The Simple Life

Flat Footed & Unaware


The last few weeks have been critical for everyone one of us. Do you remember when you first heard about it? When did you first really pay attention to it? Did you think it would get to you? Did you ever think things would get this bad? You know what? Most of us ignored Covid19 until it was on our doorsteps. For many of us, it was just another thing out there.

This is bigger than many of us realise.

We are either in lock down, quarantine or under curfew depending on where you are in the world and your state of health. Nothing could have prepared most of us for this. When it was in a country across the world in some remote part, most of us didn’t even pay attention to it. It is only when it got to Europe  and begun spreading across the world that we paid attention. Isn’t that ironic?

When the impact was seen on the ‘first world’ nations the world took notice. When nations instituted lock downs, shut downs, quarantines, the world took notice. When the numbers of the dead blew through the roof, the world took notice. When economic stimulus programs begun being crafted in wealthy nations, the world took notice. Why is that?

The seemingly invincible have been touched and affected.

Many people still haven’t even realised the truth or gravity of the situation. On a local level the reality of the possible economic impact is now beginning to bite. We have almost sixty percent of our nation informally employed and living on a knife edge of poverty. Expand your mind beyond those in the informal settlements; there are many, many more people at stake.

Think of the Uber driver living in Umoja, the young professional in her first job, the young associate in your company, the man in an junior position in your company, the manager daily grinding to meet social expectations, the middle manager addicted to shopping and high life. The young person caught up in the glitz and glam that is the social media culture. The child accustomed to asking for anything and getting it. Now all their lives and lifestyles are at risk or crumbled.

There are still more things to think about.

Many years ago, being wealthy was defined to me as, ‘how long I can live my life at the same quality of life after I lose my ability to earn income.’ Think about it! Am I able to still feed myself and family, pay school fees, cover utilities, get to work and home daily etc? How long can I do so; a day, month, 6 months, 12 months, a few years? If I can only live a few months, I am effectively poor regardless of where I stay, how I dress, what I drive etc.

Many of us are so caught up in looking like we are successful that we don’t really interrogate our lives and set the right structures in place. I am not even going to go the economics way because there are may people talking about that and it doesn’t interest me at all. I want us to look at the personal level.

In reality, we live according to the patterns of our past.

The things we went through in the past shape our belief systems and actions in ways we don’t always think about. As a child, I always wondered about my mother’s behaviour. She worked hard and made us work too even though we didn’t really want to or like it. I loved going shopping with her because I am a curious mind and liked to see places so I was in the local market from a tender age.

I learnt to haggle, find good produce, carry heavy baskets and work among people of all walks of life. I also loved the quarterly trips to wholesale shops and supermarkets that took most of the Saturday followed by the cleaning and reorganising of the store. What I didn’t know at the time was that this was so because Mzee’s pay was sporadic but at least something came in at the end of every quarter.

Later it was easy for me to live out the pattern she set because it was well rehearsed.

As I grew older and took on more responsibility in the house, I assumed it was normal for everyone around to be taught these things but alas. By the age of 12 I was running the house because she was off sick and Mzee was working. I remember the shock on the faces of the market ladies the first day this little one went to the market alone followed by their protectiveness over me every time I went. It honed my bargain hunting skills that would server me in campus where I lived fabulously on very little. To be honest, I have carried on those habits to date.

Why is this important? The hard times we lived in taught me skills I could use later in life when things got tight. They came back to me when I got married and we had to figure things out on small incomes. They helped when my husband was retrenched and my income was low. They helped when the business was struggling and cashflow was low or non-existent. In all the challenging times, I had a point of reference, a playbook to adapt from, a set of skills I could pivot with.

The lessons taught me to keep my eyes open and never assume anything.

When Covid19 showed up in China, I was initially disinterested but it caught my attention as the numbers rose. As I watched, it became clear this wasn’t something we had known before and it was on an unprecedented scale. It was as if something other worldly was afoot and most people were looking the other way. Of particular interest was how unaware the body of believers was. Were there signs before this happened? Were there things the body of believers should have seen?  What should we have been looking at? How should we have adjusted our lives?

The reality is that, the solutions are not what we think or where we think they are. This was a call to be like Joseph and Daniel. A call to be so immersed in our relationship with God that He would whisper the truth of the days to come into our ears and we would respond and prepare as He instructed. That our sleep would be pebbled with dreams and visions and we would arise and implement them. That a way of escape would be provided.

Let us understand that there is always a way of escape with God.

To clarify, the way of escape isn’t that we will never have trouble, rather that He would give advance warning with an instruction to prepare and we would be diligent to follow the instruction. Obedience to those instructions would breed the grace to thrive and survive the days that are now here.

When Pharaoh had the dream and couldn’t find an interpreter, the cup bearer remembered the man who accurately interpreted his dream and spoke up for Joseph to his master even though it was many years later. In a matter of hours, Joseph left prison, showered, appeared before Pharaoh, interpreted the dream and begun working in preparation for its realisation. His years in the pits, fields, homes and prison had prepared him for the time and season he found himself in.

Joseph became the answer to the questions the nations were asking through God.

So I ask myself, if so many were unaware, what have they been doing? Now that things have changed, how are we preparing for life after Covid19? Please understand that this is a game changer; life has changed and nothing will ever be the same again. We will come out, yet not all of us. We will arise, yet not all of us. We will learn lessons, yet not all of us. A line has been drawn, each one must choose a path and walk in it. I have purposed to do and become whatever my Father says to me in this season because it is by obedience that the next instruction will come and I will rise into the fullness He has set out for me.

Understand that, this is business unusual and only those with a clear word, instruction or assignment will come out on top. There is a shift in the way the world functions and an even bigger shift in the way the kingdom functions. We cannot afford to be caught flat footed and unaware.

Press in, be still, listen, learn, understand and then go and ONLY what your Father says.

Shalom

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The Simple Life

Don’t Waste A Crisis.


Recently I was part of a webinar on crisis communication and it was totally intriguing. Why that webinar? I have decided to expand my range of knowledge and challenge myself to understand different aspects of work deeper. This ensures that once a week I do a webinar in a topic that interests me. So last week I did one in human resources and the one in crisis communication I mentioned earlier. In the crisis communications one, I heard a statement that shifted my axis and settled deep within me;

Don’t waste a crisis.

Stella Kiguta Nganga

A crisis is defined as a season of deep or intense difficulty and danger and the current covid19 pandemic fits that definition. We are facing uncertain times ahead with lockdowns taking effect across the world, overdoses from proposed medications, fear and terror about infection rates and tracing challenges, seemingly looming shortages and outages and the general uncertainty of the unknown. There have been and likely will be more job losses as companies grapple to find ways to keep alive and in reality, there are companies that will be brought to their knees and never recover.

Don’t waste a crisis is such a loaded statement because many of us waste crises.

How do we waste crises? Crises have the ability to strike us deaf and dumb, catch us in sticky mud like back cotton and keep us stranded. Crises shake our beliefs and desires as they strip away our sources of strength thus hinder our ability to walk forward and deal with life. I know it sounds odd to say that we can waste a crisis but think about it for a bit. Did others find themselves in crisis before us? Yes! Did they ALL survive? No! Who did? The ones who took a different look at life!

For many of us, our default setting when trouble or challenges come our way is to ask why or why me. How about changing the questions to why not me or who else should go through this? I know it sounds like madness but that small shift changes perspectives completely. It is a lot like the half full half empty perspective of the glass and that is what I want us to think about.

Every crisis has a lesson for each one who goes through so why not focus on that.

If there is a lesson in every crisis then can there be another way of dealing with it? Most certainly. When we say don’t waste a crisis we mean, learn all you can from every crisis that you may have the right tools for the path ahead. Why? Life beyond the crisis is never the same as life before it thus a new set of skills are needed to navigate this life. How do you navigate a path you have never been down if you haven’t developed a new set of skills to deal? You can’t.

How do we harness a crisis?

  • Shift Perspective: Challenges come to make us strong and the acceptance that there is something to learn shifts our ability to overcome and accomplish more.
  • Ask Questions: Questions are the best learning tools you have in your arsenal. Ask about root causes, trends, rising numbers, locations, patterns of communication, failures, successes and anything else you may be curious about. If you cant find answers from your questions, change the set of questions and keep asking no matter what.
  • Be keen: Keep your eyes peeled or open to see. What is there to see? Reasons for the situation, answers to questions, new phenomena, causes, challenges…anything that helped contribute to the situation, provided solutions and possible lessons.
  • Right Conversations: You will find that not many people see things the way you do and will either think you are mad or discourage you from this new perspective. When your mind shifts or begins to shift, find people who will challenge the thought process without demeaning your position. If you get dismissed, review the response and assess its validity but keep your ground on your thoughts, they will make sense
  • Reflect & Review: Take notes of key lessons, capture your key thoughts and assess them. Take time to think through it over and over until you see the realities coming to mind. Read others comments and ideas to grow your own but capture your thoughts that you can review and deepen them for growth.
  • Stop and Listen To God: Our sure radar is God for he never sleeps or slumbers nor forsakes us. His answers are sure and His word is reliable. His ways lead to life and His love is eternal. He is the answer to all our questions and His thoughts are so much higher than ours that we will understand more as He brings us clarity.

Remember, that every crisis make us bigger, better and badder. Remember that no matter where it comes from, we will come out better because we will never again waste any event in our lives. Remember that God has allowed this situation to build us up and make us stronger and He has the solution.

Photo by Tanya Gorelova on Pexels.com