Encourage Yourself!

“Her smile was like armor and every day she went to war”

I am a talker, those closest to me know I can chat/blab for days and always have one story or the other to tell. So I find my way of trying to get over things is talking. I talk it out with people. People I believe can encourage and uplift my spirit and truly help me heal.

But what happens when everyone is so busy with doing life that you don’t have the people at the very moment you need them to be. Not because they have abandoned you or are anything of that sort but simply because everyone is on a different journey and sometimes their journey does not allow them the opportunity to be there every single time!

So what happens is, instead of wallowing in self-pity, you learn to Encourage Yourself and this is a principle worth imbibing.

Accepting that shocking events will occur in your life is one step in making life a little easier. I’m not saying to start living in fear but instead, start learning to build your strength from each shocking and challenging situation. Looking at how you have reacted, what has truly helped and what attitude to drop.

Now, this is not a call to lead a pretentious lifestyle and never be open about your struggles to those you trust. But to remember that even when we feel like we don’t have help around, we have an omnipresent God who is always…always watching.

Take a leaf off the great King David’s book. In first Samuel 30:1-6, a horrible thing had happened to David; and it had caused him great heart ache that he wept until he physically couldn’t anymore. It was bad enough that it also put his own life was at risk.

However after all this outburst of emotion, verse 6 ended with “but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (KJV).

That didn’t mean that suddenly everything got better, but it allowed him the strength to take the next step forward; which meant going to battle to contend for what belonged to him.

I’d leave you with this; whatever happens in life I’m learning is definitely for a purpose! but it’s up to you whether you let yourself get swallowed by it, or you get on top of it. There’s time for everything, time to laugh and time to cry. Just do not let one season set a negative tone for the rest of the other seasons in your life. Too much time is spent logging around baggage from the past that could instead have been setting stones in our lives.

And I get it, everyone has varying levels of strength emotionally, and that is where we need God! You pray, you cry, you pour your heart out, you study the word but ultimately you must be ready to move forward, whatever it takes!

 

Love and Blessings…

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Having the right Perspective

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You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because He trusts in you (Isaiah 26:3)

I and a friend were having a conversation and it got me thinking about the difference in our individual family dynamic. Up until then I hadn’t viewed my family dynamic from the perspective that was triggered by the chat. It reminded me of how blessed I was and I didn’t even recognise that blessing until that time.

It got me thinking about how we fail to recognise the positivities in our lives until we are presented with the idea or the experience that could indicate that we could easily have it worse. I never used to like using others people’s bad experiences in life to make myself feel better by saying it could be worse; because I always justified my complaints or anger towards certain situations in my life by saying we all have different paths in life, so everyone has their own cross to carry. It did mean that I was selfish because I refused to look away from my situations.

Although I realised that was a wrong mind-set to have, I did learn however, the importance of having the right perspective towards whatever situation we may find ourselves in, be it good or bad. As only then will we learn the importance of gratitude both in the good times and bad.

Now you would ask what exactly the ‘right attitude’ really is. For me it is coming to the realisation that in life there would consistently be high and low moments. Even the bible says there’s a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and time to dance… what caught me in that particular set of scriptures is that it also says that there is a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. And I realised that a lot of the time we don’t know when to embrace and when to stop embracing our situations because of a wrong mindset.

You see life is a constant journey of moving forward, never has there been a time where the calendars have been changed to the past giving us another opportunity to live a day we have already lived. Therefore, we need to always consistently reconsider what our perspectives might be;  if they are letting us progress or  regress. I am not saying to look away from whatever troubles you may be facing but to acknowledge it; doing whatever you can about it and making sure you’re not moving backwards. You don’t want to constantly remain in a place of loss, misery, confusion, sadness, emptiness, etc.

The scriptures tell us that Christ has come so we may have life and have it in ‘abundance’. So today I want you to keep checking your perspectives in and of life, understanding for yourself if it is in the right direction for you to lead a life of abundance or if it is one of deficiency.  Finally, we all need to remember that the bible says to look on to Jesus is the author and finisher of our Faith because in  life we need FAITH to carry on.

 

Love and Blessings…

In the thick of it…

bp3It had been an interesting couple of weeks and if I’m being honest, one heck of an emotional roller coaster. All sorts of emotion were felt; the highs and the lows.

Every now and then we all have those moments when we feel like we are definitely in the thick of it… especially with so many complexities surrounding every single situation that you begin to wonder that with so many pieces to the puzzle how is it going to work itself out.

So I found  myself shedding silent tears that really reflected the heaviness within. Silence became an avenue through which I was reminded of life’s complications. So I felt overwhelmed.

I was then reminded the only thing I could possibly do especially when things are beyond my control was to Pray.

Cliché isn’t it? But it was either that or I keep going the way I was, and feeling helpless. Now with praying, I knew someone was listening. Someone who got it and understands the depth of emotions I was feeling and that in itself is comforting. It didn’t mean that things automatically fell into place the minute I started praying but it did mean that I gave myself the opportunity to have FAITH.

Sometimes what keeps a lot of people (like myself) going in life especially with the constant challenges thrown at them, is not the fact that they are very strong or what have you. It’s really because you get to a point where the only thing you can actually do to help yourself is have faith.

Someone told me that whenever in rough times we need to remind ourselves that all things work together for the good of them that love God. Now before we come to see that ‘good’ may take a few years but at least something is in the works. We however must learn to remain in love with God. Understanding that separating yourself from God during the difficult times ends up worsening the case; because now you are definitely not sure if things are going to work out for your good.

Difficult I know; but you see with life, it’s a consistent learning process. I’m beginning to learn that you prepare for the worst while earnestly hoping for the best. Now this should not be done out of doubt but out of a place of peace that God’s will be done. Even Jesus Christ prayed to get out of dying on the cross but ultimately gave room for God’s will to be done. And His will is always best.

One final thing, I’ll leave you all with is that regardless of how murky life gets, you don’t stop living. If we let it, life has a way of sucking out all the joy we have; so we don’t. We learn to fight for our peace, focusing on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. We say no to depression, to heaviness, to hopelessness and to bitterness. And we say Yes to Joy, Peace and Hope.

 

Love and Blessings…

 

Finding My Balance in life

balanceI’ve been meaning to write a blog for ages now and the very topic for which I am writing this is the driving force behind my infrequent posts. Being the person that I am, I find I’m always looking for something to do, never easily getting bored, nor allowing time to be wasted.

So much so that I maybe find solace in accomplishing every possible task I can. However, I am still struggling with getting to a point where I think I’ve got ‘it’ covered- whatever that is.

So I think at some point, I stopped making the effort to get every single thing done and focused on just a few; and sadly that meant my spiritual life had to suffer a bit. I was not making the effort to have the time to pray and truly fellowship with my maker; and was whizzing through life with just daily devotional points from an app on my phone. After all God understands my hectic schedule.

In this same time frame, I also realised that it is true what they say that- regardless of how busy life gets, you do make time for the things and those you Love the most.  Did that mean I didn’t love and value my relationship with God? I don’t think so. I think my life had to head in that direction for me to learn how and the importance of making the time for the ‘things’ that mean the most to me.

I thankfully learnt and truly believed early on, that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And this helped me not allow convictions in my heart turn into condemnation because God is a loving father who truly cares and watches out for us.

I realised that underneath my consistent dissatisfaction and feeling quite heavy at the time, was my not allowing the opportunity to bare my soul and let it all out- which is usually done in my time of prayer and worship.

It is in this time of prayer and worship that I find the most balance in my life. Because it is true what the bible says that- in the presence of the Lord there is LIBERTY.

There’s nothing like innermost harmony and peace with who you are and where you’re at; at every given point in life. It does not mean I settle for less than or be content with mediocrity, but it means I am okay with the fact I am on a journey and all I need to do is keep engaging in it with everything that I am.

I’ll leave you with this, be willing to accommodate the things that you find are vital to your life journey at the slightest opportunity you get. Sometimes this may mean you don’t get to do things in the order which is considered the norm but what is important is that you do them anyway.

Try as much as possible to reflect at different points in your life and see why things are the way they are and how they can be changed; and ultimately trust God that just like the one sheep out of 99 who got lost, Jesus is ever willing to come find you.

 

Love and blessings…

 

The Promise to Love

blog -loveIt is a new year, and for many it signifies a clean slate, a fresh start and hence new year resolutions are all over the place.

For the few new year resolutions I’ve seen and heard, it has been somewhat inspiring. However this year I’ve not really sat down to think about a list of resolutions because as I grow I’m learning to go with the flow.

May sound somewhat reckless but I’ve quickly learned to trust more in what God has in store for my life than what I have in store for myself and as a result, I learn to relax more knowing that I’m in his will for my life.

That being said I do have one quote that keeps ringing at the back of my mind since I started praying and seeking God’s heart for this new year and that is –

To love my neighbour as myself

It sounds so simple but the more I think about it, it is much more than meets the eye. Growing up as a Christian I have been taught this time and time again and only recently am I beginning to understand how important it is to God that we imbibe in us this willingness to truly open up our hearts and minds to love.

Now before this, did I not love my neighbours (i.e those around me)? and this leads me to question what exactly God meant by loving my neighbours as myself; because honestly with the amount of gravity placed on the idea of what ‘love’ is, it’s safe to think that saying I love a random person who is not somewhat close to me is a bit too much.

There are so many definitions of love out there. Some have described it as a feeling/emotion of some sort, some have described it as a choice, some have described it to be certain actions taken, and some have even placed love in different categories. All these descriptions may well be right and while I’m not here to knock any of them down, I’m beginning to understand that it is more important to learn about love by purposefully immersing our lives in it rather than decoding the meaning.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV) says “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”.

Above, is a very famous scripture and chapter in the bible  that shows that love is not narrowed down to being just an action, a feeling  or a choice; its so much more that one may even infer that it transcends the physical.

So this year since I don’t have any list of resolutions as such (although I have a bucket list that is not stringent), I have decided to dedicate my life into truly loving people the best way I know how while learning even more about it, to not become complacent in the process and to continue in it even after 2016; in hopes that I am one step closer to God’s will and purpose for my life.

I’d love to hear your resolutions for this year if you don’t mind sharing and if you don’t have any, feel free to jump on the wagon with me… I think it’s simple but not the easiest, but remember God’s grace abounds.

 

Love and blessings….

Knowing Myself

When you go through the waters, I will be with you

When you go through the waters, I will be with you

I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately. We are in a world where we are constantly figuring out who we really are, either as individuals, as a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, a wife, a husband, a friend or even as a unit.

With consistently changing circumstances, we are forced to redefine our priorities, our likes and dislikes, and how to respond to these circumstances in a way we believe will yield the best possible outcomes not just for ourselves but also for the world we live in.

To be honest it can be hard sometimes; because the thing with constantly evolving is that we may find ourselves trying to play catch up while at the same time trying to grasp on to the very things we tie our identities to.

I for one have had to go through heavy transition phases within the past year and it required a lot of adjusting, re-prioritizing, and adapting to leading life in a different way; and in the heat of it all, I became worried that I was now only going through the motions but at the same time, missing a vital part of the equation… myself.

As a result, I realised quickly the importance of re-evaluating my deepest values, desires and goals in life- the things in general that make me- me; so that I don’t loose sight of what they are and what they mean to me.

Someone told me recently that as I grow older, I am entrusted with more responsibilities especially as a result of the roles I take on as life progresses. So the question is how do I juggle it all and at the same time consistently remain true to myself.

To be honest? I’m still figuring it out.

I will however leave you with a few pointers that has been helping me so far. I’ve had to learn to purposefully relax and trust that with time, things will fall into place.

As a Christian I believe it when the bible says that – “All things will work together for the good of those that Love God and are called according to his purpose”. I also bank on the verse where God promises us that “He will never leave us nor forsake us”. So I have to trust that a lot of the times when I have not got myself altogether, God has got me.

I could sit here and give keys and pointers concerning how to be true to yourself and know yourself but I really can’t because everyone’s journey is unique.  We have to all remember that as human beings we are dynamic and are constantly being affected and changed either subtly or significantly by the environments we live in, the events that happen in and around our lives, and time.

I am beginning to understand that God is and needs to be at the centre of my life. His love for me especially through his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, gives me the peace and assurance that I don’t have to figure this thing called life on my own; because He is always with me. So I urge you all today to dare to make him the priority in your life and you may well be on your way to figuring out who your creator has made you to be.

 

Love and Blessings…

God is For You

support-handsSometimes we are not sure our stand with God. Especially if you feel like you’ve not been on your best behaviour or you could have done something better or treated someone better. You sometimes think why can’t I get this whole Christian thing right? I’m up today and I’m down tomorrow… its like the moment I take two steps forward, the next time I’m taking three steps backwards. Yep annoying and sometimes it makes you not want to make the effort so you decide you know what I’m not just good enough; and subconsciously it begins to affect the confidence you have on God’s love for you. I’m not just speaking out of some abstract knowledge this is me a lot of the time.

But I realised something that I’d thought would be helpful to you all. Something that keeps me going, not give up easily both in my stellar times and in my not so stellar times is that God is for me and on my side and his love for me is consistent. May sound cliché but you’ll be surprised how many people struggle to believe this ALL the time, myself included.

You see sometimes leading this Christian life in a world that dictates we do otherwise can be truly difficult; especially when a lot of “things” the bible clearly discourages are deemed as normal and the idea that “everyone” engages in it may lightens the burden that we may be wrong. So sometimes we are tempted to relax on certain lifestyles in bid to be more accepting or to just fit in after-all as Christians we need to “fit in” to be able to reach and touch lives? well I don’t know about that. The point however I’m trying to make is that we need to stop looking outside and using it as a benchmark of how we lead our lives.

We need to look inwards and see what God is convicting you of as person and use that as a yardstick for your life.

I’m learning lately that every Christian do not have the same path here on earth. So we can’t even look at other Christians and use it as a sole compass to direct our ship. Because to be honest you may end up feeling either inadequate or yet still better than some others. And before you know it you miss the point.

Another thing is for you to remember that God’s love for you is not to be judged by how you feel about that idea. Don’t reduce God’s love for you to just feelings and then make it a give and take sort of game. God is not trying to play ping pong with your heart so stop doing that to yourself. He doesn’t stop and never stops loving you… end of! Contrary to a lot of thought He is not trying to catch you out if anything He is trying to pull you in closer.

So whenever you fall short, sincerely ask for forgiveness and the grace to be and do better. And if the enemy tries to whisper to you that you’re not deserving of God’s love, you catch that thought and speak out to yourself that it is a lie and God is for you and you may not be where you want to be but you’re not where you used to be.

One last thing always remember especially when you’re in difficult times that those times always pass regardless. And KEEP PRAYING because those difficult times can be our most vulnerable of times and hence the need to hold even more tightly to the only one from whom we can draw strength. Speaking from experience He truly does become our strength in times of weakness. Don’t get me wrong you may be mad at God for letting you have such difficulties and it’s ok for a while but don’t stay mad because you give the devil an upper hand over your life. You tell God to help you not be mad at him and give you the grace to hold on to him tightly and He will.

God doesn’t want us running away from Him or seeing him as the not so good God. He is very keen to always be on your side and have you on his side so you can lead the fulfilled life he’s called you into please let Him.

Love and Blessings…