The Simple Life

I am beautiful: I am beloved


I’ve always thought those movie lines when a guy says to a girl as she wakes up, “My you are beautiful,” are corny but I’m rethinking that today. You see, in a recent conversation I was told that ‘If you want to see how beautiful someone is, look at them when they just wake up or are sleeping or are bone weary tired.’

Initially, I laughed because these are the three most likely times we are bleary-eyed and look our ‘worst’. They are makeup free moments that show our greatest perceived vulnerabilities that we usually hide from the world alongside our greatest assets. These are the moments when we see the truth about ourselves and either love or hate it.

Can you stand to look at and love yourself in the mirror straight out of sleep or when you are exhausted and just want to crawl into bed? If yes, kudos. If no, allow me to ask why? It’s not random that many of us don’t like what we see when we look at ourselves. It’s a plan from darkness to disrupt what God has said is good so that we move away from the master plan.

Nothing happens outside God’s realm of knowledge.

This simply means that He was aware from scratch who we are and that this is the road we would take to be in this place on this particular day. This awareness will make Him allow the insecurity but ensure He has planted enough signs in and around us that tell who we are and how he sees us that we may hold onto that reality, deal with the matters at hand and choose the right way… His way!

I remember the conversation because even as I had been complemented I was still wondering if I was actually looking beautiful after a long day in the sun, driving around the city and helping others achieve their goals. Then I remembered all the glances that kept coming my way as I passed different people all day. The heads that turned as we drove into the garage, the ones that turned as we negotiated for wares by the road, or as my little man and I crossed the road, or as four of us walked into a restaurant. The ones that turned as we walked to the car, as we entered the supermarket, as we chatted with friends outside the restaurant or the guard at the gate as we drove into the estate.

None saw how worn out I felt on the inside and I realised the calmness was because I was leaning on the strength my Papa had given. The tiredness was only evident to those I had spent the day with who knew just how much we had expended as well as a few family members who know me well. I’m not always at my best when I am tired but my Papa makes all things beautiful regardless of the situation and this was one such time.

So I choose to believe that since He created me and said “Beautiful,” when He was finished, I can stand on the same and be sure that in my most natural form…

…I am beautiful: I am beloved

The Simple Life

You Are Just Perfect


We are conditioned very early about how the right size, the right fashion, make up choices, good hair etc. gets us the right kind of attention and makes us more appealing. There is nothing better than loving yourself but for many women this is a figment of imagination.

Often we aren’t aware of the intensity of the messages we hear about our weight, looks, dressing etc. or how they take root on the inside to make us insecure and leaving us feeling less than good enough if we don’t do certain things. Even more interesting is watching clothing sites. Have you ever noticed how good clothes look on the models and then when you see locals in the same outfits they don’t look as good? Oh it isn’t all of them because there are West African models whose photos are so beautiful they are used because of the great fit of the clothes.

The misfit is simply because our African girls are built differently.

I know this struggle very personally because I am two different sizes. Hahaha! Seeing is believing! For most of my life it has been hard to find clothes with the right fit. This made shopping such a nightmare because I couldn’t get dresses that fit so I would have to have my clothes tailored.

I remember going to a tailor who took measurements but when she begun the work she decided the measurements were wrong because no one can have a ten-inch difference between waist and hip measurement. Really? In a village not far from ours there are girls who are more than twenty inches hip and waist difference. In another instance, another designer was taking my measurements and suddenly he laughed. When I asked him what was up, he said he kept forgetting the last measurement because my dimensions are so diverse.

So why do clothes look so different on models from many of our African girls? Well, we are simply built super differently and need to take that into account. God did some really special work when He built African girls.

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Do you believe that you are so breathtakingly beautiful that God would create you the same way if He put you together?

I didn’t believe and it took a long time for me to understand it. Self-worth is a personal journey that coach highlighted today. ‘If you don’t believe in and love yourself it won’t matter what anyone says. They could tell you every day how hot you look but all you will hear is ………………….. nothing! The only way to get past it is to deal with the issues and learn to love yourself for who you and then the confidence will pour out of you.’

In my case, he was right. I had heard for many years what the dimensions of the perfect body were and I was past those dimensions by my thirteenth birthday so you can imagine how I felt about myself after that. It took a long time to find the root of the thoughts and deal with them so I was stuck in limbo. The journey of 2018 has made me deal with my perspectives and beliefs so many of the issues I had have dissolved in the face of God. He debunked my personal opinions and showed me His perspective and my jaw dropped.

He loves me just as I am; I am beautiful just as I am; He would never change how He made me.

What will it take for you to believe you are beautiful and everything about you is just perfect according to God’s plan? You are dearly loved.

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The Simple Life

The Sugar Process!!


Strength is found in asking God to help and having people who keep me in check too.

Yes, I said people who will keep me in check. These are travel companions; people destined to be by my side and me by their side as we all rise into the fullness of who God says we are. These are people willing to seek God about me and ask all the hard questions I need to ponder and answer to trigger the next step. People who love me enough to keep me accountable and hold me close when I don’t have the strength to walk. Indeed, this is my walk and I must choose to remain in it but I need people I love enough to be totally honest with and ask hard questions too.

Why do I need people who ask questions?

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Questions are the key to really deal with the issues of life. They bring thoughts and emotions to the surface and show us what to deal with. I have found that the things that bring tears to our eyes or make us blazing mad are the things we need to deal with. When we add God to the equation it may feel like being between a rock and a tough stone with no escape but it ensures all things are dealt with making life smoother. God knows what can break us or make us mad but He needs us to depend on Him and rise above emotions and be fully dependent on Him.

It’s part of our training to be soldiers in His army.

The intention is to move our allegiance from the things we can do to the might and power of God and dependence on only those He has highlighted. The first step is to strip us of all their comforts and dependence on self and then build up total allegiance to and dependence on Him and His word including those assigned to us; think of the buddy system in the army. Yes, we are human and do have emotions but His intention is that we connect to His emotions, His heart, His mind, His people, His way. Remember how Jesus was mad about what people had done in the temple? He was upset about how people were dealing with God and His word not his own flesh.

Moses was angry when the Israelites wanted God’s presence yet when he left they turned and did their things that satisfied their flesh. He expressed God’s heart but broke the tablets… So he had to make a new one. I realised that when we express emotions outside God we cause harm to others.

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Emotions affect how we deal with life. They affect how we respond to everything including food, exercise, stress, joy and everything else. So I wonder, are my emotions causing the distraction by sugar? What is the trigger? How do I get past them and focus on the road ahead?

The support to deal and overcome is a guarantee; I just have to decide to deal and overcome.

 

The Simple Life

Ah…The Root of Sweetness


Remember how I said, I am learning to deal with my stuff? What are the odds that a conversation with one of my young people would be the trigger to confirm the urgent need to deal? That simple conversation was the key I needed to begin unpacking this matter.

I don’t understand why I am still here…I thought I had dealt with this matter?

What happened?

I got really mad with someone and it felt like it was all coming back.

What do you mean?

I was chatting with Sue and she was annoying and I asked her to stop but she wouldn’t and just like that I was raging mad. If she wasn’t my little sister I might have snapped harder.

Oh wow!

How do I get past this?

Remember the secret place?

Yes, I remember that.

What is it?

A personal place where I meet with God and connect to His word over me!

Absolutely! This is where all dealing happens and change starts.

How?

It starts with finding God, spending time with Him, learning to hear His voice and know His heart, mind and His plan for me.  Learning that His ways aren’t like ours and even when it does not make sense, there’s still a solid plan. In the end, it is about knowing He’s got us no matter what.

But it is so hard.

It could feel like that but even though it takes a lot of patience, it is worth it.

Ha! There it was…the one thing I needed to stop at and understand. “It takes patience but it is worth it.” My mind came back to my dealings with sugar and the challenge it has been getting over it. I sat at my desk wondering what skills have I had learnt from this walk to ensure that I deal with this sugar thing decisively.

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What had I forgotten in the process that would be the key to overcoming this challenge? It had to be thinking not ordinary aimless thinking but deep and focused often described as meditation. Choosing to be immersed in the truth of the situation and finding the root of the challenge. Thinking is the key to getting out of this space and I have lots of questions.

  • How much sugar do I actually eat? This is in all its forms including cookies, biscuits, cake, fruit, chocolate, drinking chocolate, sugar in coffee…everything
  • How often do I take something with sugar? It takes a little tracking including photos to understand the frequency and portion size of the same.
  • How much is my limit? We have to determine what the maximum intake is and stick with it.
  • How do I get to and stay below my limit? This is the big one. It takes effort and commitment and it has to be consistent.

I am a work in progress!

The Simple Life

Oh Sugar!!


There have been days I wondered why I haven’t written for a while then I realise that my process has been changing. I cannot begin to explain all the changes I have been through but let me just say all the changes have been hard to attain and worth going on.

Food has been something I continually have to deal with so let’s talk about it.

At the start of the process, it was evident that I needed to deal with the sugar factor. I have said before that I didn’t even realise just how much sugar I ate, however as the days have gone on it never ceases to amaze me how much I still love sugar. Yes…I have said it…sugar still has an impact on me.

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There was a time when the pull was less but over the last few weeks, it has become really hard to keep away from sugar. I don’t know why but I am working hard to unravel the truth of it. Chocolate has and continues to be a good friend but I have to be stronger than it. It is even harder when my favourite local shop is now stocked with all the imported chocolates I love. HA! Life has jokes.

 “You can tell the truth of a person by their appetites,” Daddy Chigbo.

What does this need for sugar especially chocolate, say about me? How come sugar still has such a pull? How come I haven’t got past this point or how come it comes back again and again? What do I need to crack and who must I become before I can say I have overcome this mountain completely? What is holding me back?

Remember I keep talking about having a picture from God about where we are going? Well, I wonder if I lost that picture for a moment when I struggled to overcome sugar. Looking back, my life hit a wall and I couldn’t see a way out and wait patiently wasn’t working for me so I allowed myself to wallow in the situation and I allowed emotions to determine how I responded to life and the rest is history.

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Allowing the wallowing enabled an emotional imbalance that opened the door to finding solace in sugar…a place I had left. I didn’t really declare the truth of how much I was eating to anyone other than coach and though he didn’t say anything at first I could hear the wheels in his brain working. He has the gift of asking deep leading questions that get me thinking and I avoided each question by saying I don’t know.

Ha! God’s wisdom is amazing because even as coach seemed to be ignoring the matter he was gunning for the day he would ask the question again and because God is wise and above all, it would be the day I was ready t0 deal with the matter.

Rest assured that God is not mocked or duped and when I think I am hiding things from Him, He is simply waiting for me to choose to be honest with Him and myself. The work He is doing is all about me and not about showing off to the cloud of witnesses. I cannot blame anyone for my current state and I have to look inward and deal honestly with me…that is what I am doing…dealing

The sugar challenge is simply the excuse God has used to get my attention.

The Simple Life

The Road Out


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In the face of the doubt I was facing, I needed to find a better out. In the past I would take a scripture and stand on it, repeating it in my heart and out loud hoping and praying it would become a reality. It didn’t!! Now for those of us who are honest, it never ever works well. You don’t believe me? Let me ask…How many times have you received a word, stood on a scripture and nothing changed? Or only small things changed and you wondered what was wrong? In the end it left you feeling that you have done something wrong or said the devil has blocked your blessing. Had he?

I determined that my walk was going to be different.

I reached back for help and found it in something Coach always says; ‘Embrace it.’ What he means is simple. Do not deny the situation at hand; face it head on, analyse it and deal with everything that rises sector by sector. Sounds simple enough? Believe me it is but the simplicity comes from practise.

My first look into the face of the doubt was jarring because it exposed my underbelly in ways I wouldn’t have even anticipated. It showed areas of weakness, unresolved issues, hurt, fear and shame. It showed the genesis of the struggle that was in me and that I would never have known existed and for a split second I felt weak and useless then I caught myself.

Yes these things existed but they did not define me and they didn’t have to stay. Yes, I had failed repeatedly but that didn’t make me a failure. Yes, I had been stunted in my growth but I am mot unable to grow. This was the seed of hope I needed. Hope arose that with God, I could deal with this matter once for all.

The place to start dealing was the feelings that I couldn’t complete the assignment or keep consistent then deal with the consistent start stop of the process. The root of these feelings are past failures that I had worn like a badge. Failures become badges when we hold onto them as evidence that we tried something that didn’t work. We keep going back to that marker and say… ‘See…I tried and failed before why try again?’

Dealing forced me to see all the badges I had hung on the wall of my life that had become ungodly memorials. Yes, I said ungodly memorials because God didn’t ordain those memorials to be placed. These were standing in the way of His work because I couldn’t get past them and here I was asking Him to help me. Sha!!! Nothing will change if I don’t change my mind.

Do not be conformed any longer to the patterns of this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Rom 12:2.

This was the only way out I had. No more victim behaviour. No more it has failed in the past. No more I don’t know then doing nothing about it. The focus shifted to standing on the word God has spoken. What He said is all that I can stand on. Where He sends is where I will go no matter how ill-equipped I may feel.

It took effort to shift my mind to this plane but it has been so worth it.

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The new mindset has shifted my focus in all ways. On a recent trip there were so many obstacles to the journey but the one thing I was certain of if that we must travel. The lessons of stand on the word, face the situation and deal with matters sector by sector is what kept me going.

Victory is sure when we hear the word of God and stand on it despite and in spite of the circumstances.

 

The Simple Life

Unexpected Guests


You know that day you need to just chill and do nothing? I have had a couple of those of late. It has been as if my mind and body needed a break and whether or not I wanted to I had to take it. What was interesting was the guilt that checked in. Yeah…it moved into my room.

It begun with the incessant thought that I need get up and do something but my body would say no. What do you mean no way? We have made a commitment to do something every day and yet here you are slacking off. Come on body and mind, align and keep your word. Join forces and keep walking.

Ha! This time the body and mind didn’t align…period. The next thing that packed was my writing. It wasn’t just staring at a blank sheet of paper for long. The words flowed but they were totally disjointed words. Imagine reading your writing and thinking, ewwwww!!! Who wrote that?

What did I do? Simple, I stopped it all!

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I put my feet up and my pen down and spent time just being, reading and thinking. The only thing I didn’t really stop was watching what I ate. I was so torn by the situation. On one side I wanted to be up and about keeping things together and on the other hand I was like whatever…it will come back when it comes back.

It was also interesting that none of my accountability partners pushed me during this period. It was as if they knew something was afoot. My lil man sat back and watched while coach didn’t say a word. It was hard because on the inside I was feeling pressure to keep to the agreement I had made and I was beginning to w0nder what was wrong with me. What was most perplexing was that every time I asked God about things, He was silent.

For a few moments I wondered what I could have done to make Him silent. I was like why is God so silent? Have you ever had the thought that things won’t work out the way you planned because you have failed in the past? Or have you wanted to do something so bad but the fact that others have failed has you worried?

Say hello to doubt…that feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. Guilt had opened the door for doubt to come visiting and doubt was a nasty guest.

Suddenly clarity came…exercise was always my greatest point of doubt. Oh food could have been an issue I had conquered it before, I knew my triggers and how to overcome them but exercise…that was a different story. In my heart of hearts, I had an innate fear of failing and didn’t think I had it in me to make it or keep walking all the way to the end.

Oh I had never really accepted that I could be plagued with doubt because all my life I done the best I could to conquer everything I did and never admitted publicly to the things that scared me. I kept it hidden from the world behind a veneer of confidence and hope.

Now was time to grow and live out the truth of Hebrews 11:1…

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

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