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…

Trust Issues

Last year in 2014, I decided to take up swimming lessons; although I previously had a few of my friends try to teach me but I was too terrified of sinking/drowning. As you can imagine I was scared and excited at the same time.

Anyways so I and my friend signed up and thankfully by the end of the 10 week course I did learn how to swim. But there was a problem. I would only swim only by the sides of the pool because I could hold on to the walls should I get scared. However when I had my friends around I find my fears were not as heightened and I would take full advantage of the pool. Have in mind that I only swam at the university’s gym pool at the time and there were life guards consistently on standby; but I wouldn’t dare swim in the middle of the pool or even try new tricks if I didn’t have a friend with me that day.

I had trust issues and quickly understood it was a knowledge thing. I didn’t trust the life guards- not because I doubted their skills but because I did not know them as individuals to trust my life in their hands. You see, because I ‘knew’ my friends I was able to have a higher trust level that they would help should something go wrong while I was swimming.

I realized quickly that is was a similar situation when it comes to truly trusting God. We hear about how all powerful and mighty God is; some of us might even sing about it every now and then. But when we are actually faced with situations where this trust on God’s al-mightiness is required, we gravely fall short- well I gravely fall short.

God helped me to understand that just like my trust level for different individuals varied based on my knowledge of them, so it is with Him. And to fully trust Him, I must give myself to truly knowing Him.

Part of Daniels 11:32 reads- “but those that KNOW their God, shall be strong and do exploits”

I used to settle for just the teachings I had at church and not really dedicate time to understanding or at least try to understand something about my creator. In truly knowing someone, there has to be at least some form of relationship existing between both parties. Yet many Christians although we claim to have a relationship with God don’t actually do. If you read the bible daily mostly to tick off the box of necessary Christian duties of the day or you pray to God and don’t wait to actually hear if He’s speaking back or you go to church or give to charity because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do, then I’m afraid to say it’s more of a religion than a relationship here.

I learned that you still carry out the aforementioned practices while in a relationship with God but the difference is- WHY you do them. Having a relationship with God I find, makes these practises more the acts of love and devotion than acts of religion.

Some of the benefits I see in my life because of my growing knowledge of God through my relationship with him are; being very much assured of my salvation; not feeling guilty should I happen to miss church one Sunday; learning that God is not set on catching me out and judging me should I slip up but is more of a loving father that is ever so gracious especially in times of our weakness.  Also learning that as a father loves his child and willing to do favors for him/her so is God with his own.

He is always willing to help out in the littlest of ways should you ask him; and more recently I learnt that since God is for and with me, I have an edge over the powers of darkness and when I am faced with life’s challenges it wouldn’t be the end of me.

One last scripture I’d love to leave you all with is Jeremiah 29:13- “You will SEEK Me and FIND Me when you SEARCH for me with ALL YOUR HEART”

Trust is built with time and we need to allow ourselves the opportunity to truly know God day in day out even if its in the littlest of way…. It really does help with your trust issues I can testify to that.

Love and Blessings….

Making Life Transitions

stepping-into-the-unknown-e14159854239671So I moved to an entirely new city almost 6 months now and at the time this was me taking on a whole new experience with no clue what to expect. Everything happened so fast that I didn’t get to do as much research as I usually would have.

Being quite adventurous at heart, I was excited at the idea of fully being on my own despite my fears of not being sure I was making the right decision. I kept praying sincerely though asking God to stop me in my tracks if this was not part of his plan; after-all, the year had been full of surprises so trusting God and his crazy plans were the “in thing”. The Lord didn’t stop me in my tracks. If anything He orchestrated everything in such a way that my moving was so smooth, no hindrances and everything was set.

So here I was in a new city and it honestly felt like I was starting over. From looking for a new church, to making new friends, to learning what is where, getting lost a few times, etc. I started to complain almost about everything really it wasn’t because the new place was bad but that I was not giving myself time to settle in. I’m so used to controlling stuff that when I began to realise that a lot of things were slipping beyond my control I gradually began to panic inwardly. I missed my friends, my previous church family and the comforts of being settled and deeply rooted at a place.

However a friend of mine had reminded me just before I moved about something so simple yet so profound. I’m sure he didn’t understand the impact of what he said to me at the time but it stuck and sank deep.

He said to me, you may not know or have anyone there but you will always have God.

And that was a constant comforting reminder for me especially when I started feeling lonely. God’s presence had never felt so real because I literally felt and still feel I am doing life with him. I found myself praying a lot about everything in bid to get Him really involved in my life and He always answered. It was as if He was looking for every opportunity I gave to let me know I was not alone and that He understands how I felt and is with me.

In that process I started to see that God is the comfort and peace that keeps me going and that my joy and peace was not to be based on my circumstances but on Him. God was my strength in times of weakness. Looking back I can say that God has helped me grow. I am proud of the lady I am turning out to be as a result of this whole process. I started to be thankful for the circumstances that were somehow orchestrated to my being here at this point in time. My faith muscle has definitely been having a good work out and still is but I am not doing it in my own strength.

So I want to use this opportunity to encourage anyone that is facing any life transitions and is struggling to trust God; that it is okay to let go and let God. It is scary and can be hard but if He’s initiated it then you can trust that He’ll see you through it. Also,  we have to sometimes  wait patiently for Him to really appreciate the move He makes in our lives. I have learnt that life doesn’t necessarily get any easier but with following God daily, our inner peace grows to a point where facing hardships don’t have that much of a negative impact.

God is not necessarily safe but there is security in him; and sometimes he may ask us to walk on water and we may sink while doing it just like Peter; but we have to realise that He will always…always be there to lift us back up. So don’t let fear hinder what great things God wants to unfold in your life.

I can honestly say I am happy with where I am now, with who I am growing into and my joy is full not because of my current situation but because of God.

Love and blessings….

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.

My Faith was Uncertain

What if everything’s not going to be okay; because at this point I’m tired of waiting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So I had this recurring thought and started questioning if- ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THEM THAT LOVE GOD. I was tired of hearing this. I mean if anything good is meant to come out of my being sad and depressed then I’m yet to see it- was what I said.

You know when you’re assured of God’s purpose for your life and you start working towards it with all faith, all heart and all mind. Some people even do a complete 180 turn taking that leap of faith but that path they set on does not necessarily embrace them the way they pictured it.  Then you question yourself, your belief and your God.

I began asking God I mean; I thought this is what you wanted for me, after all this was mostly your idea so why cut me off when I was so close. It’s like you pulled the rug from under my feet and it hurts.

This was the point I was and my Faith was shaken.

I was not anything like those the Psalmist described to be like Mount Zion that cannot be moved because they trust in God. Everything shook me and I began to panic.

I went through the whole God I am not happy with you phase and finally came to my senses I guess;  Well God also had his way of subtly teaching me life giving principles that found root in my heart.

I realised I was shaken so much because my faith was anchored on the wrong foundations. My faith was based on what I could get from God and what He could do for me. My faith was centred on how I felt and on my circumstances. And you never come to real terms with this truth (if it’s your truth) until you get to a point where you’re forced to ask yourself why you believe what you believe.

I had to learn to build my faith in God alone and allow Him to help me trust Him. To trust in His Sovereignty and that He is a holy God and has no evil in him. I had to learn to rely on and fully submit to His expectations for my life and not mine because He made me.

I also painfully realised that God does not always lead us through the safest of routes in life.

Sometimes He may ask you to walk on water without warning that you may sink in the process only because He wants you to learn the real essence of solely trusting in Him.

And He wants to develop in you, a Fearless Confidence.

I guess this is why Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were ready to be thrown into the fiery furnace because that was not enough to move them and I believe that right there is Life.

 

I couldn’t shun God

You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

So I’m a planner. Although I’m not the most disciplined individual but I do try to stick to and work towards my plans whether short or long term. All my life well since I could remember I’d like to believe everything had gone as I planned. Obviously there would have been set backs and obstacles but nothing out of the ordinary.

Then this year happened and is still happening.

Nothing I planned came through; not even close. I worked hard, prayed, had faith and completely believed my dreams would start unfolding itself this year but nothing happened. I was first living in denial and then when I came to full acceptance, I then took a turn for the worst. A downward spiral of my emotions I’d call it.

I even questioned my faith, wondering why a good God will let me see these dark days. So I stopped everything. I stopped believing that anything good can come out of every single unexpected turn out in my life. I was tired. I started sleeping a lot just to avoid dealing with reality. I still went to church though, but my heart was far away. There were few times when my attention was captured as a result of God talking directly to my situation either through the preacher or through a song we sang at church.

You know my response? I shrugged it off and kept telling God to get off my case and asked if he cared so much then why let me be in this position in the first place. I was tired. Thankfully I had a lot of running around to do so I didn’t have much time to deal or wallow in self-pity.

Time went by and I started to pray again only after realising without that God factor in my life I didn’t see much hope and a lot of things I never get afraid of was only because of my deep seated trust in him. And I was not ready to lose that. I was not ready to start a life where I’m not assured of any good thing happening to me; a life where I felt practically alone and no one to face the world with and hence exposing my heart to even more fears and worries. So yes I was not ready to start that kind of life. Of course God had his ways of wooing me back most especially through the amazing friends and family I am surrounded by. Thankfully these people always pointed me back to a God I once was very ‘rubbing it in your face’ passionate about.

I started resorting back to telling him about every worry, every fear, every anxiety I had and really pouring my heart out to him every time my heart was heavy. And you know what? Every single time I began to feel better and have faith again not because anything I wanted started happening but because in the midst of it all I am assured that I am not alone because He’s with me.

Love and Blessings…

Photo by google images (silence)

 

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….