Category Archives: The Simple Life

This catergory caters for articles that cover different aspects of our daily lives from relationships, to success tips, to the happenings of the day. It is light and interactive

The Essence of Faithfulness

Essence means the inherent nature or indispensable quality of something abstract or a concentrated extract. It is the thing that determines character. Faith means trust and devotion while faithful is remaining true to the fact, to be loyal and steadfast. A faithful person is the opposite of a traitor. Faithfulness is an action word and the quality of being faithful and keeping true to your word. It also means following through on your commitment,

One depiction of faithfulness is Ruth in Ruth 1:11-17.

Can you imagine getting married and your spouse passing on then your mother-in-law going back to her home? She asks you to remain but you choose to go with her no matter what. Ruth in the bible really intrigues me because I don’t know if I would have been that way. It is hard enough for many of us to leave things that are familiar but what would it be to uproot yourself completely?

A couple of things catch my attention:

She had and lost: the loss did not taint her sense of life. I imagine she still loved life and particularly her mother-in-law. What kind of relationship did they have? How had they cultivated it? Where did they deepen it? How did she maintain her inner sense of balance?

She chose to remain: Naomi begged her to go back to her family but she said no. I can imagine that as they walked or travelled Naomi would keep asking her to go back but she was steadfast. How did that certainty remain? What did she know that kept her with Naomi? I remember Naomi telling her that she could not give her a husband yet Ruth remained. Ah! This woman.

She listened to and followed instructions: Ruth had no knowledge of how to be a good Israelite woman. How could she, a Moabitess, know? So she listened and followed everything Naomi told her to do. I also imagine that she watched Naomi’s interactions with others, and listened in on conversations and prayer times. She was on track right down to the evening visit to the harvest fields to see Boaz.

How many of us would be so diligent in such challenging situations? Would you even think about it? What I find interesting is the seeming simplicity of her life even with very challenging circumstances. Remember they were two daughters-in-law and Orpah went back. Please note, there is nothing wrong with her going back. It is what made sense to her. Yet Ruth chose a different path because she knew in her hearts of heart that her path was aligned with Naomi and she would not let go.

Each of us has that kind of calling. There are people who are integral to our coming of age and reaching impact. In recent years, I have encountered several of my integral people and it has been transformative. They have spoken over me and challenged me to keep growing but it has also shown me a few things.

I RECEIVED a gift from God: it was inputted into me before my birth and it is designed to make my life journey successful. So do you!

I must WORK on and with the gift: the work includes understanding, using, creating room for others and growing through the process. So must you!

I must BEAR FRUIT: the proof of my life and gift is in the lives transformed; that is my fruit. A tree without fruit is either cut down or ignored so imagine a life that does the same. I must bring forth and so must you.

The only way to do this is to remain faithful to the call of God. I have a choice to remain faithful or not and I have learnt that being faithful to the cause is all that matters to me today. The essence of faithfulness is the CHOICE to remain true to who I am, what I know and who I am called to be.

Shalom

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Changed By An Ask

We have developed unhealthy independence by being bullied into not asking for help. In life, it links to pride, fear, arrogance, and shame. It is a learned and reinforced behaviour that can become a stronghold if not attended. This behaviour is accepted because it is a cultural response popularised over time. 

Conversations around me opened a chasm of clarity for me. I have been severely independent since my childhood right into adulthood. I had been unable to ask for help for so long despite knowing I needed help to break out of where I was. It took a major crisis in my life to bring my unhealthy independence to the surface and forced me to deal. 

Things changed through a conversation when one of my leaders shared how they learned to ask. Asking makes us better, not less than the next person. When we ask for help, the response is never guaranteed and sometimes discouraging beyond belief. Anyone could say yes or no, ignore the ask or castigate the request. We do not have control over anyone’s response. The bottom line, I learnt that asking is an avenue to grow. 

I had to ask for help shortly after that conversation; I couldn’t help the trepidation I felt because I was afraid of rejection. Since I couldn’t deny the need, I gathered my wits and asked. This time my internal response was different because I understood a few things:

  • No one is obligated to listen to me.
  • It isn’t mandatory for anyone to give.
  • I am not less of a person if I need help.
  • The instruction to ask does not mean that the person asked will give. 

Learning to ask for help changed me significantly. Everyone read the message, thought about it, tried to help, and communicated back to me.

  • It broke the SHAME associated with it.
  • It turned my eyes to good so clearly that I didn’t get disappointed.
  • It allowed God to prompt others to hear, grow and help.
  • It taught me to TRUST God and his power because He is ALL powerful, wise, gracious, good, loving, and present.

A good response must be to overcome the shame, unlearn some things and learn new things. I must grow into several things:

Forgiveness: This is the conscious and deliberate choice to let go of hurt, resentment, or vengeance toward those who have harmed you. It is extended to people whether they repent or not or whether they deserve forgiveness or not. Forgiveness is a divine instruction that connects me to personal freedom and will enable us to counter unhealthy independence.

Compassion: when you have known lack, you are gentler with people and more understanding. Paul made this clear in Philippians 4 when he talked about having much and nothing in turn. It reminded him that his strength is in Christ; that is enough. It made his heart softer and warmer for people leading to a more fulfilled life.

Respond: when you have known lack, it is easy to see and resonate with the hurt of others and meet their needs. It is easier to answer the call for help and not be frustrated when people do not respond to you.

Learning to ask makes your life simpler and richer every day. Do not avoid it; embrace it daily.

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Covered completely

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the [a]fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and [b]buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall [c]bear you up,
Lest you [d]dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will [e]set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With [f]long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Psalms 91 NKJV

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Realigning to the assignment:

I previously wrote about being out of line with my spiritual leader. If you missed it, be sure to read about submission or stubbornness. I could console myself that though I was out of line, it was mostly ever so slightly. Yet out of line, no matter how little is out of line and I needed to recalibrate and realign.

Realignment is not as simple as I expected it to be. I thought I would pray and get over it, but alas! It was so much more. God led me on a journey that brought all my pride and self-importance to the surface and then crumbled it one piece at a time. He exposed my sense of self and unveiled the ugliness underneath it. He uncovered the deep hurt and fear that made me build walls and showed it up for what it was: hiding.

How could I hide these things from myself for so long?

The unveiling of myself was somewhat painful but not hard. Realigning was the challenge. I had to acknowledge that distraction had moved me away from my assigned path. I was so used to my leader that I had forgotten how to listen, respect and honour him. 

In teaching, Apostle Selman explained that we are all multi-dimensional. We receive grace from people based on the dimensions of their lives we acknowledge and how we interact with them. So if I see my lead as a friend, I only receive friendship and friendly advice. If only a brother or sister, that is what I receive. If I see them as a prophet or priest and engage with that dimension, I will partake in the prophetic and priestly. However, to fully receive all that is mine, I must understand how God views them and their assignment and respond appropriately.

Ah! Indeed I was off track because I had become lax in my dealings. 

I expected my lead to understand when I did not show up as if I was showing up for him. I expected him to check on me and pray for me always. I expected others in the team to understand when I did not participate fully. I forgot to pray for him and the work he does. I missed learning opportunities because I had heard him speak so often that I was less engaged when he repeated teachings. 

My first port of realignment should have been the knowledge that God assigned me to His servant and work. I needed to reconnect to why God attached me to this particular leader. My behaviour was a great reflection of my relationship with God: a mirror of the importance I had given Him. My inconsistency and flippancy said a lot more about my walk of faith than I could imagine. 

The only remedy was total recalibration.

I asked God for sight, healing and restoration, pleaded for mercy and grace; I sought a pathway back to wholeness. God graciously gave them all to me. However, the work was still incomplete without an apology to my leader. It did not matter that I was one of the more consistent ones. It did not matter that he was not upset or frustrated with me. It only mattered that God had shown me my error that I had to correct. 

The apology brought me to my knees, head bowed by the weight of my actions. I had a clear picture of my faults and those of the team. I could see how our actions had short-changed many of us. Only God can understand what I saw that day and the weight of it. I understood how important honouring God’s servant appointed to lead us is.

Honour is a door to dimensions we would otherwise not know. It is the foundation of growth in all aspects of life and the key to revelation and insight. Honour cannot be traded or demanded. Honour is purely by the revelation of who the person is and what they represent in God. Honour is about obedience to divine instruction and not manipulation to get a blessing.

Honour bears rich and valuable fruit.

I received a verbal blessing for realigning, a lighter spirit and peace in the depths of my soul. Certain things that weighed me down and confounded me shifted. Major decisions I had made but could not keep became possible. My eyes opened, my ears popped, my mind connected to concepts then my hands produced good work. Now it was clear that the sense of stagnation I had was partly because of where my heart and mind had been. There are dimensions I could not rise into when I had dishonoured or been lax with the servants of God.

Do not be like me and live so flippantly that you miss your divine reality. 

My change has come as I have learned to believe the word of God fully. The shift has settled as I have begun to see my leaders for who they are in God’s sight. I have become watchful of the leads I serve and now understand the truth of who they are. I have changed how I interact with my leaders. The measure of grace I receive from them has also changed. 

Sometimes we wonder why things are not working. Doors to opportunities remain shut while the promises we are waiting for remain unmet. Has something in this article challenged you? Good! Now have a conversation with God; ask Him to show you the state of your heart, what is off track and how to turn it around. 

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I submit to you willingly

I submit to you willingly

Knowing I have never known this connection

I have never loved this deeply

I have never been this honest

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I submit to you willingly

Knowing this is my assignment

Knowing my healing is in this place

Knowing only God can secure my heart

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I submit to you willingly

Knowing I don’t need power here

I need the love of God

The love that flows through you

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I submit to you willingly

Knowing we are stronger together

I am whole, you are whole

We are whole

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I submit to you willingly

Knowing God has ordained this union

I know I am safe in this plan

Our lives will count as gain to the Kingdom

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I submit to you willingly

Submission or Stubbornness?

If you have read my blog for a while, you know conversations are the trigger I need to create the right words. To the new readers, welcome to partake in a tasty banquet of honest conversations. This space is about learning and revelation because none knows everything; we learn something new daily.

I have been talking about submission and will likely keep circling back here a lot over the next few months as I continue to learn about it. 

Today let us discuss submission to authority. Submission is a conscious choice to live in and under the leadership of another. It is about obedience and commitment, a deep trusting connection directly related to love and a decision.

Recently as I listened to a teaching, a new dimension of submission came to the fore. When God calls us to submit, let us must remember it is to all authority around us, including the spiritual covering us. Our spiritual leader is the person who guides us in our walk with God even though we do most of the work. 

An effective spiritual authority does not lord things over us or demand obedience. They know who they are, who God has sent to them and what each one needs. They are prayerful, faithful to and diligent in the Word. They only have a word for those actively seeking God and can discern the truth in each situation. They are not manipulative because they are confident in God’s power and ability to change people without their help.

A friend asked me how well I knew my spiritual authority

He shared how God had been speaking to him about respecting and submitting to authority and what he learnt shocked him. It was clear to him that we needed to change our dealings with our lead. We needed to connect, submit, honour and work with the appointed servant of God so that our lives work out well. We needed to consult God about the connections and preserve them as instructed.

Think of Elisha and Elijah. Elisha wasn’t the only prophet in the land, yet he was the one called to support Elijah. He quickly answered, connected to the calling to serve, left his home and everything he knew and followed Elijah. It was not an easy decision to follow diligently; Elisha was faithful. In the end, he received a double portion of the anointing. He appropriately extended the work of God and honoured Him with his life.

I have to admit I hadn’t asked God about my lead recently. I knew him but hadn’t even considered that I could be out of line or that I needed to go deeper. I had assumed that since I was serving, all was still well. Alas, it was not so. All was not well. You can imagine the questions that started running through my mind about my lead:

  • Who is this man in God?
  • What does he carry that I am assigned to support?
  • How must I support the work?
  • How often must I be available?
  • What about his anointing and ordination that my life extends or multiplies?
  • Have I honoured him as God would have me do?
  • Am I genuinely and willingly submitting?
  • Is my submission half-hearted?
  • Have I been faithful to the assignment God has given me?
  • Sadly, in most cases, I had been lacklustre and half-hearted.

I could console myself that though I was out of line, it was mostly ever so slightly. Yet out of line, no matter how little is out of line and I needed to recalibrate and realign. Contrary to my expectations, it was a journey that brought all my pride to the surface and then crumbled it one piece at a time. 

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I submit to you.

I will stand by you,

I will support you,

I will honour you,

I will love you

I submit to you.

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I will support your calling

I will support your work

I will be your backup

I will stand with you

I submit to you.

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I am in your corner,

I am your support,

I am your backup,

I am here for you for

I am staying as long as it takes

I submit to you.

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I submit to you

I will ensure grow

I will protect God’s word over you

I will trust the process

I will work diligently

I submit to you.

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I love you

I do not always understand its depth

I do not always know how to express it

I do not want to miss out on my assignment

I will love you as long as it takes

I submit to you.

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Acceptance changed me

God has been speaking to me about submission for a while. 

I have been listening keenly to Him about submission. Even with the listening, it has taken a while for me to shift into a position of submission. Yes, the best posture. Yeiledness is about moving into the correct stance based on an instruction from God. 

Why would God take me down the road of submission?

It takes me back to when I realised I struggled to be led. The inability to let someone else guide me was a problem. Why? I cannot see things they can see. There is a place I need to get to by following them. What I know or can achieve will not matter if I disconnect from an appointed person. Choosing to submit is a game changer. 

Imagine you need to learn facial surgery under a specialist maxillofacial surgeon. You would take attend every class or surgery and appointment. You would listen keenly. You would take copious notes and ask questions so you learn. You know you can trust their opinion, instruction and leadership. When able, you would debate treatment plans and seek consultations from them until you understand what they know. 

So why not submit with joy and the same kind of dedication? If the surgeon would ultimately unlock the right doors for you, why can’t you submit to the one appointed to be your lead? Why not submit to the servant of God established to lead you and provide spiritual covering, protection and preservation?

Submission is not for the weak. 

It is a conscious choice to live in and under the authority of another. It is about obedience and commitment. It is about a deep trusting connection. Submission is interesting because many expect it to be simple and directly related to love; it is about choice.

When submission is understood, it is a place of joy, a posture of strength, and a strong foundation. Submission liberates by creating trust and freedom based on honesty and truth. It is fuelled by deep conversations leading to deep connections. Submission is a daily, personal choice.

Submission does not happen in a day or a vacuum. It is a journey of trust and hope; it is choosing to believe, hope and stand firm in faith that this is the person or leader for you and they will never deliberately hurt you. Submission is unto the Lord first, then to those He assigns to us and us to.

God asked, ‘How submitted are you?’

I responded, ‘Not very, but I am willing to learn.’

That is how I started the journey. It has been and continues to be the most incredible journey of my life. 

Shalom.

The Transforming Power of Belief

As I thought about moving from unbelief to belief, I realised that my early life had shaped my perspectives when I learned how to interact with people and what to expect. The shift happened as people decided to go on with their lives and keep growing. It became clear that I could not count on most of them because they had things to do that made me unimportant in their scheme of things. 

I had always assumed that everyone wanted me to see myself grow and become better until I learned that I had to take care of myself and my growth. I was perplexed because this did not look or feel authentic to how I wanted to be loved and appreciated.  

My ability to believe stuttered because of what I had experienced.

It took a while to understand that I am the total of my thoughts. My convictions and beliefs show in my words because they are inner work. In my reflections, I remembered Joseph, Esther and others in scripture who went through hard times but did not leave the faith. I also thought of people who went through hard times in this life and walked away from the faith.

I understood the dangerous notion that if we walk with God our Father, life should be stress-free and struggle-free but is that true? No, it is not. Show me anyone who did great things for and with God without some hard times in their lives. I have looked around but cannot find a single person whose life spoke to the enormity and goodness of God without going through something difficult.

But guess what; God never leaves us alone, especially in trying seasons.

God always steps in for His people and gives us a way out. We see this when he rescued Israel from Egypt using Moses and his crew and sorted Abraham by making it possible to have a child in his old age. God strengthened Mordecai to support Esther so she could go before the king and sent four unshakable Hebrew boys into captivity together so they would stand and keep each other accountable. He sent Ananias to anoint Paul after the Damascus experience and sent Phillip to interpret scripture for the Ethiopian eunuch.

God never promised us a good and simple life. He promised to be with us and manage things as we lean on him. God declared that he would stand with us and walk the journey no matter what happens, how long, how far or who walks with us. He promised to provide a way out in times of trouble like he did when Paul and Silas were in prison when the people prayed.

Faith is the certainty that God is on the throne and in control.

Belief now means a few different things to me:

  • I will stand on the word of God because it is reliable. 
  • Nothing will change or shift my position or faith in God.
  • I will align with people who encourage me and hold me to account for the journey.
  • I will speak the words of life to my heart and over my life.
  • I will remind myself of His goodness every day.
  • I will write a memorial of how He has come through for me.
  • I will align myself with His purposes for my life.
  • I will surround myself with people with a deeper understanding of divine principles.
  • I will remember that God is aware the state of affairs and all is well. 
  • I will stand on the plan for my life as designed in heaven.

Shifting to belief has meant that I must re-wire my mind to our new state and position. 

Scripture has become my foundation and strength. It encourages me daily to remain truthful and on course despite the situation.

  • And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
  • In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33
  • Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34,
  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrew 11:1).

Do not despair in your situation, God has a plan for your ultimate good. Shalom.

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A Subtle Shift

I wondered how the deal fell through

I wondered why the relationship was strained

I wondered who was walking with me

I wondered if anyone cared

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I wondered where food was coming from

I wondered if I would have water to drink

I wondered when the fruit would ripen

I wondered how I would live today

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I wondered when the darkness would end

I wondered when the cold would lift

I wondered when the sun would shine

I wondered if the moon would rise

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I wondered why the winds were so strong

I wondered why the dust was so much

I wondered why the plants were dying

I wondered if God could see the destruction

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I wondered if God was listening to me

I wondered if he would answer my prayers

I wondered if he would delivery my requests

I wondered if he was even there

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One question at a time

One step at a time

One disappointment at a time

 One fear at a time

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One sob story at a time

One jibe from people at a time

One hard choice at a time

One fear at a time

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Unbelief sneaked in

Shrouded in a dark cloak

Covered by the darkness around

Settling in before I realised

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Unbelief took root

Shifting every solid foundation

Cracking every pillar in life

Challenging every thought I had

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Ah Papa, help me

I cannot live like this anymore

Your word promises strength and grace

I need help to walk away.

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Ah Papa, help me

Break this weak foundation

Recast a new foundation

I need help to walk away.

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Ah Papa, help me

To shatter every misconception

And replace it with your wonderful truth

I need help to walk away.

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Ah Papa, help me

Rebuild the foundation for longevity

Strengthen my resolve to stay the course

I need help to walk away.

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Ah Papa, help me

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