You are eager to spend time with me. You actually come and wait for me Not just one day, but every day At the time I said I would come. I come and wait in a hurry I come and wait sometimes I come and wander wondering if You’re there If You will come, if You know I’m here
I go Unsure, uncertain, disappointed You didn’t come You didn’t wait You don’t come through You don’t talk to me I don’t know Your voice I don’t hear You
The truth is You are here Or there, wherever I am Because You are You Jehovah Shammah God who is Present So, I do not have to wait You are not coming Because You are Present
Too often we find what we think are reasons for not moving or growing and get stuck. If only that was true.
Growing old happens automatically from the day we are born as we progress towards our final day but growing up and maturing is not automatic. My grandfather used to say that if you educate a thief you have an educated thief and the village idiot no matter how old isn’t wise…he or she is just an old village idiot.
We must learn to CHOOSE to grow. Yes, growth is a CHOICE. A young lady asked me why I say so and this is when I really listened to my thoughts. Let me share a few!!
If you are at the bottom of the class and you know you shouldn’t be, you have a choice to make…either stop playing around and study hard or keep playing around and remain bottom of the class. It is a CHOICE.
If you want to build a business and all your friends are employed, you must get over your need to be seen in all social spaces, choose the field and work on it diligently. You will network and connect, work to fill the orders, build and dismantle teams until they work and keep at it until it succeeds. You will save funds, cut back on the social activities you do and make as much time for the business until you succeed. It is a CHOICE.
If you choose to get married and remain married. You will ensure you choose right, invest in the relationship before and during, connect with your spouse often, make time to realign, be accountable to one another and others, speak about your plans and commitments and forsake all others who may draw you away from the relationship… It is a CHOICE.
If you want to become a public speaker, you would look for a place to practise speaking, read more diversly to, ask questions, listen more, and begin to speak even if you make mistakes. You will seek feedback from honest sources and practise to make the recommended changes and keep at it until you are good then practice some more… It is a CHOICE.
Do not let anyone fool you…you cannot grow until you CHOOSE to grow. Nothing and no one can force growth and lasting change down your throat. Not a single thing can make you choose to change. Growth is a PERSONAL CHOICE made for PERSONAL REASONS. I cannot count the number of times I have had to go against the grain and do things that others didn’t approve of at that moment but I knew they would be the right thing for my journey. I cannot count the number of times people have marvelled at how I have changed and transitioned towards my goal.
The things I know that have worked for me are:
Choose the GOAL: what do I want to grow into? Who do I need to become? What is the instruction over my life? What must I accomplish for God on this journey? What part of society must change because I am alive and working in that space?
Choose the growth TACTIC: What things will be part of my daily routine from now until we attain the desired growth? What kind of people must I avoid or connect with?
Choose the MEASURE: What will I have become and done for me to know that I have attained the goal? What is the picture of my successful transition from ordinary to extraordinary? Who will hold me to account? How often will I report progress? What is the format and duration of the accountability?
Choose to START: Every day is an opportunity to get up and make progress or remain in the same place and shrivel. Daily one must choose to rise and start the journey in the morning, restart when things fall apart, recover from loss or failure, celebrate wins and growth. The important thing is to ensure that we are making steps every day.
I hope you now understand why I say Growth is a CHOICE.
What choice are you making today that will help you grow every single day for the rest of your days?
How has the last year been? We are in mid-November with less than eight weeks to the end of the year. What have you learnt? What has changed? What are you thinking about carrying on with you or what are you leaving behind?
Watching myself in the mirror is an important part of my daily self-care routine. It all started a while back when I was challenged by my coach to really see myself but that is a story for another day. Every morning as I get ready, I do my hair and makeup in a small mirror facing the natural light then I go to a full-length mirror. Why? I want to see how it all works including my shoes.
I look at all aspects and when I am happy with the look, I find my smile is natural and it grows as I watch myself. At first I thought it was vanity to look at myself carefully until I saw how it changed my perception of self and my view of God. The most intense realisation was I had never noticed how big my smile gets when I am happy or how cheeky it is when I am laughing. In time, I learnt to tell what my smile looks like without looking into a mirror. I could be in a conversation and know that my smile is in full bloom, or it is just small and the impact that has on people. I noticed how much larger my smile is than some people around me just because of the shape of my face and how my features complement each other. I realised that God had been very deliberate when He put me together and I could no longer doubt that I was enough.
I can imagine the joy in God’s heart as He created each of us
Psalms 139 reminds us that He formed us deliberately in our mother’s wombs, that nothing of us was hidden from Him and He saw the full substance of us unformed making us as we were the only ones. How then could I think that this really full 200-watt smile was too much? Why would I hide my full-on belly laugh? Why would I doubt that He made me beautiful? I would be lying if I said it was always easy to look at myself in love and appreciate God’s goodness but in time, it has transformed as I have spent time really looking at God’s creation aka me and learning the intricacies of it.
It all changes when you realise that God created you among all the things, He called you beautiful. It all shifts when you realise that you are made in His image and likeness, designed to bring Him glory and honour. It transforms you when you realise you are His image, created to represent him on earth. As I settled into this reality, a quietness settled on my heart and began healing the years of self-doubt and unbelief, starting a process of many more smiles and laughter than ever before.
Smiles are a temperature gauge in my life.
When I think of God’s goodness to me, I smile. When I remember He knit me by hand, I smile. When I remember I am His beloved, I smile. When I remember He calls me beautiful, I smile. I smile because I am loved, I am forgiven, I am the apple of His eye, I am written on the palm of His hand. I smile because when He thinks about me, He smiles and speaks life to me. I smile because I realise I am His image and likeness and nothing can separate me from Him or His love.
When you see me smile or laugh, it is because I now know whose I am and how deeply I am loved. I laugh loud because I am growing in His love. I have peace because I know that every circumstance is geared to make me more like He saw me when He made me. I carry smiles and peace because they are made available by my Father in Heaven.
Child of God, look in the mirror and see God mirrored in you then SMILE.
When was the last time you said thank you to yourself?
Sounds strange right? It is important because you are the first voice your mind and body hear every day and the one voice it hears every day for the duration of your life.
Sometimes all we have to do is really listen to ourselves. As I was walking this week, I had several opportunities to listen to what I say to myself when tired or in a challenging phase of the 5k. Some of my routes are very dusty and along main roads, others are gravel and a little stony so it takes focus to remain at a steady pace.
One day as I listened to my inner conversation, I heard the frustration about the environment coming out in my thoughts and it amazed me. It felt as if I was under a rain cloud that was moving with me keeping me drenched and tired. The beauty of life is that what we have coded into our minds comes to our aid and for sure help came in a flash.
The word strolled into the room and tapped me on the shoulder, Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Can you imagine the reality that hit me that day? It was clear that I must be intentional about my thoughts, more aware of what I am saying to myself and the root of it. I have to be in a consistent state of consciousness, watching what I say to myself and to others because it affects everything around me. But let’s take it further. I asked myself, “What would happen if I chose an attitude of gratitude towards myself?” This means that I look at what is going on around me and appreciate what has worked, every effort made to move forward and lessons learnt on the way.
So I chose to try to think about it differently.
Remember the question of when was the last time you said thank you to yourself? That was my starting line. I didn’t ask to be born but God designed me in his heart and mind then answered my parents’ prayer for a child with me. He knew that I was well designed and would be perfectly prepared for life by being placed in that home with all its intricacies, including the dramatic segments. I do not pretend to understand why some family situations are so difficult but I have learnt that when I phrase how I see my life from the perspective of how it will give me tools and strength for the future, it has given me the tools I need to thrive, it changed the whole conversation for good.
So I purposed to say thank you to myself.
Thank you for what you ask? Everything. Don’t we say thanks to people who help us, visit us, answer a question, make an effort, or anything else? Why is it so hard to be grateful to ourselves for the same? Why is it odd? Every morning it takes a certain mindset to get up, put on my gear and go out, I am grateful. It takes a clear choice to set the health app on 5km and choose the course and when for some reason it resets itself before the distance is covered like it did today, it takes a clear choice to do a second set to attain the course. It takes a certain measure of strength to go through every day and accomplish the goals set. It takes great effort and focus to raise children and support your family, be grateful. There is something to be grateful about every day so take time to appreciate yourself no matter what.
As I have been consciously grateful to myself for showing up and working on myself and the things on my plate, my inner strength has increased. It hasn’t totally negated the times I get disappointed when I don’t reach the mark but it has shifted how long I am upset and angry with myself for ‘failing’. It has allowed me to extend grace to myself and become a better person in the process.
Try it today and let me know if it changes something for you.
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.