Write This Down


I set my fitness goals and started as I could which was easy, tackling my eating. Hahahaha! I chuckle because people around me know I have been a careful eater all my life. In some circles I am even said to eat leaves and twigs, in others I am the one who doesn’t drink milk, in others I am the one who eats too little. There are so many ways I look like a good eater and I used to pat myself on the back. Key words…used to!

So the plan began with a food diary. What is a food diary? Oh quite simple…a record of all you eat. Most food diaries are a written record of what one eats but mine is different. I am very visual so the option I have taken is a picture of everything I eat and share it with coach. Wololo…how do I explain it? Take a picture of everything and I mean everything I eat and share it with someone else. Mind blowing!

Oh I started it, yes I did and I took a picture diligently but my word…when I started to see what I was eating through the eyes of another…that was intense. It wasn’t easy because I had to share a part of my life that I liked to keep private. I felt stripped, exposed, showcased. Then my real habits came to the fore; the things I thought I had under control like sugar popped up everywhere.

Oh my…how did it get this bad? I have always been proud of myself for portion sizing but I wasn’t really watching the other things I was eating in between meal times. Neither was I watching how much water or coffee I was drinking or if I was getting enough exercise. I also wasn’t watching how I was responding to work pressure with food. I just wasn’t watching because I thought I had a healthy lifestyle.

In a blink, I could see where all the weight I had gained came from…my plate and my habits. It all came to a grinding halt there. Why hadn’t I seen it? I wasn’t paying attention…simple. As difficult as that was to accept I decided to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

It got me thinking about the things I didn’t know about myself. If I didn’t know how much I was eating, what else was unaware about in my life? What else was there to learn? How could I change the direction of my life with greater knowledge of myself? Could my life change significantly by the simple move of writing things down?

My eating habits indeed started changing because I was logging it. I was able to see myself with a new set of eyes and without outside interference understand where I needed to make change. I was able to see things I had agreed to do different with God that I hadn’t been honest about that were holding me back. So I determined to keep logging the truth of my meals and am finding great strength to change permanently from that.

Lesson of the day: Write this down

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. Habakkuk 2:2

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5

 

Start Here


In my last post, I mentioned my fitness buff friend who said I needed to sleep over my decision to get active about my health and fitness. How hard could this really be? I mean, watch what I eat and do a few simple workouts…how hard could it be? Wah!!!!

So I said let’s start but how about we finish the holidays and start in the New Year? Hahaha!!! He’s like why not tomorrow? Wait a minute…the tomorrow he was talking about was December 26th, 2017. Who in their right minds would start a new fitness program during the holiday’s right? I know you agree with me but that is the wrong answer. Gotcha!!

Why is it the wrong answer? I realised that any day can be a new beginning so why wait another give days to change my life?  I started the fitness regime that day…26.12.2017. I know right? Of course on the outside it looked like madness but my heart knew it was the right thing to do.

The hardest part was on December 25th night. Yes! Christmas night. While everyone around me was relaxing I had to figure out things…talk about no rest for the weary. Why was I doing this? What was my current weight and target weight? What would I change in my diet? How will I keep on track? You would think that coach would help right? Woi!!! He flat out refused!

I was like…what? You are the one pushing this; why are you being difficult? I bet you want to know his answer. It was so annoying but true. It was really simple, if I was serious about it I needed to figure it all out; what I wanted, when I would start, how I propose to do it and how I would be kept accountable. Surely a little help would be nice, right?

It is true that a little help wold be nice but I needed to figure most of these things out. In the last few months of my journey God has been clear that only He can direct my steps so I needed to consult with Him first. I know I had never told coach about this part of my life but God in His wisdom and madness gave coach a stand that led me right back to my pattern. Coach’s only demand was that I figure it out quickly and tell him.

This God! Eish! He is so beyond me. How does He set me up with the perfect source of strength who wouldn’t take my excuses and give that very source a plan that would push me back to Him for direction? So the journey started with me having to figure out what I needed to do and why from the perspective of my Father in heaven.

Then I stood on the scale and we discovered where I was in weight (I almost cried at the number) and where I wanted to be. Next was to understand why I needed to do this. By many standards I am not big just curvy in all the right places. However, there is an internal standard I have with God and the scale had already told me I was above where I needed to be. See…that extra needed to be dealt with. Now I had the right perspective and reason to start the journey.

This left me wondering what else I need to look at and deal with from God’s perspective. Who does He know me as that I have not yet attained but as long as I keep walking He will keep providing the help I need?

I know, there is nothing better! Everything is working out in ways that can only be God.

IMG20180106150655.jpg

Never Say Never


Never say never! I have heard this over and over but in this season it holds absolutely true in a new way. Let me explain.

I have said that I don’t need to work out because I can control my weight with just diet. Don’t even laugh. I know there are people who do that but there was a bigger reason I would say it. You see I have tried over and over to exercise and have failed miserably. You know where you do everything you know to do and it still doesn’t pan out as expected. That was me. I have started and stopped so many times I don’t even say that I want to exercise anymore.IMG20180109065340.jpg

Last year I kept feeling I needed to add something substantively exercise to my life but once again, for the life of me I couldn’t wrap my mind around how to make it work. I asked God for help and left it there. You know those things you do just because you can but don’t really expect anything different? Yeah! It was one of those ones.

Mid December, yes a full year passed, I was chatting with a friend about health and fitness and how it is something I’d like to do but don’t know how. Oh…I didn’t know what I was saying in that moment. He simply said he could help but I had to decide what I want and if I really want it since he doesn’t play games and will drive me hard. Hahahaha, I thought…what is the worst that could happen. He even said sleep over it before you decide and I was like for what??? A bit of exercise? Eish…be serious!

Wah!!! I should have known…when someone gives you a disclaimer repeatedly and tells you to think about it…there is something they know that you don’t and whatever it is can come back and bite you on the nose…Heh! Wacha tu!!! Hold it!!! Deep breath!!! Calm down!!! This one…it was only for God help me because I committed myself without much thought.

You know that day when you decide that you what walking with God could be like then when you start you are like….oh God! what did I get myself into? He simply says walking with me! Yet there you are thinking ati what? This is what walking with you looks like? I thought walking with you is all smooth sailing and peace, no pain or heartache. I thought it would be a breeze…but in reality it’s so much harder.

Then I remembered how God works with us telling us that he has it and we just have to decide to walk with Him. I remembered that He will never force us to do anything but will simply ask us to trust Him. He will never take us where he cannot keep us. he will never lead us where the path will destroy us. There are  bigger questions to answer:

  • Do we trust Him enough to let go and let Him hold us to account for our lives?
  • Do I trust Him enough to believe that His plans are indeed good and have a future and hope in it?
  • Are we in the place where what we want is what we pursue regardless of His plan for us?

Tempted to Look Down


The last few posts have been about the temptation as it today’s but I want to look at something different; a very surprising one if I say so myself because it surprised me too.

I was negotiating a payment a while back and had used what I making in business as a base and multiplied it by a factor that I thought was good to go. One of my sisters called and asked what I had settled for  followed by some really hard questions about how I arrived at that figure. I explained it and when asked why I thought it was the perfect amount, I couldn’t really say. I think I had just guessed it. Over coffee she asked a myriad of questions and did some calculations then she drastically increased the asking price, and I mean drastically increased it with solid reasoning behind the rise. I was aghast! 

It wasn’t the price that got me rather how off base I was with what I had thought was adequate. A while later when I was once again negotiating a fee for a job and I gave a figure I thought was fair but was later told I needed to value myself better.

It doesn’t end there; another situation came to mind. 

In a conversation with God when I was changing work situations, He asked me to consider earning twice my then net pay. I almost screamed in shock (well, actually I did). Why? I was already able to do so much with what I was earning so why would I need more? Anyway, after a few days I accepted the amount as a possibility but guess what, the next week He upped the figure to almost three times my current pay. What did I do? You can guess; I stalled. Yes I did!!! I sat there and couldn’t understand why He would have me earn that kind of money. I had never wanted much from life and that may not be a good thing. I was used to settling and making do with what I have never making too many demands.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with money, what I am looking at here is my attitude. In this instance, I had a poor view of who I am in comparison with God’s view of me and agenda for me. It was clear that I saw myself as less than He did and didn’t even know that. I bet you never thought that possible; yet it is the truth.

Romans 12:3 is absolutely clear that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought but very little is said about thinking too lowly of ourselves. It operates like low self-esteem and often stems from the thought that we are being humble. In truth, we must choose not to yield to the temptation to undervalue ourselves and therefore lower our standards in life or expectations. This is worse than thinking too highly of oneself because it is denying the reality of God’s view of us and living our lives on a lower plane…false humility!

Sound strange right? Just give it a moment to sink in!

This low expectation of oneself is often based on a false sense of humility we learn early on in life. We learn to respond to life in a certain way so as to gain acceptance. How do we learn it? By the things we are told to do or not, talk about or not to talk about etc. It also comes from being told girls should behave this way and boys should behave that way or just accept what comes your way  others have had it worse.

What is the solution for this?

It goes back to a question I ask people all the time; Who has God said you are? This is God’s spoken word to each one about how he sees us and therefore must remain the minimum standard to live by. This must become the definition of our lives. When we live by this definition our steps are carefully guided, our choices are made with certainty and our path is secure.

The big question here is; what is your perspective of yourself? 

What has informed your perspective? When did you develop it? Are you on track or off track? How do you get back on track? Have you let yourself believe you are less than who God says you are?

Do not yield into the temptation to undervalue yourself. It is not worth it and will guarantee you become less than all you are slated to be. You are the beloved of God, destined for greatest and impact…don’t sell yourself short like I almost did.

 

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Rom 12:3

The Journey to Perfection…


On the soul’s journey to perfection, there are so many things that go on. We go through different stages and grow at different rates. One of the greatest struggles we go through is temptation. There is so much so say about temptation and its different stages. There are people bring clarity about the most complex topics in simple ways…you know those people right? One of mine is Samuel Phillips, the son of my father and my brother.

The first stage is the animal stage where we are content to live in the gratification of our senses, totally unaware to the knowledge of sin or our divine inheritance. We are also altogether unaware of the spiritual possibilities within us.

IMG_20171114_182217-EFFECTS.jpgThe second stage is the dual stage where the mind is awakened to the reality of its animal and divine tendencies and continually oscillates between the two. It is a state of continual fighting, falling and rising, sinning and repenting because we still love our lives yet we aspire to a life of purity and excellence; the spiritual state. In reality we are continually mortified by this inability to choose and the divine life within us makes this stage fraught with pain, anguish and suffering.

The third stage is knowledge. In this stage, man rises above sin and temptation and enters into peace. Temptation is now a passing phase because he has new understanding and he uses this understanding to measure his level of growth. When man fully understands the source, nature, and meaning of temptation, he is able to conquer it. Temptation is simply a pointer to what a man has not conquered and nothing more. It shows where his animal desires beat his soul. For every man is tempted by the desires of his heart and these desires show the direction of that heart.

The greatest place of congregation is the dual stage where people judge themselves and others against a never ending list of do’s and don’ts. The net result is struggling to keep our feet on the ground as well as how to get up when we fall down. You know those times when you do something you don’t want to and beat yourself over and over again until there is nothing but guilt left? So many of us are stuck here judging and being judged and taking pride in pointing out people who we believe aren’t living right.

IMG_20171127_183428.jpgIt is so easy to look down one’s nose at others and talk about all the things we are seeing that could be ‘wrong’ with them. I was there a while back, so confident in myself until the day I did something so ‘big’ that it didn’t leave my mind for years. Today, that sounds so foolish to me because I know there is no ‘big or small’ sin or temptation. Temptation is temptation! Sin is sin! Wah! Just imagine being super confident in your ability to live right then you hit a bump so big that you fall apart and the real you is exposed.

Coming face to face with our mortality and fallibility is important because we understand that our walk with God is not a result of our goodness. It helps us understand that we will face temptation but have a choice to move closer to God or remain in the same place. Remember, “Temptation is simply a pointer to that which a man has not conquered and nothing more.”

 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13

Am I living the way I do because I want to keep people happy or do I live by the word I have heard from God Himself through His word and confirmed by His servants.

He Tested ME


IMG_20171118_180845.jpgNo man can be tested outside of what he has learnt, and no one can be tempted outside of his own fleshy desires. That you are tested shows you are ripe for promotion and that you are tempted shows you are growing and maturing. For example, a prostitute cannot be tempted with sex, neither can a drunk be tempted with alcohol. It is just a natural state of such base existence so temptation can’t come into it. Therefore, this means that whatever you are tempted by is what you are growing out of. So are you tempted, don’t kill yourself over it. Just take a look at your heart and see clearly the beauty of the seed of Christ in you that shows you are growing.

Do all to pass the test of the things you’ve learnt and do all to rise above your desires, for in doing these two, you rise into conformity to Christ.

Samuel Phillips

******************************************

I came across this post recently and it resonated very deeply. A few days later, I was chatting with a group young people on the subject. Talk about advance provision of notes. This God!

In our discussions, it became apparent that we all have things we struggle with in our hearts and minds, that others neither see nor know about. This is because the real us, is hidden behind whatever ‘masks’ we wear. Those hidden places are the spots God is dealing with in us and we know what we should be working towards; what God has told us about who we are and where we are going.

However the conversations with the young people brought to light how being less than we know we should be really affects us. Many of them were feeling low because they were totally stuck in struggles they needed ways out of and they wanted to be much further along in their life journey. This situation left them feeling like failures because they hadn’t conquered everything in life.

Why would they feel like they have failed yet they were making progress? Why would this load be so heavy? In their opinion, all the older believers they knew weren’t struggling with anything. There was an outer presentation of ‘perfection’ and ‘having arrived’ that the older believers had which put pressure on the younger ones to achieve. The net result was they were hiding their struggles to look good yet they were distressed within.

A certain conversation with my father came to mind and the lessons I had recently learnt from him.

Not one to keep facades, I set out to burst that bubble with a series of questions.

  • How many times have older people hidden fear behind smiles?IMG_20171118_181827.jpg
  • How often have parents hidden their fear behind strict rules, regulations, anger or threats?
  • How many times have we kept our phones with secret locks and always on our person because of things on them?
  • How many times have we failed to share how we made our wealth because we did a deal many years ago that got us the right footing but we paid someone something?
  • How many times have we changed our story because the truth wasn’t how we wanted to be known?

I didn’t have real answers to these questions but they created points of comparison to their own behaviour and that of others around them. You should have seen their eyes when they realised that we all struggle with different things. We could almost touch the relief and a load was lifted from their backs.

It also led me to track people in scripture who sinned but God extended grace. Think of David, who seemed like a perpetual sinner but God had mercy on him every time because his heart was in the right place. However, at the end of the day, David committed to walk with God always and he was called a friend of God. Ananias and Sapphire lied but twice they were given the opportunity to redeem themselves by telling the truth but they were more concerned about looking good so they lied and as a result died.

I have found courage in my brother’s words, “whatever you are tempted by is what you are growing out of.”

This means that the place God is focusing on to help me grown in and become all He sees me as is the place testing starts. Testing is the stepping stone to my next reality and revelation. It is the area He needs dealt with out of the way so that I may walk in the fullness of how He sees me.

He will not let me remain lost forever rather He will press and prod until I become all He sees me as. He will not give up on me the same way He didn’t allow Hosea to give up on Gomer. However, His eternal desire for me to reach fullness doesn’t give me the license to live in wanton sinfulness otherwise He will hand me over to my fleshly desires and raise another to be and do all that is established for me.

I choose to say; Not on my watch Lord! Not on my watch!

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13 NKJV

 

Hearing God is a Choice


I know he speaks to all of us but hearing and responding aright is a choice. To really hear is to listen to what he has to say and then act accordingly. Hearing God is a choice.

Recently I was pleasantly surprised by friend I will call Jane. She is young and in a tight position financially so every coin she earns is budgeted. Over a period, she had been thinking about me and sensed that God would have her bless me. She had a very specific instruction down to what to do, when, how much and why. She also knew that this assignment was time bound but her perception of herself and her capabilities stood in the way and it took two weeks for her to finally agree to act.

Once she made up her mind, it became clear to her that we would meet on a certain day at a certain meeting and it was now time for her to follow through with her instruction. The funniest part is that she was still bargaining about that matter and telling God many long stories.

Long story short, we meet on the appointed day and I am clueless about her predicament but she pulls me aside and shares her experience. I am totally tickled as she begins to share her two week battle with God. No, it is not because I think she is funny, I am tickled because her process and mine overlapped during that period. Just a day or two before she had the impression to bless me, I asked God for something very specific.

A few years ago, God taught me how he supplies our needs. He asks for specifics. I had always asked for money to buy this or pay for that and for a period there it wasn’t coming. One day after a long fight, he simply asked, what do you need? And I gave him a shopping list of what I needed. I honestly needed food and clothes for the family so I wrote the list out. Wah! In the next few days, yes I just said days, everything on that list arrived in my house in the right quantity. Even more interesting were the unlikely people who brought these things.

So I know that is my process with God. When I need something, I ask very specifically so I had written my shopping list for him. As the supply of the said item continued to run low, I reminded God that we needed to replenish that item and I was open to know how to do it. So imagine Jane’s shock when she got to the end of her story and I was not surprised.

I wasn’t shocked because this is how God dealt with me but Jane was floored and not for the obvious reason. Yes she was shocked that I would need the exact thing that she had in her heart to give me and the amount quoted had a calculation behind it but there was a bigger reason for her shock. You see, in her mind, she was the last person she would expect to be the source of something for me. I am not special nor do I have extravagant tastes but she had internally judged herself as unable to help others because of her situation. She was worried how she would survive now that God had leaded her to give away a portion of what she had yet he knew she didn’t have much.
This dear people is the matchless hand of God at working clearly knowing what each girl needs and raising the channel that would provide. When each of us learned to listen and really obey placing our full trust in His promise to provide; he is moved to cause his word to perform.

The key thing was to shift our focus from our capacity to sort things out based on what is in our hands so we are blind to see his capacity to use each one as a vessel of mercy. Each of us had to trust. Jane had to trust that giving away that thing wouldn’t affect how she would survive the rest of the month and I had to trust that as long as I have told my father what I need he is doing all he can to provide it.

He spoke to each of us and we had a choice about how we responded. We each had to trust that when God says he’ll anything it doesn’t matter what is going on around us or how long it takes, that thing will come to pass. This will get us to the place of faith where no one can shift us no matter how good or dire the situation is.

That is his deepest desire for us; that we may be secure in Him and therefore secure in our walk with Him and the sound of his voice. This security then makes us unshakable, unchangeable and unstoppable. When we are secure in Him as God then we can ‘step off the cliff’ no matter what.

Would it be us that our lives would be fully poured out for Him and His glory? Would it be that we may fully produce ONLY Him because we are so deeply steeped in Him.

Shalom