The Simple Life

Keeping track


The year started quickly with goals set, targets lined up and the list sent to the system manager knowing that we were in for a year as good as 2018, or so I thought. A couple of days after submitting the plan to coach for accountability, I realized it wasn’t a true reflection of the plan for the year. In fact, It felt like I wasn’t the one who wrote it in the first place. Ha! How could that be?

After a time of reflection and recalibrating, I found I had simply taken the targets for 2018 and reworded them. First off, I didn’t even realise I had just adopted pre-existing actions. Why? It was easy and seemed right at the moment but it wasn’t. It was the lazy girl’s solution and I was unaware of it. As a result, I lost a bit of steam for the year yet I had earlier chosen to always move forward no matter how challenging things were or could get. Yet here was the opportunity to stand for my word and I chose the easy way out and I had to shift back to the right course.

The journey of isn’t for the swift but the determined, deliberate and dedicated.

A few mornings ago, I was thinking about this new path of intense honesty and recalled my choice to connect to the ongoing realities of 2019 and adjust accordingly because this is a year like no other. There has never been a year like this and there will never be another one. This isn’t a flippant statement but a deep certainty. 2019 is demanding my full attention and commitment. It is demanding deep gut-wrenching honesty with myself and the world around me. It is taking nothing but all of me because the internal and external shift must be fully aligned and completed.

There is no room or time to choose paths based on emotions or past success. There is only room to understand the fullness of who I am in Christ and constantly and devotedly work towards that. There is only room to walk in step with Papa and do only what He says, when He says and how He says. There is only room to dive deeper into the love He has offered me and to change and become the right person so that He can do all He needs to do with, in and through me. I can no longer behave like a porcelain doll and just look delicate and pretty. He has guaranteed I will look good but it is all for His honour and glory.

Even though I still don’t have the full picture, I press on knowing that as I keep asking He will keep unfolding and as I keep unfolding He will keep unwrapping the depth, breadth and height of His love for me and His capacity to draw me in and turn me into the fullness of what He sees.

Papa, open my eyes that I may see as only you know I must see, become who you say I am and accomplish all you have established is part of my walk. Nothing less; only more of you and your plan for humanity! Amen

The Simple Life

Fork or Spoon?


As a matter of choice we don’t bring dishes to the table rather we serve in the kitchen and come sit together. This habit started soon after I realized just how many dishes we have to wash if we have to remove food from the cooking pot into a serving dish and then to a food container for the leftovers. Suffice it to say, I cut down on dirty dishes by leaving the food in the pot.

Don’t even talk about the aluminium bleeding into the food. When I realized it was happening in my kitchen, I changed to the ceramic and stainless steel pots and pans; it has been a wonderful breeze since then. Easy cooking, heat retention and easy cleaning became a part of my daily life. Anyway, that wasn’t the point.

Fork or spoon? Oh what a question.

It was just the young king and I at home and we had just served food when he asked the above question. I was taken aback because he knew I mostly used a spoon so why was he asking. Even as I said spoon, my mind wondered why a spoon, not a fork yet a few years ago, I would not be caught using a spoon except for cereal and dessert. I realised that I switched to spoons only around 2003. Let’s not even talk about fingers. My mother tells a hilarious story of me and my fingers in her plate from when I was 9 months but that is a story for another day. (hope I remember to tell it)

In a moment of clarity, I found that I moved to spoon from fork when I had very short lunch breaks and I needed to finish the food on my plate before then next patient walks in or Doc finishes his current patient. I would eat at my desk if there was no one to hold fort so I needed to ensure I was done quickly otherwise all sorts of interruptions would ensure I didn’t finish my meal. The spoon helped me take bigger bites even when I got home from work so I ate faster and went back to the task in record time.

Oh don’t tell me about the need to chew every bit thirty-two times and savour every bite.

Eating was a necessary function that needed to be done as fast as possible and this led to many different challenges. The most interesting one was the capacity to really overeat. The satiety or fullness hormone doesn’t kick in until after fifteen minutes of eating so as long as I was a fast eater I would finish and still feel hungry so go for a second round. I was conscious about the possibility of weight gain so I chose to have veggies when I added a helping but it wasn’t a perfect solution. When the fifteen minutes were up I was so full it was uncomfortable…too uncomfortable.

This full feeling led to a bloated stomach because of indigestion caused by too much food that was difficult to digest or took a long time to digest. It was amazing that such a simple thing could have such ravaging effects. I also noticed that the outcome was different for different people. For some it caused increased weight gain especially around the belly, others had crazy bloating and gas, others heartburn that was absolutely insane.

In time I changed to fork from spoon and it changed everything.

My bites were smaller, my eating slower, I learnt to really enjoy my food and in time my portion size and tummy shrunk. It became impossible to think that I used to want to eat on the run because I was too busy to stop. I also learnt to focus on eating not doing other things all through my meal. I sat down to eat and put my phone down, the computer away and focused on the task. The anxiety I’d always felt faded and I found that it was easier to enjoy life. Clearly, a spoon or a fork can change a life.

What do you know that needs to change for your relationship with God to deepen? Deal with it and be the shining light God sent you here to be.

Shalom.

The Simple Life

The Places I Hide


A safe space is a place free judgment, bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, and conversations held here will not be broadcast. It is a place of deep vulnerability and honesty that leads to incredible personal reflection and growth. It is established and defined by the parties involved and it cannot exist without each knowing it has been created. It doesn’t happen overnight but is cultivated intentionally over time and strengthened through action and understanding and must be protected.

A safe space starts with intimacy, needs time and focus

Growing a safe space needs all parties to remain connected and communicating without judgement or hiding. It entails no holds barred communication, interaction, challenges and sharing to ensure growth and commitment. It shuns spoon feeding and harnesses reflection and personal realizations to fuel lasting growth and change.

It demands deep personal introspection, vulnerability and honesty that guides life’s journey to growth because the hard stuff requires work and though it would be easy for those in the space to provide direct answers, it is beneficial to the participants to allow each other the opportunity to learn and develop the skills needed to deal with life. These spaces provide guidelines, accountability and social support structures through challenging and joyful situations that keep the journey on course.

The adversity and hostility around makes many prefer external conformity to social norms and expectations than to be themselves hence the need for more safe spaces. At it gets increasingly intense in all spheres of life the skills and lessons learnt in the safe spaces enable one to conquer the outside.

When I began walking with coach, I’d complain about everything from the schedule, to life, work, how the home was running, who wasn’t talking to me etc. He began pushing back at every complaint assessing my ‘reasons’ for the situation or choice and countering with questions. Often I wanted to walk away saying this is not what I signed up for until we revisited matter.

‘I didn’t sign up for this.’ I said

‘Yes you did.’ He replied. ‘The day you accepted my offer to help you walk this journey together.’ He said

‘I didn’t know it would be so hard…’ I sighed

‘It is only as hard as you make it,’ he chimed

‘Yeah right. All you ever do is ask questions and tell me how I need to look deeper, that I know the answer and I don’t want to deal with stuff. I am doing my best.’ I whined

‘Are you sure you are doing your best?’ he asked

‘There you go again doubting and pushing me.’ I responded

‘Do you understand why I push you?’ he asked.

‘Because you are mean…?’ I said

‘Ha!! No!! Try again.’ He said

‘That is what I think,’ I sighed

‘Good God help me,’ he sighed. ‘I push you because I am a true friend.’ he said

‘Yeah right!’ I puffed, ‘True friend my foot.’

‘It is true. Hard stuff requires hard work. I want to make it easy but I wouldn’t be doing you any favours. The goal is to guide you not do the work for you.’ he replied.

‘Why?’ I ask softly

‘Healing comes from the work done in an environment that allows failure but demands you rise when you fall. If I coddle you when you need to keep walking I won’t be helping you long term and that won’t help anyone. In this space you can try and fail knowing that there is no judgement just pressure to keep pushing and working towards your goals. When you reach the goal, the push is to set a new target and keep walking and growing. Safe space aren’t about holding you with kid gloves, rather it is a demand that you to be the best you can be.’ He said

‘What happens when I fail, can’t get up and go on?’ I ask

‘We will sit there for a bit, allow you to catch your breath, find the lessons, apply them then get up and keep going. When you feel at the end of your rope or need to deal with deeper issues we will sit together and deal but in the end you must stand up and keep walking. There will be no wallowing self-pity so we don’t lose momentum and never get up again,’ he responded.

Suddenly, I really understood! This space allows me to grow in leaps and bounds because the pressure is consistent and unrelenting. It has forced me to deal with life in different, be more self-aware and know the voice of God . This deep self-awareness fuels the application of lessons learnt to the path walked. I have several safe spaces because different people are assigned to different parts of my life so we plan for these differences.

It’s impossible to keep moving without spaces to just be truly me.

Be certain that when you don’t see me losing my cool or understand where I get the strength to deal with the day from, I have been to one of my safe spaces, let down my hair (pun intended), cried, dealt and come back out a better person. I have been pushed to the corner and come back stronger. I have faced me and found the right way out of, through or round the challenges of growing. I have found spaces where no matter who I am or what I have done or am going through, I am free; I am loved; I am enough; I am accepted.

Do you need to ask God for a space of intentional growth? Take a moment and do so.

Life changes when we tackle it head on.

The Simple Life

Growing Is Here To Stay


It has perplexed me why there is so much pressure to shift and change from all sides, every day, in every way. Mark you, it has very little to do with the New Year because this pressure began to swell around me last year and only intensifies as time passes. There is a sense of urgency and intensity that needs to be joined into it.

Then coach just hit it on the head when he said, ‘Take a risk. See what happens, knowing that no matter what happens you’re well on the way to becoming the woman, wife, mother, child of God you’re destined to be. Before then, you have to promise yourself that you’ll dig deep and do what it takes to get to that side of the story.’

‘I promise I will,’ I responded.

‘How do you promise to accomplish this?’ he asked

In my head, I am thinking really? Can’t a girl have a break or downtime in this growth thing? This thing of tracking growth just seems to follow and find me everywhere I turn. There has to be something big about it or else it would have left my area of influence by now. Do I need to find some steps to go through? Do I need help finding the path?

It is becoming incredibly obvious that growth is the word of the season and there is no end to it.

I look back to who I was just 12 months ago and I wouldn’t want to go back there no matter what. In fact, I want to become better every day. The biggest change has been in my mindset. I know I have said it before but when the mind changes, life changes. Every time I came upon an obstacle I had tackled or something similar I would roll my eyes and ask God…really? There was no way we could have dealt with this once for all and not come back? It was hilarious but I thought I had done enough time and now needed a break until I really looked deep and it hit me, every circle takes me deeper and makes me stronger if I allow it.

Every challenge should open my mind and make room for more learning.

I no longer think growth ends. I used to think we grow then stop but now I know the model is to grow, adjust and then grow again. Life is a continuous growth process that never stops. The hard things learnt in the growing and stretching process allows me to deal with things I would otherwise have avoided and this ensures I become a better person. When I have dealt with challenges I can move on. If I circle back to a similar place I must assess and know if it is the exact same thing and then press in and solve once for all or see the deeper dimension that is being exposed and deal with it.

  • Growth is about becoming one with God’s plan more than I ever thought possible and enjoying both the lesson and the outcome.
  • Growth is attaching the same level of importance to who you can become and then work diligently to become all that.
  • Growth is about choosing to walk towards the goal set no matter the cost and that was the big one for me…the letting go, and letting go helped me realise the depth of joy it gives.

Growth is the only way.

The Simple Life

Boots & Overalls Please.


Have you ever had something to get past and didn’t know how to or didn’t really want to do the work to get there? Let me surprise you that even if you don’t know it, fear reigns. Ha! I know it sounds crazy but is real. It is funny how we can get caught up in perpetual thinking until we don’t move.

I thank God for people in my life who don’t give me room to delay or hang back.

There are projects I have kept on the back on the back banner for a while and since I am not usually one to procrastinate, I kept wondering what is going on. Now I know there are things I needed to deal with before others would be well articulated so I had to do some work.

In late 2018 I mentioned a pending project my mentor and she asked a slew of questions. As I answered them I realised I was the thing holding me back. No one else… just me! Oh wow!! That moment was intense when I say the absence of a clear plan and accountability as the issues and we agreed to change that.

As days went, I thought about the task but didn’t make much progress yet she didn’t relent. Finally, after a period of silence, she asked when the first part would be ready. A specific date came to mind but it felt too close so I was hesitating when she said, ‘Give me the date that came to mind first and stop allowing your mind to tell you why it is impossible.’

You know those times when you are certain God has you cornered? This was one.

I had looked at the situation and deemed it too big to fulfil because I didn’t have all the ideas and connections to complete it. I identified the potential competition and was too scared to go against it. I saw the intensity of the assignment and allowed fear to take root. Oh, it didn’t look like fear from within just too many obstacles to succeed.

As if on cue, coach calls me out of fear in an unrelated conversation and I’m like what??? This God! He is in the business of doing things His way and reminding me He’s in charge and will provide every opportunity, trigger and idea needed to achieve His end.

Coach simply said, ‘You see, the big decision is whether to conquer fear and leap to the other side of it clean or let fear reign and keep holding you hostage in the very place you detest. In reality, you will never know what’s on the other side until you make the leap but the choice is all yours. Who knows, you might come through and unlock new discoveries and pathways in your life and you’ll never know until you try.’

I was stumped when he added, ‘Comfort encourages status quo. Nothing is ever gained or learned from comfort, fear or complacency. Take a risk. See what happens, knowing that no matter what happens you’re well on the way to becoming the woman, wife, mother, child of God you’re destined to be. Before then, you have to promise yourself that you’ll dig deep and do what it takes to get to that side of the story’

I decided that despite all the progress I’d made, there is still lots of growing needed.

I haven’t become all that God has said I will become because growing never stops. I also learnt that changing is constant and there’s no room for doubt and disbelief. I have to put on my boots and overall then head out to do the work; this includes my faith walk, eating, exercise, reading, work, and relationships. I also know that though everything I have learnt so far is useful, it’s nothing compared to what He has in mind.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that or which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

The Simple Life

Learning To Take The Step


I am tired or circling around over and over because when I go into vortex everything else stops

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have noticed a disparity between what God has said my life will represent and how it is now. The gap has me wondering if I am walking as I should, if I have done something to be so alone or if this is just a part of process. I know that a great part of my walk would be alone and in seclusion but sometimes I wonder what I have to connect to or understand so that being close to God becomes a lasting and stabilising reality. So if He has said it is part of my walk then the first thing I need to do is accept it, the same way Sarah accepted her barrenness and that Abraham could not defend her.

I had never really thought about Sarah’s walk that way.

The promise of God had been circulating over their lives for a long time and she was over ninety when she had Isaac. Can you imagine the wait? She even tried to help God in His plan and that was the advent of drama between her, Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael. She didn’t have the help of a community or a consistent reminder of God’s word from an external source. She had to find and build her relationship with God to remain committed to the cause. Yes, she had to make the choice.

This means that I too have to make the very same choice.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Genesis 15 tells the story of God blessing Abraham with the certainty of generations that are as many as the stars of the sky and the sand on the earth. Holding on to that promise was simple in the beginning but the test to pass was the ability to hold onto God’s word in faith despite her advancing age. Abraham also struggled with the promise and asked God severally about his generations. Even repeated confirmations of the promise would at times be challenged by doubt because of her current physical circumstances. However, change comes. The woman we meet in Genesis 21 has totally changed and is very clear about what must happen… Hagar had to leave.

She walks up to Abraham and says to him, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” What had happened? She had met God and been shifted to a place of absolute faith no matter what or who didn’t come on board. She was certain that her life and her son’s life was guaranteed in God. She was now certain that all God had said would come to pass no matter what.

She had learnt that confidence and help have to come from Him who has orchestrated the process for it to be accurate in strengthening the lifestyle He has ordained. If help comes from anyone else it will create death. She had to learn what to look for and where to find this true strength and help. God didn’t judge or destroy her for her initial challenges but provided the backup she needed to stand.

This reminds me that in God there is no condemnation. That is His promise to me and then He moves it further and has taken my ‘seeming mistakes’ into consideration to cause them to work for my good. Now, when I realise something is off track and it feels like I am losing it, I stop and remind myself several things aloud: there is no condemnation; His word does not return to Him void but produces ALL He sent it out to do and nothing shocks my Father neither is He caught unawares. There is nothing else to hold onto.

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. “For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills, Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:10-12 NKJV

 

The Simple Life

Four C’s For Consistency


This week has been harder than expected because of some unexpected challenges. I was blindsided by things I thought I had dealt with and actually lost my footing for a day or two. Yes, I stopped for a couple of days.

I have learnt that there are going to be days when the drive to move is hit out of the park by an unexpected happening that could be a physical condition or even an emotional state. It takes a lot more to get back on track and continue with the tasks at hand. As I have been working to get back on track, I have understood that I am not invincible. I have also learnt that over the last year I have honed some of the key things I need in this season and I must apply them. I will share the keys I have learnt.

  • Clarity: What am I working towards? Who am I becoming? Robin Sharma talks about automaticity and I have found that it works. Automaticity is based on the principle of working on goals for 21 days to change the habit and 45 days or practice to shift to being able to naturally do something. This means that I can honestly achieve four goals a year. These main goals enable me to keep on task, learn deeply and provide lessons that I can apply to other areas of life. This demands that I must be clear what I am working towards.
  • Components: What actions do I need to take or things to become? Lasting change is a matter of practice not chance as highlighted above. The things I do are either accelerators or hindrances to my progress. The hindrances must be overcome and new action items for the new targets set in place. It is important to know what to do and what to avoid to attain the mark. For instance, for weight loss goals, one must figure what to eat, how hard and how often to work out, what is the target weight etc.
  • Companions: Who am I walking with? This is a very critical aspect to consider. I must decide to connect deeply with those who help me keep things going in the right direction and disconnect or adjust the connection with those who don’t contribute. It is to keep the friend who helps me remember the target and keep walking toward it close and all others who think it’s unattainable far. It includes finding the mentor who will not take my excuses and push me to the peak not the one who won’t even remember my goals and walk. It also means that I must be helping someone else who is a little behind on the path to grow into the fullness of who God says they are. This helps keep me focused.
  • Commitment: This is a declaration to stay the course. It varies from person to person but I find that writing down the plan has a powerful way of moving plans from wishful thinking to something my heart and mind connect to and remember so it becomes achievable. The other aspect of it is sharing the key goals with my core support team to keep me accountable. As I let others know what I am working towards and allow them to ask questions and hold me accountable I build in an additional layer of accountability and drive.

It is easy to think that this is too simple and not real but think about it for a moment. Wouldn’t it be that it is in the simple things that we find the greatest energy to keep going and do more? 2018 taught me that change is in the single daily step taken no matter what. I am not yet everything God has said I am so I keep working to reach the mark He has set.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV