Does having Faith mean denying Reality?

Holding-on; having faith blog

God blesses those who realise their need for Him

I have been a Christian for a substantial amount of time yet I’m still trying to grasp unto the idea of what Faith or having faith really means. Growing up in a Christian fold, I have been taught on different ways to exercise my faith, what having faith can do for me and what I can do with my Faith.

Despite my “faith saturated” environment I still managed to be a ‘semi-realist’. And although I consider myself quite an optimistic individual if there’s an actual problem at hand I very well acknowledge it and do not pretend it’s not there. Take for example- I know people who when they are ill and visibly so, and are asked how they were doing will respond with “I am well”. Some may go as far as to even add “in Jesus name” at the end of that statement- reason being they are confessing the faith they have that they will be fine. Now I’m not against any of that and the bible does tell us how powerful our tongues are and even further teaches us that by our words we are either acquitted or condemned.

Nonetheless I was never satisfied with the idea that having faith meant denying reality. So I talked to God and studied about it because I didn’t want to think I was missing out on something; and this is what I came to understand (by God’s grace).

According to Hebrews 11:1 (nkjv);” Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”. I actually prefer the NLT version which lays it out as – “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see”.

In order for one to have and exercise their faith, there is first a need to. God helped me to understand that pretending the problem is not there or refusing to acknowledge whatever our circumstances are is not what he is calling us to do. I may even go as far as saying accepting there is a problem is key; although need I point out that acceptance may not necessarily translate to being happy with the current situation. I was reminded of the verse Matthew 5:3 which says “God blesses those who are poor and realise their need for him for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven”. Another verse that caught my attention is “God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness”.

I learned that I needed to realise my need for God in order to actually exercise my faith in Him. In other words if I am in trouble I need to acknowledge and accept it and then go ahead to find a solution. We have a God who has so graciously made himself available to us as our helper, our guide, our protector etc. now this will not be necessary if we lived in utopia. God very well acknowledged that we live in a fallen world where wars, sickness, and death are the order of the day so we gave us access to his life giving grace through his son Jesus Christ.

So Faith does not necessarily mean we make light of reality; if anything, having Faith enables us the opportunity to truly cast our cares on Jesus because He truly does care for us  (especially by giving us the priviledge of Himself) .

Again like I earlier highlighted I’m still growing and learning about the concept of Faith so feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you have come to learn about Faith.

 

Love and Blessings…

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What’s going on in my life?

So a lot of life has been happening to me lately hence the very infrequent blog posts. For those who follow up the blog, I do apologise and I do have the desire to keep on writing more often but have not really found that balance yet with life, uni, work etc. Hopefully will get there.

So I was thinking, I know I do tend to write posts about different life situations that have gone on with me but never really let you all into real-time life experiences; so I decide to share just a few significant things that have gone on these past few months. It is my way of letting you all get to know me a little bit better and in the good old unmerited love fashion, share what I have learnt and how God has somehow used these experiences to help me grow in Him. (p.s this post is a bit longer than the usual so brace yourselves).

Turning 21

photo bday blogFirst of all I started this blog just over a year ago and I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I was twenty at the time and I turned the big 2-1 5 months ago. I know it’s not too recent but I’m still wrapping my head around acknowledging it. I have to think about it whenever I’m asked my age it’s crazy. What I would say though is that if there’s any difference I’ve observed is that I’ve started taking care of myself a tad bit more, learning the importance of living in and relishing every God given precious moments especially with loved ones or with meeting new people and learning about them. My thought pattern hasn’t changed that much frim when I was 20 to be honest, but I find that I do tend to pray more about applying my heart to wisdom.

I graduated from university

Now this was exciting! This happened in July (4 months ago). Although I remember around the period leading up to the day I graduated, I was not in the best head space; mostly because I chose to focus my thoughts on the wrong things which looking back now, my heart was very ungrateful. grad blog photoHowever I made a decision that day (by God’s grace) to silence every doubt and calm every roaring emotion, telling my restless heart to just breath, forget the worries and soak in every moment of that day because that was what mattered in that time and space. I knew I didn’t want to look back and regret not enjoying that day because I had every reason to. From graduating with a very good result, to graduating with some of my nearest and dearest, to having most of family in one place at the same time (which doesn’t happen very often these days lol ), to being blessed with a beautiful weather that day, to being healthy enough to even attend and so much more. I guess I learnt the importance of thankfulness and realising the more thankful I was, the less room I had for fear, worry and anxiety to thrive.

I moved cities

Yikes…so this happened about 5 weeks ago and I’ve only just gotten from the stage of thinking what the heck have I done to seeing how it’s all somehow been orchestrated and is starting to slowly make sense. I spent four years of my undergraduate life in the city of Liverpool being an international student and hence Liverpool was my home away from home. So moving to an entirely new city where I knew no one to me was a huge leap of faith. However with the way God had a spinner on things in my life this year, I’d say I’m not surprised. With time I would have an entire blog post dedicated to this experience but for now I’d leave you with this. God becomes that ever present help in your actual time of need.photo york blog Literally, what kept me going was being reminded of the fact that God never leaves nor forsakes his own. His presence is most felt in our most vulnerable states because He becomes our strength in times of weakness. I began to recognise that Christ is enough for me and wherever He is, is life and peace. I also learnt that it’s okay to wait and trust Him with my life, allowing him set things in motion at the right time; not trying to figure everything out all at once. I started realising the importance of making Christ my home and you know the saying home is where the heart is- well I decided to leave my heart with Christ enlivening the scripture – in him I live, I move and have my being.

Trusting God and His crazy plans

When you go through the waters I will be with you

So I needed my brother’s help with some techy stuff and I headed down to his room but he was not there. I then heard some noise in the kitchen and thought to myself that’s him in the kitchen. Now to get to the kitchen in our parent’s home, you have to go through the lounge. So I went towards the kitchen fully convinced that he’ll be there but to my surprise it was my dad instead. Then I came right out into the lounge and there he was. The weird thing was the whole time he was there sat in a very obvious position even while I passed to the kitchen the first time. Oddly enough I didn’t see him while going by until he called out to me and you can imagine my shock.

I kept thinking about how my heart was so convinced that my brother was in the kitchen that I didn’t give chance to the thought that he could be anywhere but the kitchen.

Then I felt God take advantage of the situation and whispered to my heart that sometimes we can be so focused doing life our way that although we pray about it yet we could still miss God and only realised it when we hit a wall.

Sometimes I feel God leads us to take certain plunges in life that our only saving grace is our faith in Him. Sometimes His route to the destination we believe He had laid in our heart may well not be anything close to how we pictured it. It could be that his timing may be far different from ours or maybe we ourselves are not fully equipped to handle getting to that destination just yet.

There’s a scripture that says the blessing of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow. And I’m beginning to believe that maybe one of the reasons why God takes us through crazy routes in life sometimes is to equip us to handle whatever blessing he has in store for us; to avoid viewing his blessing as a curse.

However easy it may sound telling you to allow God stretch your faith I can say firsthand it’s not the easiest of decisions to let go and let God. It requires a lot of trusting and encouraging yourself in the Lord because the night can last a long time before your morning comes. The comforting thing is God is right there with you throughout the night.

I recently had to deal with a drastic change something I’d call a detour in my life and when it happened I remember telling God “whatever plan you have Lord it better be good”. I was chatting recently to a friend about it and he said to me does God ever have bad plans for his children? prompting me to remember what I heard in church the Sunday before and what the bible says that God is thinking good thoughts for me for us his children (individually).

And yes indeed my friend was right, God never has bad plans for his children, He loves us way too much to let anything pull us from his perfect will  and although I’m not sure what tomorrow may bring but I’m sure of one thing and that is – God loves me and He’s got me.

 

Love and blessings….

 

 

Fear (pt 3- failure)

new-growth2

He will make a way in the wilderness

There’s something about failure that is a massive hit to one’s ego. I mean who likes to be seen as a failure especially when you really work hard for something, hope, pray, have faith and yet it still somehow gets thrown back at your face. Well at least it seems so to me. Bummer isn’t it?

It may be failure at school, at work, at a project you’re developing, anything and sometimes we fail  so hard that it sometimes makes us crouch back into our shells and start settling. For me it’s an ego thing. It’s like I have to succeed or excel in whatever thing I commit myself to or else my reputation will be tarnished?

Or maybe that was just insecure me trying to use an outward thing to sooth whatever needed sorting out on the inside. Trying to make myself feel good about myself well at least temporarily maybe because I couldn’t truly love and accept the real and oh so imperfect me.

So the big guy up there (God) asked why is it you do what you do, why do everything have to work out the way you plan. Is it because you want to develop yourself or you want to make the world a better place or are you scared of something?

A scripture was pointed out to me and it reads “if you faint in the day of adversity your strength is small” and I got questioned. What is your strength? What is your driving force because whatever it is, if it can’t stand the test of time then it’s not worth it.

Could it be where you draw your strength from or what drives you is fear?

Don’t get me wrong some people have perfectly justifiable reasons for letting the fear of something make them seek to attain greater heights in life. I’ve heard of people who work so hard because they are afraid of going hungry again or of those who want to achieve such great goals only because they are afraid to be perceived as weak or less of themselves by people. But is it really justifiable?

So God was asking me – so what? if you fail… He helped me realise that if I am secure in myself this amazing human being God had made, I wouldn’t look to get approval from people hence I won’t be afraid of failing because I know that is not what defines me. It therefore wouldn’t stop me from still having hopes and dreaming big and working towards it.

The bible tells us that Jesus made Himself of no reputation and yet was still assured of himself that though he was man at the time, He is still God. If Jesus was insecure because He was suddenly in human form he wouldn’t have been able to see beyond that and dare to live the life He lived (connecting Heaven to earth).

So this brings me to how God helped deal with these fears and that will be expanded upon over the next few days or one day we’ll see…

Love and Blessings…

 

 

Fear (pt1- walls)

clouds2I had been hurt deeply and in bid to avoid it ever happening again, I put up walls. In my mind I called it guarding my heart after all scriptures says to guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life. So in my head, setting up walls was directly proportional to guarding my heart.

What I didn’t know was that setting up walls meant having a heart of stone which is the opposite of having the heart of flesh. Setting up walls also meant shutting people out before they even get the chance to knock. Setting up those walls also meant I couldn’t fully forgive because what if that meant giving people the chance to hurt me again.

Worse of it all was that I had set up those walls and I didn’t even know it myself. All I knew was that I made up my mind to guard my heart but wasn’t sure how I went about it.

Thankfully I didn’t shut God out and I’m not even sure how that happened.

Someone once said showing who you truly are is a risk. God already knew too much of who I was for me to shut him out too maybe because I still had hope that He was my saving grace out of this overwhelming cascade of unpleasant feelings.

Remember I said I didn’t know I had set up walls well that was the case until God opened my eyes to simple yet deep truth.

I was afraid.

This was the fear that Paul wrote about  to Timothy in the bible letting him understand that God had not given us that kind of fear and if it’s not from God it can’t be good. Have you ever wondered what fear the scripture (1 John 4:18) was directed to when it says “perfect love casts out fear”.

Now God helped me to realise that first of all I was not really guarding my heart but rather I was living in fear and hence the walls. I was afraid of letting people in, I was afraid of opening up and most of all I was afraid of truly loving all because I was afraid of getting hurt again.

So I came to the realisation that the opposite of real love- the love of God is not hate but it is actually fear.

Now this opened up a whole new chapter of fears I had to confront and conquer in order to truly be set on a path of healing and this I will share over the next few days.

 

 

p.s  I’m sorry its been a while since I posted on the blog, I’ve just rounded up my final semester at Uni and you can imagine the kind of busy I’ve been. however God has been faithful and by his grace I’m hoping to graduate in July eek!

 

 

Don’t rush it

Dont rush it blog

He has made all things beautiful in its time

So I was rushing to heal because I mean who likes to feel crappy. I did try to suppress it though and claimed to be okay but deep down, I really wasn’t.

You see I had asked God to heal my heart and he had instead given me a new heart but my immune systems were fighting against it and I was not taking the necessary drugs to supress it. Say what?-Just keep reading.

At the time Joyce Meyer was carrying out a 30-30 challenge worldwide, 30 minutes of the word for 30 days. I felt God tugging at me to take on the challenge. I remembered at first saying that’s not for people like me, it’s for those that need to get their word right and learn the importance of spending time with you. I’m way past that, me and you we cool and besides I know when I get down on my word studying business it goes deep so you know.

Well He opened my eyes to see that maybe it’s not just for the newly born in Christ but for people like me who felt they had arrived but were left behind because they never really continued their journey.

Yep I had stopped digging deep, I had stopped laying myself at the master’s feet; I had now become my own dictator as to when the word comes. Thankfully He didn’t leave me maybe because He saw my ignorant heart or maybe His mercy just decided to abound.

So I took up the challenge by His grace of course. I found myself waking up early in the morning sacrificing that extra hour of sleep just to spend time with Him and his word and from where the strength came forth, I know not.
For the days my flesh got a better part of me, I still managed to find time during the day to spend with His words. No doubt there were times I didn’t come around to it for an entire day but He helped me know from the start to expect it and not be discouraged when it does happen.

He was my strength in my weakness.

Long story short, I not only took on the challenge but I set myself up to hear and learn from God whichever way I knew how. A month later I had started attaining wholeness and I didn’t even realise it until it was pointed out to me.

I started to know who and whose I am. Started growing and basking in the love of Christ, started enjoying his presence even after the challenge and most of all I started seeing the Light in my darkness.

You see we live in a rapidly paced world and in bid to feel and ‘look’ better immediately after a hurt  we turn to whatever suits or numbs that pain even if it’s for a short while and most of the time whatever ‘it’ is, leaves us even more wounded.

However God is saying how about you get the water that never leaves you thirsty again. How about I go with you through the healing. How about you let yourself heal by letting me love on you.

A vulnerable God

How can you truly understand what I am going through after all you’re God. I’m not sure you understand how hurt and pain feels. What it means to have your heart broken over and over again. What it means to have your hopes shattered.

vulnerable

Through his death, we received life.

So don’t tell me it’ going to be ok and Joy comes in the morning because the night is enough to kill me.

Some say you’re the all-knowing and the only truly wise God. I have no dispute against that but I doubt you understand what it means to be human else you won’t be able to casually just say I will be Ok. Of course I know I will be, after all nothing lasts forever but the scar will forever be a reminder and maybe ‘it’ will pass but I will never remain the same again.

So I had a mouth full. God told me to be honest with him and I took honest to a whole different level. So here’s his reply

I know what it means to be fully human as much as I know what it means to be fully GOD. It clearly didn’t sink when you read that I came to earth; born fully human.

Faith, I was rejected by those I called my very own, do you understand how that hurts? Though God I made myself extremely vulnerable becoming like you (mankind) in order to truly feel your pain.

I prayed so hard for the father to take the cup (suffering, pain, anguish) away from me you know why?

I was scared…

Yes I was scared… I had become fully human and I felt every emotion possible. I gave up whatever spiritual defences I had to overcome whatever suffering lay ahead and though I had the choice to pick them back up, I chose not to because I really did want to be able to relate.

It hurt me to see my earthly mother hurt. I had so much love and affection for her yet at the time I could do nothing to take away the hurt in her eyes when she saw the fruit of her womb treated like a dunghill.

My very own friends & companions were not even able to stay up with me and pray with me that night at gethsemane. If at least they had kept awake and stayed by me it would have helped but no they slept off. One of them even denied ever knowing me.

Now the physical pain, oh beloved you don’t want to get me started on that one. Imagine pain that transcends the physical into the spiritual. That’s how much it hurt.

So yes I understand what it means to hurt both physically and emotionally, I understand how it feels to be rejected, to not get what you truly want because God has other ideas…

Most of all I understand what it truly means to trust God and press into his comfort.  Believing Him because Joy does come in the morning even though it takes a while. I guess that’s why I was able to say- “nevertheless not my will but Yours be done”.

 He has handed every power to judge humanity to me because I was human.

I am that part of Him that truly gets you and everyone else Faith, hence I AM the mediator between God and man and no one comes to the father except through ME.

That’s why you can trust that my judgement will be fair and just.

So beloved, I get you, I can relate, I understand and most of all I can heal you and make you whole if only you’d let me all because I LOVE YOU.

 

That was it for me guys, so I’m able to truly trust and relax in his comfort because I know He made himself real to me ( scripture references for everything- Luke 4:14-30, Luke 22:39-45, Matthew 26:39, Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 2:18, John 19:25-29, John 19, John 5:22)

Love and blessings…