunny deck, I can hear some of the native birds singing to me.

I hear whispers of God in the throat of a Tui, the whoosh of a Keruru flying by, and the flitting movements of a Fantail dancing in the sun.

It’s a noisy world 

Continue reading “Mental Health is … Learning to Listen for the Whispers”

How to Grow the Practice of Stillness for your Mental Health


Thoughts and feelings can whirl you away from being centered. The practice of stillness can calm the mind and bring back clarity. The Bible has verses to help us on the way.

Sometimes I feel like I am on a long bungee cord.

I run off to do this and that.

Ambitions, dreams, goals, demands, self-centered desires, temptations.

I concern myself with all sorts of worries and fears, and as I keep moving away from stillness, the bungee cord gets ever so slightly tighter and tighter.

Eventually, I am pulled back, with a twang.

I look around and wonder what happened, and I realize that I have moved out of that place of stillness.

I believe that the spiritual practice of stillness is one of the most difficult to learn. Continue reading “How to Grow the Practice of Stillness for your Mental Health”

Recording: A Spiritual Habit for Better Mental Health

When we record an event, a time, a place it grounds us in the story going on. As we make a mark, we speak into the wispy winds of today’s experience a permanence and faithfulness.

The struggles in the mind today can become the weather forecast for tomorrow unless we remember the records we have kept of the yesterdays.

Keeping a record of life events can be a source of grounding for your mental health. There is change and keeping a record ties us into a story unfolding.


The sharpness of the chisel easily carved out my initials and date in the base of the chair I was making. Continue reading “Recording: A Spiritual Habit for Better Mental Health”

Listening: A Spiritual Habit for Better Mental Health

Listening A Spiritual Habit for Better Mental Health Spirituality

We can listen to the obvious – noise, distractions, voices, but it takes a focus to notice the whispers. Mental health comes from a spirituality that is listening for the quiet and unspoken.

It was the busyness of their life that concerned me the most. Jumping from one thing to the next it was like watching an out of control merry go round.

What were they listening to?
What were they listening for? 
Continue reading “Listening: A Spiritual Habit for Better Mental Health”

No More Lies. Stay Grounded in Reality

To be grounded in reality requires a commitment to side with the truth. It's seeing the lies we have been telling ourselves and moving into them with truth

‘If you really knew me, would you still love me?’ A grounded reality of knowing God speaks ‘You are loved no matter what’. 

For some reason we prefer fabricated realities to the
strong and sensitizing face of what is.
The spiritual life begins with accepting and
living our reality. Richard Rohr

I know someone who lies and embellishes the truth. They want to be known and loved but the facade of lies they have built up around themselves has become their truth.

Sometimes, when they feel safe, they let their guard down and the honesty flows. It’s beautiful to watch.


Give your Mind the Spiritual Gift of Stillness

Learn the Spiritual Gift of Stillness

If we are going to navigate life well, we must nurture the gift of stillness. Distractions will vie for our attention, but only one that is true will be heard if we quiet ourselves and be still.

Looking up at the stars through a crisp, clear winters night I wondered just how fast they were moving. I’m no astrophysicist, but I do know that whole cosmos is moving.

I was moving at somewhere near 1000 mph compared to the center of the earth. But then the earth was rotating around the Sun at 19 miles per second, or 67,000 miles per hour, or 110,000 kilometers per hour (110 million meters per hour).

Everything is on the move – fast.

Have you found a still place? Continue reading “Give your Mind the Spiritual Gift of Stillness”

Stumbling in on God’s Party Going On

Stumbling in on God's Party Going On

There is a party going on, all around us, where God is inviting us to stumble on in and enjoy. When we are attentive to the music, it grows depth in our mental health.

So I am just back from a holiday in Italy and Spain for a holiday. My wife had won one of those competitions of free air flights etc … So off we went to see some amazing places and have some rest and relaxation.

What I wasn’t expecting was the invitation to a party going on. Continue reading “Stumbling in on God’s Party Going On”

3 Ingredients of a Safe Church for your Mental Health

Three Mental Health Mind Shifts Needed for a Safe Church

‘Am I doing ok?’ was the question I was most frequently asked when I was a pastor/chaplain. ‘Is this Church safe’ was another. Keeping pace were other limping souls …

  • ‘Am I welcome here’
  • ‘Does God really love me?’
  • ‘I can’t seem to get it right’
  • ‘… keeps telling me that I need to do … if I am going to be ok and be part of this church’
  • ‘I keep going back to my addiction, I feel so guilty, God is angry’

At this point nice gentle Pastor Barry feels like getting a whip, going to certain churches and people, overturning pews, casting out tithing bags and shouting…

‘Stop laying heavy burdens on broken backs’

Continue reading “3 Ingredients of a Safe Church for your Mental Health”