This interview spotlight is for all women who are seeking to inspire and motivate other women to pursue their passion. We want to hear real stories from people we can relate to and learn from. Hope you will be inspired, encouraged and motivated by what they will be sharing. This week we caught up with Alex Browne.
Hie Alex, Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello there! I’m Alex. Soon to be Public Policy Masters student and lover of dried mango, early morning sunrises and all things yellow.
How did you come to know Jesus Christ and can you briefly share your Christian Journey with us?
I grew up in a Christian family and participated in church activities from an early age. However, there were some aspects of Christianity that didn’t seem to connect fully either with my head or heart. The most significant of these was the idea of Jesus coming again. It seemed terrifying! Once, after a trip to the British Museum, I was sitting in a café with my best friend, discussing this very topic. The idea sent my heart to the pit of my stomach. What would happen to all the Classical buildings (A genuine fear!)? My friends? The life I lived now? I was less than enthusiastic. A few years later when beginning to study for baptism with my Granddad, one of the first studies we did together was the prophecy of Daniel 2. He told me the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and drew a chart to show the historical kingdoms seen in the dream, as well as the kingdom to come. As a lover of all things ancient, I was pretty flabbergasted. I’d heard the prophecy before, but somehow, it hadn’t quite hit home. It struck me at that moment, this stuff was real. God was not only in control of history but also the future. What’s more, I didn’t feel scared any more. Reading Revelation 21, the return of Jesus shown in Daniel 2 now sounded beautiful and exciting. Things significantly changed in my heart and in seeing more of what Jesus has done and is doing in the world and in my life, the journey has just continued from there! (Side note: If you haven’t read Daniel 2 before- I would highly recommend it! Life changing stuff.)
What is your significant life bible verse?
Ephesians 3:14-21. I confess it’s more a significant life passage than a verse – but it’s one of those ones that everything seems to come back to! In it, Paul prays for the Ephesian community to have spiritual strength. What has always struck me about it is that you might expect that in a prayer for spiritual fortification, Paul would list the problems the community was facing. But in the midst of his petition, he doesn’t touch on woes or worries, but instead asks for understanding – to be given the ability to comprehend the very thing that he purports surpasses human knowledge — the dimensions of the love of Christ. This maintains a consistent significance in my life as it serves as a reminder of where to direct my vision, namely to the cross – and to survey the dimensions of what God has done in Christ!
Can you share some key lessons that God has taught you or that God is teaching you in this season of your life?
I often talk about God growing the fruits of the Spirit in me – and I think he’s particularly working on the patience tree at the moment! I have been experiencing a lack of clarity in a number of areas, and am very much having to learn patience in them and to be content with embracing the unknowns, knowing that God is still working even in the seeming silence.
What is your life work or passion? Or what you currently doing?
This is a hard question! I speak from the perspective of someone who is currently discovering the purpose that God has for my life in terms of a professional career and particularly how that intersects with my ministry. I’m passionate about making meaningful change in society, and have just finished off an internship in Local Government, and will pursue a Public Policy Masters at King’s College London as of September. Aside from that (or hopefully integrated with it!), I have a burden for serving my local community, my local church and ministry to University students.
In the busyness of life how do you cultivate your spiritual growth as a young woman?
Recently, I’ve been freshly convicted of the importance of the Bible in shaping and informing my Christian walk. I’ve begun to see it like this; God’s chosen communication method by which he shows us how He has worked in the past, how He will work in the future, and, at the same time, speaks directly into our current experiences. I was recently reading the story of the Gibeonites in Joshua and was blown away by how it was relevant to a certain situation I was wrestling with. How could a story about some ancient people so far removed from my world do that? I guess it must be divine stuff. With this in mind, I’m keen to jealously guard the edges of my morning devotional time (even though it’s super hard at times!), as it’s that that sets me up to deal with both life’s busyness and life’s business! Maybe that means getting up earlier, maybe it means making sure that to have a devotional plan (i.e. going through a book of the Bible or set of study guides), or maybe it means staying accountable to a friend – but I’ve found that without a daily encounter with Jesus through His Word, I miss out significantly.
What are some ways the Lord has given you triumph in the midst of life’s challenges? And how would you encourage somebody else going through a challenging time in their life?
Being thankful even in the tough times, speaking the gospel to myself, and looking for the threads of gold that God is writing into the experience (Philippians 4:6-7, Romans 1:21).
Who inspires you and why?
One of the most significant influences on my life has been my Granddad. Crazy, cantankerous (by his own admission!) and unmistakably Irish, he’s taught me about so many things – how life is a ‘holiday’, how to tell terrible (and incredibly cheesy!) jokes, the joy of reading poetry and books over and over again and the importance of a cheese sandwich. He’s modelled a deep love and appreciation for Scripture, sitting with me each week and talking me through the book of Daniel verse by verse, getting lost in the Great Controversy during a conversation, or just by telling me that the reason I should put my shoes away neatly is because Jesus folded his grave clothes after the Resurrection (not too sure about his hermeneutic there I must admit!). Most of all though, he has taught me what a life lived for Jesus, looks like – and that’s something that I am inspired by daily.
Do you have any books or sermons that you recommend young women to read or listen to?
Completely! For perspective changes; Growth Mindset; Carol Dweck Deep Work; Cal Newport For theology challenges; The Drama of Scripture: Finding our Place in the Biblical Story ; Craig Bartholomew and Michael Green For one of the most cracking sermons I’ve heard in a long while; http://www.kcd.org.uk/sermons/ (Click on Jesus Encounters Death, Andy Byers)
What are some of your favourite things?
Books and reading! Dried mango, Museums, libraries (I have a dream to do a library based road trip), early morning sunrises, writing, poetry, ministry, sweet potatoes, running, service, fundraising, travelling, baking…
What advice would you give your younger self?
Whatever you do, don’t get that fringe. In all seriousness though, I would advise myself to think. Harder – deeper – and for longer periods of time. I’ve recently been convinced of the value of simply thinking – for playful investigation and for dwelling on ideas and wrestling with them. I’m pretty sure now that it’s by thinking that we’ll be inspired with those big ideas that will really make a difference. I’m also pretty serious about the fringe thing, though. It was bad.