A fingerprint is an impression left by the friction ridges of a human finger, there are three general kinds namely whirls, loops and ridges and no individual has matching fingerprints. In fact, no two fingers have the same print either. Can you imagine that?
If such little things are so unique, why do we try to be so similar?
This weekend, my sister and I were looking at some shoes and two things stood out. First, they are being touted to be new, but we wore similar styles when we were younger. Second, at our current weights (no guessing how much we weigh), the heels were not a good idea. As we laughed about it, my mind went back to how often we look around and do all we can to be like others without thinking too deeply about the impact of copying others on our lives. I learnt that it takes a special mindset to love yourself and be totally content with who you are.
If our thoughts are small, we will accomplish small things.
I have been watching and wondering why some people with incredible knowledge but are too scared to share in case others would use their information. Can we really be the custodians of insights and refuse to share them with others unless we think those insights make us? If we assume that we are only as good as our last conversation or sharing, we will never share what we have. Yet, sharing what we know, makes room for more to be poured into us just like we pour tea into a cup so that we can fill the kettle or thermos again. We also drink the tea in the cup so we can refill it. So why would we refuse to share unless we are small-minded?
This is where mindset comes in. Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them,” yet we seem to keep trying to. I would add that we cannot become more than our thoughts so if we see our gifts as limited, we will live a limited life. If we are always focused on how little we have and how there are too many barriers to rise financially, we never will rise no matter how much we try. We are limited by our thoughts, yet very few of us understand the gravity of that statement.
We shift into our place of confidence through a mind shift!
Since we become our thoughts and our lives are reflections of our thoughts, shouldn’t we be more careful about what we fill our minds with? Of course, we should. So why is it so easy to be caught up in things like worry and fear or jealousy, deception, greed etc.? Why are we so focused on things that may not add value, or add very little value? Why do we fail to keep our eyes on the prize no matter what?
I always wondered why some people seem to get things done and get ahead no matter what, so I began watching them and realised the game changer was their mindset. They are confident that they will change the world one person or action at a time. They know why they are here and what they need to do so they keep moving no matter how challenging. They are disciplined and focused so do not get derailed by the challenging situations they find. They are in control of their atmosphere and so carry it with them all the time. Surely, that could be me too.
I say it is in the mindset.
If I do not believe that things can change, I will not do the work that needs to be done to effect that kind of change. Yes, I said work. Mindset change is not a wish or by waving a wand but by doing the work to shift how we think to a deeper foundation. It takes work and consistent dealing driven by discipline and a clear focus on the end goal.
In reality, our minds must connect to the infinite possibilities found in God to fully shift. How? By challenging our customs and patterns, questioning our beliefs and actions, putting in the work to change all aspects of our lives and living in full trust that He who began the good work in us will be faithful to complete it is us (Phil 1:6).
It starts by being mindful of what we fill our minds with and how we focus on growth. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8”
Being distinct comes from knowing you are in Christ and living that out every day no matter what. It is being confident that you are who you were meant to be and that is enough. It is loving how God made you and living His plan for the rest of your days. It is making an impact on the community and changing your corner of the world with the gifts He has given you.
Let us go forth and BECOME…everything God has said to become.
I don’t know about you but when we were growing up, salvation was painted as the one size fits all perfect solution. The clarion call was… “get save and ALL will be well with you and smooth sailing, free of trouble and hard times.” It sounded like take this ‘pill’ and you will never suffer again. I still hear that said but is it true? Does salvation instantly take every struggle away? If it does, why are so many believers still so poor? Why are people duped? Why are people still hateful and hurtful?
It has turned out that many people have ended up disappointed with God, upset that things haven’t gone their way. It has led to people walking away from the faith because they have been let down in one way or the other by God’s ‘inability’ to provide. I have seen young people opt not to follow their parent’s faith because their God is weak.
I know those seem simplistic but isn’t it true? Isn’t faith about the daily walk and knowing God? Isn’t it about a personal relationship and commitment? Isn’t it about walking in such a way that leads others to the faith? Too many of us give up easily, walk away easily, take the easier road out when things get tight…but faith is not a magic wand.
It won’t take away the hard times because they are important. It will not stop the rain because the ground needs water. It won’t stop the fire but it will protect from the burn. Faith is the foundation of our walk but it is not magic…it is a work in progress, an active choice.
The simple way to grow in the faith other than to do the work and to get to know God. The thing that defines the depth of our faith is the amount of time we spend growing it. There is value in being grounded because it is the secret sauce.
The thing I grapple the most with is that so many of us are so discouraged because we have a warped view of God. Oh that our hearts would connect to the real power of faith. The power to love, accept, connect, transform. The power to believe and be strong. The power to stand no matter what. The power of hope. The power of divine access and enabling.
Faith is not a magic wand, it is a covering, a strengthening, a guide through life, a foundation…faith is an experience that changes your life for good. Faith is so much more than a magic wand…it is life everlasting.
This is what I sense as I listen to the Holy Spirit.
The promises may have tarried, and the battle may be raging but this is the hour for those who have faithfully waited on the lord to see manifestations of what was promised.
Hold on to what the Lord spoke to you and what He promised to do and not to what the enemy is doing now. The WORD and the VISION God gave you is coming to pass!’
Although all hell seems to have broken loose and all devils appear to have risen against you, it is not so… the devil is not winning, God has won already!
What feels like a demonic conspiracy against you is actually a DIVINE SET UP for the manifestation of the promise!
All things are working out for your good – they are a setup from God!
God is using all that the enemy schemed against you to bring you into His plan. He is at work through what feels like a heavy battle. It is through the current opposition that he will relocate you into position. He wants you to enter into rest and so all the dark paths are leading you to the fulfilment of the promise.
Not by might or by power but by His spirit.
‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not’ (Habakkuk 2:3)
Sometimes it seems too much then you make it through.
About eleven years ago, my niece came home and told my mother she was pregnant: our world imploded. She was our hope of success, and this broke our dream of promise and we couldn’t see how things could work out different. Why? Life had stories of girls whose lives stopped dead once they had children out of wedlock. Our hearts stopped.
One of the most difficult conversations she had was when a senior family member told her that she would never amount to more than her grandmother who didn’t go far because she too had a children young and alone. First off, that was based on a personal position. Second, there was no proof that the same mistake would be repeated or the outcome would be the same. Third, there was no proof that this would be her journey.
The look on her face as she told me the story and the break on her voices is etched in my mind. When she said that only thing that kept her from throwing herself in front of a moving bus was the knowledge that God would never fail her almost stopped my heart.
I have watched her navigate a difficult pregnancy, an emergency birth, and the journey to raise her daughter into a lovely young woman today. I marvel at the consistent goodness of God. This young lady has become a powerhouse of faith and life, breaking and rebuilding, heartache, and healing, hope and transformation. Yet it could have easily gone another way.
Why are we so hard on those who already know they are in the wrong and are hurting?
So often we assume that because people have “intentionally” committed sin, they should bear the brunt of the judgement and just deal with the drama. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they deal with the consequences or if they haven’t yet, the consequences will come but they shouldn’t have to deal with these things alone. My niece taught me to be compassionate, to listen and support even when I didn’t agree with her actions. She taught me to reserve judgment and listen to the person in trouble, to reserve my advise and allow the person own their situation then help them work it out.
So, I asked myself, how would I like to be treated if I had fallen flat on my face in public? Would I want to be shunned or would I want to be guided back to the path? Would I want to be in an accountability community or left to navigate my way out? I would love to have support and accountability, so I decided to be that. It wasn’t easy because I needed to get over my own prejudices and be open. I had to really put my opinions aside and LISTEN. What I heard and saw made tears fill my years.
Hurt: Everyone was talking about and at them, yet no one was listening or talking to them. There is a demand to change or prove they are innocent. I saw many people shunned and thrown out of fellowship never return to their walk with God. I saw others tip over the edge into depression and mental health challenges or even substance abuse.
Hopelessness: Many now think that God has judged them and won’t forgive them. Several look okay on the outside but they are so lost and have nothing to hope for in the future, how to provide for their children, that they would never find love and companionship.
Heightened defensiveness: They are on edge all the time that every conversation meets with a hard stance or hard-line. They come across as unmovable because the pain and judgement in the past and as a way to protect themselves.
I keep asking myself, if there is another way we can deal with those who have fallen that does not segregate them from life but leads them down a different path. There must be standards in life or like an acquaintance said, rules of engagement but there must also be grace. I realised that after every fall, the fallen one knows they have lost their footing and they are already broken so it does not help them when we go shouting at them or shunning them. One thing I have always grappled with is the fact that the girl bears the brunt of the shunning and side-lining yet the young man also had a part to play.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Prov 22:6
How can we be more compassionate?
How can we provide places of true conviction, repentance and healing?
How can we secure the future of others by supporting them for lasting change?
Every time I think I can judge someone’s actions I am reminded that the measure I use to judge others will be used against me. I also remember the call to be compassionate and be known by love. This doesn’t mean that I accept everything or not call out others. It just means that I temper myself with kindness and compassion for others even as I share the word of God with them.
I remember Jesus and woman accused of adultery. They forget that there was a man in the picture but were ready to stone her to death. All they wanted was Jesus’ approval of their intended action but alas. “So when they continued asking Him, He [a]raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” John 8:7
He didn’t leave it there, when they had all left, Jesus turned his attention to the woman and said, “Woman, where are those accusers [j]of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go [k]and sin no more.” The instruction was clear and she was now accountable.
Couldn’t we be the same? I think we could and I am on the way to making that my mark by extending love not judgement but dealing with every situation in a manner that causes each of us to know God deeper and be transformed by that depth.