It’s always funny to me when I’m labelled ‘religious’, as if I’m different to other people by being so. That’s most likely because our understanding of the meaning of the word is different to one another.
If you go by the Concise English Dictionary definition then I can see where the differences lie, as on the one hand it says this about religion: ‘belief in a superhuman being or beings, esp. a personal God’, and on the other hand it says: ‘a system of faith, doctine and worship’.
So essentially, a religious person is someone who worships, and it’s clear to me that there is nobody on this planet, no matter whether they call themselves religious or not, who doesn’t worship. We all seem to live our lives focussed on what is most important to us, we all worship something or someone. And we love to talk about that thing or person, we love to praise them and set them up in central places in our lives.
Some gods are more obvious than others, the more subtle ones include the idols of our day and age – those things we venerate and idealise or idolise. Instagram is a good place to look if you’re searching for the embodiment of something to adore, whether it be the pursuit of the perfectly dressed, made-up and healthy body or the quest for the ultimate bleached white and pale grey home. Both of these symbolise our quest for perfection in various areas of our lives.
If you search up the most followed and prominent ‘influencers’ in Ireland, many of them are gorgeously groomed models. And they are followed and adored by hundreds of thousands or even millions of fans.
This stunning girl has a toddler and a ten week old baby and yet how wonderful does she look? Of course we’d all like to look like her, in fact one hundred and seventy five thousand people admire her and nearly 38 thousand people liked this one photo alone!
Another Irish ‘influencer’ is the model and foodie Roz Purcell. She and others, like her mates from the Happy Pear, have created empires from promoting the ultimate in healty eating through a vegan or wholefood lifestyle. Roz has struggled with body image for years and works hard to promote a more balanced view of dieting. What amazes me is how captivated we have become as a society by the quest for the uber-healthiest diet and the fittest, most youthful looking body. It’s almost as though we are hoping that through our best efforts we won’t get sick, old, or God forbid, even die!
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I would give over 45 seconds on each movement concentrating on breathing deeply and on the exhale allowing the stretch to deepen. I hold each post until my muscle relaxes which is a bit longer than 45 seconds after carraintpohil this weekend! My kit is from @sweatybetty who sponsored Sundays hike so everyone could get out and climb Ireland highest peak for free! Disclaimer I am very VERY tight after the weekends hiking, I did this on the Sunday night and have been doing it every night just in front of the TV in the evening. 🤸♀️Upper back stretch- I love this one it's so simple but I carry a lot of tension in my upper back when I'm hiking from carrying a bag. Imagine your trying to pull your hands apart here to really feel your upper back stretch. 🤸♀️Chest opener – I have a hanit of hunching over especially going up hill I try to do this stretch a lot to counteract my habit! 🤸♀️Downward dog- walk it out then hold on each side.My calves are always the first muscle to start crying when hiking and after a long day walking or running they get really tight. This stretch isn't the most pleasant but my calves feel much better for it! 🤸♀️Pigeon- love and hate relationship with this hip opener I find it really difficult on my front leg to externally rotate I have to really concentrate on my breathing here alto let my body fall into the pose and let the muscle relax. 🤸♀️Piriformis stretch- allow your breathing to let that front leg relax and open out. 🤸♀️Seated spin twist- it's such a relief doing this stretch I always here a few little cracks its also similar to piriformis so you'll feel it in your glutes too. 🤸♀️Knee tuck just a nice stretch for the lower back. 🤸♀️Hamstring- you can see mine are very right, I need assistance using a band and to just breath into it until the muscle relaxes.
Apart from the search for the perfect eyebrows with matching bag, hair and nails, as well as the healthiest lycra-clad body, we are currently obsessed by having the ultimate home. This pretty British girl, who is expecting twins (can’t you tell?), has become a sensation because she cleans her house to within an (h)inch of its life (see what I did there-lol) and now has over two and a half MILLION followers!! When she mentions a product on her posts, it will sell out right across the UK:
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Hello my wonderful Hinchers , how are you all? So .. this is a bit of a different post from me today 🙊 originally I accidentally posted this picture on my Mrs Hinch Home account and then quickly deleted it! I thought I was logged into my personal Instagram account and I started to panic 🙈 But then for a while afterwards I sat in my egg chair and thought to myself , why have I deleted it? Why did I panic? I am Mrs Hinch , this is my home , and our handsomes will soon be joining our Hinch Family. If you watched my story today you’ll see it started off difficult and I was a little emotional (sorry about that) but we all have days like this I’m sure , and that’s okay! I then read so many of your amazing messages and spoke to my mum (she always knows best) and realised I’m not going to lose this day! I’m going to laugh and I’m going to find little things I can do around the home to make this day a good day! Dust yourself off and try again as they say, and that’s exactly what I did. So I’m sorry this isn’t an interior pic , even though my lamp and baskets in the background are beaut 😂 but this is me .. Soph! I am the person behind this account after all! I can’t wait to meet our handsomes 🤰🏼and I can’t wait for you all to share this next chapter with me, Jamie and Henry. So I’ll click post now, chuck my phone on the bed and go downstairs so I’m not tempted to delete it again 😂 after all I know my Hinchers support me , my family , my life and my hinching in the most amazing way .. and I’m forever grateful , I owe this account to you all xxxx Ps: My Hinching isn’t going anywhere guys 😉 I’ll be back in full force very soon 💪🏼🧼 PPS: I paid £8 for this dress from Boohoo’s website! Barg 😂 ALL THE BEST ❤️ xxxx #mummyhinch #mrshinch #babyhinch #hinchyourselfhappy #imahincher
Actually I feel a bit sorry for Mrs Hinch right now. As a mum of four I can say she don’t know what’s coming to her with trying to keep a home, as well as twins, utterly spotless. Ciff and a ‘Minkeh’ scrubbing pad is definitely not going to solve that wee problem.
Ok, so maybe we’re not all on Instagram and don’t all obsess over getting our eyebrows feathered or our homes Mari-Kondo’d.
Chances are we do adore something though – we spend our time and energy focussed primarily on one thing or another. It may be something very good and beautiful like our children, our families, our work, music, art, nature, sex, food, exercise, the environment etc.
I have been to music concerts and felt the collective vibe that makes me feel as though we are all part of something greater than ourselves. I wasn’t tempted to attend the recent The Spice Girl’s concert in Dublin where 82.000 people flocked to watch them perform (but apparently couldn’t hear very well!), however, I have been to see Depeche Mode (only the best band in the world), Simply Red, The Who, Eric Clapton, Johnny Clegg, Sting and Paul Simon amongst others in concert and been swept up in the emotion and enthusiasm of the crowd.
It’s really not disimilar, and yet worlds apart, from being swept up in a worship service at church. Hands are in the air, the music evokes an emotional and euphoric response, the crowd all faces the same direction and lifts their voices in unison The major difference of course is who we are lifting our hands towards or what we are lifting them for.
The desire for a sense of community seems to be innate in us, just as the desire to seek a greater purpose of meaning in our lives is.
Some may say that God is a construct of the human mind and therefore, if you are going to worship something then you ought to really worship something real instead. If that’s your argument then it’s a baseless one. ‘Religious’ people would be absoutely no different to ‘non-religious’ or atheist people in that case because absolutely everything an atheist believes in and all we have made are human constructs, whether of our hands or of our minds.
The things we have set up as humans, like culture, political systems, countries, law systems only exist because we say they exist. If the human race died tomorrow, all those things would be gone by supper time.
Only God would be left.
I would argue (as would many others) that He is the only one on the long list of all that we worship that was here before we were even a twinkle in anybody’s eye.
At a recent 5km run hosted in a Wexford school, it was overheard that the organiser asked the crowd : “Sure, what else would you be doing on a Sunday morning?”
If you shouted out “GO TO CHURCH!” in reply, it would certainly be the quickest way to draw nervous titters and clear a wide open circle around yourself within the crowd. Church and Christianity have become most unpopular topics. We live in a post Christian era and at times a vehemently anti-Christian era.
And I can see why the Irish population are turning their backs on the church, there have been good reasons for people to become disillusioned and disappointed. However, I find it sad to see how society has, in the process of turning their backs on the church, lost the real sense of who God is in the first place. Now men and women are searching everywhere to fill that ‘God-shaped vacuum’ that St Augustine wrote about hundreds of years ago:
What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425)
There’s nothing more hearthbreaking that investing all your energy, time and infact your whole life, working towards a goal, only for that goal to go up in a puff of smoke, or down in a pile of ashes. And this is the inevitable consequence of a life chasing after things that will perish.
We like to have evidence that what we believe in is truly worthwhile and that’s what I believe we have when we look at the man Jesus. If you investigate His life closely, and seriously scrutinise His claims to be God, you come out with water tight promises and undeniable truths.
I know without a doubt that I need to stake my life on something indestructible, certain and true. Something solid and steadfast, that stands the test of time, that is unshakeable and unbreakable. Something that deserves my full and wholehearted devotion, and worship. And after considering closely all the options available to me, I choose only one, the Rock of Ages.
3 You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
5 He humbles those who dwell on high,
he lays the lofty city low;
he levels it to the ground
and casts it down to the dust.
6 Feet trample it down—
the feet of the oppressed,
the footsteps of the poor.
7 The path of the righteous is level;Isaiah 26
you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.