The Simple Life

The Road Out

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In the face of the doubt I was facing, I needed to find a better out. In the past I would take a scripture and stand on it, repeating it in my heart and out loud hoping and praying it would become a reality. It didn’t!! Now for those of us who are honest, it never ever works well. You don’t believe me? Let me ask…How many times have you received a word, stood on a scripture and nothing changed? Or only small things changed and you wondered what was wrong? In the end it left you feeling that you have done something wrong or said the devil has blocked your blessing. Had he?

I determined that my walk was going to be different.

I reached back for help and found it in something Coach always says; ‘Embrace it.’ What he means is simple. Do not deny the situation at hand; face it head on, analyse it and deal with everything that rises sector by sector. Sounds simple enough? Believe me it is but the simplicity comes from practise.

My first look into the face of the doubt was jarring because it exposed my underbelly in ways I wouldn’t have even anticipated. It showed areas of weakness, unresolved issues, hurt, fear and shame. It showed the genesis of the struggle that was in me and that I would never have known existed and for a split second I felt weak and useless then I caught myself.

Yes these things existed but they did not define me and they didn’t have to stay. Yes, I had failed repeatedly but that didn’t make me a failure. Yes, I had been stunted in my growth but I am mot unable to grow. This was the seed of hope I needed. Hope arose that with God, I could deal with this matter once for all.

The place to start dealing was the feelings that I couldn’t complete the assignment or keep consistent then deal with the consistent start stop of the process. The root of these feelings are past failures that I had worn like a badge. Failures become badges when we hold onto them as evidence that we tried something that didn’t work. We keep going back to that marker and say… ‘See…I tried and failed before why try again?’

Dealing forced me to see all the badges I had hung on the wall of my life that had become ungodly memorials. Yes, I said ungodly memorials because God didn’t ordain those memorials to be placed. These were standing in the way of His work because I couldn’t get past them and here I was asking Him to help me. Sha!!! Nothing will change if I don’t change my mind.

Do not be conformed any longer to the patterns of this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Rom 12:2.

This was the only way out I had. No more victim behaviour. No more it has failed in the past. No more I don’t know then doing nothing about it. The focus shifted to standing on the word God has spoken. What He said is all that I can stand on. Where He sends is where I will go no matter how ill-equipped I may feel.

It took effort to shift my mind to this plane but it has been so worth it.

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The new mindset has shifted my focus in all ways. On a recent trip there were so many obstacles to the journey but the one thing I was certain of if that we must travel. The lessons of stand on the word, face the situation and deal with matters sector by sector is what kept me going.

Victory is sure when we hear the word of God and stand on it despite and in spite of the circumstances.


The Simple Life

Unexpected Guests

You know that day you need to just chill and do nothing? I have had a couple of those of late. It has been as if my mind and body needed a break and whether or not I wanted to I had to take it. What was interesting was the guilt that checked in. Yeah…it moved into my room.

It begun with the incessant thought that I need get up and do something but my body would say no. What do you mean no way? We have made a commitment to do something every day and yet here you are slacking off. Come on body and mind, align and keep your word. Join forces and keep walking.

Ha! This time the body and mind didn’t align…period. The next thing that packed was my writing. It wasn’t just staring at a blank sheet of paper for long. The words flowed but they were totally disjointed words. Imagine reading your writing and thinking, ewwwww!!! Who wrote that?

What did I do? Simple, I stopped it all!

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I put my feet up and my pen down and spent time just being, reading and thinking. The only thing I didn’t really stop was watching what I ate. I was so torn by the situation. On one side I wanted to be up and about keeping things together and on the other hand I was like whatever…it will come back when it comes back.

It was also interesting that none of my accountability partners pushed me during this period. It was as if they knew something was afoot. My lil man sat back and watched while coach didn’t say a word. It was hard because on the inside I was feeling pressure to keep to the agreement I had made and I was beginning to w0nder what was wrong with me. What was most perplexing was that every time I asked God about things, He was silent.

For a few moments I wondered what I could have done to make Him silent. I was like why is God so silent? Have you ever had the thought that things won’t work out the way you planned because you have failed in the past? Or have you wanted to do something so bad but the fact that others have failed has you worried?

Say hello to doubt…that feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. Guilt had opened the door for doubt to come visiting and doubt was a nasty guest.

Suddenly clarity came…exercise was always my greatest point of doubt. Oh food could have been an issue I had conquered it before, I knew my triggers and how to overcome them but exercise…that was a different story. In my heart of hearts, I had an innate fear of failing and didn’t think I had it in me to make it or keep walking all the way to the end.

Oh I had never really accepted that I could be plagued with doubt because all my life I done the best I could to conquer everything I did and never admitted publicly to the things that scared me. I kept it hidden from the world behind a veneer of confidence and hope.

Now was time to grow and live out the truth of Hebrews 11:1…

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

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The Simple Life

Unpacking Roadblocks

It had taken a lot of work to get to the place of balance in my walk to a new lifestyle but there were still hurdles to overcome. I’m wondering if there are other ways one could dissipate focus and achievements other than talking too much. After some thought, I began to itemise the things that could slow my process and make it less successful. In the process, fear, doubt, pain and people came to the top of the list. Then I realise that keeping silent has helped me begin dealing with them.

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It started with seemingly mundane things and grew into the biggest things I could see but fear had taken root at a point.

First was the fact that I didn’t have kit and I didn’t know where to start. Then came the fact that I didn’t know what set or sequence of workout was needed, then I didn’t know what to eat, then I had strained a muscle I didn’t know how to stretch it out, then I wondered if I would reach the goal I had set, then asked if I would look as good as I wanted, then…then…then…the list kept getting longer and longer and the fear got bigger every time.

Soon fear was something real that I didn’t really know what it was or how to deal with it.

What is fear? It is the emotion related to an expectation of danger, pain, loss or harm. It is fuelled by a sense of being inadequate or unprepared for the event at hand. It comes with a great sense of overwhelm and personal doubt and can be debilitating. Often fear causes people to freeze and lose their capacity to function rationally.

How did I identify the fear? That one was funny. We were reviewing progress with coach and I was hesitant and vague in some of my answers and he kept pushing as is his norm. I didn’t answer and the conversation kept ringing in my mind. I was certain I didn’t know the answer but twenty minutes later it hit me…fear was holding me back! I was terrified! In the past I would walk away but now I knew that if I didn’t tackle it, I would be at loss for a while.

What did I do? Oh I worked hard to deal with the fear related to the process and it went down enough for me to see the way but my introspective nature caused me to look at other aspects of my life and find fear in place in other places. It is ironic that growth in one area only opens up room to grow in another. I had heard it said that we must embrace fear but I didn’t know how to do so.

I needed tangible steps to follow or at least action points to deal with this now and always.

If  “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,”* and “God is not a man that he should lie or the son of man that He should repent”** then there was something I hadn’t tapped into that I needed to. There is a process that I must connect to and understand to resolve these matters and move on.

*2 Timothy 1:7 /  **Num 12:9

The Simple Life

Laser Sharp; Eyes Ahead

I had never really understood how we dissipate the energy to keep to the process until I heard this…

Don’t pay lip service to what lifestyle should be speaking, don’t let your lips talk what your life should be living. Let your life live and your lips will follow one day. If you start talking you will never live it out because the pressure to live it out will be dissipated by the words we speak. Intellect has the capacity to turn the words into convincing feelings that you are on the way yet it is only the mouth at work – Daddy Chigbo Neil Ndukwe

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My lifestyle should be producing certain results; there should be proof of my walk in my actions before it comes from the words of my mouth. When I looked back, it had always seemed simple enough to talk about all that is going on around me but I never knew I was actually reducing my personal capacity to become. Who would have thought that speaking would be a way for the body to think it is doing more than it is?

Remember I mentioned earlier that I wanted to get fit for a long time and had been losing momentum? I haven’t mentioned how introspective I am. I like to know what is going on and why things happen and I want to be sure I don’t repeat mistakes so I go back, look through things and think through them. Is there a pattern or connection? Could I do something different?

For so long I had talked about how I wanted to lose weight and get fit. I talked about how I would be the best and achieve things but that is all I did. Talk! I would set a start date and it would come and go without effort. I’d set targets and achieve nothing over and over. Fast forward to 2017 and the suddenness of process onset, I only spoke with one person about it and it was the one person who wouldn’t give me gap. Oh, God and I were talking all the time but He is the source of the dream so He kept the pressure on.

The difference this time was that I spent more time talking only with the people who were instrumental in the process than sharing with others what was going on. This is how we have made more progress. I spent more time cataloguing progress and overcoming challenges than talking about what I would do and that pushed me to a greater level of achievement and success. Daily it became clear that I had to keep my eyes on the prize and the prize was God’s instruction to me and nothing else.

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What was my reality? The less I talked the more I achieved and so now I understand my father’s words above.

The thing I have now understood is that once I choose the path of honesty, the next step is to keep working on the instruction; front and centre, no shifting or looking aside. Laser sharp focus on the task ahead. There is no room for a double mind, fear or doubt. There is no time to lose focus or else I will not reach the mark set out for me. That mark has to be important enough that it becomes the one thing I am committed to no matter what. Choice made, mouth closed!

Hindsight is the story I will tell from now on.

The Simple Life

What I Do In Private Is Who I Am.

How does honesty help in the process? Oh simple…What I do in private is who I really am.

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It is easy to tell people what to do, what I do, how I do it and live like that when people are seeing and looking but it is possible that I am not truly that. How often do we do and say things when people are there but when we are alone…ah!!! It is a different story. So many of us are two faced and it is costing us big time.

Let me give perspective. I am on a low carb diet and moving deeper into keto every day, exercising three to five times a week as I share the lessons online. People are listening to me, reading my posts and seeing the changes but do they know the full story? Am I telling the truth that there are days when I am not doing so well? These are the days I have a desire for a muffin and eat it but because I am on this low carb shift, will post it online? I can say that no one will know but isn’t God with me at all times? Can’t He see what is actually going on? Isn’t it sad for Him to watch me lie to the world?

Right there, is the process that can save or kill me.

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If I choose to keep talking one thing and doing other things in the hidden place, then I am deceived. Yes, even as I deceive others…I am the one who is deceived!!! It doesn’t matter if no one else knows what I am doing because I have already fried myself. When I made the choice to follow the instruction to get on this path, I set myself up for a process but even deeper than that, it was an agreement between me and God not coach and I. Coach is simply the tool, the help God sent to give me direct strength to keep going.

This means that I must daily choose honesty between God and I no matter what and then share only what HE says. This level of honesty therefore enables me to live truthfully, learn honestly, shift permanently and therefore have the impact God has determined my life would produce. It is what serves as the valley where the seed is planted, watered, lessons are learnt and then the fruit is visible in and out of season. It is the place of proof of my life in God.

Remembering ‘What I do in private is really who I am,’ holds me to account. I am here and keep going because this is process between God and I…period. This is the reason I can go on every day because it demands such a level of commitment and consistency that I would never be able to do it alone.

The daily choice to live honestly with God is what makes my life count. Period!

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I thought I had understood honesty after the last post then I had a conversation with my Daddy about something seemingly unrelated. I was sharing something I was struggling with and asking him how to remain neutral in God until I am sure about His word over the matter. His answer was simple… ‘Practice!’ Ok, that is simple enough because I understand practice based on the process I am in. Daily effort; daily choice; doing it over and over until it becomes part of you. I got this one down!!

Then he said, ‘Incidentally, you had control of the situation.’ This left me scratching my head and looking inward to see what needed to be dealt with. I have control? oh wow! Yes I do. I daily decide what I will do, when, how and with whom. I can say I am tired and do nothing, or I am craving sugar and indulge or I can choose to be patient and allow God to show me the right combinations of everything and live by that… indeed, I have control.

I must constantly judge myself, my actions, motives, thoughts, desires and hopes to ensure that they are in the right place with God and I am still on the path. My walk is between me and God about the word I received from Him and accepted.

Honesty is about being truthful to the word of God over my life and living it right albeit course correcting every moment of life.

The Simple Life

Learning To Be True…

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The journey was harder than I could ever explain and I wasn’t saying much about it but many days it took all I had to work out and make the steps I needed to make. It took a herculean push and focus to eat as I had said I would and remain the course. It was often easier to sit my room, eat chocolate and only send the pictures of the good stuff. It was easier to talk about the rosy parts and leave out the hard ones. Something had to give for me to remain on the path…something had to give.

I had to be honest to make progress.

The first place of honesty had to be with myself. I had to be clear when and why I didn’t want to do something. I had to be sure I understood what was going on in my body and my heart at all times no matter what. I had to be in touch in with my emotions. Telling myself the truth made a difference in this process for me.

How many times was I in the middle of something and fear arose from a known cause but I didn’t face it off properly? How many times was I certain that something needed dealing but I would push it back into the shadows? What was in my heart about someone around me that had to change before I could move on and I kept pushing it away?

I had to face all the truths the process was opening up for me whether I liked them or not.

Oh boy! I had to look in the mirror and within me to face the things that were rising to the surface and deal with them totally and honesty. I had to face the cravings that came up as I worked to shift my diet. I had to deal with the desire to avoid the muscle pain and soreness. I had to deal with days my emotions were so out of place I couldn’t push through. I had to deal with wanting to give up because it was too hard. I had to deal with doubt and fear that would rise occasionally. I had to deal with disappointment when I cheated on the diet or just decided to rebel. I had to see, face and deal no matter what. This forced me to stop and realise I needed help therefore ask for help.

I learnt that help only comes when I am honest.

I wish I could say that the path to today is simple but that would be a lie. I would chat up coach and simply say, ‘I can’t do this one.’ Or call my sister and say, ‘Today is a hard day, pray for me.’ Or I could tell my lil man, ‘Pray for mama, because right now the desire for fries is greater than the desire for good food.’ I could just sit on my exercise mat and cry to God asking for help to keep going.

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Honesty has been the one thing that keeps me on the path. An honest evaluation of where I am and how to get out has kept me going even on days I would have given up. Honest conversations with God and my appointed helpers always brought me back to Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The Simple Life

A Shared Load

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Even as I struggled with accountability, I had made a commitment and I had a God appointed support system that wouldn’t make room for me to fall off the wagon. God would have it that I had multiple layers of accountability so I couldn’t even think about mischief.

As I begun the process, I had asked coach to walk with me, I had asked my lil man to be my close watcher and I had shared the plan with my sisters and one in particular stepped up to support. Additionally, I had begun talking about the process I was on right here and this gave another set of people the opportunity to follow. These meant three layers close up and one further out.

As I started the process it was as if I was doing it for the three close layers because I would report daily to coach, the lil man would hear me workout as he was waking up and my sister would ask how it was going. I would go places with lil man or sis and they would watch and ask about what I was putting into my mouth.

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There is a deeper layer of this process I hadn’t seen.

When I began to conquer myself and goals, there was a delighted cheering squad on the side-lines encouraging me. I remember the first weigh in where I had lost just four hundred grams. In my mind, it was nothing much but to the team…it was a different matter. They were excited, the danced, hugged me and celebrated the first sign of success. As I conquered milestone after milestone I had a team of celebrants who gave me energy. Then there was the day we went out for a meal and I was doing something close by and I found lil man and sis made a food choice for me that fit right in with what I eat even as they all had fast food.

All my life I had been the cheering squad for people but would not ask for support in anything. Here was an opportunity to understand what it meant to have people on your team just to be on your team. They are a very personal cheering squad who want nothing other than your success no matter what. This accountability has grown through the months and has influenced my team.

As they have cheered me on and have seen the changes come, they too have been challenged to make decisions and stick to them. I think of my lil man in particular. As I started this process, I begun to make hard decisions and one was to change his school. The school I selected was further from home but still within walking distance. However, the fees were a chunk higher and I didn’t know how we would cover it but I knew it was the thing to do so I moved him all the same.

That first term he did really badly in his opener exams (they do exams that first week of school to assess learning during the holidays) and midterm exams and I couldn’t find a way to motivate him to figure it out until I remembered the journey I was on. Using the skills I had learnt so far, I asked him to set a target score and a revision plan that I could keep him accountable to. Oh he did nothing for a few weeks but another set of exams shifted that for him. He set his goal and told me but never shared his plan. All the same, he hit his goal spot on and that has served as fuel for him to keep setting higher and higher score goals and meeting them each time.

It struck me hard that the process is about so much more than me.

I embraced accountability even deeper when I realised that my honest commitment could and had changed another life just as much as it had changed mine. Growth has a way of inspiring everyone and my growth was doing just that.

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