Monday, December 30, 2013

The importance of Timing and Being Ready for what you prayed for

There is great danger in wanting things prematurely that we are not adequately prepared for, because those very things once you get them becomes a problem. There is a gap between what you desire in your life, and what you capable of handling. God will only give you what it thinks you can handle at a given time Often times we may be praying for things that we are not quite ready for. Our motive may be in the right place for needing those things, but our hearts and mind are not aligned to receive the blessings we so desire. If we are not careful and choose to pursue those things anyways, we might end up getting more than we can handle. The thing that was supposed to bring us joy, becomes a source of pain as a result of our impatience. Many of the headaches and frustrations we experience in life, can be avoided if we only learn how to be patient for the things our heart desires until its appropriate time. The good things in life we pray for such as seeing our dreams and visions come to pass, meeting the man/woman of our dreams, buying our dream home, starting a family, or any other thing we are trusting God for, will be rewarding once we are ready to receive those things. I am no expert in this area of waiting on God’s perfect timing. There have been times I have missed God’s timing because I was faced with a lot of pressure, and there were also times when I was just too desperate to get something, that I ended up with the wrong things. Developing the patience in waiting on God’s promise for my life is something I have had to learn again and again. Being in God’s will is the safest place to be, once you step outside of it life becomes a constant struggle. I have started projects that I didn’t complete because God was not involved, I have also trusted the wrong people who didn’t have my best interest at heart, and ended up hurt. There were other times I felt I was ready but the events that followed showed how unprepared I was for the things I wanted. Before you think about pursuing the things you want and need in life, make sure you are also preparing yourself for those things.
Every good gift comes with responsibility, nothing good comes easy. You shouldn’t be praying earnestly for a child, when you cannot even take care of yourself or run a household, you shouldn’t be anxiously waiting to meet the man/woman of your dreams, when you haven’t first discovered who you are, or learned how to love yourself. In addition, you cannot be thinking of having a big platform to inspire people, and motivate them to success in different areas of life, when your own life is out of order, or when you lack the discipline and the ability to motivate yourself. Timing plays an important role in the events that take place in our lives, and everything is beautiful in its own time.
There are also other factors that determine when the timing is right to get our needs met, for instance, our emotional and mental state at the time. Our emotional and mental state can affect the kind of choices we make; the more unstable we are mentally or emotionally the more likely we allow our emotions cloud our vision. As a result we end up making the wrong choice. When we are at a place in our life where we are experiencing a lot of changes that is not a good time to make any life-changing decisions because we are under a lot of stress, and we might end up getting into mistakes. Sometimes, we may be feeling pressure from outside sources, and we are forced to make decisions quickly without giving much thought to it, at other times we make decisions out of desperation and discontent, both outcomes can lead to regrets. God’s timing of giving us the things we need is completely different from our timing. Often times we think we are ready, but God may be thinking we still have some growing to do, so he delays things until we are more matured to handle our heart desires.
At other times God presents our heart desire to us before its timing. This forces us to grow in our relationship with God, because we can’t have what we want at that particular time, which causes us to develop the discipline to wait on God’s perfect timing to receive that thing. The right thing at the wrong time can still feel very wrong. I like how Melvin Davies puts this, and I quote “what is shown to you prematurely serve the purpose of drawing you closer to God, thus strengthening your spiritual walk and relationship with Him, What you can’t have now but is meant for you to have will mature you”. I completely agree to this insight, I am currently at a place where I am seeing something I prayed for, but didn’t know if I could ever experience it, now that I see that it is possible to have that particular thing in that way, I have to be patient for it because I am not fully ready to receive it. I kick myself for not preparing myself for it beforehand, however, I find strength in knowing that this particular situation will grow me and make me better, so when the timing becomes right, I can totally enjoy the blessing God has for me.
My next post will cover how you prepare to receive the blessings God has for you, my focus will be on preparing for your career/purpose/calling and also preparing for love. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Authenticity: What Is Keeping You From Freedom? 11/03 by ThePeacefulPoeticPlaceRADIO | Motivation Podcasts

 Listen to this Authenticity: What Is Keeping You From Freedom? 11/03 by ThePeacefulPoeticPlaceRADIO | Motivation Podcasts
                        Someone once stated, “Authenticity is coming home to the truth of who we are” I couldn’t agree more to this deep truth. Many of us run away from the reality of who we are because we are scared of what the truth will reveal about us. Honesty requires dealing with things we rather not face, and accepting truth that are sometimes painful. There was a point in my life where I just couldn’t accept the place I was, and the person I was becoming. It was so painful to look at my life and not feel like a failure. It was so hard for me to admit my short-comings and accept the areas I was failing, so I avoided the truth at all cost, and also stayed away from people who could point the truth to me.  Although I could hide from other people, I could not hide from myself. Eventually I got tired of living a lie and that was when change began.
                        At the end of each day I was by myself and that was when I felt the most pain because I hated the things I was discovering about myself. In order to be authentic one has to be willing to handle the truth not run away from it. if there are areas you feel you’re lacking in, begin to work on those areas, if there are things you know you need to get done that you keep putting off, get those things done, if there are people you need to separate from that are adding stress to your life, or causing you to feel confused cut those ties.
Often time’s people are afraid to be real because of the expectations that people or the society places on them, they are trying to live up to a standard that contradicts who they are. At other times we inflict pain on ourselves by working so hard to paint an image to other people that is false. We cannot become comfortable in our skin, unless we understand who we are. We need to understand our strengths, our weaknesses, the natural abilities that we possess. We also need to be comfortable being by ourselves, and learning how to love all of ourselves.
                        I am reserved so most of my free time is spent alone, but as I have gotten older I am understanding how my time spent alone is valuable, it helps me get closer to God and understand the depth of his love for me but it is also an opportunity for me to understand myself better. For instance I am realizing I am a deep reflective person, I love to understand things, and turn whatever experience I am having into a learning experience. I also realize I am someone who likes my freedom, anything that holds me down or keeps me stuck I hate. I am drawn to music, because it carries a healing component, every time I listen to soulful songs I feel elated inside, and if I am sad or in pain my mood changes. Music touches and speaks to my heart each time I listen to it. Often times we need to get away from the noise, social media, our own inner thoughts, and from people so we can find God.  Finding God for ourselves allows us to discover who God created us to be, and it helps us understand the plan that he has for our lives. Our identity should be founded on who we are in Christ, and how he perceives us. Every other thing outside God that defines us can we only give us a false identity something that would not last.

There is so much to us than the status we hold, the things we possess, the talents we have, or the connections we have.  We have a depth to us, something unique and special within us, but often time we focus too much attention on what we are not instead of appreciating who we are. When we place too much emphasis on our short-comings we miss out on how our weaknesses or failures can be used as a source of blessing to others. Authenticity is the feeling you get when you are safe at home and you don’t have to perform for people. We cannot find our purpose when we are busying trying to be like everyone else, or when we hide our true identity. We are not truly living unless we are being our authentic self because everything we do in life stems from that. Stay true to who you are and let the right people and opportunities find you.

Faith walk

Walking by faith and not by sight can be difficult when you haven’t developed the discipline in your walk with God. We all are in different levels when it comes to our relationship with God. What my faith will require me to do may look different from what your faith will require of you. This is part of the reason our relationship with God is very personal. I have heard of people who made big changes in their lives such as moving to a different state or country where they haven’t been before with no support or family. I have also heard of folks who have quit college and entered ministry, and people who left corporate America to work as a missionary in a third-world country. All of these are great acts of faith which requires absolute trust in God. Faith is looking into the future with hope even when things around you may appear bleak. My walk with God has led me to believe patience is needed in other to fully enjoy or enter into the great plans God has for us. Anything good worth having is worth waiting for. Most of the blessings I now enjoy came as a result of my patience. I trusted God for both little and big things, and I wasn’t going to settle. I remember when I was searching for a place to rent, as a student I have to move every year and looking for roommates is tough because not everyone is easy to live with. I remember really praying to God about it and the kind of place I was looking for, because I didn’t just want to live anywhere or with just anyone. Some of my friends were wondering why I was making it such a big deal by praying earnestly about it, especially since my lease was almost up and I have to make a quick decision. Long story short I found this place a day before I was supposed to move out and it was everything and more that I wanted. Within 10 minutes of speaking with my current roommate, I knew I had found the place and I felt so much peace about my choice, and I have been living with the same person for some time now. God always comes through for us when we have our minds set on him and our desires line up with his will for our life. His timing may seem late but it’s always worth it in the end. I walk by faith in almost every step I take in life from choosing my major (career path), to searching for a job, or opportunities, to finding the right man, I don’t rush into making a quick decision in areas that have the potential of impacting my life greatly. I am now more careful when making life changing decisions because I have made a couple of mistakes in the past, and those decisions have come with a high cost so now I don’t mind waiting for as long as possible to experience the best God has for me. Of course this means sometimes things take me longer than others, and at times it seems like my life is on hold and nothing much is happening for me. Walking by faith is not a cake walk, there are times where you feel like you’re about to lose it, sometimes you would have to avoid some people because you really don’t know how to respond to their questions, other times you’ll feel lonely because no one understands you. In addition, when things are taking longer than expected, or even when things begin to take a down turn the tendency is to for you to take matters into your hands, and make it happen on your own. There would be times you will feel God has forgotten you, or you may even lose sight of why you are waiting. In the meantime, life goes on as usual, you still have to show up and perform your responsibilities, build friendships, go to work, or do whatever it is you were doing before. It is by no means an easy process, in my life’s journey I have had to walk by faith in almost everything. God must just love to allow me go through the process and build my character instead of giving me the desires of my heart lol. What you learn about yourself, and the lessons you pick up along the way is even more significant than the outcome or the result at the end. I have been searching for a job for two and half years, those years feels like eternity at times. There were many times I was tempted to give up, there were moments were nothing made any sense, and I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day, it was just so painful. But within that time-frame a lot of things were happening inside of me. I grew closer to God because he was all I had, I started reading more, I became wiser in how I handled things, I began to understand myself better, and I became more analytical. When you are alone by yourself that’s when you begin to see things differently for instance you see who is really there for you, you start learning to love yourself because you are by yourself most of the time and you have no choice lol. You also realize the world doesn’t end just because you are going through a difficult time, in fact the world keeps moving on without you lol, and you just really grow as a person during those times. It takes a strong person to believe that where they are is not their destination, but a stop to where they are headed. it takes a maturing Christian to focus on the future even when circumstances around them are discouraging, it takes faith to continue to hold on to the promises God made to you, or the plan he has for your life when things are taking too long. You need to feed your mind with the word of God, listen to worship music or even any positive music to keep you going when you feel like giving up, and you will also need to be surrounded by positive, uplifting people who encourage or bring out the best in you to keep stable. Because the enemy will use whatever means necessary to discourage you, get you off focus, or tempt you to settle for less. Don’t give him a chance keep reminding yourself of God’s truth.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Courage to be Vulnerable

“To share your weaknesses is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”- Criss Jami.
Vulnerability is a very scary place to be for most people, it’s easier for us to paint a picture of having it all together, and appearing like our life is perfect; than it is to be really honest about where we are in life and the struggles we face. Our society has expectations of what it looks like to play the different roles, or wear the many hats we put on; which makes it very difficult for people to come clean about what is really going on inside. I used to believe everything I see or hear about people, until I got close to some of this people, and realized that everything isn’t as beautiful as it looks on the outside. Through social media, I found a lot of inspiring people who led beautiful lives, that were do die for and also doing great things, but what I didn’t see much online were the bad days, the tears, or the lonely days, which I am sure they had. We all stumble in different ways, even the individual whom you greatly admire and respect has struggles. Often times the images of people that we see that draws us to them could be very far from reality, people may be going through deep pain but only share what they want others (public) to see. People watching from the outside would idolize this people, compare their lives with them, and feel bitter and angry if their lives don’t measure up with theirs.A part of the reason, people mask their pain is because they are scared they might be rejected if they show their weaknesses; they are afraid that if people get to see the REAL person inside, they may not like or accept them. Everybody loves inspiration, we all love motivation, and we are drawn to words of wisdom from people who have had various life experiences that allows them to have the answers to some of life’s questions, as well as the wisdom to speak into people’s lives. However, this people no matter how smart, inspiring, wonderful, or godly, they may be struggle in so many ways that you may not know about. The truth is not everyone is going to be comfortable with our vulnerability, not everyone is going to be able to handle our truth or understand our story. There will also be people who will judge us based on the information we put out. It takes a lot of risk to be comfortable enough not to allow people’s opinion/judgment of us affect how we share with others. People who are able to dig into their soul, and channel their pain, struggles, and insecurities in a way that blesses others have truly discovered how to live life fearlessly. We were created for community, to feel love, and a sense of belonging, we are not supposed to go through life alone. Stop carrying that pain inside, and allowing it to eat you up, stop trying so hard to look like you have it all together. It takes courage to transform your pain into purpose, and to risk being hurt while being willing to be vulnerable with others. It’s interesting how the most beautiful women struggle with a lot of insecurities, the people, who appear to be strong on the outside are breaking inside, and the people who are good at encouraging and uplifting people are hiding a lot of pain inside. Also people who seem to know a lot about relationships, and about love are often the most difficult people to love because these people find it hard to trust people. Being vulnerable allows us to share our hearts in a way that relieves us of the stress we carry on the inside, and gives us the freedom to love ourselves and others well. Every human being regardless of their position, or background are wounded in some way, our lives are not perfect, as long as we live in this world, we are going to have problems, deal with difficult things, meet difficult people, have weaknesses that we struggle with, and experience pain in one way or the other. Which is part of the reason people feel connected to a person who don’t allow the pains of the pasts control the rest of their lives, or even allow other’s people’s opinion affect them so much that they shut down. 1 Cor 10: 13 talks about “no testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone” Often time’s people feel ashamed sharing their pain because they believe what they are going through is shameful and they cannot talk about it publicly because of the nature of the pain. And the moment they have the courage to finally share their story, they discover there are many people who are also going through some of the things they struggled with. One thing I know about life is we can never have a new problem, every situation we have faced in life, has already been faced and conquered by someone else we just need to find those people who have been through our current situation and learn from their insights. According to Brene Brown- the author of “daring greatly”, goes into great detail in her book about the issue of vulnerability, and how we shouldn’t have to go through life alone, it is so much harder that way “we need support, we need folks who will let us try on new ways of being without judging us; we need a hand to pull us up off the ground when we get kicked down”. I am not a very open person so I don’t readily share things going on with me except with the people closest to me. There were times I would really need help in a certain area and I would just suffer in silence because I was too ashamed to ask for help. My thing was why share my pain or problems with people who couldn’t do anything about it. I had to learn the hard way how to interact with more people and build trust with them and get the help I need. I didn’t know everything and just being around people who I could learn from, and lean on for support helped me overcome struggles I was dealing with. Often times the people who are quiet have no one to share their burdens with, they usually have a smile on their face, but they are suffering in silence. Even when they tell you, they are fine and things are good with them, the truth is they need people to loving pursue them and find out what is going on in their lives, and not give up easily when they say “I am fine”. On a last note this quotes sums up my thoughts on what vulnerability means and why is so important “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves”-Brene Brown

Searching for Direction

Trying to find our way in life can be tough, life is full of ups and downs of trying to figure out what direction to go with our lives, and what our purpose is. It can be pretty painful when it feels like we are going through this process alone, and the people around us are not understanding. We know we are looking for something meaningful to do with our lives, but with everything we find, we can’t hold on to it for long, we lose our excitement or passion for it quickly. We find ourselves jumping from one thing to another and never seem to get anything right. Many times we wonder why things are taking so long for us, we ask ourselves why we have to do several things before we find out, what it is we want to do with our life. We go from one seminar to another, where we learn all this great tips on how to find our calling in life, or our passion; we read books after books, attend one conference or the other but yet we still feel confused. Maybe you didn’t attend conferences or seminars, instead you sought the counsel and prayers from a godly man or woman you consider as a mentor or a spiritual father or mother, yet with all the prayers, and advice you got, you still are not clear about the path to take for your life. If this is you? You’re not alone I have been in your shoes. There were times when I felt like I was going through life blindly. For a long time I was desperately searching for direction for my life, I wish someone could give me the answer to some of life toughest questions and challenges; or give me some magic formula on finding the right direction for my life. I would often ask myself, why I would often feel confused about my life. Why is it taking me so long to achieve things that seems easy for others? Why do I have to wait for every single thing? When is my life going to start? Is there something wrong with me? The scripture speaks about this in the book of Proverbs: it says: “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9) We can plan all we want about the things we want to do and accomplish with our lives but at the end of the day, only God has the final say. He sees the end from the beginning, and he knows what is best for us and his plans far out-weighs our own plans for our lives. When we’re truly submitted to him, we align our plans with his will and that is when he directs our path and things begin to fall in place. As children of God, we are not supposed to live life in our own power or strength, we need God’s direction for our lives. Every project or tasks I engaged in without God’s leading, ended up as a failure. It didn’t matter how much effort I put into, or how much I believed in the project, it didn’t work out. Sometimes God allows us to have things our way when we resist his help, and of course we end up running back to him anyways, because our human effort alone couldn’t sustain it. Anything we do outside of God is going to cost us too much, at the end it’s not going to be worth it. We cannot run faster than God, when it is not your time or your season to do something and you try to make it work, you end up with headaches and pain. It takes wisdom and discernment to know how to move by the spirit, and not with our natural mind. Everything God does is done in steps, he didn’t create the world in one day, each day he made something different. If God took his time to create things, then we shouldn’t expect to our purpose /calling to happen in a short time. Sometimes God may reveal our future to us, but he doesn’t always show us the preparations or process we would have to go through to get there. There could be a lot of time that passes from the time God gives us the vision, and the fulfillment of the dream. Joseph was 17 years old when God showed him the great plan he had for his life, at the time Joseph was just like any regular teenager, maybe feeling a little stuck up because he was his father’s favorite, and he also had dreams that his brothers and his father will one day serve him. Unbeknownst to Joseph he will face a series of disappointments, hardships, betrayal, and suffering before he will get to his purpose. Just like Joseph we may had revelations of how God is going to use us in the future, or the great plan he has for our life, but things from that point on begins to go wrong.
We usually face our greatest challenges in the process of birthing a dream, at times it may feel like God has forgotten you, or nothing seems to work no matter how hard we try. It may take us a long time before we begin to see the fruits of the vision coming together; meanwhile in the process we’re losing friends, our family is turning against us, we’re facing strong opposition, feeling confused and overwhelmed, and just feeling pressure from every side. We look around us and we see people walking in their purpose, achieving their dreams, and doing great things, and here we are, feeling like how life is heading nowhere. “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3). This verse provides strength for the weary individual who has waited so long to see their dreams come to pass, or for that person who is so close to the promise/ dream but who is about to give up. God has promised he will not allow more than we can handle. God lights the path that we are on, we may not see all the steps we need to take at once, but we can be at peace knowing that God is leading us; and we can find grace for each day when we chose to trust in him. There is no formula for finding direction in life, what may work for one person may not necessary work for another, stop trying to figure it all out, you’ll wear yourself out, stop comparing your life with someone else’s and feeling like failure, quit trying to making things work that God’s blessing is not upon, stop trying to fit in. Your present circumstances do not dictate your final destination, no matter how long it takes keep pressing. God never fails, if he has decreed a thing it will surely come to pass. Allow God lead you one step at a time, his grace is sufficient for each day!