It is in the unexpected places that we find strength.
For a long time, I expected that God would be found in very specific places only if we took very specific positions and said certain prayers. Recently I have had experiences I would never have anticipated that have affirmed my new belief that God is indeed everywhere and when he calls us to a place and assignment we are fully enabled for the task.
I work well at night but many times after a night of work, I need to get a set number of hours before I can function well. Recently I had an encounter where I needed to connect to something, and it took the whole night, and I had a full day the next day. I could have decided to go to bed when it was convenient, or I could determine to do the thing I needed to do.
I choose assignment over sleep.
The next day was long but even with very minimal sleep I was fully functional and able to handle work assignments very well. This got me wondering about how I deal with the important things in life. I focus on what is important and I find that is the thing that expands or increases. It is easy to focus on work and not on building faith or resting. Work will expand and increase but there will be a great cost in the other areas.
This ability to remain awake reminded me that I am only as strong as my weakest link or habit. If I struggle to workout or meditate or pray, I am only as strong as that struggle. The interesting thing is that no condition is final and there is room to change the outcome by listening to God and working out things as He says. Too simple? That is the truth of life…it is not rocket science once you understand the principles that are listed out outlined in His plan.
What are you choosing to focus on?
Be sure to choose wisely what you fix your eyes on. There are many things we need to consider about life and the impact we want to have. There are hundreds of people waiting to learn what I know, and if I do not rise, who do I expect to reach them and help them rise and thrive? There is a demand on my life to reveal an aspect of creation that has never been seen yet I am often waiting for approval to rise.
The day I realise the depth of the demand laid on me by God to make room for creation to become its fullness is the day I will live with abandon. It is the day I break away from the shackles of expectation because I will finally understand that the pattern of my life MUST be different from everyone around me because the outcome desired is unique.
The days seem shorter and the time seems to be flying by.
It has been quite a stretch to keep going because of the pain I feel inside. The last year has been long and challenging making me want to give up so many times. I lost so much but I did not know how to get it back or at least regain my footing and keep walking. So often I just wanted to curl up in the corner and cry. Even as many of the people around me joined as we sat in the corner waiting and wondering what is going on, there are few we saw who never gave up or lay down to sulk and cry like we did.
These people fascinate me because they seem unbreakable and unshakable until I saw one stop to take a break. We were in a meeting together and as soon as it was over, she walked out and went offline for a few hours. We usually talk several times a day but not this time. She just disappeared. I would not follow her, but I watched her online timeline, and she did not reappear for a while. Was she ok?
Why am I worried that something is wrong?
When you have people around you who live their lives a full throttle, you never expect them to need down time. You never think they could have bad or hard days. You never know what goes on in the background. I watched and waited to see how long it would be and it ended up being days before she appeared. Yes, I said days. Her profile had daily updates but this time she was silent for five days.
Could it be that I too could take time and be offline? Do I always have to be at full throttle? Did she know something I did not? not being one to hide questions, I asked her, and it was interesting when she said she needed time to re-group, so she went offline. She must have seen the shock on my face because she laughed then said,
“I needed to figure out a few things, so I took time out.”
It fascinated me that she was so calm about it. No apologies, no long stories, just simple words that changed my perspective. It is actually ok to be offline and take time to heal and refresh. It struck me that I had glorified the ability to keep going without rest. I had pursued burnout and exalted the notion of I am not good enough until I was working myself all the time and did not need a lot of sleep.
Do not get me wrong, hard work is important but so is rest. I do not mean lazing around all day and lounging doing nothing. No! I mean time to shut out the world and rebuild, regroup, re-energise. This means different things for different people but could include a social media break, sleep, workouts, conversations with important people, music, journaling reading time, research on things outside work, play time etc…the list is endless. It could be for a few minutes, hours, days, weeks and even months.
The important thing is to find ways to refresh and reignite.
I choose to be different in 2021 and make time for me and the things that are important to me. I am not going to let things pile up rather deal with each one as it arises and deal decisively. I will be letting go of so much to make room for the greatness that is me, but I have been too busy trying to please others.
Are you ready for God to show up now that you have dared Him?
One thing I have learnt in 2020, is that when God shows up, there is nothing that I knew before that will work the way I thought it should. As you dare God to do something new about your life, please expect Him to start by renewing your mind and pushing you to think thoughts that are outside your usual pattern. Scripture tells us we cannot put new wine into old wineskins so whatever you have carried to this point is an old wine skin and he will definitely remove that one from you before He puts anything fresh in you. This refers to everything in your life. Do not desire to revive it in the patterns you used to operate it rather ask God for direction on every step as you go ahead. Whatever you did last year, yesterday, an hour ago or whenever it was active to get bigger, closer, better etc. will not work this year or the coming one.
You are in a different place and so the things that worked before won’t work, and what the rest of creation is doing will not work for you. You are a unique part of God’s creation so your life has to be different from start to finish. You need very specific strategies from God for this season. In the last decade and with special focus in 2020, He has helped me to realise I don’t need money to live. You will say money makes the world go around and that may be true, yet He has given me a new perspective.
It was a challenging perspective at first, but it grew
I need provision so when food is low or I need something specific, I ask for that thing bit not money for that thing. Get it? Let me explain. For instance, I needed more financial freedom so I asked for increased work, contacts and income. I asked for appropriate insight, understanding, revelation, contacts, networks, mentors, connections, opportunities and interactions. Then I asked that he would open my eyes to see, my ears to hear and my mind to understand. That is what has made this year and the coming ones successful.
Or, I needed food so I will ask for rice, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken, mincemeat, carrots etc. not money for these things. He could answer in different ways. He could give me money to buy, send a visitor with my whole shopping list or a gift voucher or even send me a contract that would trade the food. This goes to all the needs I may have in life and in the last few years it has become the pattern that works. Could it be that you need to find your pattern and live by it no matter what?
So what needed to change?
I had to get to the point where I did not care who did what or said what about me because if the WORD is true that everything works together for my good, then even those in disagreement with my path and those sent to questions, will push me closer to God and build my character. We cannot be more caught up with what people are saying rather than what God is saying. I also realised that the road to success is many years long (at least 7) so even if I fall down or fail, that is part of the process and I will learn more from ‘failure’ and challengers than I ever will from success.
Each one must understand that their path is a very individual path and there are others who will only rise when you finish well. So stop worrying about what you don’t have and be thankful for what you have because what you focus on expands. As long as I focused on the difficult relationships around me they only got worse but when I begun to focus on the ones that I can pour out God into and ask Him for others to pour into me, it all changed. When I focused on having money in my pocket, it will remain empty but if I look forward to fulfilling my purpose and being the fullness I am designed for, I will indeed connect to the opportunities that will bring the provision I need.
I will not tell you it will turn around immediately, but you must daily choose to walk into the plan God has shared with you about your life. Seek approval, direction, conviction from God and allow men and women to only serve as the confirmation role as God assigns them to be. These are the hard lessons I have learnt from 2020 and I hope they are helpful to you.
We are so focused on the festivities of the new year and the children going back to school amid ongoing economic challenges and many of us are able to hide the overwhelming anxiety we feel. One thing we did not anticipate is the toll that being at home would take on the children. The younger ones just want to get back to going out every day while the older ones have a few more questions and concerns they are hiding.
I have seen posts about the first day off school and the many little ones who are seemingly unaware of the value of the protocols in place. I have read concerns about children still sharing sweets, trading masks, and walking hand in hand around the school or to the bus. I have some very profound conversations with the young king and queen. The younger generation is grappling with things we grappled with later in life. One of my young natives is grappling with things I am currently dealing with, yet she is in her late teens and I am in my mid-40s. I do not have the answers or tried, and true patterns like I would prefer but it has become a cool place of conversation and connection.
What do I say when I do not have or know the answer?
Simple…I admit I do not know. Now some of my acquaintances may think that is unwise because they want to appear strong. News flash…the younger generation know we are grappling and do not know what we are doing half the time. No matter how hard you try to hide it, the young ones know that we do not have it all together. They know some of us are scared out of our minds. They know you don’t have job security and money but since you keep showing that you have it, they will continue to demand it after all, “…I am the child, and they are the adult…”
This is the year to be REAL. We must be honest first with ourselves and then with others including our offspring or the fruit of our loins or the next generation. Since they know we are not as hot as we portray, how about teaching them to be real about who they are, accept themselves and their gifts then teach them to build in accountability in their lives? How about teaching them to value themselves over the media pictures? How about showing them how hard we work to provide? How about showing them the secret place where you spend time to know God? How about teaching them to deal with God in prayer and meditation for He supplies all our needs according to riches in glory.
Many cannot teach these things because we do not really know them.
We can only teach whatever we know for certain. So, remember that teacher who did not want questions during chemistry? Could it be that they did not know the answer and were trying to hide behind the students are rude and we should never question adults? Could it be that that teacher who hit you so hard was the one who wasn’t articulate, and they had to find ways to make us align and comply?
We cannot afford to do the same with our children because though externally those heavy-handed measures worked for us, they also injured many of us irreversibly on the inside. They set a precedent that lied to us about our levels of importance and taught us to hide our feelings. They denied us the joy of being honest, the ability to negotiate, the ability to connect with people around us and opportunities to rise high.
As you step into the new season, choose to be different.
Choose to listen to and understand the younger ones. Choose to walk in honesty with them. be real with yourself about who you are, what you expect from life, what you will put in to get what you need out. Find balance in your faith and a deeper sense of self and self-worth. You are more than you have ever know or even imagined. You are the fulfilment God is waiting for on a very special assignment and change in creation. You are the answer to a very specific question when you rise to your fullest.
Your place of birth, upbringing, life experience and connections are tied to who you must become in this season. Nothing goes to waste in the divine plan, nothing ever fails when we give Him way. We can see in the lives that are fully yielded, no holds barred, because they become outstanding wonders every time. Arise, let no other hold you back, let go of all the fear you have learnt and absorbed from those around you and pursue the greatness that lies within you.
Stop, think, become…it is possible and totally needed.