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.
Who would have known that a shaking was around the corner?
Last Sunday 26.4.2020 started on a high. It was dull outside but my heart was light and joyful in me. I woke up later than usual but was still the first in the house to get up and about so I focused on breakfast. It was odd that I was cooking so early because my people and I eat after ten but I did it all the same. The young king called to say I had a missed call but I decided to finish before I dealt with the call.
Returning that call changed my life for good…
My other brother Paul, gone…
There are few people I know who are full of love and concern with such purity of heart and he is one of them.
There are few people who the world knows to be steadfast and committed to their faith in every sphere of life…he is one of them
There are few people; whose arrival or presence changed the atmosphere in the room…he is one of them
His dedication to the call of God in his life was undeniable
His commitment to showcase and be all God called him to be was evident
His love for his family, friends and the world, was clear
He was one of those special ones
Don’t think for a minute he was an angel ha!!
He was all man, with successes, failings and faults
He made mistakes in life and crossed paths
Yet the softness of his heart and the depth of his wisdom made him stand out
Very few men (here I mean male gender) are like this brother
Unafraid to try and fail, unbeaten in tenacity, setting out to accomplish every task assigned
Unafraid to walk paths uncharted, unmoved that he is alone on the way as long as God has sent him
He was an anchor in stormy seas, a great captain with eyes fixed on God
He kept his word and spoke his truth, keeping his destination in sight
He led teams through stormy seas, thick forests, dry deserts, calm seas, lush gardens and stillness
He understood that each one has a set assignment, destination, connection and output for God and he kept his eyes on his prize
He spoke of things with certainty because he knew his God and his path was set in Him
He navigated life at work in the banking sector, on ministry assignment, in his fitness pursuits, with friends and family with a cheeky smile, laughing eyes, warm heart, firm tone, steadfast belief that God has a plan that can be trusted
He raised the standards of every team he worked with and taught many to seek God and walk with Him in faith, life, work and passion
This week has changed me because once again I have been reminded that Jehovah my maker, gave me X number of days to become a certain person and complete and set task, reach a certain set of people and bring Him honour and glory
It reminded me that only the Maker knows the actual number of days He set, how many I have lived and how many are left.
It reminded me that no matter how hard I try, if I leave the path He has set for me, I will fail
So I set my gaze again as flint, on He who hovered over the waters of the deep, who created a pleasant place for me to live, who moulded me as the soil and breathed into me the breath of life, who set me on this earth in a community and allowed life and its challenges to shape and shift me.
I set my gaze on Him who knows the end from the beginning and is determined that I become that His word may be revealed and lived out. I set my gaze as flint on He who begun the good work in me and will be faithful to complete it in me.
I choose trust that though I miss my big brother Paul, he has run and finished his race therefore he has rested. I know that since I am still here I have a ways to go, more to become and still more to accomplish with and in God. So I raise my eyes to the heavens even as I allow the tears to fall and say,
“Indeed my Father, You know what is best for us. You know the times and seasons. You know how long we each have. You know that we can become if we decide to hold onto you.
I ask for grace to stand on your WORD every moment of every day. I pray for your healing in our inner man. I pray for your peace that passes all understanding to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I pray that Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth, in my life, in this nation and the world at large as it is in heaven.
Papa, you are the balm that heals our hearts; the love that casts out all fear; the joy that strengthens; the peace that passes all understanding; the all sufficient grace; the everlasting covenant keeper; the one true God, the friend who sticks closer than a brother; the healer; the redeemer; the ever present help in times of plenty and trouble. I choose to be ever ready, waiting for your WORD.”
Do you know that the heaviness & sadness you are feeling could be grief?
We often don’t associate grief with anything other than the loss of life but there is a lot of grief related to other things. We grieve the loss of a job, work, lifestyle, faith, hope, love, friends, networks, communities, weather etc. in different ways. Many times it isn’t large or noticeable enough for us to name it as grief, but it is just that.
Let me clarify. The deep longing for that joint in your old neighbourhood that stops you from settling in well in your new hood…that is grief. The inability to move on from the broken relationship or friendship that makes you compare, judge harshly or remain frozen with fear…that is grief. The terror that everyone who comes your way will leave you like your parents did when they died…that is grief. The anger at anyone doing better than you since you didn’t get that promotion or lost that job…that is grief. The laughter and bravado even when everything is falling apart…that is grief. There are so many causes of grief but the current containment measures have brought a rare kind of grief to light.
Many are grieving the loss of Choice.
There is a new set of rules in place. The chips won’t fall in the places we know. The cards are all down and we cannot see a way out. Nothing is the same as before and there is no road map to the future. There is fear at every turn, uncertainty at all other stops, hopelessness under ever cover and tight smiles behind every door. The truth is…many have just realised how limited their choices are and have always been.
Was it always this way? Likely! Did we ever see it as so? Never! Why? There was an illusion of a thousand choices but in reality there were very few. Think about it; educated or uneducated, employed or unemployed, unliked or liked, unfair or fair, safe or insecure, sweet or sour, bad or nice, dark or light and the list goes on. We rarely looked at those doing different as really having an option to succeed.
Did you ever think that you would be at home but someone with a lower income than you would be out and about? Did you ever think your weren’t an essential worker in your company, now you are home and the cleaner is there? Did you ever realise that you would be put into jail for being outside after 7 pm yet the nurse next door can come and go at will?
Life as we knew it has changed and so must we.
People in the credit arms of many banks are stranded because their work meant they were on the road meeting clients but unless they innovate quickly they will be out of jobs. There are no clients to visit, no loans to give, no payments to collect and no growth for their departments. Small businesses selling imported goods from China have no stock, dead stock or no sales because people are saving for food and other essentials. Cab drivers have fewer customers at lower fares and work shorter periods but must still make ends meet. Yet some of the young people around are tired and bored because they cannot party.
When will they realise that life has changed? When will they understand that they cannot go on the same way? Who will tell them no? Who will stop their extravagance? When will they understand that we get exactly what we put into life back so unless they focus on good inputs their outcomes will be a big mess? Will they ever understand the correlation between their mindset, their current station and the future possibilities? They must if they are to survive.
Things must change if we are to find hope.
When the Israelites went into captivity in Daniel 1, the king ordered that the educated and teachable young men of noble birth to be raised as the leaders for the next generation. Many qualified but only four have stories told about them, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, later called Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego.
The thing that stood out for me is Daniel 1:8, ‘But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…’ He made a conscious decision to remain true to who he knew he was no matter what. He went to pray even when he knew people were plotting against him to catch him at it so they could get him killed. He kept to his pattern regardless of which king was in place or whichever edict was declared.
He lost his ability to choose where to live, how to be educated, when to rise. He lost his freedom of movement. He lost his connection to the homeland. He lost access to his spiritual leaders, the scripture and community to fellowship with. He lost family and friends. He lost more than he ever thought possible but he never lost hope.
His hope for stability was in knowing whose he is and where he is going.
The hope for all of us is in knowing the things that anchor us. Am I harping on the need to know why you are here and what season it is? Absolutely! Why? There is no other way forward. If a man is only here to make money and be able to travel, he has nothing to lean on now. If a pastor only has tithe and offering as his support, he is baseless right now. If a mother has only her children and they are separated right now, she is restless and fearful. If a child only had the coming transition to the next level of education, he or she is lost for sure.
It is ok to feel the sense of loss and there’s no need to pretend all is well when there’s grief. Just don’t get stuck there. Rail, scream, cry and let it out. Lean on a friend and pour it out. Call on your Father in heaven and have it out with him. Then get back up and walk on dealing step by step. Take a step every day to deal with it, take a bite of the grief and digest it bit by bit. Make a pact with yourself to process the realities and feelings leaving nothing to chance therefore growing into true faith.
You can deal and stand strong through any season.
You don’t need the whole world on your side when you have a clear word from and stand in God. He will lead and guide you to the right people at the right time in the right combination to help you stand. He will also make you the right person, at the right time, in the right place and combination to help another stand. Like Daniel, when you have faced the challenge and connected to the reality of God, nothing will ever be impossible again.
You are assigned to this season to become an example of walking with God and changing your corner of the world. Make the choice to acknowledge where you are, deal with the situation and remain standing on His word for it sanctifies and strengthens because it is truth.
Know the Word God gave you; BELIEVE; Speak that word every day; Pray the word; Depend on the word; Defend the word. ======= To contend for the word, Be the one who stands their ground STAND until the word comes to pass. Do not be deceived it will not be easy Yet it is simple; Just STAND. ======= Stand and don’t cede ground. Stand in faith BELIEVE He is true KNOW His Word never fails I t is simple; Just STAND ======= Know the Word God gave you; BELIEVE it thoroughly; Speak it every day; Pray the Word; Depend on the Word; Defend the Word. ======= The WORD produces The WORD performs The WORD changes The WORD fortifies The WORD fertilises Depend on the Word ======= The WORD is reliable The WORD is living The WORD is active The WORD is a sword The WORD is a divider Depend on the Word
You know the saying that we give birth to ourselves? I encountered its fullness yesterday.
The young king is a master planner like me and boy oh boy, he is better than I was at his age. He is so good and has been quietly scheming about my birthday for two weeks. On Tuesday he says, ‘Don’t worry about dinner today and I will also take care of the kitchen tomorrow.’ Now who wouldn’t want a break from the kitchen?
We got up for an early morning class that didn’t work, so I went back to sleep. I now know he was glad I slept because he had time to put the rest of his plan to work. Aki, these young ones watch and learn more from that than conversations. I had a call at noon so I got up after 11, caught up with my sister and prepped for the call. That call…wow…it was absolutely brilliant, maybe one day I will tell the full story.
After the call was done, the king says, ‘Your lunch is in the sitting room,’ and I find my favourite meal ready and waiting…for those who have never tasted matoke and groundnut sauce; I have no words. As I settle down, and take the first bite, a birthday message begins to play on the TV. This young man sent a request to specific people asking them to send me a birthday video and he even gave them a timeline of submission.
Honestly, I thought something was afoot but decided not to think about it.
The seamless nature of the day including sending his grandmother to do his shopping for my gift ahead of time, the right beverages at the right time, participating in a call with family, the arrival of a chocolate fudge cake and dinner, got me thinking. If a soon to be thirteen year old can do things with such precision, what of my Father in heaven?
Before He knit me in my mother’s womb He knew that in 2020, there would be a time of sheltering and containment during my birthday season and I would need a creative young king around to pull off some serious magic. He knew that I would be so consumed with seeking direction for the year to come that there would be enough space and covering for the young king to manoeuvre and accomplish his assignment. He knew what would be needed and ensured I’d trained the young king with firmness and diligence, refusing to back down when things got hard.
Surely God has a plan for everything.
The current situation of containment was carefully planned by God and he’d been preparing me. The story my life has to tell is tied to me being at peace in God no matter the situation. The course of my life and all the challenges therein has begun to make sense yet I know there is still more to understand. So I have to be in school with God for the rest of my days.
I sit on this side of the New Year certain of a few things:
The only thing that will get me through this phase of life and every phase to come is the WORD of God. The written word of scripture and the spoken word from revelation and meditation.
There are people destined to walk with and hold me to account therefore I must, yes must, seek to know them by The Spirit, connect with them and walk in truth and honesty. FAMILY.
There is no room for double mindedness only discipline, devotion and commitment. I must set my heart and mind to accomplish all that God has set out for me regardless of the things that will come. FOCUS and FIDELITY.
There is path that only I can follow to attain and become. There is a way my life will to become that is guided, girded and founded in God. PROCESS
Nothing is random, nothing is a mistake, it is all carefully planned and orchestrated by the Master of all things, Adonai. I must depend on him in totality because all things are working together for my good. TRUST.
There are things I haven’t done before and places I haven’t been that now must be conquered for Him. Therefore I must step out on every instruction no matter who or what in the knowledge that though it is a new path, it is ordained by God to bring Him glory. BOLDNESS
I am sure where you are in your walk or if you are encouraged or discouraged. All I know is that there is a way our lives have changed and there is no normal to go back to. Find time in this season of sheltering and containment to clarify who you are and how you must be from now onward, then walk in it.