A few conversations this week got me thinking. What is happening to the plans we made at the start of the year? Where are we in the plan for these things? Are they still valid, have some of them been thrown off track or are they all on track? I can say with confidence, that life as we knew it has changed. Nothing is or ever will be the same again.
Many didn’t imagine we would be working in these conditions. Many didn’t think it was possible to be home for three months or out of work in a blink. Many children were happy to close early but are now missing their teachers and friends. Some businesses have closed for a little while others have closed their doors for the last time.
HR professionals have the daunting task of showing people the door when they don’t even know how much longer they have their own jobs. CEOs and Founders are grappling with how to keep the doors open, lights on and staff working despite enormous and unanticipated cash crunches. So what happens now when it all feels like it is falling apart?
Is there a glimmer of hope in such trying times?
What happens when we have a promise or vision we are waiting on and we are not careful to make sure it happens? We can say that life is hard and things aren’t working and we give up along the way but surely there has to be a plan that will work no matter what and we can find a way. In so many ways it feels like we are in a place of confusion and unsure what we are doing and how we will go forth. It is even more intense when we realise we aren’t the first to experience challenges and we will not be the last. That really caught my attention.
Genesis 25 blew my socks off. First off I had never really thought about how many children Abraham had. The focus on Isaac had until now hidden some facets of his life. So I began counting the sons and almost got distracted. I almost spent long hours just looking at those sons and maybe I will do that later.
It all begun to clear up as I read…
Abraham had a promise in Isaac and even with all his other actions, he stood firm on the promise and acted as such. His posture as he got older and more settled into the realities of walking with God became stable and still like a rock set in quick-dry, high strength cement and nothing moved him from his position.
Genesis 56:5-6 really fascinate me…5 And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. 6 But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east. To stand solid on the word of God, Abraham gave his other sons an inheritance and dispatched them to another so he could make room for only the child of promise to inherit what was promised to him. This got me thinking about life.
Do I fully stand for and on the promises my life is built on?
Do I give everything to build the purpose of my life? Do I ensure that all possible distractions are removed even physically if need be to protect the word? Do I move away from places that would be a hindrance? What happens when the promised fruit is slow in coming? What do I do when the promised realities are invisible? Do I believe and work on the promise and assignment no matter what?
Abraham’s whole life was about that reality. His father Terah left Ur of the Chaldeans and led them to Haran where he died. Then God led Abraham out of Haran to the Promised Land and appeared to him several times. He almost sacrificed his son on the Word of God. He went to war against 5 kings for the sake of Lot. He pleaded for Sodom because his nephew was there. He sent his servant to bring a wife for his son with absolute faith that he would come back. The final thing he did to secure the promise was to the boy’s inheritance so that Isaac’s heritage was secured.
Abraham gave it all for the promise.
God called Abraham and he responded in the affirmative. Abraham believed God’s word over him and made a covenant with God then guarded it jealously. He believed it even when nothing seemed possible. He laughed when the promise was discussed but corrected his position when questioned. He believed God so deeply that it was credited to him as righteousness. He was dedicated even to the potential loss of everything to preserve the promise.
Can we do that?
Can we hold onto the promise of God and the plan He has given us no matter what? Are we willing to lose some things, gain others and course-correct daily to remain on the path no matter what? Can we stay set to the task, with a gaze set like flint even in a season like now in faith that God is who He says He is and you are who He says you are therefore your life will indeed manifest his word?
That is what it takes to deliver the promise put in your hands and become everything God sees in you and calls out from you. I know it sounds hard but it is really simple. If He said it is, nothing can change the plan unless you or I step out of the plan. Simple…really simple.
Is it always easy for me? Not at first. Do I go off course? Sometimes, but I have learnt to stop, assess, confess, repent, get back on the road and walk on. Every course correction makes me aware of my weaknesses and build in needed support structures. As we continue to walk together He has become the only one I lean on all the time because He will never fail me.
Know that it is possible.
Know that all things are possible for you and I when we believe and follow instruction to become
Know that you are appointed and will become what you decide to focus on and work towards.
Know that your God is able to do exceedingly abundantly, above all you could ask, think or imagine.
Know that He knew you from before and He is certain you are the best choice for this path.
Know your Father is true and never fails, but He watches over His word to perform.
Know that when you lean into God your path makes sense and will succeed.
Know that you can preserve the promise and attain the assignment.
Know that you are one of a kind with a one of a kind assignment.
Know that you are not alone and will never be alone.
Every time I thought about the haves and have nots, I would think about extremely rich people sipping champagne in their homes overlooking pristine green lawns just beyond their swimming pool. Or people living in leafy suburbs, who ever created that phrase, with two or more expensive cars in the drive, children in high end schools with trips abroad and holidays at exotic destinations. People living lives I envied.
It had always been clear that I did not belong to the haves and I needed to aspire to become one. We were taught to pursue possession and position with the intention of getting away from our roots of struggle and make a better life. This gave rise to clusters of things that would divide us into haves and have nots including education, place of origin, residence, type of home, tribe, languages spoken, place of work, position to name a few.
So imagine my surprise when my eyes begun to see another dimension.
In reality there will always be people who have more than me and those with less. There will always be something to aspire to, something to let go of, something to dream about and something to intentionally grow into. Unless I adjust my realities and perceptions I will always feel like a have not even when I have abundance with and within me.
We were raised to pursue recognition for power and influence but what if I already have so much more than I could ever dream? What if the things that cloud my vision is my world view? What if I need a different set of eyes and ears? It is quite simple…I must look at life from a place of gratitude and appreciation of what I already have. I must adopt a focus on tracking the good in my life will shift my focus and make me a better person to live with and be around.
I never thought I was a have until I realised I was.
It became apparent that I have many blessings that others don’t. Let me explain. If I have a roof over my head and a warm bed, I am a have. If my child can go to school every term with minimal stress, I am a have. If I can smile and celebrate life with people I love and appreciate, I am a have. If I still have a guaranteed job in this season, I am have. If I have peace of mind right now, I am most definitely a have.
If I have food on the table and water in my taps, I am a have. If I have hope for tomorrow and faith it will all work, I am a have. If I have a place to keep learning and growing, I am a have. If can take a holiday every once in a while, I am a have. If I have access to higher education when I need it, I am a have. If I have money to travel to and from work and other places I am a have. If I am loved deeply and truly, I am a have.
I am a have because I can get into a vehicle and travel to another county to work of visit friends, I don’t have to worry about my child being bored and hopeless because he is still able to access school and e-learning, my family is still together and adjusting well to spending so much time around each other.
Reality check: having isn’t about possessions, money or power.
Too often we are preoccupied with what we don’t have and spend our lives complaining about it yet we are in a good place. It is all about perspective and understanding. In Genesis the children of Israel were invited to live in Goshen and escape from the great famine God had predicted through Joseph. They came to fulfil the prophesy God gave in Gen 15:13 that they would be in captivity for four hundred and thirty years.
In Exodus we find them leaving Egypt in victory but later wandering the desert. They spent so much time complaining when Moses asked for their freedom and Pharaoh became obstinate. They spent even more time complaining about food and water in the dessert yet they were loaded with jewellery and fine linen. They were led by a pillar of light and cloud, they had manna provided every day and had the greatest signs and wonders of God provided for a whole people. They were in the sweet spot with God’s plan yet they complained and whined a lot.
They didn’t realise they are true haves…the one’s in God’s heart.
I must realise that I am a have because God loves me, created me for a reason and has given me a lot. I must understand that to him who much is given much is required so God has a big plan for me that I must rise into. There are places of growth in all of us to be fullness of the plan of God and I can only attain them if I stay close to him no matter what. I am a have because I have options and not because I have famous people around me.
As I look around and realise that I am a have because I cannot walk away from the plan of God. I am a have because the patterns of my life are building to a climax that must attain the will of God. I am a have because God has richly blessed me with life and love beyond measure.
Things come to a head when I must accept that I am a have then make my life count.
To think of myself as a have not changes my balance and sense of life and leads to complaining like the Israelites and we all know where that landed them. I must choose to be different and change my life and help others do the same. There are a few things that will make a lasting change to the state of my heart:
Acceptance: Appreciate what I have and have had in the past
Joy: Choose to be content with what I have and grateful what whatever else God is about to bring my way.
Speak out: Notice and stand up for those who have less and need an advocate.
Give: Find someone to share the bounty of my life with.
It is never easy to walk a separate path but it is important.
At the end of week I like to spend time looking back at the week, find lessons and places of growth. I know people who don’t like to look back because it shows them where they have failed but in my case, it is the only way I can grow consistently. It hasn’t always been easy to do but as I have gotten older (ha…I never thought I would use that phrase), I have learnt the value of looking back to grow and not to stagnate.
A few years ago, every time I looked back all I saw was the things I didn’t do well, the ones that failed, the places I embarrassed myself and all the other similar stuff. I would beat myself with a big stick and wallow in the mud for months on end even as I walked around with seeming confidence. In this period I learnt the fallacy of ‘fake it till you make it,’ in reference to my life. I faked it, and faked it and faked it but never really made it.
It took a candid self-evaluation to see the challenge.
The pattern of my life doesn’t allow faking or pulling the wool over people’s eyes. As I have learnt that, I have come to see the value to real, personal evaluation to get ahead and keep moving forward. It took collapsing businesses and really challenging situations to stop me in the tracks and begin to do different.
Can you imagine sitting with yourself starting the day with a to do list and at the end of every day, looking back at the list to find what you hit or missed? That was my pattern for a while. It got me on track and kept me moving forward because there were specific things I needed to get done and nine out of ten times I got more than eighty percent done and done well. It was disheartening to have things left on the list but it was encouraging to have things ticked off.
This worked until the list became a tether.
The reality that a good thing can become a hindrance really blew my mind open. Are lists good? Absolutely! Can they become bondage? You had better believe it! This realisation pushed me to find a way to have trackers in life that are supportive and not hindrances. It wasn’t easy but in time sense came.
Track life: I began to look for patterns in my life. What factors came together to indicate change was afoot? What mental postures happened in the middle of change? What indicators showed progress? Are there recognisable patterns in my life related to years, places, people, work etc? Can I see patterns that have repeated themselves? If there are repetitions, what is the time frame and extenuating circumstances? Wow!! The realisations blew my mind because I realised my life was built around patterns of four, seven and twelve (story for another day).
Think: For decades I heard the call to meditate and I thought it was a thing I couldn’t do. I was raised to do avoid things I didn’t understand and meditation meant some really weird things for me. In 2018 I begun to understand that meaning of meditation in the bible is tied to reading scripture and thinking deeply about it. taking the concepts of scripture and turning them every which way to gain clarity. Joshua 1:8-9 means to spend so much time in scripture that your mind is shifted and changed so you are able to see more and understand deeper.
Time out: The need to take time to get away from regular patterns to recharge, regroup and reposition stood out like an elephant in the desert. I always said that I could not afford to go away and it bothered me until I realised I could get away right in the confinement of my home. Time out is getting away from the routine so if I left my phone in another room and just take time to chill, read, pray, meditate or just be…it would really help
Life’s reality is that nothing remains static permanently.
Understanding that my life is bound to change and preparing for it as mentioned above, changed the trajectory of my life. I no longer throw sissy fits when people shift goalposts but I no longer stay if I am no longer needed. I have learnt to walk away from places I am no longer needed or where our values are no longer in sync. It has been hard sometimes because that meant I walked away from income but in the end the peace of mind and provision from my Father has resolved all the questions.
I have also learnt to hold my peace when arguing to defend my position won’t make a difference. It is more important to live a life that changes minds and creates possibilities than to talk about things that haven’t been seen before. So I check my walk constantly to ensure continuation and consistency. I also allow my people to take me to task about my behaviour and patterns because I know they are looking out for the Word God spoke over me.
Steady does it, so that is how I live my life going forth. Join me!!
So many things have fallen apart for some of us and it is scary. I have had countless conversations recently and they all lead back to anger, frustration, fear, worry and doubt. There have been job losses, pay cuts, loss of business, relationship conflict and so much more. The very things we have held close and viewed as proof of God at work in us have been ‘taken’ away and most of us don’t know what to do.
For so long we have sought simple, comfortable lives as evidence that we are in the right place with God. We have been content to learn habits and ways of life that have the appearance of good but don’t get us anywhere. We judge one another against standards that do us no good because they are external but we don’t even know they aren’t adding value.
We have been stripped of our ability to plan our lives.
We have lost the ability to see beyond tomorrow because we have nothing to hold onto. Think about how you started 2020. It was full of hope and peace but as we have gotten deeper into the year, it has become more challenging by the day. Remember the fireworks? Remember the celebration? I remember it so clearly.
We usually go to Carnivore to watch fireworks and it is usually a long heart stopping drive to get in and find the right parking spot then walk to the place with a perfect view if there are trees overhead where you are parked. This time we didn’t go in rather we settled on Langata road just around the exit from the bypass. I had known as we drove into Nairobi, I knew we wouldn’t be at the usual joint but I didn’t know why.
The atmosphere was different that day but I didn’t understand that.
I remember the clarity that we do something there was something different that day and nothing would be ordinary then and would be in 2020. I didn’t know what the actual mechanics would be but I knew in my heart something was different. There was a kind of charge in the atmosphere as if we had the opportunity to connect to something much bigger than us if only we understood it.
It was also different because unlike other years, we came straight back home and settled down to sleep. What do we usually do? We go out for tea with friends and stay up all night hanging out. 2020 started with deep reflection and conversation filled with calmness.
The thing that comes to my mind today is how deliberate God is.
Even as everywhere I look, I see despair and sadness because of the uncertainty around me, I know that is not the whole story. I don’t have to understand the whole story, because I know the writer. I don’t have to know the whole path, because I know my leader. I don’t have to have the full picture because His eyes are on the end game.
I know 2020 will be the best year yet. I know the goodness of God is available to me. I know God’s love abounds and covers me. I know I can trust Him who put the world together. I know that nothing can separate me from His love so I am safe. I know my Redeemer lives and I can lean on Him. He is my strong tower, shield and buckler, the strength of my life and my eternal portion.
I am strong and secure because my Father is the One.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills – From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to [a]be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your [b]keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.